Best Picture Winners of the 90s - Will they stand the test of time?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_D, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    I recently say American Beauty and started to think about whether in 50 years it would be considered a classic. I posted the question, and reading all the reply posts, I got to thinking - I bet most of the Best Picture winners from the 90s WILL NOT be regarded as classics in 50 years time:
    1990 - Dances With Wolves - quite liked it but no classic!
    1991 - The Silence of the Lambs - really, really good, but not beter than Manhunter
    1992 - Unforgiven - wasn't all too keen - obviously well crafted, but I don't see it being remembered
    1993 - Schindler's List - undoubtedly one of the best, most haunting films of the 90s - a rare deserved winner
    1994 - Forrest Gump - this one certainly wont hold up in 20 years
    1995 - Braveheart - another one that I think will fade away - I really dont understand why so many poeple love this
    1996 - Titanic - the most overrated and undeservedly successful film ever - but will undoubtedly be remembered for the oscar/box office success
    1997 - The English Patient - despite the presence of Miramax, I think this one was really good, entertaining and well made, but still no classic!
    1998 - Shakespeare in Love - it was just so bland, and so self-consciously clever and funny - a triumph of Miramax over reasoning
    1999 - American Beauty(see previous post)
    I think the only ones that will be remembered as classics are Silence of the Lambs and Schindler's List!
    What do you guys think?
    (Edited to include my own personnal feelings about each winner)
    [Edited last by Paul Dalmaine on October 02, 2001 at 09:55 AM]
    [Edited last by Paul Dalmaine on October 02, 2001 at 09:57 AM]
     
  2. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not so sure -- I think most of those titles will hold up pretty well over time. Not every Best Picture winner from 50+ years ago is regarded as a classic a la 'Casablanca' or 'Gone With the Wind'. 'Titanic' can possibly maintain that status, but to 'stand the test of time' they don't have to be household names. If someone fifty years from now can watch these films for the first time and be entertained and/or appreciate them on an artistic level, then they've succeeded.
    And I can easily imagine that situation with most, if not all of these selections. Hell, I thought 'Unforgiven' was already a classic the first time I saw it! Of course there will be other non-academy award winning 'classics', but I think that these will do just fine - no worse than any other decade's worth of winners.
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  3. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Of the movies you listed I think the following will survive the test of time:
    1990 - Dances With Wolves
    1991 - The Silence of the Lambs
    1992 - Unforgiven
    1993 - Schindler's List
    1996 - Titanic
    The scope of these movies is grander than the others.
    Just my opinion of course! [​IMG]
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  4. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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  5. Russ Lucas

    Russ Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    There isn't a movie on that list with a script better than Shakespeare in Love's. If it isn't still considered a classic in years to come, it should be.
     
  6. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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  7. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I said in another thread
    quote: It's exremely hard these days to tell whether or not a movie will stand the test of time. I will go out on a limb and say an Academy Award winner like The English Patient probably won't. It'll probably be remembered as an interesting footnote in history due to its repeated mention in one episode of Seinfeld. Titanic will probably be remembered not for what the movie was about, but rather the sheer number of awards it has won, (well, that is until some other movie comes by and wins more awards than it).
    1. The movie is statistially significant in monetary or awards gained.
    2. The movie's prevalance in pop culture.
    3. The movie's standing in critics/fanboy/filmmakers lists.
    4. The ability of older generations to introduce newer generations to films they grew up with.
    [/quote]
    What do you all think of my criteria? Based on this criteria that I came up with, I think that one of the best bets is The Silence of the Lambs. It is a huge favorite of critics/fanboys, and the movie also has the distinction of being one of three films that have won the big four (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director). Titanic will stand the test of time for as long as those horny girls that fell in love with it are still alive, it's box office records still stands, and the amount of awards it has won still sticks around. The two that I think WON'T stand the test of time (based on my criteria) is The English Patient and Shakespeare In Love. The rest of the Academy Award winners are in the iffy file, but Unforgiven might be able to pull it off.
    Edit: I've decided to leave the personal tastes comment out of my last paragraph. It would've led too many people to believe that I didn't like Shakespeare in Love. All personal prejudices aside, I found SiL to be a pretty good movie and a non-pop culture take on Shakespeare.
    "I don't know, Marge. Trying is the first step towards failure." - Homer J. Simpson
    My DVD Collection
    [Edited last by Dome Vongvises on October 02, 2001 at 09:58 AM]
    [Edited last by Dome Vongvises on October 02, 2001 at 09:59 AM]
    [Edited last by Dome Vongvises on October 02, 2001 at 10:00 AM]
     
  8. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

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    Dom,
    I found Titanic a sopa opera joke... and Unforgiven was one of the worst films to win BP... ever... IMHO.( okay maybe Gentleman's Agreement was worse )
    To each his own.
     
