HTF Challenge: Best Picture Winners

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Dome Vongvises, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Yep, I'll freely admit that this is the most derivative thread ever started. Feel free to sue me for damages.

    Anywho, I figured that the most obvious "challenge" hadn't been started yet. The challenge is to watch all of the productions that have received the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the case of Sunrise and Wings, both can be considered winners. As a suggestion, I would make sure to watch the nominees as well in some cases in order to get a context for what the winner was up against. As an important note, there is no due date or deadline. Watch the films at your leisure.

    The purpose of this thread is to create general discussion regarding the films that received the Academy Award for Best Picture. I wish to cover a wide range of topics such as whether the picture deserved the award, how well the picture has held up over the years, the validity of the Best Picture Award in the context of greatness, etc. etc.

    Like most of the other challenges, I want people to chime in with their opinions and so forth and watch whatever films they want to and in any order they want to. You don't even have to take part in the challenge. Opine away.

    Links indicate the year the award was handed out. Year in parentheses is the production year. For ease of reference, there is a link for when the "official" discussion begins as well. I'll try my best to maintain this thread as efficiently as possible.

    Click here for full list (IMDB)

    Click here for Oscar Home Page

    19291930 The Broadway Melody (1929)
    1930 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1931 Cimmaron (1931)
    1932 Grand Hotel (1932)
    1934 Cavalcade (1933)
    1935 It Happened One Night (1934)
    1936 Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
    1937 The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
    1938 The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
    1939 You Can't Take It With You (1938)
    1940 Gone With The Wind (1939)
    1941 Rebecca (1940)
    1942 How Green Was My Valley (1941)

    1995 Forrest Gump (1994) Click here for start of discussion
    1996 Braveheart (1995) Click here for start of the discussion
    1997 The English Patient (1996) Click here for start of discussion
    1998 Titanic (1997) Click here for beginning of discussion
    1999 Shakespeare in Love (1998) Click here for beginning of discussion
    2000 American Beauty (1999) Click here for beginning of discussion
    2001 Gladiator (2000) Click here for start of the discussion
    2002 A Beautiful Mind (2001) Click here for start of the discussion
    2003 Chicago (2002) Click here for start of discussion
     
  2. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I won't be taking on this challenge regularly (see my sig to see why, too many challenges as it is) just yet, but I will post here as well where my viewings overlap with this list--such as today.

    The Life of Emile Zola - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Best Picture winner 1937 - 10 nominations
    other awards: Joseph Shildkraut - Supporting Actor; Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg - Screenplay
    In competition with: The Awful Truth, Captains Courageous, Dead End, The Good Earth, In Old Chicago, Lost Horizon, One Hundred Men and a Girl, Stage Door, A Star is Born

    I've seen six of the ten films nominated for 'outstanding production' and I would personally choose Stage Door over the others (Good Earth is a close second however). 1937 was a pretty good year, and like many Academy Awards, The LIfe of Emile Zola is neither the best nor the worst of the films released that year--it represents a compromise, like most winners (note that the excreable Stella Dallas was nominated several times!).

    The Life of Emile Zola is a wholely satisfying film, for audiences of the 1930s. a film savvy modern audience is much more likely to be extremely skeptical of the Hollywood story arc this historical biopic so easily falls into. I"m not familiar with the real events of what happened, but it struck me as extremely unlikely that there was such an abrupt turn around in the french government. Throughout the film they were shown to protect their own not just vigorously but obstinately to the degree of ancient landed aristocracy. such an abrupt turn around by the appointment of a new war minister seems ludicrous, especially daunting is the question of where this new minister came from. I think appointments would be made from within the rank and file general staff that have stood by each other so obstinately. All this is brought into even more question by the extremely odd disclaimer at the films opening that is usually reserved for works of fiction at the end of the credits "no such resemblance is real or inferred to actual persons or events" what the devil is that supposed to make us think about this 'factual' biopic?

    In the 1930s thread I described this as Paths of Glory 'lite' and I think that is as good a description as any, because this could very well be the film Paths of Glory would have become in the studio system had Kirk Douglas not saved it.

    Don't get me wrong, this is a very well executed and fairly enjoyable film to watch. Paul Muni's performance, as well as that of the supporting cast is especially riveting! however I think a jaded modern audience might have some problems with the neat 'classic' hollywood package this film presents. It is a solid movie, good enough to be considered great amongst other films from the 30s (and hence my rating), but it doesn't quite age as well for modern audiences.

