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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Picture (1990-2011)

This seemed like an obvious next step after I did the Oscar Quest. I try not to deal in ‘what-ifs,’ so pulling that bullshit of simply saying, “Oh, this is what I would have nominated,” felt like a dick move to me. Because people do that all the time, and they’re always too subjective to take seriously. It’s like, “I would totally have voted for Blade Runner over Missing,” meanwhile they haven’t seen Missing and there’s no fucking way in any world that Blade Runner would have been nominated for Best Picture. And I refused to get involved with that without being able to tell people — “Look, don’t be stupid.”

But I found a way around that. I decided, that if I was going to say, “Here’s what I would have voted for if I had a ballot,” I would also point out that some of the shit I’d vote for would never happen.  And that gave me the idea for the “Compromise List.” The Compromise List is basically — I have films I think shouldn’t have been nominated. I have films I’d nominate that other people (more importantly, the Academy) don’t think should be nominated. So, the idea of the Compromise List is — we swap out shit I don’t like with shit we all can get behind (since most of it has been established as stuff that’s great).

I, personally, found myself unable to be totally subjective here. Because I, unlike most people, have respect for the Academy as an institution, and the history they have. Sure, I think they make asinine decisions all the time, but I refuse to pull that bullshit of “Star Trek on Best Picture list!” No. I don’t care if it was a better movie than The Blind Side — I won’t do it. And to even think it would have happened is to belittle what the Oscars are. I know a good movie is a good movie, but we have 85 years of precedent before us. You can’t tell me certain movies should be nominated. Hence the compromise list.

But also — I’ve seen all the movies they nominate. So as much as I want to nominate certain movies because I like them better than some other movies, I can’t in good conscience vote for them because I know they’re not “Oscar” movies. So while I will reach for some movies — on the whole, most of the shit I vote for will fit with the quotes around “Oscar.” And if not, it will be balanced out by the Compromise List, which will be balanced and objective. That’s the one thing I want to impart unto anyone thinking of following the Oscars — learn to be objective. I don’t care if you love Aliens –it’s ridiculous to think that would have been nominated for Best Picture. Put it on your list all you want, but at least understand you can’t actually make the claim that it should have been nominated. “I wish it would have…” yes; “Should have…” no. So just because a film is on my personal top ten list for a year doesn’t mean I’ll vote for it to be nominated.

Specifications — if a category has five nominees, I’m only voting for five nominees. Don’t pull that, “Well, they do ten nominees now, so I’ll vote for ten.” Pretend like you had a ballot that year. They’re nominating five, you’re voting for five. Also, it’s ONLY BASED ON WHAT I’VE SEEN. Fortunately, I’ve seen most of the stuff that would warrant inclusion on this list, so that won’t be a factor. But for other people doing this — don’t take off something you haven’t seen for something you have just because it seems like a film you can take off. (Also, I don’t give a fuck about what you think. That’s not the point of this. Don’t tell me what you’d have done for 1983. I don’t care. Come back to me with all the years. Then I’ll listen.) We’ll deal with the performances when we get to the acting categories. These will be easy, since it’s just the films.

One final thing — YOU CANNOT take off a Best Picture winner. Can’t do it. You can not vote for it on your list, but on your compromise list, the Best Picture winner MUST BE THERE. If it won, you have to include it. No exceptions.

Let’s get to it:

BEST PICTURE

2011

Actual Nominees:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

My Vote: The Artist

I’ll tell you right now — I don’t nominate Extremely Loud (nobody does), and I don’t nominate The Help. The latter is simply because I have films I liked much, much more. So those two are off for me right off the bat. The films I automatically nominate are Drive, Tinker Tailor and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So that means one other film has to come off for me. The obvious ones are Descendants and Midnight in Paris. And honestly — I take off Midnight in Paris. Nothing against it, it’s a fabulous film, but I like other shit more. I won’t speculate as to what other people would nominate, since I don’t care, and we’ll take care of most of that when we get to the Compromise List. Either way — here’s my ballot:

