Update on the Oscar Quest: 1 Year

I didn’t want to post one of these this month, but it’s exactly one year since I started the Quest, so I kind of have to, right? Plus this post is also my 300th. It feels appropriate to have 300 be an Oscar Quest post. This also comes on the eve of the 150th day of the year, so now I’m officially averaging two posts per day. (I’m a boss.) There was really no reason not to do this. So I’m going to dedicate this update to pinpointing exactly when this whole ball of (alas) earwax got started.

It’s kind of murky as to when the Quest officially began. Here’s what I know, via Netflix telling me and from just remembering stuff. I know I didn’t start the Quest until after I had graduated and was back home. I know this, because my graduation present to myself when I was done with college was watching all the Bond movies. And I know I only made it through half of You Only Live Twice on campus, between senior week and all the drinking and such. I know that first week back was spent watching the rest of those. At the same time, Netflix says I had in my possession when I returned home, How the West Was Won, The Best Years of Our Lives and Cabaret. All three had shipped prior to me coming home, but none were returned before May 29th, which meant I didn’t watch them until then (Cabaret actually wasn’t even returned until June 3rd). So I don’t think any of them were part of a conscious effort to watch Oscar films. More of a general, “I should see these films” kind of deal. I think they were just films I wanted to see. But I’m sure they gave me the idea.

The film that actually seems to be the one that started the Quest was Chicago. It was shipped from Netflix on May 29th. Getting that film was the start of a conscious effort to see all the Best Picture winners. So that’s why I’ve marked May 29th as the day the Quest started. It’s the day I sent back those other two films and started getting exclusively Oscar films. May 29th also happens to be today. See what I did there?

I do remember, though, mentally noting Chicago as the “first” film on my Oscar Quest (which at that point was just a Best Picture Quest). I remember making the mental note, because I was like, “I wish I picked a better film to start with. If someone asks me about it (or if I tell people about it), I’ll just make up a better film to say I started with.” (Note: That last sentence was me in a nutshell.) Those other films got me to thinking that I should really see all the Best Picture winners so I could judge them accordingly. And since Chicago was such a recent winner that I hadn’t seen (which was weird, since, I’d seen just about everything from that decade, and that was a winner and not even a nominee), I started with that. And while I was watching it, I thought, “They gave Nicole Kidman an Oscar over Renée?” (For the record, I’d have voted for Julianne Moore that year, but against Kidman, Zellweger was still a better choice.) And then I was like, “Well, I guess I can’t really judge the acting categories either unless I’ve seen them all.”

Isn’t this where we came in?

That’s how everything went from just seeing the Best Picture winners to Best Picture nominees and then all the nominees and winners in the other categories. So as I was watching Chicago, I was simultaneously creating my big list. I don’t think I ever thought it would go as far (or as fast) as it has. But then again, knowing me, it’s not that surprising. I really do wish I kept track of a solid number from the start, though. But, I didn’t. The only number I have is, when the year started (and this blog started), I posted that Where We Are Now article (which I’ve been whittling down ever since), and it had between 525-530 films on it. So, really, this post has all sorts of symmetry to it, because —

As it stands, I currently have exactly 230 films left to go on my Quest.

In six months I’ve gotten through (almost, but do you really think I’m gonna double-check this shit? (Note: Ahhhh)) exactly 300 Oscar Quest films (not counting all the non-Oscar films I’ve watched, like that piece of shit Sucker Punch). That means I’m averaging 50 Oscar films a month. I know, right? I’m a fucking animal. Now, of those 230 films:

I am in possession of 157 of them. 8 of them are on Netflix Instant. The rest — 65 of them — are unavailable.

Note: The way I describe unavailable is: those that are not readily available from Netflix, Youtube (in the most extreme cases. Currently there are 4 unavailables on Youtube) or via some, other, means. Some of them can be purchased on DVD via studio archives or on Amazon (by my count there are 15 available this way), but I’m trying not to have to resort to purchasing them (plus those Warner Archive films go for $20 a pop). At least, I’m trying not to resort to that now, since I have a fair amount of films to still watch before I get to the point where only “unavailables” are left. I’m also kind of hoping TCM plays them all before that happens.

