Posts tagged “1951

Mike’s Top Ten of 1951

I feel like there are two very important things to discuss for 1951. The first is color. I feel like 1951 is that year where we definitively reached the point where the majority of films were in color. I don’t think statistically that’s the case, but I feel like this year is the one where, after this, color is the norm for films and black and white is reserved for lower budgeted films or specific genres. That’ll definitely be the case once CinemaScope shows up in a couple of years.

The other major thing about 1951 is the beginning of a genre. Or at the very least, the beginning of a genre as we know it. And that’s sci fi. Sci fi existed in several forms before this, but this is the year where all the tropes we recognize — aliens, flying saucers, time travel, space exploration — this is when they all began. (And, as an added bonus, the sci fi films of this era also were Cold War-related.)

Outside of that, we’re starting to get into an era where most people would recognize the majority of my lists without needing much explanation as to what they’re about. Which means that all the hidden gems on the lists that people don’t know about are gonna be way more noticeable. Which is exciting. (more…)


A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1951 – The Day the Earth Stood Still

A lot of people thought I was gonna go Streetcar here. But no. I’m going sci-fi.

Because what genre better represents the 50s, and everything going on in the world, than the sci-fi genre?

I had two real choices here: this or The Thing from Another World. (Technically I could have waited and went with Body Snatchers or something, but that’s a whole other argument.) And I feel like this one has more to offer, overall, than that one does. That one is a great movie, but the real thing to talk about there is the monologue at the end. This one, the message is throughout. And I think that’s more important for what the genre was doing during this decade. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Director (1950-1969)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actress (1950-1969)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actor (1950-1969)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actress (1950-1969)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actor (1950-1969)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Picture (1950-1969)

To run down the intro quickly — this is a series of articles about what I would nominate in every single Oscar Quest category if I had a ballot. I always felt I should do them, but didn’t want to pull that shit everyone pulls of, “Here’s what I’d nominate,” even though it’s all the same five films they add on and they haven’t even seen half the stuff that was nominated. I know my stuff’s legit, because I’ve seen all the films, but I refused to start this discussion unless I was going to do it with the ability to tell people how to do it the right way, since unless you keep them honest, it’s fucking chaos.

So I decided to, along with picking what I’d vote for, create what I’m calling a Compromise List. The Compromise List is — aside from my personal nominations (which on the whole are pretty close to what would fit the typical notion of “Oscar,” since I’ve seen everything and know what is and what isn’t an “Oscar” movie and actually respect the precedents in place even though I don’t always agree with them enough to not be like, “I vote for Star Trek!”), a list of films that are basically a mix of my nominees and their nominees that I think everyone could live with. The idea is to make a list that works for everyone that’s great, and to cut out all the shit that so clearly shouldn’t be there.

The things to keep in mind: 1) if a category has five nominees, I’m only nominating five films. 2) The lists are only based on what I’ve seen. 3) Don’t bother me with your opinion unless you’re gonna go the full nine and do every single year. 4) If you’re going to attempt something like this — be honest. Don’t get too subjective, and DO NOT take off a film you haven’t seen just to put on a film you have seen. And most importantly, 5) YOU CANNOT take off a Best Picture winner. 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.

Okay, let’s get to the next set of Best Picture years: (more…)


Best Original Song: A Categorical History (1951-1955)

Today we hit the 50s, which is the golden age of the studio Technicolor musical and the golden age of the theme song. Let’s count how many times Sinatra and Dean Martin show up over the next decade.

1951: “IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENING,” FROM HERE COMES THE GROOM

(more…)


Mike’s Top Tens of the Decade (1950-1959)

This has become, by far, my favorite part of this blog. These articles have introduced me to so many movies. Ones I needed to see but hadn’t, ones I’d wanted to see but never did, ones I had no idea about. They’re the perfect excuse to go out and see more things. Plus I get to uncover some real gems. I’m so excited to do these top tens lists that I’ve began starting them earlier and earlier each time. The last one, I finished with a month to spare. This one I started before that one even went up. That’s how much I love these lists.

