The Oscar Quest: Reconsidered (Best Picture, 1993-1994)

The Oscar Quest began in May of 2010. I finished about fifteen months later, and wrote it up for this site. That was essentially the first thing I did on here. Five years have passed since then. I’ve grown as a person. My tastes have changed, matured (or gotten more immature, in some cases). So it feels fitting, on the five year anniversary of the site and of the Oscar Quest, to revisit it.

I want to see just how my opinions about things have changed over the past five years. I didn’t do any particular work or catch-up for this. I didn’t go back and watch all the movies again. Some I went back to see naturally, others I haven’t watched in five years. I really just want to go back and rewrite the whole thing as a more mature person, less concerned with making points about certain categories and films than with just analyzing the whole thing as objectively as I can to give people who are interested as much information as possible.

This is the more mature version of the Oscar Quest. Updated, more in-depth, as objective as possible, less hostile. You can still read the old articles, but know that those are of a certain time, and these represent the present.


The Fugitive

In the Name of the Father

The Piano

The Remains of the Day

Schindler’s List


The Fugitive is one of the great action films of the 90s. You know a movie is immediately iconic if it gets its own parody film within four years of its release.

Harrison Ford is a doctor who returns home one night to find a one-armed man murdering his wife. He tells this to the police, who do not believe him. All evidence seems to point to him as the killer. He’s convicted and sent to prison. During a transfer, he manages to escape. And the rest of the film is him on the run, trying to find the truth behind his wife’s murder, while federal marshals try to find him.

It’s a perfect action movie. Wonderful all around. Some years, I could make a case that this could be the vote, but we all know what the score is this year. My second choice in the category, but still, a second choice.

In the Name of the Father is Jim Sheridan’s second film. And it’s also great.

Daniel Day-Lewis is an Irish ne’er-do-well who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He ends up being arrested in connection to a pub bombing that killed some people. He’s unceremoniously thrown in prison and forced to sign a confession… along with his father. So father and son are now stuck in prison, which is what much of the film is. Until Emma Thompson, a crusading attorney, becomes determined to prove their innocence.

It’s a great film. All around. Absolutely wonderful. Third choice at best for me here, because, again… we all know what the deal is.

The Piano is really the beginning of the Harvey Weinstein Oscar years. The Crying Game is probably the first one, but this is the one that really marks the beginning.

Holly Hunter is a mute woman who is sent to marry a man in New Zealand. She has a daughter and a piano. The piano is her most prized possession and her daughter is the only one who can communicate with her. And we watch as she adjusts to her new lifestyle and also starts a relationship with Harvey Keitel, a white man who has chosen to live with the Maori.

It’s a good film. I don’t love it, but it’s good. My least favorite film in the category and not something I’d ever take. But I don’t have to worry about it, because this is one of the most open and shut cases in history.

The Remains of the Day is Merchant-Ivory. Those guys.

Based on the Ishiguro novel, Anthony Hopkins is a butler whose family have been butlers for generations, all in the same house. And we watch throughout his lifetime as the house goes through different owners (eventually ending up being owned by an American), and he is as steadfast as ever. He’s a proper butler whose only loyalty is to his job and doesn’t allow himself the pleasures of actually living. This changes when Emma Thompson, an energetic housekeeper, shows up and livens up the place.

The novel is wonderful. The movie is very good. This is the only Merchant-Ivory movie I really like. Still no better than a fourth choice for me, if not outright fifth for most. Especially in this category.

Schindler’s List is one of the most famous movies ever made. The kind of film that needs no introduction or description whatsoever. A masterpiece of cinema.

This is the choice. Not wasting time in this, we all know this is the winner.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Reconsideration: It’s Schindler’s List. There can be no argument about this one.

– – – – – – – – – –

Rankings (category):

  1. Schindler’s List
  2. The Fugitive
  3. The Piano
  4. In the Name of the Father
  5. The Remains of the Day

Rankings (films):

  1. Schindler’s List
  2. The Fugitive
  3. In the Name of the Father
  4. The Remains of the Day
  5. The Piano

My Vote: Schindler’s List


Schindler’s List — don’t even try it. See this right now.