  9. Russ Lucas

    Russ Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    Your criteria aren't bad in and of themselves, but, frankly, the only way to determine whether a movie stands the test of time is to check back in twenty years and see.
    I'll take a moment to defend SiL, just because I think it's far too underappreciated, despite its Best Picture win.
    It surely has the ability to appeal to future generations, just as Shakespeare himself is consistently reworked to appeal to future generations. Every year since 1989 there've been at least one or two films based on Shakespeare's plays. While this trend may be slowing now, it will start up again in another ten years or so. The reason this is so is because Shakespeare's stories have a timelessness and universality unparalleled in Western literature. And, for me, seeing Shakespeare in Love made me think that the filmmakers-- beginning with the wonderful script and continuing with the direction and the acting-- "got it." They understood what makes Shakespeare so well-loved. They took many of the elements that stand out in his plays-- doomed young love, mistaken identity, gender relations-- and spun an original tale that jibes well with the body of his work. English teachers the world over will always be looking for ways to get kids to read Shakespeare, even stooping so low as to show them the Mel Gibson Hamlet. SiL will help them do their work as well.
    Man, "bland" and "self-consciously funny and clever?" If a well-crafted take on the creation of the world's best-known love story is bland, what can I tell you? Sure, there's some bits of self-reflective cleverness in the film-- there's a few parts where the English majors in the audience are the only ones laughing-- but Shakespeare's plays were like that, too. Not everybody in the Globe got all the jokes. And how many other films aim high for the audience, instead of defaulting to lowest-common-denominator stuff?
    Schindler's List might be a better movie than it, but I don't think anything else on that list is (though I admit I need to revisit The English Patient, Gary).
    [Edited last by Russ Lucas on October 02, 2001 at 10:29 AM]
     
  10. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Well, the best movies don't always win either. Who doesn't understand The Shawshank Redemption phenomenon!
    Anyways, to answer the question (and pop an opinion in or two),
    Silence of the Lambs will endure. No question about it.
    I think Forrest Gump will hold up fairly well over time, and it will be remembered fondly by many. A classic, though? I didn't think so. Definitely a "right time" movie.
    I have to argue with Braveheart and The English Patient personally. But on to that in a minute.
    A classic is a movie that simply gains new viewers over time. People who don't remember it in the theater pick it up and like it. They share it. It lives on, after those who were around at the beginning aren't.
    So my favorite movie, Braveheart probably won't make it. Many of my friends hold thos movie very close to their heart. But will it feel the same in 15 years? I don't think it will be a classic either.
    The English Patient? I personally despised this movie. There were a few honest moments, but it was pretentious and dull. And too long. The three hours of Braveheart felt like two and the three hours of English Patient felt like five. That being said, it should endure as an arthouse classic, but the mainstream (which includes those who choose if a movie attains "classic" status) will never accept it. Therefore, it will fade as well.
    Titanic is also a favorite of mine. Which usually elicits laughter from many, but I can live with that. I was there opening night because I had faith in Jim Cameron to deliver. And he did. Did the hype become overwhelming? Yes. But it was post-release hype, and generated by the fans, not the studio. It was in response to the strengths of the movie, which had not been seen onscreen in a long time. I'll save the long defense of it and give you my cliff notes. The script was not perfect. But young people in love TALK like that. They feel like that. It felt more real to me than most of Miramax' hip BS. But it will endure for the reasons in the posts above. Not because I like it. I have met many who hate Titanic for what it became in 1998. I love Titanic for what it was when it came out.
    Shakespeare in Love, I have not seen. I am still bitter b/c, although it is considered a good movie, I felt SPR did not win because many of those who vote for the AA could not relate to it. So they voted for a movie they could relate to. I can't judge this one. SPR is a classic, and will always be one, however.
    American Beauty is a great movie. Also a "right time" movie. 1999 will be remembered for The Matrix (that depends on the sequels) and IMHO, if one movie endures, it will be (and should be) Fight Club.
    I skipped a few, but I wanted to explain my criteria and defend Titanic. My criteria are fact. The rest are just my opinions.
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  11. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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  12. TheLongshot