I’ve done the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s and 1960s already. The way I do them is — I list my favorite ten movies for each year, then put an 11-15 (or 11-20. This decade, we have all 11-20s, because it’s incredible) at the bottom, to both recommend more great films as well as make it easier on myself when I revisit these lists in the future to update them to account for the passage of time and my maturation of taste.

The other thing I do with each decade is, outside of the top 15-20, I include a “fun” list at the bottom. For the 2000s, it was the “Terrible Ten,” of films from each year that I hated. For the 90s, it was the “Films of My Childhood.” For the 80s, it was the “Awesomely 80s Movies.” For the 70s, it was the “70s Recommendations.” For the 60s, it was the “Out with the old, in with the new.” This time, I’m doing what I’m calling “Gems of the Studio System.” There were a lot of great films from the 50s, and I wanted to find a good way to describe all the extra films I included. And I noticed, while figuring out logistics for these lists, that almost all of them were films from major directors, and that a lot of them (the films) are relatively unknown (for the most part). So the idea behind the lists was to show some hidden gems that, because of the studio system and most directors making three, four pictures a year, got lost over time. (Not all of them are by famous directors, but 90% of them are.) I’ll also tell you which director did which one. I bet on more than a few you’ll go, “Really?”

Now that’s all explained, let’s get into the lists: (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1951

1951 is an important year in film history. After the end of the war, the threat of Communism became very prevalent in the U.S. And a nice portion of Hollywood, especially in the 30s and 40s (before Stalin), attended communist party meetings because communism sounded like a nice alternative to the Depression. Now, with the Red Scare in full effect, Hollywood, with its loose morals and subversive tendencies, was an easy target for communist witch hunters. So in 1947, HUAC (the House of Un-American Activities) summoned members of Hollywood to Washington to investigate whether or not there were comunists among the ranks. And some people, like Walt Disney and Adolphe Menjou, were outspoken against communists and named names, while others, like Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, signed a petition to protect the first amendment and refused to.

About 40 people were called to testify. 19 of them refused to. 11 of those 19 were called before the committee. Of the 11, 10 refused to answer the question of whether or not they were or were communists on the grounds of freedom of speech and assembly. And Hollywood, under immense pressure from the government (which was the last body they wanted to piss off, with the issue of them having a monopoly on theaters, the constant issue of outside censorship, and the government never having quite been able to come after them despite definite means to do so), decided to blacklist those ten, who became known as the “Hollywood Ten.” And what happened was, the studios basically had to say they would never hire anyone who was a communist or a communist sympathizer.

So from 1947 on, the blacklist grew, and it had huge repercussions on Hollywood, notably the demise of RKO and the death of John Garfield (who was blacklisted and was under so much stress because of that, that he ended up dying of a heart attack — at 39!). Outspoken Democrats were basically pushed out, and people like Henry Fonda found it very difficult to find work on the screen and stayed on the stage until the whole thing blew over (Fonda didn’t make a feature film between 1948 and 1955). Those who refused to name names were blacklisted, and those who named names got others blacklisted. (Famously, Elia Kazan named names and as a result, wrote On the Waterfront.) And those who were blacklisted (specifically the writers) would start to use fronts to get their work up on the screen. (Dalton Trumbo wrote Roman Holiday and didn’t get credit for it until years later when the blacklist was over.) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1951

Love me some 1951. Some of the decisions are a bit — not great — but honestly, the way I’d have voted it, I’d have given everything to one film. And I mean everything.

An American in Paris wins Best Picture. Not the worst choice, but not a particularly great one, either. I, personally, would have gone with A Streetcar Named Desire, which won this category, Best Supporting Actor for Karl Malden (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Hunter (talked about here). Best Actor was Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen (talked about here), beating Brando for Streetcar, and somehow being okay in the process. And Best Director was George Stevens for A Place in the Sun (talked about here), a decision I really just don’t like at all. Not even a little bit.

