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The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide (Best Picture)

The two macro articles I put up each time I do the Quest are the Viewer’s Guide and the Rankings. The Rankings are self-explanatory. The Viewer’s Guide is more universal. One is specific to the categories and picking winners. The Viewer’s Guide is more about how I feel about the films. If you wanted to find Oscar films to watch, you come here, and I tell you how I feel.

Last time I put out the Viewer’s Guide, it was done with a big color code, with each color used to signify how I felt about a film. Not the best system, especially since I put out hundreds of reviews each year on a star system. So we’re moving to the star system now.

Pretty simple — for each Oscar nominee’s film, I’ll assign a rating the way I’d assign a rating to any film I see each year. I don’t think anything’s gone under 2.5 stars, since I don’t think there are truly bad films nominated. The worst you’ll see is 2.5 stars, which for me means I was indifferent toward it. 3 stars is “pretty good.” 3.5 stars is “solid.” 4 stars is “liked it quite a bit.” 4.5 stars is “loved it.” And 5 stars is 5 stars.

The idea is for the ratings to help you find stuff you might like. Also, for each category I’ll tell you what I voted for, what I think would have held up as a winner from that category and how good a choice I think it was.

Here’s Best Picture:

2016 – Moonlight – * * * * * (5 stars)

Arrival — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Fences — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Hacksaw Ridge — * * * * (4 stars)

Hell or High Water — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Hidden Figures — * * * * (4 stars)

La La Land — * * * * * (5 stars)

Lion — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Manchester by the Sea — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: La La Land

What Would Have Held Up: N/A (yet)

The Choice: A-

2015 – Spotlight — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Big Short — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Bridge of Spies — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Brooklyn — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Mad Max: Fury Road — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Martian — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Revenant — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Room — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: The Revenant

What Would Have Held Up: N/A (yet)

The Choice: B+

2014 – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

American Sniper — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Boyhood — * * * * (4 stars)

The Grand Budapest Hotel — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Imitation Game — * * * * (4 stars)

Selma — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Theory of Everything — * * * * (4 stars)

Whiplash — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

What Would Have Held Up: N/A (yet)

The Choice: B+

2013 – 12 Years a Slave — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

American Hustle — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Captain Phillips — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Dallas Buyers Club — * * * * (4 stars)

Gravity — * * * * * (5 stars)

Her — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Nebraska — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Philomena — * * * * (4 stars)

The Wolf of Wall Street — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Gravity

What Would Have Held Up: N/A (yet)

The Choice: A

2012 – Argo — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Amour — * * * * (4 stars)

Beasts of the Southern Wild — * * * * (4 stars)

Django Unchained — * * * * * (5 stars)

Les Misérables — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Life of Pi — * * * * (4 stars)

Lincoln — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Silver Linings Playbook — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Zero Dark Thirty — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Django Unchained

What Would Have Held Up: Argo, Lincoln

The Choice: B/B+

2011 – The Artist — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Descendants — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Help — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Hugo — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Midnight in Paris — * * * * (4 stars)

Moneyball — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Tree of Life — * * * * (4 stars)

War Horse — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Artist

What Would Have Held Up: If any, maybe The Descendants, possibly Hugo, possibly Tree of Life. Jury’s still out on The Artist

The Choice: B

2010 – The King’s Speech — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

127 Hours — * * * * (4 stars)

Black Swan — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Fighter — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Inception — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Kids Are All Right — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Social Network — * * * * * (5 stars)

Toy Story 3 — * * * * * (5 stars)

True Grit — * * * * * (5 stars)

Winter’s Bone — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: True Grit

What Would Have Held Up: The King’s Speech, The Social Network, maybe Black Swan, maybe True Grit

The Choice: B+

2009 – The Hurt Locker — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Avatar — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Blind Side — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

District 9 — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

An Education — * * * * (4 stars)

Inglourious Basterds — * * * * * (5 stars)

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

A Serious Man — * * * * (4 stars)

Up — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Up in the Air — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Inglourious Basterds

What Would Have Held Up: The Hurt Locker

The Choice: A-

2008 – Slumdog Millionaire — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Frost/Nixon — * * * * (4 stars)

Milk — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Reader — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Slumdog Millionaire

What Would Have Held Up: Slumdog Millionaire, probably Benjamin Button, maybe Milk

The Choice: B+

2007 – No Country for Old Men — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Atonement — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Juno — * * * * (4 stars)

Michael Clayton — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

There Will Be Blood — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: There Will Be Blood

What Would Have Held Up: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood

The Choice: A-

2006 – The Departed — * * * * * (5 stars)

Babel — * * * * (4 stars)

Letters from Iwo Jima — * * * * (4 stars)

Little Miss Sunshine — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Queen — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Departed

What Would Have Held Up: The Departed, maybe Letters from Iwo Jima, possibly Babel

The Choice: B+

2005 – Crash — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Brokeback Mountain — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Capote — * * * * (4 stars)

Good Night, and Good Luck — * * * * * (5 stars)

Munich — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Good Night, and Good Luck

What Would Have Held Up: Brokeback Mountain, Good Night and Good Luck

The Choice: F

2004 – Million Dollar Baby — * * * * (4 stars)

The Aviator — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Finding Neverland — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Ray — * * * * (4 stars)

Sideways — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: The Aviator

What Would Have Held Up: If any, maybe The Aviator. Jury’s out on Million Dollar Baby

The Choice: B-

2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King — * * * * * (5 stars)

Lost in Translation — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World — * * * * (4 stars)

Mystic River — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Seabiscuit — * * * * (4 stars)

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

What Would Have Held Up: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Choice: A

2002 – Chicago — * * * * (4 stars)

Gangs of New York — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Hours — * * * * (4 stars)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Pianist — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Gangs of New York

What Would Have Held Up: The Pianist (maybe Two Towers, maybe Gangs)

The Choice: C

2001 – A Beautiful Mind — * * * * (4 stars)

Gosford Park — * * * * (4 stars)

In the Bedroom — * * * * (4 stars)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — * * * * * (5 stars)

Moulin Rouge! — * * * * (4 stars)

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

What Would Have Held Up: Fellowship

The Choice: D

2000 Gladiator — * * * * * (5 stars)

Chocolat — * * * * (4 stars)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon — * * * * (4 stars)

Erin Brockovich — * * * * (4 stars)

Traffic — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Gladiator

What Would Have Held Up: Gladiator, Traffic

The Choice: B/B+

1999 – American Beauty — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Cider House Rules — * * * * (4 stars)

The Green Mile — * * * * (4 stars)

The Insider — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Sixth Sense — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: American Beauty

What Would Have Held Up: American Beauty

The Choice: B+/B

1998 – Shakespeare in Love — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Elizabeth — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Life Is Beautiful — * * * * (4 stars)

Saving Private Ryan — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Thin Red Line — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Saving Private Ryan

What Would Have Held Up: Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love

The Choice: B

1997 – Titanic — * * * * * (5 stars)

As Good as It Gets — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Full Monty — * * * * (4 stars)

Good Will Hunting — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

L.A. Confidential — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: L.A. Confidential

What Would Have Held Up: Titanic

The Choice: A

1996 – The English Patient — * * * * (4 stars)

Fargo — * * * * * (5 stars)

Jerry Maguire — * * * * * (5 stars)

Shine — * * * * (4 stars)

Secrets & Lies — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Fargo

What Would Have Held Up: Fargo, and I guess The English Patient

The Choice: B/B+

1995 – Braveheart — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Apollo 13 — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Babe — * * * * (4 stars)

Il Postino — * * * (3 stars)

Sense and Sensibility — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Apollo 13

What Would Have Held Up: Braveheart, and probably Apollo 13

The Choice: B+

1994 – Forrest Gump — * * * * * (5 stars)

Four Weddings and a Funeral — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Pulp Fiction — * * * * * (5 stars)

Quiz Show — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Shawshank Redemption — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Forrest Gump

What Would Have Held Up: Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption

The Choice: A

1993 – Schindler’s List — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Fugitive — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

In the Name of the Father — * * * * (4 stars)

The Piano — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Remains of the Day — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Schindler’s List

What Would Have Held Up: Schindler’s List

The Choice: A+

1992 – Unforgiven — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Crying Game — * * * * (4 stars)

A Few Good Men — * * * * * (5 stars)

Howards End — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Scent of a Woman — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Unforgiven