My Nominees:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Drive
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

My Vote: The Artist

Okay, now — for the Compromise List. Pretty much every film has to stay here. The Artist, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Tree of Life and Descendants are pretty much locks no matter what. That leaves four potential changes. Well, three, since there’s no way Extremely Loud makes it on anybody’s list. But we’ll get to that in a second. The three potential changes are with Moneyball, War Horse and The Help. Most people would probably think to take off War Horse. I say — oh, I’ve been waiting my whole life for this one, haven’t I? — neigh. It got six nominations, as did Moneyball. So clearly it was an Academy favorite and was most likely gonna be there. So you can’t just take it off for personal reasons. You could, but there’s not really anything else you could nominate instead that would make objective sense. Really the only film you could make a case for not being there is The Help, since that only got Picture and three acting awards. That could have just been nominated for the acting awards.

So really the only two spots we could change are The Help and Extremely Loud. Now, it’s clear the Academy didn’t love Drive or Tinker Tailor enough, so I won’t presume those. And anyone saying Harry Potter here is out of their fucking minds. And since The Help did seem to be a popular film and grossed all that money, I say we leave it. Now the question is what to take off for Extremely Loudand the answer is easy — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Reason? Five nominations, and it won one! This is clearly the #10 film that didn’t get enough #1 votes to fit in with their sliding scale system. If they had a set ten, this would have been #10. There was no other possibility that anything else makes #10. So that’s clearly your alternative to Extremely Loud. And honestly, even though we all love Drive, I think we can all live with this list. They mostly got it right last year, and swapping out one bullshit film for a better one really just makes this an all-around terrific list, where our only gripes were we wish it could be perfect instead of just really good. I really think we can all be happy with this one:

Compromise List:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

My Vote: The Artist

(By the way, I’m doing the vote things just to give you (and myself) an idea of how the changed categories affects what I’m gonna vote for. I feel like there will be a bunch of things where — not even my personal list, either — a Compromise List will actually lead to me changing what I’d have voted for. Obviously this would be based on a final ballot, were this to be the one going into the ceremony. Just in case you were confused.)

2010

Actual Nominees:

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

My Vote: The Social Network

Okay, I’ll tell you right off the top — I hated Kids Are All Right. That’s off for me immediately. And I loved Blue Valentine, so that’s it’s replacement. The other weak links for me on this list are 127 Hours and Winter’s Bone. Liked both of those films, but didn’t love them. Those are the two I’d be changing. I love the rest of the list and agree completely, so aside from the one change, there are two films I’d consider swapping.

Thing is — what do I swap them for? The other films I loved a lot that fit as nominees (since I’m enough of a realist to know that Scott Pilgrim is a wasted vote. It was my favorite film of the year, but I know it wouldn’t happen. And maybe if I did have a ballot, I’d have the balls to vote for it, but now — no) are The TownAnimal Kingdom and — Shutter Island, no. And Enter the Void was too abstract — Ghost WriterGhost Writer was a terrific film.

Now — Animal Kingdom wasn’t perfect, and The Town feels a lot to me like it’s more of a fun thriller more than a Best Picture nominee. That film really hasn’t held up for me over time (neither has Shutter Island, which is why it didn’t even make the first round of cuts). So what I think is gonna happen is, I’m gonna vote for Ghost Writer and take off either 127 Hours or Winter’s Bone. Which, I’d say — while I liked 127 Hours more — Winter’s Bone is an indie. And I like that a true indie got on. So I’m gonna leave that. Since why the fuck not? Actually, you know what? Fuck it. I’m taking #10 for me. It’s Scott Pilgrim. We’ll put Winter’s Bone back on the Compromise list.