And this category — Vivien Leigh is like Daniel Day-Lewis. When she’s on — there’s no other choice. Wow.

BEST ACTRESS – 1951

And the nominees were…

Katharine Hepburn, The African Queen

Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire

Eleanor Parker, Detective Story

Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun

Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1951

I should dislike 1951 more than I do. The big decisions were terrible. An American in Paris is a film that should not have won Best Picture at all. It’s a good film, but, A Streetcar Named Desire is better. You can tell An American in Paris was a cop out decision because it didn’t win Best Director (and when a Best Picture is directed by Vincente Minnelli and doesn’t win Best Director, there’s a problem).

George Stevens won Best Director for A Place in the Sun (talked about here), which is just a terrible, horrible decision. And I love George Stevens. But it was terrible. Best Actor was Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen (talked about here), which, while the performance wasn’t particularly outstanding (especially next to Brando in Streetcar), Bogie deserved an Oscar (and Brando won two of his own, so it works out).

And the rest of the awards for this year rightfully went to A Streetcar Named Desire. Vivien Leigh wins Best Actress for the film, Karl Malden wins Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), and then there’s this category. All three were perfect decisions.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1951

And the nominees were…

Joan Blondell, The Blue Veil

Mildred Dunnock, Death of a Salesman

Lee Grant, Detective Story

Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire

Thelma Ritter, The Mating Season (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1951

The great thing about 1951, for the acting categories, is that you can just say, A Streetcar Named Desire, and that eliminates any questions. The bad thing about 1951 is that A Streetcar Named Desire didn’t win Best Picture. Which is just strange.

An American in Paris wins Best Picture. I’m not sure anyone has ever figured out why. Even stranger is that the film’s director, Vincente Minnelli, didn’t win Best Director for it. George Stevens won Best Director for A Place in the Sun (a terrible decision, talked about here). This reminds me of the year after this. The Best Picture/Best Director split alongside the best film not winning Best Picture makes me think they deliberately didn’t want to vote for it. I don’t get it. Streetcar is an American classic.

Humphrey Bogart (finally) wins Best Actor this year for The African Queen (talked about here). This was a career win, pure and simple. The clear best performance was Brando in Streetcar, but Streetcar winning the rest of the acting awards — Best Actress for Vivien Leigh, Best Supporting Actress for Kim Hunter, and this category — probably made it feel like overload. Plus Bogart is one of the few names (alongside Henry Fonda and John Wayne) who, if they won an Oscar for any performance, any year, no one would question it because they are who they are. So, I accept the decision (plus Brando won twice after this), but based on what performance won and what didn’t, it was a terrible decision.

So, that’s 1951. Great, outside of Best Picture and Best Director. What the hell happened?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1951

And the nominees were…

Leo Genn, Quo Vadis

Karl Malden, A Streetcar Named Desire

Kevin McCarthy, Death of a Salesman

Peter Ustinov, Quo Vadis

Gig Young, Come Fill the Cup (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1951

I like 1951. I don’t agree with the Best Picture or Best Director choice, but as a whole, I like this year. An American in Paris is a good film, but not one that should be winning Best Picture. There are better musicals to choose from during this period, specifically Singin’ in the Rain and The Band Wagon. I don’t get the preoccupation with choosing a musical over an American classic like A Streetcar Named Desire. I don’t really have too much of a problem with it though. Streetcar pretty much swept all the other categories, so, it sort of balances out. What’s strange is that they gave Best Director to George Stevens for A Place in the Sun. George Stevens is a great director, but as I said here, you have John Huston, Elia Kazan, William Wyler and Vincente Minnelli up as well this year. Okay, Huston has one, Kazan has one and Wyler has two. But why not Minnelli? His movie won Best Picture! (See what I mean? Some decisions are just baffling and inconsistent.)