What Would Have Held Up: Unforgiven

The Choice: A

1991 The Silence of the Lambs — * * * * * (5 stars)

Beauty and the Beast — * * * * * (5 stars)

Bugsy — * * * * (4 stars)

JFK — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Prince of Tides — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: The Silence of the Lambs

What Would Have Held Up: The Silence of the Lambs

The Choice: A-

1990 – Dances with Wolves — * * * * (4 stars)

Awakenings — * * * * (4 stars)

Ghost — * * * * (4 stars)

The Godfather Part III — * * * * (4 stars)

Goodfellas — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Goodfellas

What Would Have Held Up: Goodfellas, and Dances with Wolves (for the most part)

The Choice: B-

1989 – Driving Miss Daisy — * * * * (4 stars)

Born on the Fourth of July — * * * * (4 stars)

Dead Poet’s Society — * * * * (4 stars)

Field of Dreams — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Left Foot — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Field of Dreams

What Would Have Held Up: That’s the question, isn’t it?

The Choice: C+

1988 – Rain Man — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Accidental Tourist — * * * (3 stars)

Dangerous Liaisons — * * * * (4 stars)

Mississippi Burning — * * * * (4 stars)

Working Girl — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Rain Man

What Would Have Held Up: Rain Man

The Choice: B

1987 The Last Emperor — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Broadcast News — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Fatal Attraction — * * * * (4 stars)

Hope and Glory — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Moonstruck — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Last Emperor

What Would Have Held Up: The Last Emperor, possibly Broadcast News

The Choice: B/B+

1986 – Platoon — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Children of a Lesser God — * * * * (4 stars)

Hannah and Her Sisters — * * * (3 stars)

The Mission — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

A Room With a View — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Platoon

What Would Have Held Up: Platoon

The Choice: A-

1985 – Out of Africa — * * * * (4 stars)

The Color Purple — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Kiss of the Spider Woman — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Prizzi’s Honor — * * * * (4 stars)

Witness — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Color Purple

What Would Have Held Up: The Color Purple, Out of Africa

The Choice: B-/B

1984 – Amadeus — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Killing Fields — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

A Passage to India — * * * (3 stars)

Places in the Heart — * * * * (4 stars)

A Soldier’s Story — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Amadeus

What Would Have Held Up: Amadeus

The Choice: A

1983 – Terms of Endearment — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Big Chill — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Dresser — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Right Stuff — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Tender Mercies — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: The Right Stuff

What Would Have Held Up: If any, Terms of Endearment and The Right Stuff

The Choice: B-

1982 – Gandhi — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial — * * * * * (5 stars)

Missing — * * * * (4 stars)

Tootsie — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Verdict — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: The Verdict

What Would Have Held Up: Gandhi, E.T.

The Choice: B+/A-

1981 – Chariots of Fire — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Atlantic City — * * * * (4 stars)

On Golden Pond — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Raiders of the Lost Ark — * * * * * (5 stars)

Reds — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Raiders of the Lost Ark

What Would Have Held Up: That would spoil all the fun

The Choice: B-/C+

1980 – Ordinary People — * * * * (4 stars)

Coal Miner’s Daughter — * * * * (4 stars)

The Elephant Man — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Raging Bull — * * * * * (5 stars)

Tess — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Raging Bull

What Would Have Held Up: Raging Bull, possibly The Elephant Man, and to an extent Ordinary People

The Choice: B-

1979 – Kramer vs. Kramer — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

All That Jazz — * * * * * (5 stars)

Apocalypse Now —  * * * * * (5 stars)

Breaking Away — * * * * (4 stars)

Norma Rae — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Apocalypse Now

What Would Have Held Up: Apocalypse Now, possibly All That Jazz, somewhat Kramer vs. Kramer

The Choice: B/B+

1978 – The Deer Hunter — * * * * * (5 stars)

Coming Home — * * * * (4 stars)

Heaven Can Wait — * * * * (4 stars)

Midnight Express — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

An Unmarried Woman — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Deer Hunter

What Would Have Held Up: The Deer Hunter. Possibly Midnight Express or Coming Home

The Choice: A-

1977 – Annie Hall — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Goodbye Girl — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Julia — * * * * (4 stars)