    Adam
     
  3. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    My ratings system:
    **** - great film
    ***½ - just shy of perfection
    *** - Highly recommended
    **½ - Recommended, with reservations
    ** - solid movie
    *½ - major problems/flaws with the film
    * - has some redeeming feature
    ½ - one redeeming feature
    0 - patently offensive, or a waste of celluloid
    1. I've seen:
    2. All Quiet on the Western Front -- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    3. Grand Hotel --------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    4. It Happened one Night ----------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    5. Mutiny on the Bounty ------------ [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    6. You Can't take it with you ------ [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    7. Gone with the Wind -------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½
    8. How Green was my Valley --------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    9. Casablanca ---------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    10. All About Eve ------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    11. On the Waterfront --------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    12. Bridge on the River Kwai -------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    13. Ben-Hur ------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    14. The Apartment ------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    15. Lawrence of Arabia -------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    16. My Fair Lady -------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    17. The Sound of Music -------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    18. A Man for All Seasons ----------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    19. Midnight Cowboy ----------------- [​IMG][​IMG]½
    20. Patton -------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    21. The Godfather ------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    22. The Godfather Part II ----------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    23. One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½
    24. Rocky --------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    25. Annie Hall ---------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    26. The Deer Hunter ----------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    27. Chariots of Fire ---------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½
    28. Amadeus ------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½
    29. Platoon ------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    30. Rain Man ------------------------ [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    31. Dances with Wolves -------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    32. The Silence of the Lambs -------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    33. Unforgiven ---------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    34. Schindler's List ---------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    35. Forrest Gump -------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    36. Braveheart ---------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    37. American Beauty ----------------- [​IMG]½
    38. Gladiator ----------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    39. A Beautiful Mind ---------------- [​IMG][​IMG]
    40. Chicago ------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG]½

      Newly seen:
    41. The Life of Emile Zola ---------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    42. Sunrise ------------------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    43. Best Years of Our Lives --------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    44. An American in Paris ------------ [​IMG][​IMG]½
    45. From Here to Eternity ----------- [​IMG][​IMG]
    46. West Side Story ----------------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    47. The French Connection ----------- [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]½
    48. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    49. Gentleman's Agreement - [​IMG][​IMG]½
     
  4. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Okay, I've added a decades worth of BP winners. I hope to get a good start in mid-November.
     
  5. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Okay, I'll jump in here with a review of Grand Hotel (taken from my post in the Revisits thread).


    Grand Hotel (1932)

    Directed by Edmund Goulding.

    Hollywood filmmaking at its finest - that's what we have in Grand Hotel. A cast that can't be beat plays a disparate group of characters interacting in the titular establishment, a luxurious Berlin hangout for the rich and famous.

    Greta Garbo is Grusinskaya, the tired ballet star who can no longer stomach the pressure of her fame. Yep, this is where she utters the famous line "I vant to be alone!" One night she discovers a strange man in her room...

    John Barrymore is Baron Felix von Geigern. He's kind and friendly to all, a real gentleman. He's also mad for the ladies and flat broke. What lengths will he go to for money?

    Lionel Barrymore is Otto Kringelein. He's an old man, terminally ill and determined to spend his last days and life savings living it up at the Grand Hotel. He's also become good friends with the Baron...

    Wallace Beery is Preysing the buisness magnate. He's cold-hearted, elitist, and desperate for a company-saving merger. He also has a crush on his stenographer...

    Lovely Joan Crawford is Flaemmchen the stenographer. Both coquettish and demure, she's also poor and hungry. What she needs is a man to take care of her. Will she submit to Preysing's advances? Well, she'd much rather have the Baron, but he is in love with Grusinskaya...

    Over it all watches Dr. Otternschlag, resident physician. His face horribly scarred by wounds suffered in the first world war, he sips his drinks and observes the goings-on with an air of detachment. "People come, people go. Nothing ever happens."

    Oh, but it does!

    One of these characters will die. One will be arrested for murder. Two will start new lives. The last will simply move on. Their places will be taken by new arrivals, more stories yet to be told...

    Some of the greatest stars of all time came together in Grand Hotel and what a great ensemble they made - it's hard to imagine a like cast being assembled today. To top it off, they're surrounded by lush art deco production design and a selection of great classical music.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Regarding Wings and Sunrise: it's been years since I've seen the former, and I've only seen parts of the latter. I'm getting ready to send out for my copy of Sunrise and I'll chime in on it when I can.
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Guess I could throw out a few more thoughts on Grand Hotel.

    Did it deserve Best Picture? I think so - it is quite simply a very entertaining film, well-made, with a stellar cast.

    Does it hold up? For the most part. It's a tad creaky here and there, but the story structure is still a popular convention (can you say The Love Boat?) and the themes of loneliness and longing hold universal appeal.
     