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    Well, I don't think that it is unusual that only a few "Best Picture" films stand the test of time. I was going over the best picture winners for the 80s and of the six I have seen, only two hold up for me. (Platoon and Ghandi)
    I think a good excersize is to go through the other nominees and see if they are more deserving now than they were back then.
    1990:
    Dances With Wolves (Winner)
    Awakenings
    Ghost
    Godfather: Part III
    Goodfellas
    Goodfellas is probably the only contender here, but DWW is better. It also was a box office monster that year.
    1991:
    Silence Of The Lambs (Winner)
    Beauty And The Beast
    Bugsy
    JFK
    The Prince Of Tides
    Again, Silence is the clear winner. None of these films can compete with it.
    1992:
    Unforgiven (Winner)
    The Crying Game
    A Few Good Men
    Howard's End
    Scent Of A Woman
    At the time, I probably would have given it to "A Few Good Men", but I don't know if it has aged all that well. "Scent Of A Woman" was all Al Pachino, and he got rewarded for it. Unforgiven still wins.
    1993:
    Shindler's List (Winner)
    The Fugitive
    In The Name Of The Father
    The Piano
    The Remains Of The Day
    No contest here. I'm a little suprised that Philadelphia isn't in this list, but it couldn't win against Speilburg.
    1994:
    Forrest Gump (Winner)
    Four Weddings And A Funeral
    Pulp Fiction
    Quiz Show
    The Shawshank Redemption
    Tough year. I think both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were both better films and have held up better.
    1995:
    Braveheart (Winner)
    Apollo 13
    Babe
    Il Postino
    Sense And Sensibility
    Another hard one for a different reason. I don't know if any of these really hold up. It doesn't help that the only one I've seen is Braveheart.
    1996:
    The English Patient (Winner)
    Fargo
    Jerry Maguire
    Secrets & Lies
    Shine
    First off, I will mention that I do not like The English Patient. Neither did I like Fargo, but I think Fargo holds up much better. Jerry Maguire was my favorite film that year, but I'm not sure it holds up.
    1997:
    Titanic (Winner)
    As Good As It Gets
    The Full Monty
    Good Will Hunting
    LA Confidential
    Nothing could stop the juggernaut that was "Titanic". I still refuse to see it. I think LA Confidential holds up best of all in this list and probably should have won Best Picture.
    1998:
    Shakesphere In Love (Winner)
    Elisabeth
    Saving Private Ryan
    The Thin Red Line
    Life Is Beautiful
    I kinda question if any of these will hold up. I still think SIL deserves the oscar. SPR, beyond the great battle scenes, is really lacking. Life Is Beautiful probably won't hold up either.
    1999:
    American Beauty (Winner)
    The Cider House Rules
    The Green Mile
    The Insider
    The Sixth Sense
    It is really too early to tell with these films. I definitly don't think that The Green Mile will hold up. The Sixth Sense probably won't, but it will probably be the most memorable film from this year. I still like American Beauty.
    Take this for what you will...
    Jason
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  13. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    After reading some responses, I don't think I expressed some things clearly in my original post. 1) I think in 8/10 cases, the WRONG film won Best Picture in the 90s, IMO, which is obviously based more on my personnal taste, than my ideas as to which films will be remembered as classics, Fight Club, Out of Sight and Heat are the best Hollywood movies of the last decade, and none of them were even NOMINATED for Best Picture. I hope, and would expect these film to live on for many, many years to come, but obviously all you can do is predict.
    Of the films that WERE nominated, I think the following should have won (the blanks iundicate years when I think noen were really deserving!):
    1990 - Goodfellas
    1991 - Silence of the Lambs/JFK
    1992 -
    1993 - Schindler's List
    1994 - Pulp Fiction/The Shawshank Redemption
    1995 -
    1996 - Fargo
    1997 - LA Confidential
    1998 - The Thin Red Line
    1999 - The Insider
    Basically, my original post was written with the assumption that no film made in the last 10 years can be considered a classic, because not enough time has passed for sufficient reflection to be taken on its place in cinema's history.
    Regarding Shakespeare in Love, my comments were purely from a personnal taste point of view - I agree that on a social and educational level, the film has a noble purpose, and has been (demonstrated by the critical and commercial response) very successful at achieveing that purpose. But it is very fashionable to like the film because of this noble-puspoe, and I think that's the reason it won BP. Shakespeare is notorious for leaving most people cold, and to say how much you liked and enjoyed it is tantamount to advertising that you 'understand and enjoy' Shakespeare - an advert for your own good taste if you like (this is not directed at any of the above posters, who have made their reasons for liking it clear). Example - people laughing in the theater at the joke: 'The play must...' WS: 'Go on!', laughing uneasily, because they got it, and they want to show that they got it. NOT because they found it funny! Voting for it to win Best Picture is an extention of this I think.
    It's undoubtedly a very well-written scipt, from a line-by-line point of view, but aside from the educational goals, the story is just so unenjoyable - its a comedy drama, built around the same structure of a Shakespeare tragedy, yet it is no where near as skillful at unravelling the plot as Shakespeare's tragedies are. So in a sense, the only thing it can be judged against is far superior to it, so it never fails to seem disappointing to me.
    I find it very difficult to say whether its the script or the production itself, that makes it feel 'bland', but nevertheless this is the one word I had on the tip of my tongue when leaving the theater.
    I think if any films endure from the 90s, it will be the ones that polarized opinion - not ones that were universally praised! One characteristic of all 'classics', is that on release they were greeted with very mixed comments. Anyway, I've written enough!
    [Edited last by Paul Dalmaine on October 02, 2001 at 04:26 PM]
     