To recap, it’s 230 films left, I am in possession of 157 of them, 8 are on Netflix Instant, and 65 are, by the definition I gave, unavailable. Also, if you notice, I found one of the remaining Best Picture nominees, leaving me with only five left before I’ve seen them all. Ever. To the list!

(Note: Italics mean 2 nominationsunderlined means 3 nominations. Bold means it won.)


1934 – The Barretts of Wimpole Street

The White Parade

1932-1933 – Smilin’ Through

1930-1931 – East Lynne

1928-1929 – The Hollywood Revue of 1929


1994 – Nobody’s Fool (Paul Newman)

1990 – Cyrano de Bergerac (Gerard Depardieu)

1988 – Pelle the Conqueror (Max von Sydow)

1987 – Dark Eyes (Marcello Mastroianni)

1986 – ‘Round Midnight (Dexter Gordon)

1984 – Under the Volcano (Albert Finney)

1983 – Reuben, Reuben (Tom Conti)

1980 – The Great Santini (Robert Duvall)

Tribute (Jack Lemmon)

1979 – …And Justice For All (Al Pacino)

1978 – The Boys From Brazil (Laurence Olivier)

1977 – A Special Day (Marcello Mastroianni)

Saturday Night Fever (John Travolta)

1975 – The Man in the Glass Booth (Maximilian Schell)

Give ‘em Hell, Harry! (James Whitmore)

1972 – The Ruling Class (Peter O’Toole)

1971 – Kotch (Matthau)

1970 – I Never Sang For My Father (Melvin Douglas)

The Great White Hope (James Earl Jones)

1969 – Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Peter O’Toole)

1968 – The Fixer (Alan Bates)

1961 – The Mark (Stuart Whitman)

1960 – The Entertainer (Laurence Olivier)

1957 – A Hatful of Rain (Anthony Franciosa)

Wild is the Wind (Anthony Quinn)

1956 – Richard III (Laurence Olivier)

1952 – The Lavender Hill Mob (Alec Guinness)

1951 – Bright Victory (Arthur Kennedy)

1950 – The Magnificent Yankee (Louis Calhern)

1948 – The Search (Montgomery Clift)

When My Baby Smiles at Me (Dan Dailey)

Sitting Pretty (Clifton Webb)

1947 – Body and Soul (John Garfield)

1946 – The Jolson Story (Larry Parks)

1945 – The Keys of the Kingdom (Gregory Peck)

1944 – None But the Lonely Heart (Cary Grant)

1937 – Conquest (Charles Boyer)

1935 – Black Fury (Paul Muni)

1932-1933 – Berkeley Square (Leslie Howard)

1929-30 – The Green Goddess (George Arliss)

The Big Pond (Maurice Chevalier)

Condemned (Ronald Colman)

1928-29 – Thunderbolt (George Bancroft)

The Valiant (Paul Muni)

1927-28 – The Noose & The Patent Leather Kid (Richard Barthelmess)


1998 – One True Thing (Meryl Streep)

Central do Brazil (Fernanda Montenegro)

1997 – The Wings of the Dove (Helena Bonham Carter)

Mrs. Brown (Judi Dench)

1996 – Breaking the Waves (Emily Watson)

1995 – The Bridges of Madison County (Meryl Streep)

1994 – Tom & Viv (Miranda Richardson)

Little Women (Winona Ryder)

1993 – Shadowlands (Debra Winger)

1992 – Indochine (Catherine Deneuve)

Passion Fish (Mary McDonnell)

1991  Rambling Rose (Laura Dern)

For the Boys (Bette Midler)

1990 – Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts)

1989 – Camille Claudel (Isabella Adjani)

Shirley Valentine (Pauline Collins)

Music Box (Jessica Lange)

1987 – Anna (Sally Kirkland)

1986 – The Morning After (Jane Fonda)

1985 – Sweet Dreams (Jessica Lange)

1984 – Country (Jessica Lange)

The Bostonians (Vanessa Redgrave)

The River (Sissy Spacek)

1983 – Testament (Jane Alexander)

1981 – Only When I Laugh (Marsha Mason)

1980 – Resurrection (Ellen Burstyn)

Gloria (Gena Rowlands)

1979 – Chapter Two (Marsha Mason)

The Rose (Bette Midler)

1978 – Autumn Sonata (Ingrid Bergman)