My Nominees:

  • Black Swan
  • Blue Valentine
  • The Fighter
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
  • Toy Story 3

My Vote: The Social Network

Well this Compromise List is easy as shit. Almost all of them stay on. The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, Toy Story 3 and Inception all stay on. I’d love it if someone swapped out Inception, but even I didn’t do that, since there’s nothing to swap it out for. So really the only changes we can make with this list are with The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours and Winter’s Bone. And I already feel like Winter’s Bone ought to stay. I like that we show the indies some love. And honestly, since it got 4 nominations, I’m willing to leave 127 Hours too. Though I still say we ought to put Ghost Writer or The Town on instead of Kids Are All Right. I know they liked it, but come on — there’s nothing that happens in that movie.

So here’s what we’ll do. I’ll reserve one spot for either Ghost Writer or The Town, and we’ll take off either Kids Are All Right or 127 Hours for it. Sound good? But my Compromise List is only gonna have the one change of Kids for Ghost Writer. If anyone calls me out on it, it’s because they’re an idiot and didn’t read this.

Compromise List:

  • Black Swan
  • Blue Valentine
  • The Fighter
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit
  • Toy Story 3
  • Winter’s Bone

My Vote: The Social Network

2009

Actual Nominees:

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

My Vote: Inglourious Basterds

Tough call with this one. 2009 was a good year but light on good Oscar nominees. So before we bother with all that, let me see what I’d take off without thinking about it — Blind Side, District 9. Those are off. I’ll replace those. The other two I don’t really like are Precious and A Serious Man. I don’t mind them being there, but on my ballot — I wasn’t as big as fan of those as everyone else was. More so Precious.

Now, my problem with 2009 is that a lot of the films I loved were never going to make an Oscar list. Black DynamiteWatchmen — never going to happen. Nor would I really want to vote for them, since I know what the score is. But I have two films I loved that I could make a case for, and those are Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are. So those are two replacements. Then, instead of Precious and A Serious Man — I take two nominees for myself and vote for two films I liked more. One of them is Bad Lieutenant — I think that film is fucking incredible. (Don’t worry, it won’t make it past my list.) The other I’m having trouble with. Because, in 2009, that film I’d vote for would be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since I loved that shit. I still do. Only now I like the American version better. However — there is a film out there that I can vote for that’s just as good — a couple, actually.

First, let me say — I already know people are gonna jump on Star Trek for this year. They’ll also jump on Moon. To each his own. Just don’t put those fucking things on a Compromise List. (Or (500) Days of Summer. I know you assholes. I know what you’re thinking. The Hangover too.)

Now, while I toyed with the notion of Crazy Heart (I decided I liked An Education better), the film that felt like it could easily fit within the Best Picture nominees and also not bump in my mind as much as having two Dragon Tattoos nominated in consecutive years — The Messenger. I really liked that film, and hey, it’s better than The Blind Side, right? So we’ll put that on. Why the fuck not?

My Nominees:

  • Avatar
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • An Education
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • The Messenger
  • Up
  • Up in the Air
  • Where the Wild Things Are

My Vote: Inglourious Basterds

The Compromise List here is interesting. First, let’s make it easier on ourselves: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Basterds and Up in the Air stay. So does Up. Other than that, you have 4 films to use for swapping purposes. Or rather, we do. Since this is about mutual compromise. An Education probably makes it on no matter what, so I say leave it. A Serious Man is the Coen brothers, and they class up any list, and I’d rather have a (somewhat) weaker effort by them than most anything else. So that’s two. The only real options for switching, as far as I’m concerned, are with Blind Side and District 9. And I already know most people’s opinions about the latter. The problem there is — I can’t figure out which one is the more improbable nominee. Based on the number of nominations, it’s Blind Side. But honestly, that’s a $200 million movie. That, to me, is like The HelpDistrict 9 got four nominations, granted, but that, to me, gets left off in any other year. But my problem here is that I can’t swap out two things, since there really aren’t two films that can be swapped out.

So I’ll make you fuckers a deal — I’ll give you District 9, and we’ll swap out Blind Side for Crazy Heart. Only you’ll have to allow me one year in the future where I can swing a decision my way and you won’t say anything about it. (Since, come on, now — District 9 shouldn’t be anywhere near Best Picture. I’d actually prefer Nine instead.) It’ll be like The Godfather. I’ll do this for you now, but one of these days — and that day may never come — I’ll call upon you to do me a service. Just keep that in mind. And don’t say I never gave you anything.