The rest of this year, though, is pretty straightforward. A Streetcar Named Desire sweeps almost everything. It wins Best Actress for Vivien Leigh, Best Supporting Actor for Karl Malden and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Hunter. All perfect decisions and very deserving actors. So, in all, three really strong decisions, one I don’t like but can accept, one terrible one, and then what remains the most fascinating decision of this year — this category.

Here you have Marlon Brando, who gives one of the most defining performances of his career (alongside the other two he won for, The Godfather and On the Waterfront), and Humphrey Bogart, a living legend who rightfully should have won an Oscar for Casablanca (somehow Paul Lukas wins for a performance that shouldn’t even be nominated, let alone win, there). What makes the category so interesting is that Streetcar won all the other acting awards, and here you have this category, which looks like it should be the biggest shoo-in of all. I mean, Brando — Stanley Kowalski — no contest, right? One of the most powerful performances in the history of cinema. And yet — Humphrey Bogart. And, especially now, after the fact — we know Brando wins two more. So what seems like a very cut-and-dry category becomes infinitely more complex and layered. I really like this category.

BEST ACTOR – 1951

And the nominees were…

Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen

Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire

Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun

Arthur Kennedy, Bright Victory

Frederic March, Death of a Salesman (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings — Best Director

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Actor. Just in case the one big article is too much for you and you just want one specific category.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for. Anything in RED means I haven’t seen the film yet.)


Best Director

2013 – 1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity *

2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

3. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

4. David O. Russell, American Hustle

5. Alexander Payne, Nebraska

2012 – 1. Ang Lee, Life of Pi *

2. Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

3. David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

4. Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Michael Haneke, Amour

2011  1. Martin Scorsese, Hugo *

2. Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

3. Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

4. Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

5. Alexander Payne, The Descendants (more…)


The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide — Best Director

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide, specifically for Best Director.

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…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings — Best Supporting Actress

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Supporting Actress. Just in case the one big article is too much for you and you just want one specific category.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for.)


Best Supporting Actress

2013 – 1. Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

2. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave *

3. June Squibb, Nebraska

4. Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

5. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

2012 – 1. Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables *

2. Sally Field, Lincoln

3. Helen Hunt, The Sessions

4. Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

5. Amy Adams, The Master

2011 – 1. Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

2. Jessica Chastain, The Help *

3. Octavia Spencer, The Help

4. Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

5. Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids (more…)


The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide — Best Supporting Actress

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide, specifically for Best Supporting Actress.

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…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings – Best Supporting Actor

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Supporting Actor. Just in case the one big article is too much for you and you just want one specific category.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for. Anything in RED means I haven’t seen the film yet.)


Best Supporting Actor

2013 – 1. Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street *

2. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

3. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

4. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

5. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

2012 – 1. Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook *

2. Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

3. Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

5. Alan Arkin, Argo

2011  1. Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close *

2. Christopher Plummer, Beginners

3. Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

4. Nick Nolte, Warrior

5. Jonah Hill, Moneyball (more…)


The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide — Best Supporting Actor

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide, specifically for Best Supporting Actor.

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…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings – Best Actress

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Actress.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for. Anything in RED means I haven’t seen the film yet.)


Best Actress

2013 – 1. Judi Dench, Philomena *

2. Sandra Bullock, Gravity

3. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

4. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

5. Amy Adams, American Hustle

2012 – 1. Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook *

2. Naomi Watts, The Impossible

3. Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

4. Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

5. Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

2011  1. Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo *

2. Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

3. Viola Davis, The Help

4. Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

5. Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs (more…)


The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide – Best Actress

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide, specifically for Best Actress.

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…)


The Oscar Quest: Rankings – Best Actor

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Actor. Just in case the one big article is too much for you and you just want one specific category.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for. Anything in RED means I haven’t seen the film yet.)

Best Actor

2013 – 1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club *

2. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

3. Bruce Dern, Nebraska

4. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

5. Christian Bale, American Hustle

2012 – 1. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln *

2. Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

3. Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

4. Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

5. Denzel Washington, Flight

2011  1. Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy *

2. Jean Dujardin, The Artist

3. George Clooney, The Descendants

4. Brad Pitt, