The Oscar Quest: Reconsidered – The Best Picture Categories
We’ve gone through all the categories again and now it’s wrap-up time. I’ve decided that the proper way to wrap things up is to look at each of the six (original) Oscar Quest categories and compare how I voted the first time versus how I voted this time. The idea being to gauge where my tastes have changed over the past five years, as that was the purpose of going through and doing it again anyway.
We’ve finally hit the bit one. Best Picture. I’ve included a table of how I voted both times and color-coded the ones that are different so you can skim through easily. Then I’ll work my way through each of the categories where I changed votes, figure out why they changed and try to predict how it’s gonna go in another five years.
|Year||The 2011/2012 Vote||The 2016/2017 Vote|
|1927-1928||Outstanding Production: Seventh Heaven
Unique or Artistic Production: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
|Outstanding Production: Seventh Heaven
Unique or Artistic Production: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
|1928-1929||The Broadway Melody||The Broadway Melody|
|1929-1930||All Quiet on the Western Front||All Quiet on the Western Front|
|1931-1932||Bad Girl||Bad Girl|
|1932-1933||I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang||I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang|
|1934||The Thin Man||The Thin Man|
|1935||Top Hat||Top Hat|
|1936||The Great Ziegfeld||Dodsworth|
|1937||A Star Is Born||A Star Is Born|
|1938||Grand Illusion||Grand Illusion|
|1939||Gone With the Wind||Gone With the Wind|
|1940||The Grapes of Wrath||The Grapes of Wrath|
|1941||Citizen Kane||Citizen Kane|
|1942||The Pride of the Yankees||Random Harvest|
|1944||Double Indemnity||Double Indemnity|
|1945||The Lost Weekend||The Lost Weekend|
|1946||The Best Years of Our Lives||It’s a Wonderful Life|
|1947||Gentleman’s Agreement||Gentleman’s Agreement|
|1948||The Treasure of the Sierra Madre||The Treasure of the Sierra Madre|
|1950||Sunset Boulevard||Sunset Boulevard|
|1951||A Streetcar Named Desire||A Streetcar Named Desire|
|1952||High Noon||The Quiet Man|
|1953||Roman Holiday||Roman Holiday|
|1954||On the Waterfront||On the Waterfront|
|1957||The Bridge on the River Kwai||The Bridge on the River Kwai|
|1958||The Defiant Ones||The Defiant Ones|
|1959||Anatomy of a Murder||Anatomy of a Murder|
|1960||The Apartment||The Apartment|
|1961||West Side Story||West Side Story|
|1962||To Kill a Mockingbird||Lawrence of Arabia|
|1963||Cleopatra||How the West Was Won|
|1964||Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb||Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb|
|1965||Darling||The Sound of Music|
|1966||Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?|
|1967||Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner||The Graduate|
|1968||Oliver!||The Lion in Winter|
|1969||Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid||Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid|
|1970||Love Story||Love Story|
|1971||The French Connection||The French Connection|
|1972||The Godfather||The Godfather|
|1973||The Sting||The Sting|
|1974||The Godfather Part II||The Godfather Part II|
|1975||One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest||Dog Day Afternoon|
|1977||Star Wars||Star Wars|
|1978||The Deer Hunter||The Deer Hunter|
|1979||Apocalypse Now||Apocalypse Now|
|1980||Raging Bull||Raging Bull|
|1981||Raiders of the Lost Ark||Raiders of the Lost Ark|
|1982||The Verdict||The Verdict|
|1983||The Right Stuff||The Right Stuff|
|1985||The Color Purple||The Color Purple|
|1987||Hope and Glory||The Last Emperor|
|1988||Rain Man||Rain Man|
|1989||Field of Dreams||Field of Dreams|
|1991||The Silence of the Lambs||The Silence of the Lambs|
|1993||Schindler’s List||Schindler’s List|
|1994||Pulp Fiction||Forrest Gump|
|1995||Apollo 13||Apollo 13|
|1997||L.A. Confidential||L.A. Confidential|
|1998||Saving Private Ryan||Saving Private Ryan|
|1999||American Beauty||American Beauty|
|2001||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring|
|2002||Gangs of New York||Gangs of New York|
|2003||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King|
|2004||The Aviator||The Aviator|
|2005||Good Night, and Good Luck||Good Night, and Good Luck|
|2006||The Departed||The Departed|
|2007||There Will Be Blood||There Will Be Blood|
|2008||Slumdog Millionaire||Slumdog Millionaire|
|2009||Inglourious Basterds||Inglourious Basterds|
|2014||N/A||Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)|
|2016||N/A||La La Land|
Not a whole lot here. Of 89 Best Picture categories, I’ve changed my opinion on 11 of them. Less than 15%. That’s… well that makes sense. Picture is easy to stick to over an acting performance.
What I find interesting is that I’ve switched over to four winners and switched off of four winners. Leaving three categories in history where, in two go arounds now, despite changing my opinion, the actual Best Picture winner didn’t factor into my decision-making at all. Those are the ones I want to see about most.