Star Wars — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Turning Point — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Star Wars

What Would Have Held Up: Annie Hall, Star Wars

The Choice: A-/B+

1976 – Rocky — * * * * * (5 stars)

All the President’s Men — * * * * * (5 stars)

Bound for Glory — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Network — * * * * * (5 stars)

Taxi Driver — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Rocky

What Would Have Held Up: All the President’s Men, Network, Rocky, and probably even Taxi Driver

The Choice: A-

1975 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — * * * * * (5 stars)

Barry Lyndon — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Dog Day Afternoon — * * * * * (5 stars)

Jaws — * * * * * (5 stars)

Nashville — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Dog Day Afternoon

What Would Have Held Up: Probably all of them.

The Choice: A-

1974 – The Godfather Part II — * * * * * (5 stars)

Chinatown — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Conversation — * * * * * (5 stars)

Lenny — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Towering Inferno — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Godfather Part II

What Would Have Held Up: The Godfather Part II, Chinatown

The Choice: A+

1973 – The Sting — * * * * * (5 stars)

American Graffiti — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Cries and Whispers — * * * (3 stars)

The Exorcist — * * * * * (5 stars)

A Touch of Class — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: The Sting

What Would Have Held Up: The Sting, and possibly The Exorcist or American Graffiti

The Choice: A-

1972 – The Godfather — * * * * * (5 stars)

Cabaret — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Deliverance — * * * * (4 stars)

The Emigrants — * * * (3 stars)

Sounder — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: The Godfather

What Would Have Held Up: The Godfather and maybe Cabaret

The Choice: A+

1971 – The French Connection — * * * * * (5 stars)

A Clockwork Orange — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Fiddler on the Roof — * * * * (4 stars)

The Last Picture Show — * * * * (4 stars)

Nicholas and Alexandra — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The French Connection

What Would Have Held Up: The French Connection, maybe The Last Picture Show

The Choice: A-

1970 – Patton — * * * * (4 stars)

Airport — * * * * (4 stars)

Five Easy Pieces — * * * * (4 stars)

Love Story — * * * * * (5 stars)

MASH — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Love Story

What Would Have Held Up: Patton

The Choice: A-

1969 – Midnight Cowboy — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anne of the Thousand Days — * * * * (4 stars)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — * * * * * (5 stars)

Hello, Dolly! — * * * (3 stars)

Z — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

What Would Have Held Up: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy

The Choice: B+

1968 – Oliver! — * * * * (4 stars)

Funny Girl — * * * * (4 stars)

The Lion in Winter — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Rachel, Rachel — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Romeo and Juliet — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Lion in Winter

What Would Have Held Up: If any, The Lion in Winter. Oliver to an extent, I guess.

The Choice: C

1967 – In the Heat of the Night — * * * * (4 stars)

Bonnie and Clyde — * * * * * (5 stars)

Doctor Dolittle — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Graduate — * * * * * (5 stars)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: The Graduate

What Would Have Held Up: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, to an extent In the Heat of the Night, possibly Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

The Choice:

1966 – A Man for All Seasons — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Alfie — * * * * (4 stars)

The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming — * * * * (4 stars)

The Sand Pebbles — * * * * (4 stars)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

What Would Have Held Up: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and somewhat A Man for All Seasons

The Choice: B-

1965 – The Sound of Music — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Darling — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Doctor Zhivago — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Ship of Fools — * * * (3 stars)

A Thousand Clowns — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: The Sound of Music

What Would Have Held Up: The Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago

The Choice: A-/A

1964 – My Fair Lady — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Becket — * * * * (4 stars)

Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb — * * * * * (5 stars)

Mary Poppins — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Zorba the Greek — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

What Would Have Held Up: My Fair Lady, maybe Mary Poppins and possibly even Dr. Strangelove

The Choice: B+

1963 – Tom Jones — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

America, America — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Cleopatra — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How the West Was Won — * * * * * (5 stars)

Lilies of the Field — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: How the West Was Won

What Would Have Held Up: If any, Cleopatra or How the West Was Won

The Choice: D

1962 – Lawrence of Arabia — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Longest Day — * * * * (4 stars)

The Music Man — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Mutiny on the Bounty — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

To Kill a Mockingbird — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Lawrence of Arabia

What Would Have Held Up: Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill a Mockingbird

The Choice: A+

1961 – West Side Story — * * * * * (5 stars)

Fanny — * * * * (4 stars)

The Guns of Navarone — * * * * (4 stars)

The Hustler — * * * * * (5 stars)

Judgment at Nuremberg — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: West Side Story

What Would Have Held Up: West Side Story. Possibly Judgment at Nuremberg. Potentially The Hustler.

