Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ten Most Wanted: Oscar's Best Pictures

Having recently screened and enjoyed John Ford's How Green Was My Valley on DVD, I now have only ten more winners of the Best Picture Oscar left to see. (How Green Was My Valley, if you don't know, was a huge critical and popular favorite in 1941, but is most notorious today as the film that swiped the top Oscar from Citizen Kane.) Like a lot of pop-movie nerds, I've had a goal for a long time of seeing all of Oscar's Bests, though as I look at these assembled posters, I can see the reasons why they're the ones left to go. Devoted readers of NicksFlickPicks will note that the common threads linking these films don't mesh real well with my personal tastes. After all, these movies are...

Biopics: The Great Ziegfeld '36, The Life of Émile Zola '37, and Gandhi '82

Bloated Epics: Around the World in 80 Days '56 and Ben-Hur '59, plus the plus-sized Ziegfeld and Gandhi

Musicals That Aren't Really Musicals: The Broadway Melody '29 and The Great Ziegfeld (again!)

1960s Musicals Minus Barbra or Julie: Oliver! '68

Movies Starring Charlton Heston: Ben-Hur and The Greatest Show on Earth '52

Ocean's Twelve-Style Movies Where Famous People Fuck Around Without Really Acting: Around the World in 80 Days, and arguably The Broadway Melody and The Greatest Show on Earth

The classed-up star vehicles Mutiny on the Bounty '35 and Mrs. Miniver '42 probably inspire the most confidence at this point, though Ben-Hur is probably the best-known classic of the bunch. I'm hoping by the end of the year, I'll see them all—hell, after Cavalcade '33, Going My Way '44, and most of the mid-to-late 1980s (Africa, Rain Man, Miss Daisy, oh my!), I can take anything. Soon, I'll be posting a link to my entire ranked list of all the Best Picture winners, plus a complementary digest of all the nominees that were good enough to have deserved a statue.

But meanwhile, which of the ten I have left do you think I should start with? Any recommendations, warnings, wild guesses? What are you favorite and least favorite Best Picture winners?

(Okay, back to my dissertation...)

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Blogger Dr. S said...

I watched Mutiny on the Bounty with my brother years ago when he visited me in Ithaca and thought it was a fuckin' riot. Until I fell asleep. But he said it was pretty wacky. I'll put my money on the Zola biopic, because it's always good to know about people who've gotten prosecuted for obscenity and stuff. In Ben Hur, men race chariots; that's exciting. I don't remember much else (if I've ever even seen much else). And otherwise, I don't know.

By the way, when you have a free few hours, check out Jonathan Safran Foer's new novel. Because I have 40 papers to grade, I read the whole thing tonight. It's pretty great.


12:06 AM, March 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of the ten you have left, I'd say watch "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "The Great Ziegfeld" first. "Emile Zola" is painfully boring, and "Oliver!" has the single worst song from any musical ever ("Oom pah pah!"). Good luck with those. I've got 86 movies left before I finish off all the nominees, and I'm not looking forward to many of them.

6:52 PM, March 21, 2005  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

You have 86 Best Picture nominees left? That's some serious shit. I haven't been keeping up with your page as well as I should have been. I've got 158 left.

For all y'all reading, you can (and should) read a whole pile of Goatdog's reviews of past Best Picture nominees by clicking here.

10:51 PM, March 21, 2005  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

And I meant to add, for anyone who's ever heard "Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum" from Carmen Jones, that's a bold claim you make about the song from Oliver!. And I don't mean to pull rank, but James Baldwin agreed with me.

Then again, he tore up Carmen Jones before Oliver! existed, so that doesn't settle anything. And besides, I'm fully prepared to believe that "Oom pah pah" is a nightmare.

(PS @ Goatdog - I wasn't wowed by Alibi either, even though I never read anything but praise for the thing. Glad to see you agree.)

10:56 PM, March 21, 2005  

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