Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Picture.
A reminder about the color code:
Films in RED are films that are essential. These are films you need to see, whether you like them or not. Though you’ll probably like most of them. A few of these may be part of a personal bias, but this is my list. Just think of the films in red as films you need to see if you want to be film literate (in the most basic sense). At least 70% of these are films that, if you haven’t seen them, you should be ashamed of yourself. These are the prerequisites you need to get into the class. (5-star films.)
Films in ORANGE are films that are my personal favorites (that aren’t already marked red). While not “essential” per say, these are films that I love dearly. They’re essential to me. They’re films that I will tell you that you need to see. I’d say that 80% of the time, these are going to be films that most people would enjoy. A few of them might be subjective to me, but on the whole, these are all very good films. I tried to limit the orange ones to only the best of the best, my absolute favorites. But either way, I love them, and you should definitely see at least 80% of them. (My 5-star films. At worst, most people’s 3-star films. Generally 4’s for everybody.) (more…)
At the bottom of all my Oscar Quest articles, after talking about the films and performances and how I ranked them in that specific category, I ranked all the nominees. This article is a collection of those rankings. (Any changes from what I originally wrote we’ll mediate as they pop up.)
There’s no real set criteria to explain how I ranked everything. I’m sure there’s some overly complicated formula I have in my head, but let’s not try to explain what goes on in my head. The general rules for the rankings are: almost always do my favorite films and performances take precedent. They’ll usually go first. Sometimes the order will be solely how I like the films, and sometimes they’ll be solely how I rate the performances. Most times, it’s a bit of both. Usually there’s a clear #1 (or lack thereof) that dictates how the rest of the list proceeds. There’s really no definitive explanation, so I’ll leave it at: I’ve Santa Claus’d this list multiple times, and I stand by every one of these rankings.
The goal of all of this was always to recommend films for you to see (being able to put forth my opinion on it was a bonus). Use this alongside The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide article as a way of finding films to see. With these, you can very quickly find out which films I love and think you should see, no reading required. And any reading you care to do is just a click away. Plus, by reading the articles and seeing the films (even if it’s just simply the small handful of ones I say you need to see), you’ll have more knowledge of the Oscars and their history than the av-er-age person, making you that much more qualified to say, “What? That? Fuck no, that shouldn’t have won!” Who doesn’t want that? (more…)
This is it, folks. This is what it’s all been building towards. One article encompassing everything. Here is a list of every film ever nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. A cheat sheet, of sorts. If you’re looking for Oscar films to watch, and don’t want to read all the articles (or say you’ve read the articles, but now want a list of films to see, and don’t want to reread them all), you can just go to this article and everything is right at your fingertips. Let me explain how it works:
The list descends by category (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director) and by year, starting with the most recent. Each film on the list will be color-coded based on how much I like it/how essential it is. I’ll explain the color code in a second. Using the colors, you can instantly know whether or not I think you should see a film as well as (generally) how I feel about it. You can also use The Oscar Quest: Rankings article to see how I ranked the films/performances in their specific categories. Between the two, you’ll have as much information as you can possibly get about my opinion of a film on its own and in the context of a category without reading anything.
And if that’s not enough, next to each category, when I list what year it is, I’ll link to the article I wrote about it, which contains in depth (or not) thoughts about the films, synopses, and just more specific information on how I rank it, how I figured out my vote, things like that. So, with this one article, you have as much or as little information you could want about every movie from this Oscar Quest. Aren’t I great? (more…)
1949 is a pretty solid year. Good, not great. I think I’ve covered that in the categories I’ve done before. All the King’s Men wins Best Picture (probably the Best Choice of the bunch, but, for me, it was four of five 4-star films and no real 5-star film. There were three legit choices here), Best Actor for Broderick Crawford (which I talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Mercedes McCambridge. I understand the Best Picture, and completely agree with both of the acting decisions. Those were great decisions.
Then Best Director was Joseph L. Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives, a decision that just baffles the shit out of me, which I talked about here. Then Best Supporting Actor was Dean Jagger for Twelve O’Clock High, which I just don’t get. At all. Ralph Richardson was clearly the vote there. So, in all, the year is pretty average. I agree with three of the six decisions, and can be swayed to liking a fourth. The other two make no sense to me, but, three of six leaning to four makes for a solid year. So that’s good.
Then there’s this category. What a weak category this is. I need to look for — actually, I kind of don’t. It’s really only two terrible nominees. And I’d gladly take one of the other two off if it meant a stronger set of nominees. Sacrifice one for the good of the many. But, just glancing at this year, I can see there weren’t any other performances, so it’s just the product of a weak year. I should feel lucky they managed three decent nominees. Regardless though — this one’s just a runaway. It’s not even close as to who deserved to win this.
BEST ACTRESS – 1949
And the nominees were…
Jeanne Crain, Pinky
Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress
Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart
Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son
Loretta Young, Come to the Stable (more…)
1949. Good year, but not a great one. I like it, but don’t love it. All the King’s Men. A good film, but not really a great one. In another year, it probably wouldn’t win Best Picture. But this isn’t another year. Broderick Crawford wins Best Actor for the film, which I think is a great decision (as I’ve talked about here), and Mercedes McCambridge wins Best Supporting Actress for it as well. She was really the only choice. After that, Best Actress was Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress, which, even though it was her second one, was richly deserved. She was by far the best in the category. And Best Supporting Actor was Dean Jagger for Twelve O’Clock High, a decision I haven’t fully formulated an opinion on yet.
That’s it, really. Good decisions, but nothing outstanding. This category, however — introduces a real catch-22 in the history of the Best Director category. I’ll tell you what it is right now. Joseph L. Mankiewicz wins this. I don’t think he should have. I didn’t think his effort was that great. However, he also wins Best Director the year after this, for All About Eve. Which, is a good effort. Problem is, that year, he beat two films generally considered to be two of the the best directorial efforts of all time, Billy Wilder for Sunset Bouelvard and Carol Reed for The Third Man. And therein lies the catch-22. If Mankiewicz doesn’t win here, he definitely wins there, where he really shouldn’t have won. But he wins here, and he shouldn’t have. So what do you do? He should probably have a statue, but, I can’t (or won’t) vote for him in either of these years. So what do you do? See what I mean? How do you win? (You don’t. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the Academy Awards.)
BEST DIRECTOR – 1949
And the nominees were…
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives
Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol
Robert Rossen, All the King’s Men
William A. Wellman, Battleground
William Wyler, The Heiress (more…)
1949. I’m excited for this one. I like being able to talk about years like this, because I know people aren’t necessarily well-versed in anything before 1950. Or, hell, 1970.
The year itself wasn’t particularly interesting. All the King’s Men, a good film, beat a pretty weak set of nominees. It was probably the best of the bunch, so it’s not like it was a bad decision. Mercedes McCambridge won Best Supporting Actress for the film as well. Best Actress this year went to Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress, and all I can say about that is — yes. The performance is astoundingly good, and she was by far the best choice in the category. Best Supporting Actor went to Dean Jagger for Twelve O’Clock High. I didn’t understand why he won when I watched the film, so I need to rewatch it before I decide whether or not it was a good decision. Though it was a pretty weak set of nominees. And also, Best Director was Joseph Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives, which, I don’t understand. But Best Director is murky this year and the year after this, so I’ll save it until I talk about it. In all though, 1949 is a solid year. A few solid choices, a few bad ones. Above average.
BEST ACTOR – 1949
And the nominees were…
Broderick Crawford, All the King’s Men
Kirk Douglas, Champion
Gregory Peck, Twelve O’Clock High
Richard Todd, The Hasty Heart
John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima (more…)