Compromise List:

  • Avatar
  • An Education
  • Crazy Heart
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

My Vote: Inglourious Basterds

2008

Actual Nominees:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

My Vote: Slumdog Millionaire

Sure, stick me with ten nominees in 2009, but only give me five here. Thanks a lot, Academy.

Well, the first part is easy — The Reader is fucking off. And so is Frost/Nixon. I like that film a lot, but space is tough here. I might even have to not vote for Milk on my personal ballot.

The two that stay for me are Slumdog and Benjamin Button. Problem is — non “Oscar” films aside (mainly In Bruges and Let the Right One In — though I’d fucking love to be able to vote for Let the Right One In) — I have three films to swap out. And I love Milk. So I have a tough decision.

First off — Dark Knight is on. That’s not even a fucking competition. And so is Wall-E. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s better than almost every other film that year. Frost/Nixon can blow me. Wall-E goes on. Now — Milk — do I leave that on… or do I put on The Wrestler? See what I mean?

This is just like the Best Actor race, too.

And I’m gonna surprise you — I went one way on Best Actor, but I’m actually gonna go with Milk here. Since that film means so much more. And that may just be four years talking, since I feel like I’d almost have definitely put The Wrestler on in 2008, but I feel it’s a more mature choice.

My Nominees:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Milk
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Wall-E

My Vote: Wall-E

Now — the Compromise List is pretty easy. Just put on Dark Knight and everyone’s happy. Sure, we’d love to see Wall-E, but on a list of five it doesn’t happen. So make the one easy change and leave it at that.

(P.S. If they had ten nominees this year — and I’ll only do it for this year, since this is the one that led to the change — your Best Picture list would likely have looked like this: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, Wall-E, The Wrestler. Pretty fucking good, right? Maybe instead of Gran TorinoFrozen River gets on. But still, no way those nine aren’t the nine.)

Compromise List:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • Slumdog Millionaire

My Vote: Slumdog Millionaire

2007

Actual Nominees:

  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

My Vote: There Will Be Blood

This list is almost perfect as it is. Honestly — and I’m probably already sort of compromising a bit, but whatever — just give me one personal choice and I’m good. Leave the rest of the list the same.

My Nominees:

  • Atonement
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

My Vote: Must I? … I guess There Will Be Blood. But man, that’s a tough call.

Seriously, I’m totally cool with the list as it is. What else does anyone put on here? Zodiac? That never happens. American Gangster? Really? Over everything else? Diving Bell and the Butterfly? That doesn’t happen over these other ones either. You know they’d never vote for Bourne, or any of the other ones, like Gone Baby Gone, La Vie en Rose or Away from Her, the ones that got acting nominations.  I’ll give you Into the Wild for a second, but honestly — no. They don’t do it. Not over Juno. Maybe it almost makes it, but not in a five picture category. It just doesn’t. Not this one.

The category is a perfect entity as it is, no matter what you all think about Juno. Unless you want to make my change, in which case, PLEASE.

Compromise List:

  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood

My Vote: There Will Be Blood

2006

Actual Nominees:

  • Babel
  • The Departed
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Queen

My Vote: The Departed

Oh, I hate 2006. One of the worst Oscar years in recent memory. This one’s not so bad for a Compromise List. But for my list — yeesh. First off, The Queen comes off. I never liked that film and thought it didn’t belong. So that’s one spot for sure. The others are based on what I have to go on.

The films I loved from ’06 that could go on, that would fit — Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth. Casino Royale has no shot. Neither does The Prestige. Neither does Once. As much as I love all three of them. I also love The Fountain, but I don’t know if — actually, fuck it. It’s my list.