- 1936, Dodsworth over The Great Ziegfeld
Yeah, this is one where I know The Great Ziegfeld should have won, but I love Dodsworth so much I had to take it. I’m okay with this. I’ll probably keep taking Dodsworth a bunch because of that, but I’ll always be aware that The Great Ziegfeld is the choice in that one.
- 1942, Random Harvest over The Pride of the Yankees
Mrs. Miniver is never my choice, and that’s because while it is a great film and a solid film, there are at least three other choices in that category I truly love. Yankee Doodle Dandy isn’t even there yet. Random Harvest, though, is my favorite and will probably keep being my vote because I like it so much. Kind of like Dodsworth. It’s personal choice over what I understand as the film that probably should have won.
- 1946, It’s a Wonderful Life over The Best Years of Our Lives
This one’s always a 50/50. This time I was feeling sentimental. It’ll come down to whichever film I lean toward more when I go over the category. The Best Years of Our Lives is the best choice here and that can’t really be disputed. Though It’s a Wonderful Life is such a classic, it becomes a legitimate conversation. I’ll be going back and forth between these two forever. No surprise here.
- 1962, Lawrence of Arabia over To Kill a Mockingbird
Because Lawrence of Arabia is one of the two or three best winners ever and it’s entered my five favorite films of all time in the past five years. I always knew it was better, but I do love Mockingbird a lot, so I get why I took it last time. But from here on our, Lawrence of Arabia will be the choice. This was just a course correction. That movie is perfect.
- 1963, How the West Was Won over Cleopatra
Oh, I saw this one coming. This is one where I’ll never take the actual winner. I don’t love Tom Jones enough to take it and I think it’s one of the weakest winners ever. So it then becomes about which film I prefer. And between Cleopatra, America America and How the West Was Won, I have choices to alternate between forever. Though How the West Was Won is my favorite here and is probably the film I’ll take, though I’m thinking I might end up on Kazan a bunch too. I’d expect lots of fluctuations in this one over the years.
- 1965, The Sound of Music over Darling
I couldn’t deny it any longer. I love Darling, but I always knew it wasn’t really a proper winner. And Doctor Zhivago… I could just never love that movie enough to vote for it. The Sound of Music, I really love. And it probably should have won. So I went in and took it. We’ll see how things go in five years, but to me I went to where I should have been originally.
- 1967, The Graduate over Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
There’s your third one where I didn’t take the winner. In the Heat of the Night is actually a good winner. I like that in the three here, one has a definitive winner, one has what I consider a terrible winner, and this one is just a category so strong where you could take anything and be justified in taking it. (Except Doctor Doolittle, because none of us are fucking monsters.) I get why I took Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner last time, and while I love that movie, I doubt I’d go back there in the future. This one for me seems more about The Graduate vs. Bonnie and Clyde. And I feel like I’d be more Graduate most times, but I honestly don’t know. I’d expect a lot of changes in this one in the future, and none of the choices to actually be in the winner in the category.
- 1968, The Lion in Winter over Oliver!
1968 is a weird year because the film I’d take isn’t there. So I’m left with choices I don’t love. Wouldn’t take Rachel Rachel or Funny Girl at all. Oliver! is nice, but ehh. It feels like a cop out to take a musical I don’t really love. Leaving me with only The Lion in Winter or Romeo and Juliet. And the fact that I almost have to take Shakespeare should make me cringe. So at least The Lion in Winter, while stagey, is a movie I really like. And great actors are in it, and I can feel okay taking it because hey — they took A Man for All Seasons two years prior. So this is my slip up. At least I had to go here. I have no idea how I continue to vote here in the future, but this is definitely a category I dislike having to pick.
- 1975, Dog Day Afternoon over One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
I think I felt fatigue toward Cuckoo’s Nest this time. Last time, it was a clear winner for me. This time, it felt like a tired choice. I felt more energy toward Dog Day so that’s why I went there. No idea what happens in the future, because Jaws is also in this category, and Barry Lyndon and Nashville are also nearly perfect films. So this could go anywhere
- 1987, The Last Emperor over Hope and Glory
Went onto the winner, because it was the best choice. I love Hope and Glory a lot, but I went to the film that should have won. Maybe I go back to personal preference in five years, maybe not. But this was the film that should have won so this choice reflects that.
- 1994, Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction
Yeah, I think I wanted to do this one on purpose. I get that Pulp Fiction is what it is and love that movie a lot. It probably, for cinema’s sake, was the choice there, but maybe it’s just my age… I fucking love Forrest Gump. I grew up with that movie and I can watch that any time and watch it all the way through. I’m just gonna take the film I love more. That was how I did this. We’ll see where I’m at in five years. Let’s also not forget that this category also has Shawshank in it. So it’s not like it’s one for definitive choices. You can fluctuate on this one all the time.
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