1976 – Cousin, cousine (Marie-Christina Barrault)

Face to Face (Liv Ullmann)

1975 – The Story of Adele H. (Isabelle Adjani)

Hedda (Glenda Jackson)

Hester Street (Carol Kane)

1972 – Lady Sings the Blues (Diana Ross)

Travels With My Aunt (Maggie Smith)

1971 – Mary, Queen of Scots (Vanessa Redgrave)

1970 – Diary of a Mad Housewife (Carrie Snodgress)

1968 – Isadora (Vanessa Redgrave)

1967 – The Whisperers (Edith Evans)

1966 – Morgan! (Vanessa Redgrave)

1964 – Marriage, Italian Style (Sophia Loren)

1960 – Never on Sunday (Melina Mercouri)

1957 – Wild is the Wind (Anna Magnani)

1955 – Interrupted Melody (Eleanor Parker)

1952 – The Star (Bette Davis)

With a Song in My Heart (Susan Hayward)

1951 – The Blue Veil (Jane Wyman)

1949 – Edward, My Son (Deborah Kerr)

1947 – Possessed (Joan Crawford)

Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (Susan Hayward)

1945 – The Valley of Decision (Greer Garson)

Love Letters (Jennifer Jones)

1938 – White Banners (Fay Bainter)

Three Comrades (Margaret Sullivan)

1937 – Camille (Greta Garbo)

1936 – Valiant is the Word for Carrie (Gladys George)

1935 – Escape Me Never (Elisabeth Bergner)

Private Worlds (Claudette Colbert)

The Dark Angel (Merle Oberon)

1934 – The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Norma Shearer)

Of Human Bondage (Bette Davis)

1931-32 – Emma (Marie Dressler)

1929-30 – The Devil’s Holiday (Nancy Carroll)

Sarah and Son (Ruth Chatterton)

Anna Christie (Greta Garbo)

Their Own Desire (Norma Shearer)

The Trespasser (Gloria Swanson)

1928-29 – Madame X (Ruth Chatterton)

The Barker (Betty Compson)

The Letter (Jeanne Eagels)


1998 – A Civil Action (Robert Duvall)

1995 – Rob Roy (Tim Roth)

1993 – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Leonardo DiCaprio)

1990 – Longtime Companion (Bruce Davison)

1988 – Little Dorrit (Alec Guinness)

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (Martin Landau)

Married to the Mob (Dean Stockwell)

1987 – Street Smart (Morgan Freeman)

1985 – Cocoon (Don Ameche)

1983 – To Be or Not to Be (Charles Durning)

1982 – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Charles Durning)

1981 – Only When I Laugh (James Coco)

Ragtime (Howard Rollins)

1980 – The Great Santini (Michael O’Keefe)

1979 – The Rose (Frederic Forest)

1978 – Comes a Horseman (Richard Farnsworth)

1971 – Sometimes a Great Notion (Richard Jaeckel)

1970 – I Never Sang For My Father (Gene Hackman)

1969 – The Reivers (Rupert Crosse)

1968 – Star! (Daniel Massey)

1965 – The Flight of the Phoenix (Ian Bannen)

1963 – Twilight of Honor (Nick Adams)

1962 – Billy Budd (Terence Stamp)

1961 – Pocketful of Miracles (Peter Falk)

1960 – Exodus (Sal Mineo)

1959 – The Young Philadelphians (Robert Vaughn)

1958 – The Brothers Karamazov (Lee J. Cobb)

Teacher’s Pet (Gig Young)

1957 – A Farewell to Arms (Vittorio De Sica)

1956 – Bus Stop (Don Murray)

The Bold and the Brave (Mickey Rooney)

1955 – Trial (Arthur Kennedy)

1952 – My Cousin Rachel (Richard Burton)

The Big Sky (Arthur Hunnicutt)

1951 – Come Fill the Cup (Gig Young)

1950 – Mister 880 (Edmund Gwenn)

1948 – The Luck of the Irish (Cecil Kellaway)

1947 – Ride the Pink Horse (Thomas Gomez)

1946 – The Green Years (Charles Coburn)

The Jolson Story (William Demarest)

1945 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (James Dunn)

The Corn is Green (John Dall)

The Story of G.I. Joe (Robert Mitchum)