  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    There's one major problem with IMDB's list, they base their list on the date the oscar was handed out, rather than the production year in competition. Gone with the Wind won for 1939 but it was of course awarded in 1940, if you use the oscar.org database, you'll get the right production year (starting with 1927/28 which would make it 75 years [27-02] rather than the 1929 currently up).

    http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/amp...=1067806068581
     
  8. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Thanks, Adam. I'll think about that and decide on whether to have production year, award year, or include both.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Well technically I’ve seen all of these, but in keeping with my efforts on the other challenges, I’ll count only those from September of last year. Even though this does mean that I’ll have to see Cimarron one more time.

    Just to kick things off, here are my ratings for the first 25% of the winners. Guess I’ll have to get a copy of Sunrise in order to comment.

    All About Eve[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    All Quiet on the Western Front[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    American in Paris, An[​IMG] [​IMG]
    Apartment, The[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Ben-Hur[​IMG]
    Best Years of Our Lives, The[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Bridge on the River Kwai, The[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Casablanca[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    From Here to Eternity[​IMG] [​IMG]
    Gigi[​IMG] [​IMG]
    Gone with the Wind[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Grand Hotel[​IMG] [​IMG]
    It Happened One Night[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lawrence of Arabia[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Life of Emile Zola, The[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Muitny on the Bounty[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    On the WaterFront[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Rebecca[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    You Can't Take It with You[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    My reasoning for ratings is close to Adam’s but I don’t bother with half stars.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Steve I normally am in close (within a star) agreement with your ratings, but in Grand Hotel we differ. I checked my comments in the 30s challenge and sure enough what I wrote is pretty much how I see this movie: a star turn for a bunch of MGM stars.


     
  11. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Lew, I was wondering about that two-star rating. While I recognize that Grand Hotel isn't perfect, I still find it very entertaining in a grand (sorry), old-fashioned kind of way, hence the high marks. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Oh I enjoy it well enough Steve—I probably watch it every few years.

    To be sure for all the quotable dialogue in Grand Hotel, I like the twist to Garbo’s line in Ninotchka much better. [​IMG]


    Do you want to be alone, comrade?

    No
     
  13. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I enjoy Ninotchka quite a bit as well - caught it again when it ran on TCM a while back. Garbo, along with Carole Lombard, is one of my favorite actresses of yesteryear. [​IMG]
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Wow.. the only review in here that surprised me was ONE STAR for Ben Hur? We're all entitled to our opinions but.. wow, OK..

    All Quiet on the Western Front remains one of my favorite films of all time, so I would of course, rate it very highly; and even watching it when I was a teen, I found the film to be captivating. Hmm. I may have to revise this post with some star rankings for the 1930s (I've seen all)
     
  15. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  16. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Well I consider Sunrise one of the greatest films ever made. It's a perfect blend of artistic experimentation and Hollywood narrative and one of the best examples of German Expressionism in use. Murnau was one of the greatest directors of all time and this film is his highest achievement.


    However, I will not fault the Acadmey for splitting the Best Pix votes that first year when they clearly attempted to recognize both classical narrative and high art as unique endeavors, something they have struggled to keep clear in the public's mind ever since (thus the reason why both cinephiles and the general public think the Oscars suck, yet for opposite reasons - too safe/bland, too arty).


    Wings is what I call the GOOD version of Pearl Harbor. Throw in the splashy modern CGI/FX and Wings is 10 times the film PH was using basically a very similar storyline. As a person who has become comfortable with silent era styles, Wings to me is a great Hollywood romp and quite enjoyable. No it does not hit the depths of All Quiet on the Western Front but it still a great film.

    The year or two just before sound became the standard was silent film hitting its peak, thus many filmmakers saw sound films as a real step backward. And they were too since so many studios began forcing sound in as a gimmick rather than focusing on an understanding of how to use sound in film, not unlike the problems encountered as color began to make its way into film. But unlike color, sound was forced in almost all at once while B&W cinematography continued to be recognized with a separate Oscar into the 60's.

    That's one reason why I think the first Oscars were the best Oscars for several years.
     
  17. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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  18. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Sunrise

    Alright, let's start our film discussion with the film Sunrise.

    I won't be able to participate much in this one, since my library doesn't have this film, and I just finally made up my mind on what three films to get for the Fox mail-in.

    But if previous reviews and thoughts exist somewhere, I'll try to post them on this spot with links bearing the reviewer's name.
     
  19. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Wings

    Well, that was a good start. :b

    Anybody got anything to say on Wings?
     
  20. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    The hotter the better. [​IMG]

    Oh, you mean the movie. :b


    It's been so long since I've seen it that I remember little about it. Sorry.

    Warner is releasing a slew of Best Picture winners in February:

    Gaslight
    Grand Hotel
    The Great Ziegfield
    Mrs. Miniver
    Mutiny on the Bounty
    My Fair Lady


    Perhaps things will pick up then...
     

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