  14. TheLongshot

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  15. Jefferson Morris

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  16. TheoGB

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    As a fan of Tom Stoppard (I saw Arcadia in the National Theatre and was blown away) I would defend Shakespeare in Love.
    My only reservation is Gwyneth Paltrow, who much as I respect in roles, totally disgusted me with her Oscar acceptance performance. This has always marred Tom Hanks for me. Prior to that I really loved him and now I am always surprised when he's in a movie and I enjoy it.
    For the record Apollo 13 has stood up well but probably isn't big enough in scope to have won.
    Theo
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Reading the list of movies nominated for BP, I was struck by some of the great movies we've had in the past decade. But I was also surprised to see some that I think are wonderful ignored by everyone else. So I'm here to be the voice of reason [​IMG]
    1990: Awakenings - I get chills just thinking about it. Compelling performances by both Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. And a surprisingly melancholy ending (for a Hollywood movie). Perhaps not a classic, I think it will hold the test of time, and continue to be worth watching.
    1993: The Fugitive - This is a classic! One of the best action / suspense movies of the past decade. It still holds up today, despite major changes in current film pacing and style. I think this will be one of those movies that dad's make their sons watch 20 years from now, and the sons will be surprised to really like it (as when my dad rented "Three Days of the Condor" [​IMG] )
    1994: Quiz Show - haven't seen this in a while, I but I really liked it. Since it was a period piece, I would suspect that it would age well.
    1995: Babe - I think this was definitely worthy of BP. It remains an excellent film, and shows what can be accomplished in a 'kids' film. Making it even more compelling to me, are some interesting subtexts in the story touching on vegetarianism and utilitarianism (the philosophy). I think one could study this film as a starter on subversive programming via childrens' movies. [​IMG] Regardless, a fun, silly, happy, yet deep, movie. No sex, violence, or profanity -- it's the mirror image of "Fight Club". And I think just as good.
    1997: Titanic - I think this will stand the test of time. It is beautiful to watch, is true to the events (so far as a movie can be), and has the 'trivia' factor. Perhaps not great 'art', but I think it will pass the test of time. This movie has a bit of the Star Wars factor going on with girls. When they have daughters, they'll have to see it, and so the brainwashing will continue... [​IMG]
    As Good As It Gets
    Good Will Hunting - I thought these two were great in the theater. But I haven't seen them since, and I fear they may not age well.
    LA Confidential - Tremendous! Must watch again!
    1999: American Beauty - Highly overrated, IMO.
    The Green Mile - Also overrated. Had it been edited down tpo about 90 to 120 min, it would have been excellent.
    The Insider - Should have won; excellent movie. Will age well, because the material will be relevant for a great while.
    I'm reminded, too, of some great movies that I've not yet seen. Dang work, cutting into my movie-watching time (mumble grumble)
     
  18. Lou Sytsma

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    OK - so if you had to pick the BEST movie of the 90s which one would it be?
    For me it would be Shawshank Redemption. I prefer uplifting stories. This one never fails to get my spirits back up.
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  19. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Films that aren't as reliant on being current will stand the test of time. A lot of comedies made today will lose their luster viewed 20-30 years from now because they are so tied up with fads, trends, etc. (For example, I mildly liked Zoolander, but it won't play very well 25 years from now.)
    I realize people love to hate Shakespeare in Love, but in many ways it is so timeless that it should age quite well. It's a wonderful blend of romance, comedy, and drama that doesn't rely on topicality for its enjoyment.
    Titanic was a cultural phenomenon, and it's a damn good moviegoing experience, backlash aside. Sure, Cameron's dialogue can be awfully purple, but something this successful and popular will linger.
    Forrest Gump has some of the same things going for it. Plus, Hanks is going to go down as one of the biggest movie stars of the time, which won't hurt keeping it somewhat well known or popular.
    Schindler's List has Spielberg going for it, which is an enormous factor in its favor for longevity. Being about one of the defining inhumanities of the century will bring people back to it as well.
    I'm still amazed how enormously popular The Silence of the Lambs remains, and I don't see it waning. (Whether you think Manhunter is better or not is really irrelevant. A lot more have seen Silence.) It's considered a defining film of the genre and could be credited with spawning a whole slew of knockoffs. The critics and the public love it, which helps.
    I tend to think The English Patient will stand the test of time just as David Lean's films have.
     
  20. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    (Removed first of two identical posts!)
    [Edited last by Paul Dalmaine on October 02, 2001 at 05:02 PM]
     

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