The Choice: A

1960 – The Apartment — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Alamo — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Elmer Gantry — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Sons and Lovers — * * * * (4 stars)

The Sundowners — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: The Apartment

What Would Have Held Up: The Apartment

The Choice: A

1959 – Ben-Hur — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anatomy of a Murder — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Diary of Anne Frank — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Nun’s Story — * * * * (4 stars)

Room at the Top — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Anatomy of a Murder

What Would Have Held Up: Ben-Hur, maybe The Diary of Anne Frank, possibly Anatomy of a Murder

The Choice: A

1958 – Gigi — * * * * (4 stars)

Auntie Mame — * * * * (4 stars)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Defiant Ones — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Separate Tables — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: The Defiant Ones

What Would Have Held Up: If any, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Defiant Ones

The Choice: B-

1957 – The Bridge on the River Kwai — * * * * * (5 stars)

Peyton Place — * * * * (4 stars)

Sayonara — * * * * (4 stars)

12 Angry Men — * * * * * (5 stars)

Witness for the Prosecution — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: The Bridge on the River Kwai

What Would Have Held Up: The Bridge on the River Kwai, 12 Angry Men

The Choice: A-

1956 – Around the World in 80 Days — * * * * (4 stars)

Friendly Persuasion — * * * * (4 stars)

Giant — * * * * * (5 stars)

The King and I — * * * * (4 stars)

The Ten Commandments — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Giant

What Would Have Held Up: Around the World in 80 Days (somewhat), Giant, maybe The Ten Commandments

The Choice: C+

1955 – Marty — * * * * * (5 stars)

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing — * * * (3 stars)

Mister Roberts — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Picnic — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Rose Tattoo — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Marty

What Would Have Held Up: Marty, if any

The Choice: B+

1954 – On the Waterfront — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Caine Mutiny — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Country Girl — * * * * (4 stars)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Three Coins in the Fountain — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: On the Waterfront

What Would Have Held Up: On the Waterfront

The Choice: A

1953 – From Here to Eternity — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Julius Caesar — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Robe — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Roman Holiday — * * * * * (5 stars)

Shane — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Roman Holiday

What Would Have Held Up: From Here to Eternity, Roman Holiday

The Choice: B+/A-

1952 – The Greatest Show on Earth — * * * * (4 stars)

High Noon — * * * * * (5 stars)

Ivanhoe — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Moulin Rouge — * * * * (4 stars)

The Quiet Man — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: The Quiet Man

What Would Have Held Up: High Noon, The Quiet Man

The Choice: C

1951 – An American in Paris — * * * * (4 stars)

Decision Before Dawn — * * * * (4 stars)

A Place in the Sun — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Quo Vadis — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

A Streetcar Named Desire — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: A Streetcar Named Desire

What Would Have Held Up: A Place in the Sun, A Streetcar Named Desire

The Choice: D

1950 – All About Eve — * * * * * (5 stars)

Born Yesterday — * * * * (4 stars)

Father of the Bride — * * * * (4 stars)

King Solomon’s Mines — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Sunset Boulevard — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Sunset Boulevard

What Would Have Held Up: All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard

The Choice: A

1949 – All the King’s Men — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Battleground — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Heiress — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

A Letter to Three Wives — * * * * (4 stars)

Twelve O’Clock High — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Battleground

What Would Have Held Up: All the King’s Men, if any. Possibly The Heiress

The Choice: B

1948 – Hamlet — * * * * (4 stars)

Johnny Belinda — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Red Shoes — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Snake Pit — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

What Would Have Held Up: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, maybe The Red Shoes, Hamlet to an extent

The Choice: D

1947 – Gentleman’s Agreement — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Bishop’s Wife — * * * * (4 stars)

Crossfire — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Great Expectations — * * * * (4 stars)