My Nominees:

  • Children of Men
  • The Departed
  • The Fountain
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Pan’s Labyrinth

My Vote: The Departed

The Compromise List is basically going to consist of the actual nominees, with one change. Pan’s Labyrinth had no shot at a Best Picture nomination (despite what people think). And Children of Men has held up better than almost all the other nominees this year. So that’s the one I feel can be swapped in for anything.

Now — I still say The Queen had no business being on that list. Most people would probably say Little Miss Sunshine didn’t, and I kind of agree. Only — the year was so bad, there’s not really anything to swap it out for. So —

Compromise List:

  • Babel
  • Children of Men
  • The Departed
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine

My Vote: The Departed

2005

Actual Nominees:

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Munich

My Vote: Good Night, and Good Luck

I don’t like 2005, because there’s absolutely no clear cut winner on that list (despite what people think). The nominees feel so compromised. Capote — really? That’s only there because it made sense for it to be there. So give me A History of Violence instead there. 2005 is light on what could be considered “Oscar” movies. I didn’t love The Constant Gardener, and I despised The Squid and the Whale. I love Walk the Line, but it would have been terribly weak (especially coming off Ray the year before). The New World felt too flawed as a film, and really only works in a ten picture field. Match Point — no. I loved it, but it wouldn’t have helped this list (unless Crash is coming off for it). The only other film that makes sense to me (that I liked), was Syriana — and I don’t know if that film holds up as a good choice.

The “My Nominees” part is going to be tough. So I’ll have to go by what I’d have done in 2005, which —

My Nominees:

  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • A History of Violence
  • Munich
  • The New World
  • Walk the Line

My Vote: Good Night, and Good Luck

The Compromise List — just swap out Capote for History of Violence and I’m happy. Since we have to leave at least three of them, and I don’t see too many other viable options.

Compromise List:

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • A History of Violence
  • Munich

My Vote: Good Night, and Good Luck

2004

Actual Nominees:

  • The Aviator
  • Finding Neverland
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Ray
  • Sideways

My Vote: The Aviator

My list is easy, since I hate Sideways and I think Finding Neverland is horribly weak. I’m also not the biggest fan of Ray as a Best Picture nominee. For me, I immediately put on Kill Bill Vol. 2 on my list, even though that shit would never happen, and I also put on Eternal Sunshine. I’m torn about what to do with the Ray spot. I like the film, but, I wouldn’t vote for it. I liked other films more. But what? I don’t really have anything I loved enough.

So fuck it, we’ll leave Ray. It’s all about the Compromise List, anyway.

My Nominees:

  • The Aviator
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Kill Bill: Vol. 2
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Ray

My Vote: The Aviator

Compromise List — I hate this part. I have to leave Sideways. Which pretty much means —

Compromise List:

  • The Aviator
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Ray
  • Sideways

My Vote: The Aviator

We have to be happy with that. You can’t honestly tell me Finding Neverland has held up better than Eternal Sunshine.

2003

Actual Nominees:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Mystic River
  • Seabiscuit

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Personally, I take off Mystic River and put on In America. Otherwise, I like the list. People would swap out Seabiscuit, but I like the movie, so I leave it. I probably should put on Kill Bill Vol. 1, so I guess I will, not that it’ll go anywhere past my list.

My Nominees:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • In America
  • Kill BIll Vol. 1
  • Lost in Translation
  • Seabiscuit

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Compromise List is easy. Pretty much everything stays on. In fact — why bother changing anything? There’s really nothing that holds up any better.

Compromise List:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Mystic River
  • Seabiscuit

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

2002

Actual Nominees:

  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Pianist

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

This one’s all about the Compromise List, so let me just list my nominees:

My Nominees:

  • About Schmidt
  • Adaptation
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • 25th Hour

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Now, for the Compromise List — honestly, we have to leave it. There’s really no way they nominate anything else, and what I take of before anything is The Hours, so — I say we leave it. What do you honestly take off here? It’s shitty for voting, but not in terms of nominees (unless we’re counting my dislike of The Hours).

Compromise List:

  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Pianist

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2001

Actual Nominees:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Gosford Park
  • In the Bedroom
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge!