A Medal for Benny (J. Carrol Naish)

1943 – Sahara (J. Carrol Naish)

1942 – Tortilla Flat (Frank Morgan)

1941 – The Devil and Miss Jones (Charles Coburn)

1940 – They Knew What they Wanted (William Gargan)

1939 – Juarez (Brian Aherne)

Beau Geste (Brian Donlevy)

1938 – Kentucky (Walter Brennan)

If I Were King (Basil Rathbone)

1937 – The Hurricane (Thomas Mitchell)

1936 – The General Died at Dawn (Akim Taimiroff)


1998 – Little Voice (Brenda Blethyn)

1996 – The Mirror Has Two Faces (Lauren Bacall)

The Portrait of a Lady (Barbara Hershey)

1994 – Tom & Viv (Rosemary Harris)

1993 – The Firm (Holly Hunter)

1992 – Enchanted April (Joan Plowright)

1991 – Rambling Rose (Diane Ladd)

1987 – Gaby: A True Story (Norma Aleandro)

The Whales of August (Ann Sothern)

1984 – The Pope of Greenwich Village (Geraldine Page)

1981 – Only When I Laugh (Joan Hackett)

Ragtime (Elizabeth McGovern)

1980 – Resurrection (Eva La Gallienne)

Inside Moves (Diana Scarwid)

1975 – Farewell, My Lovely (Sylvia Miles)

Jacqueline Susann’s Once is Not Enough (Brenda Vaccaro)

1972 – Pete ‘n’ Tillie (Geraldine Page)

1971 – Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me (Barbara Harris)

1967 – Barefoot in the Park (Mildred Natwick)

1966 – Hawaii (Jocelyne LaGarde)

1964 – The Chalk Garden (Edith Evans)

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Agnes Moorehead)

1962 – The Manchurian Candidate (Angela Lansbury)

1960 – The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Shirley Knight)

1958 – Lonelyhearts (Maureen Stapleton)

1957 – The Bachelor Party (Carolyn Jones)

1955 – Pete Kelly’s Blues (Peggy Lee)

1953 – Hondo (Geraldine Page)

1952 – With a Song in My Heart (Thelma Ritter)

1951 – The Blue Veil (Joan Blondell)

1946 – The Spiral Staircase (Ethel Barrymore)

Saratoga Trunk (Flora Robson)

Anna and the King of Siam (Gale Sondergaard)

1945 – The Picture of Dorian Gray (Angela Lansbury)

The Corn is Green (Joan Lorring)

1944 – None But the Lonely Heart (Ethel Barrymore)

Dragon Seed (Aline MacMahon)

1943 – So Proudly We Hail! (Paulette Goddard)

1940 – Primrose Path (Marjorie Rambeau)

1939 – Drums Along the Mohawk (Edna May Oliver)

1938 – Of Human Hearts (Beulah Bondi)

Merrily We Live (Billie Burke)

The Great Waltz (Miliza Korjus)

1936 – The Gorgeous Hussy (Beulah Bondi)

These Three (Bonita Granville)


1994 – Three Colours: Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

1985 – Ran (Akira Kurosawa)

1983 – Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman)

1979 – La Cage Aux Folles (Edouard Molina)

1976 – Face to Face (Ingmar Bergman)

1975 – Amarcord (Federico Fellini)

1970 – Satyricon (Federico Fellini)

1969 – Alice’s Restaurant (Arthur Penn)

1968 – The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo)

1966 – Blowup (Michelangelo Antonioni)

1965 – Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara)

1961 – La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini)

1960 – Never on Sunday (Jules Dassin)

1958 – The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Mark Robson)

1956 – War and Peace (King Vidor)

1952 – 5 Fingers (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

1949 – The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed)

1948 – The Search Fred Zinnemann)

1946 – The Killers (Robert Siodmak)

1945 – The Southerner (Jean Renoir)

1929-30 – Anna Christie & Romance (Clarence Brown)

1928-29 – Madame X (Lionel Barrymore)

Drag (Frank Lloyd)

1927-28 (Comedy) – Two Arabian Nights (Lewis Milestone)

Speedy (Ted Wilde)

1927-28 (Dramatic) – Sorrell and Son (Herbert Brenon)

The Crowd (King Vidor)


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