Miracle on 34th Street — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Gentleman’s Agreement

What Would Have Held Up: Gentleman’s Agreement, if any

The Choice: B+

1946 – The Best Years of Our Lives — * * * * * (5 stars)

Henry V — * * * * (4 stars)

It’s a Wonderful Life — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Razor’s Edge — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Yearling — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: It’s a Wonderful Life

What Would Have Held Up: The Best Years of Our Lives, It’s a Wonderful Life

The Choice: A

1945 – The Lost Weekend — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anchors Aweigh — * * * * (4 stars)

The Bells of St. Mary’s — * * * * (4 stars)

Mildred Pierce — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Spellbound — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: The Lost Weekend

What Would Have Held Up: The Lost Weekend

The Choice: A-

1944 – Going My Way — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Double Indemnity — * * * * * (5 stars)

Gaslight — * * * * (4 stars)

Since You Went Away — * * * * (4 stars)

Wilson — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Double Indemnity

What Would Have Held Up: Double Indemnity, Going My Way

The Choice: B

1943 – Casablanca — * * * * * (5 stars)

For Whom the Bell Tolls — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Heaven Can Wait — * * * * (4 stars)

The Human Comedy — * * * * (4 stars)

In Which We Serve — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Madame Curie — * * * (3 stars)

The More the Merrier — * * * * (4 stars)

The Ox-Bow Incident — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Song of Bernadette — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Watch on the Rhine — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Casablanca

What Would Have Held Up: Casablanca. Potentially For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Choice: A+

1942 – Mrs. Miniver — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

49th Parallel — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Kings Row — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Magnificent Ambersons — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Pied Piper — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Pride of the Yankees — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Random Harvest — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Talk of the Town — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Wake Island — * * * * (4 stars)

Yankee Doodle Dandy — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Random Harvest

What Would Have Held Up: Mrs. Miniver, maybe Yankee Doodle Dandy, Magnificent Ambersons, Random Harvest. Possibly Pride of the Yankees.

The Choice: B+/B

1941 – How Green Was My Valley — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Blossoms in the Dust — * * * * (4 stars)

Citizen Kane — * * * * * (5 stars)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Hold Back the Dawn — * * * (3 stars)

The Little Foxes — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Maltese Falcon — * * * * * (5 stars)

One Foot in Heaven — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Sergeant York — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Suspicion — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Citizen Kane

What Would Have Held Up: Citizen Kane, somewhat How Green Was My Valley, maybe The Maltese Falcon, possibly Sergeant York

The Choice: B+ (Citizen Kane not winning is an F. How Green Was My Valley winning is a B+)

1940 – Rebecca — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

All This, and Heaven Too — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Foreign Correspondent — * * * * (4 stars)

The Grapes of Wrath — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Great Dictator — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Kitty Foyle — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Letter — * * * (3 stars)

The Long Voyage Home — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Our Town — * * * * (4 stars)

The Philadelphia Story — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: The Grapes of Wrath

What Would Have Held Up: The Grapes of Wrath, maybe The Great Dictator, somewhat Rebecca

The Choice: B

1939 – Gone With the Wind — * * * * * (5 stars)

Dark Victory — * * * * (4 stars)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips — * * * * (4 stars)

Love Affair — * * * * (4 stars)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington — * * * * * (5 stars)

Ninotchka — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Of Mice and Men — * * * * (4 stars)

Stagecoach — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Wizard of Oz — * * * * * (5 stars)

Wuthering Heights — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Gone With the Wind

What Would Have Held Up: Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The Choice: A+

1938 – You Can’t Take It With You — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Adventures of Robin Hood — * * * * * (5 stars)

Alexander’s Ragtime Band — * * * (3 stars)

Boys Town — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Citadel — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Four Daughters — * * * (3 stars)

Grand Illusion — * * * * * (5 stars)

Jezebel — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Pygmalion — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Test Pilot — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Grand Illusion

What Would Have Held Up: The Adventures of Robin Hood, probably. Grand Illusion, I hope. And You Can’t Take It With You, somewhat.