The Fugitive is essential. Oscar win, classic film, all-time action movie. Must see. You think it’s not essential? Well —

The Piano is essential for Oscar buffs. A good film otherwise. Not overly essential for everyone, but a good amount of film buffs should find this essential. Otherwise, solid film, good performances, worth a watch. Not anything you need to rush into. You’re okay without it, probably.

In the Name of the Father is an amazing film. Very high recommend. One of Jim Sheridan’s best. If you like the IRA or Shawshank, you’ll like this movie. It’s incredible.

The Remains of the Day is a high recommend. The only Merchant-Ivory movie I really recommend. I recommend the novel more than I recommend the movie, but the movie is very good. Probably not as good as I think it is, but I like it a lot. And for a Merchant-Ivory film, that’s saying a lot.

The Last Word: One of the five or ten best choices of all time. Perfect all around.

– – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – –


Forrest Gump

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Pulp Fiction

Quiz Show

The Shawshank Redemption


This is gonna be an easy category. Three of the films everyone sees like a dozen times before they get here.

Forrest Gump.

It’s Forrest Gump. Nothing needs to be said here.

Though I still don’t get why Lieutenant Dan never wanted some ice cream.

Four Weddings and a Funeral. This movie was a sensation in 1994. A surprise nominee here, and guaranteed fifth choice the minute it happened.

Hugh Grant meets Andie MacDowell at (insert title here). And we watch their relationship grow over these events.

It’s a good film. Very entertaining and well made. But it’s a fifth choice here, and I’m not gonna pretend like this stands any chance at even fourth choice for me. But it is a really charming film. A couple of these charming British films got on the Best Picture categories in the 90s.

Pulp Fiction.

It was either this or Christopher Walken saying he held the watch up his ass for two years.

Maybe I should have gone with that.

Quiz Show is a fucking amazing movie. And if it came out any other year but this, it would be a serious contender for Best Picture. But it’s an afterthought in this category.

It’s about the (insert title here) scandal of the 50s, where the producers of a show were giving the answers to contestants and basically rigging the whole thing. It’s fucking great.

Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, it’s no better than a fourth choice in this category. Sometimes films get a bad year.

The Shawshank Redemption.

I wish I could tell you that this had a chance of me voting for it over those other two.

I wish I could tell you that.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Reconsideration: Look, you have three incredible films to choose from. You can’t go wrong. I won’t argue with anyone taking any of those films.

I… don’t want to preface this and put any spin on it. I’m taking Forrest Gump.

I know, I know. But I took Pulp Fiction last time, and that movie is perfect. But I grew up with Forrest Gump, and there’s just something I love so much about that movie that I really want to take it now. It’s just a movie that I love so much and I feel like right now, that needs to be my choice. So there.

– – – – – – – – – –

Rankings (category and films):

  1. Forrest Gump
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. The Shawshank Redemption
  4. Quiz Show
  5. Four Weddings and a Funeral

My Vote: Forrest Gump


Forrest GumpPulp FictionThe Shawshank Redemption. Don’t even start.

Quiz Show is essential. It’s absolutely incredible all around and is unfortunately overlooked because of those other three. But it must be seen by all film buffs because it’s amazing and will be liked almost as much as those other three by most.

Four Weddings and a Funeral is worth watching. It’s not essential, but it’s a solid to high recommend. Essential probably for the 90s, and as far as rom coms go. And it was written by Richard Curtis, who did Love Actually. So that probably gets more people interested in seeing it. It’s really good.

The Last Word: Gump wins, I’m fine. Pulp Fiction wins, we’re all fine. Shawshank wins, nobody has a problem. They really couldn’t screw this one up. We can all argue about which one we think would be best among the three, but none of them would ever be considered a bad decision.

– – – – – – – – – –

(Read more Oscar Quest articles.)


2 responses

  1. 1994 had one of the strongest Best Picture categories ever really.

    November 30, 2018 at 2:54 am

  2. Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption. Any one of those three could have won and it would have been a good choice either way.

    September 26, 2019 at 12:00 pm

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