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

I hate this list. Then again, I don’t much care for 2001 as an Oscar year. So, it happens. My personal list is going to be interesting

My Nominees:

  • Amélie
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Spirited Away

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

I could’t resist Potter. There’s probably no way I do that in 2001, but fuck it, it’s fun. It’s all about the Compromise List anyway.

Which, is difficult for me. Since I fucking hate Gosford ParkRings and Beautiful Mind stay. I think we’d all be happy with Mulholland Drive going on. And honestly the film we can take off should be Moulin Rouge, but I’m calling in my favor. Take off Gosford Park, do what you normally do and give Altman the Director nomination and not the Picture nomination, and I’m happy with the category. I don’t love In the Bedroom as a Best Picture nominee, but it’s not like they were gonna put on a foreign or animated film anyway, so I can live with it.

Compromise List:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • In the Bedroom
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge!
  • Mulholland Drive

My Vote: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

2000

Actual Nominees:

  • Chocolat
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Gladiator
  • Traffic

My Vote: Gladiator

Well, I take off Chocolat no matter what. I also don’t love Erin Brockovich, but that’s a matter we take up later. For my nominees —

My Nominees:

  • Almost Famous
  • Cast Away
  • Gladiator
  • O Brother Where Art Thou?
  • Traffic

My Vote: Almost Famous

I don’t know. I didn’t want to get too crazy there. All I know is — Memento was eligible in ’01, so you can’t vote for it here (and either way, it has no shot at either list). I don’t love Requiem for a Dream, so that’s not happening. I say Almost Famous deserves Chocolat‘s spot. Otherwise, I can live with Brockovich if you can. I know Cast Away‘s not exactly a film we all think should be nominated. But for me — give me my list, and swap out O Brother for Crouching Tiger and you got yourself a great set. But I can live with this one.

Compromise List:

  • Almost Famous
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Gladiator
  • Traffic

My Vote: Almost Famous

(Seriously, though. I think we should put on Cast Away instead of Brockovich.)

1999

Actual Nominees:

  • American Beauty
  • The Cider House Rules
  • The Green Mile
  • The Insider
  • The Sixth Sense

My Vote: American Beauty

This is an easy one.

My Nominees:

  • American Beauty
  • Being John Malkovich
  • The Insider
  • The Matrix
  • Three Kings

My Vote: The Matrix

Okay — Compromise List. The Cider House Rules is a bullshit nomination. The Matrix is so clearly the choice there. If they nominate The Fugitive, they nominate The Matrix. Fuck that, it fits. Obviously American Beauty and The Insider stay. The Green Mile is — I think it has to stay, right? Personally, The Sixth Sense — I take it off, but — give me The Matrix and I say we’re good.

Compromise List:

  • American Beauty
  • The Green Mile
  • The Insider
  • The Matrix
  • The Sixth Sense

My Vote: The Matrix

1998

Actual Nominees:

  • Elizabeth
  • Life Is Beautiful
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • The Thin Red Line

My Vote: Saving Private Ryan

This is tough. The 90s are a time where a lot of the films I’d nominate are not ones that would be nominated. So there’s gonna be some compromise in my nominees list.

My Nominees:

  • Meet Joe Black
  • Pleasantville
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • The Thin Red Line

My Vote: Saving Private Ryan

I had no idea what to do with this for my nominees. All the films I like are not even remotely “Oscar” films.

The Compromise List is where it’s at. And honestly — the only movie worth changing on here is Elizabeth. That movie doesn’t hold up at all. But what do we swap it out for? The Truman Show? I think that movie’s overrated as a film (but the concept’s amazing). Gods and Monsters? Good, but is it a film that holds up? You can’t say Lebowski, you can’t say Rushmore. Nothing really works.

So, honestly — fuck it. Give me Gods and Monsters and I’m happier.

