Oscar '71: What does "Best Picture" mean?

Edwin Pereyra

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Did you purposely exclude Norman Jewison's Fiddler On The Roof in your comments as the fourth nominated film (with Nicholas and Alexandra as the fifth)?

I was just on my way to the AFI thread to post my thoughts on The French Connection having finally seen it on DVD. While I don't share your views about TFC, I would also rank The Last Picture Show ahead of TFC for the reasons I already noted in the thread you linked.
Unfortunately, I can't rank all five nominated films as I have not seen NAA and I need to revisit A Clockwork Orange again. But definitely a tough year as I found Fiddler On The Roof to be one of the better musicals ever made.
~Edwin
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http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html[Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on October 12, 2001 at 07:07 PM]
 

John Miles

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Did you purposely exclude Norman Jewison's Fiddler On The Roof in your comments as the fourth nominated film (with Nicholas and Alexandra as the fifth)?
Yes. I felt I was being inflammatory enough already, without arguing for or against films I hadn't seen.
 

Chad R

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Yeah, but how can you argue that since a film has been copied or outdone that it's no loner valid? It did come first.
Also, the thing to remember about the Academy Award is that it's for Best Picture of the Year. Not picture most likely to become a classic, not film most likely to stand the test of time, nor film that will never become outdated.
Best Picture of the year reflects the time for which the voting took place. It's what at that time was considered to be the most outstanding achievement of and for that year.
 

Paul_D

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there's absolutely nothing in The French Connection that hasn't been outdone a dozen times since.
Errrr.... and there's also no cinematic technique in 'Citizen Kane' that hasn't been outdone a dozen times since, but its considered the best movie ever made because it introduced many, now vital aspects of cinema to the world. The same can be said for 'The French Connection'. I certainly don't think that movies inspired by it have made it 'obsolete', quite the contrary in fact. 'TFC' has built up a mythology over the years that is synonymous with gritty realism. IMHO its an essential, still-relevant today, classic of modern cinema - a true landmark film.
And the so-called 'boring' aspect of police work that is portrayed is in-part what gives it the realism that it strives for, gives the viewer a better understanding of what detectives actually DO, and is what sets it apart from the more mudane, glossy police movies - of which there are to many to count.
I think it was the deserved winner in '71 - which is rare nowadays for an Oscar victory!
 

Mitty

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While I do agree that The Last Picture Show is a better film and, by definition, would have been a better choice by the Academy, I think The French Connection has held up extremely well.
As far as film "outdoing" it since then, I think one could debate that. The difference between TFC and your modern garden variety police thriller (and even some of the good ones) is the difference between the original Gone in 60 Seconds and the remake. The remake is slicker to be sure, but soulless.
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PhilipG

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there's absolutely nothing in The French Connection that hasn't been outdone a dozen times since
So you're saying that, when judging, the Academy should jump forward in time thirty years and, if the movie's been cloned and outdone, they should then discard that movie fron contention? Sorry about my sarcasm.

My opinion is that if a film is so good that it inspires others to copy and better sequences from it, then it is deserving of being named Best Picture.
 

Joe D

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I just watched TFC and I absolutely loved it. It's just a gritty crime picture, great characters.
As to the comparison to other films that have been mentioned, I've only seen ACO, and I think it compares well with that film.
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Rob Tomlin

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I agree with many of Johns comments regarding The French Connection. While I did enjoy the movie as a whole, I didn't feel that it was a movie worthy of receiving an Oscar for best picture.
Other peoples comments regarding the influence this movie had when released is valid, and could certainly have a lot to do with an Academy Award win. That being said, I still do not believe that the movie has held up particularly well. My wife fell asleep about an hour into the movie!
 

Mitty

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My wife fell asleep about an hour into the movie!
I don't know that the Best Picture award is really all about rewarding the film that best acts as a caffeine substitute.
If so, Rush Hour 2 oughtta be this year's top prize winner; after all, who could fall asleep with Chris Tucker's nails-on-a-blackboard voice jackhammmering away at the inside of his or her skull?
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