The Choice: B/B+

1937 – The Life of Emile Zola — * * * * (4 stars)

The Awful Truth — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Captains Courageous — * * * * (4 stars)

Dead End — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Good Earth — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

In Old Chicago — * * * (3 stars)

Lost Horizon — * * * * (4 stars)

One Hundred Men and a Girl — * * * (3 stars)

Stage Door — * * * * (4 stars)

A Star is Born — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: A Star Is Born

What Would Have Held Up: A Star Is Born, and possibly Captains Courageous, The Awful Truth, The Good Earth and Lost Horizon. Don’t think Zola’s particularly held up at all.

The Choice: D

1936 – The Great Ziegfeld — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anthony Adverse — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Dodsworth — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Libeled Lady — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Romeo and Juliet — * * * (3 stars)

San Francisco — * * * * (4 stars)

The Story of Louis Pasteur — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

A Tale of Two Cities — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Three Smart Girls — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Dodsworth

What Would Have Held Up: The Great Ziegfeld, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and I hope Dodsworth

The Choice: A-/B+

1935 – Mutiny on the Bounty — * * * * * (5 stars)

Alice Adams — * * * * (4 stars)

The Broadway Melody of 1936 — * * * (3 stars)

Captain Blood — * * * * (4 stars)

David Copperfield — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

The Informer — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer — * * * (3 stars)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream — * * * * (4 stars)

Les Misérables — * * * * (4 stars)

Naughty Marietta — * * * (3 stars)

Ruggles of Red Gap — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Top Hat — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Top Hat

What Would Have Held Up: Mutiny on the Bounty, maybe The Informer, possibly Top Hat

The Choice: A-

1934 – It Happened One Night — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Barretts of Wimpole Street — * * * * (4 stars)

Cleopatra — * * * * (4 stars)

Flirtation Walk — * * * (3 stars)

The Gay Divorcée — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Here Comes the Navy — * * * (3 stars)

The House of Rothschild — * * * (3 stars)

Imitation of Life — * * * * (4 stars)

One Night of Love — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

The Thin Man — * * * * * (5 stars)

Viva Villa! — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

The White Parade — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: The Thin Man

What Would Have Held Up: It Happened One Night, and I’d like to think The Thin Man

The Choice: A

1932-1933 – Cavalcade — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

42nd Street — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

A Farewell to Arms — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Lady for a Day — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Little Women — * * * * (4 stars)

The Private Life of Henry VIII — * * * (3 stars)

She Done Him Wrong — * * * (3 stars)

Smilin’ Through — * * * (3 stars)

State Fair — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

What Would Have Held Up: 42nd Street, probably I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, maybe A Farewell to ARms

The Choice: C-

1931-1932 – Grand Hotel — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Arrowsmith — * * * (3 stars)

Bad Girl — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

The Champ — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Five Star Final — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

One Hour with You — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Shanghai Express — * * * (3 stars)

The Smiling Lieutenant — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Bad Girl

What Would Have Held Up: Grand Hotel, The Champ

The Choice: B+/A-

1930-1931 – Cimarron — * * * * (4 stars)

East Lynne — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

The Front Page — * * * * (4 stars)

Skippy — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Trader Horn — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Skippy

What Would Have Held Up: If any, Cimarron, The Front Page

The Choice: Cimarron

1929-1930 – All Quiet on the Western Front — * * * * * (5 stars)

The Big House — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Disraeli — * * * (3 stars)

The Divorcée — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

The Love Parade — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: All Quiet on the Western Front

What Would Have Held Up: All Quiet on the Western Front

The Choice: A+

1928-1929 – The Broadway Melody — * * * (3 stars)

Alibi — * * * (3 stars)

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 — * * * (3 stars)

In Old Arizona — * * * (3 stars)

The Patriot — N/A (LOST)

My Vote: The Broadway Melody

What Would Have Held Up: Not sure it matters

The Choice: C

1927-1928 (Outstanding Picture, Production) – Wings — * * * * (4 stars)

The Racket — * * * (3 stars)

Seventh Heaven — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Seventh Heaven

What Would Have Held Up: Wings, Seventh Heaven

The Choice: A

1927-1928 (Unique or Artistic Production) – Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans — * * * * * (5 stars)

Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness — * * * (3 stars)

The Crowd — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

What Would Have Held Up: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, The Crowd

The Choice: A

– – – – – – – – – –

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