Compromise List:

  • Gods and Monsters
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Thin Red Line

My Vote: Saving Private Ryan

1997

Actual Nominees:

  • As Good as It Gets
  • The Full Monty
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic

My Vote: L.A. Confidential

I like this list. I’d swap off Full Monty for something, but that’s really about it. I love Jackie Brown, but I don’t think that makes it anywhere. I love Wag the Dog, but that doesn’t hold up. So, the only choice here is the one that makes the Compromise List look amazing — Boogie Nights.

My Nominees:

  • As Good as It Gets
  • Boogie Nights
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic

My Vote: L.A. Confidential

Tell me this doesn’t look better with Boogie Nights instead of The Full Monty?

Compromise List:

  • As Good as It Gets
  • Boogie Nights
  • Good Will Hunting
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Titanic

My Vote: L.A. Confidential

1996

Actual Nominees:

  • The English Patient
  • Fargo
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Secrets & Lies
  • Shine

My Vote: Fargo

Well my list is going to be considerably different.

My Nominees:

  • Breaking the Waves
  • Fargo
  • Jerry Maguire
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt

My Vote: Fargo

I don’t have a number five…so… let’s just move to the Compromise List.

Compromise List:

  • Breaking the Waves
  • The English Patient
  • Fargo
  • Jerry Maguire
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt

My Vote: Fargo

Unless you really think either Secrets & Lies or Shine is really that great a film to go on. In which case, swap one of the two back. Probably Breaking the Waves doesn’t make it, so probably that’s the one to go off. (Also, if you say Trainspotting, you’re dead to me.)

1995

Actual Nominees:

  • Apollo 13
  • Babe
  • Braveheart
  • Il Postino
  • Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Apollo 13

Kind of a fan of this category. But still, three swaps for me.

My Nominees:

  • Apollo 13
  • Braveheart
  • Casino
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • The Usual Suspects

My Vote: Apollo 13

I thought about Toy Story, but no. Se7en, get the fuck out of here.Mr. Holland’s Opus doesn’t hold up so well. Nixon just isn’t good enough to hang with the list. Fuck you if you say Twelve Monkeys.

As for the Compromise List — Apollo 13 and Braveheart stay. I say we leave Babe, since why not? Il Postino is a joke. Nobody remembers that movie. And Sense and Sensibility I think is a boring, terrible choice. But — it’s a compromise. So — give me Leaving Las Vegas, which got a Best Director nomination over Ron Howard, over Il Postino, and I’m good.

Compromise List:

  • Apollo 13
  • Babe
  • Braveheart
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Apollo 13

1994

Actual Nominees:

  • Forrest Gump
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Quiz Show
  • The Shawshank Redemption

My Vote: Pulp Fiction

This category is almost perfect, and Four Weddings and a Funeral is the only outlier. And there’s only one choice for it.

My Nominees:

  • Forrest Gump
  • The Lion King
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Quiz Show
  • The Shawshank Redemption

My Vote: Pulp Fiction

This is also the perfect Compromise List.

Compromise List:

  • Forrest Gump
  • The Lion King
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Quiz Show
  • The Shawshank Redemption

My Vote: Pulp Fiction

1993

Actual Nominees:

  • The Fugitive
  • In the Name of the Father
  • The Piano
  • The Remains of the Day
  • Schindler’s List

My Vote: Schindler’s List

This list is pretty good. I’m not a fan of The Piano, so I swap that out. Otherwise I’m cool with everything.  Not sure what to put on instead. I love Jurassic Park, but does that happen? The only other “Oscar” movies around are — Age of Innocence, Philadelphia — and maybe Searching for Bobby Fischer. And maybe Gilbert Grape. So, fuck it. I’ll vote for what I love. (Also, no to Short Cuts.)

My Nominees:

  • The Fugitive
  • In the Name of the Father
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Remains of the Day
  • Schindler’s List

My Vote: Schindler’s List

For the Compromise List — let’s just leave it. It’s a good category.

Compromise List:

  • The Fugitive
  • In the Name of the Father
  • The Piano
  • The Remains of the Day
  • Schindler’s List

My Vote: Schindler’s List

1992

Actual Nominees:

  • The Crying Game
  • A Few Good Men
  • Howards End
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Unforgiven

My Vote: Unforgiven

I take off Howards End on mine. And I think about taking off The Crying Game for something I like more. Which, here, happens to be —

My Nominees:

  • Aladdin
  • Chaplin
  • A Few Good Men
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Unforgiven

My Vote: Unforgiven

Personal choices all the way. I also wanted to put on Glengarry Glen Ross, but I don’t know if that’s really a Best Picture nominee. (I also love A League of Their Own, but — I can’t.) For the Compromise List — we kind of have to leave it. Unless we all hate Howards End. So if we agree to replace it, I’ll fucking jump. Otherwise — leave it. There’s enough good shit for me to be okay with the bad shit.

Compromise List:

  • The Crying Game
  • A Few Good Men
  • Howards End
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Unforgiven

My Vote: Unforgiven

1991

Actual Nominees:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Bugsy
  • JFK
  • The Prince of Tides
  • The Silence of the Lambs

My Vote: The Silence of the Lambs

One film! One film and this is perfect! This is like getting dealt two aces, two queens and a deuce. It’s almost perfect. Let’s make it fully perfect.

My Nominees:

  • Barton Fink
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Bugsy
  • JFK
  • The Silence of the Lambs

My Vote: The Silence of the Lambs

For the Compromise List — if you really don’t think Barton Fink is the right film to go on, then put on Boyz N the Hood. It got the Director nomination, so it totally works. Either way — The Prince of Tides blows. (Also, no to The Fisher King. Good, but no Best Picture.)

Compromise List:

  • Barton Fink
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Bugsy
  • JFK
  • The Silence of the Lambs

My Vote: The Silence of the Lambs

1990

Actual Nominees:

  • Awakenings
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Ghost
  • The Godfather Part III
  • Goodfellas

My Vote: Goodfellas

I hate Dances with Wolves, so that’s off on my list. Give me Reversal of Fortune instead there. And — Ghost — meh. I want to say The Grifters, and it fits, but I just don’t love that movie enough. People will say Miller’s Crossing — but I wouldn’t. But fuck it, let’s vote for it. It’s better than Ghost.

My Nominees:

  • Awakenings
  • The Godfather Part III
  • Goodfellas
  • Miller’s Crossing
  • Reversal of Fortune

My Vote: Goodfellas

For the Compromise List — personally, I’d say give me Reversal of Fortune over Ghost. We have to leave everything else, so the call is all yours if you think that’s legit. Otherwise, I say we have to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Awakenings
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Ghost
  • The Godfather Part III
  • Goodfellas

My Vote: Goodfellas

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4 responses

  1. BlueFox94

    Pretty good self-nominees. However, I think the “F**k you” ‘s to us readers went a little too far.

    One complaint is the absence of “UNITED 93” for 2006. Given it’s Best Director nomination, it should have at least went on the Compromise List. Also, you explained how “TOY STORY” shouldn’t be nominated for 1995, but then you place “THE LION KING” in 1994. For me, both would have gone on the lists.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  2. Jason Hawkins

    Why don’t you just make your list the five films you think are the best films of the year and quit worrying about whether they are ‘Oscar’ films or not. Whether they would ever be nominated. Isn’t that the point? The Oscars should be about honoring the best films, and isn’t the whole idea of an ‘Oscar film’ what is wrong with the Academy. This is your chance to nominate the five that you believe are the best. Are you thinking someone from the Academy is gonna read this and spoil your chances of ever being invited to the Academy? Cuz it’s not gonna happen anyway.

    September 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    • samuelwilliscroft

      Yeah, but then some people will say that The Terminator or Ghostbusters were the two best movies of 1984. But, them winning over Amadeus? Never going to happen

      July 1, 2015 at 9:56 am

  3. Forgive me, I thought ‘Extremely Loud’ was quite good. Tree Of Life, on the other hand was a pointless and overly pretentious mess of a film. In my opinion.

    July 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm

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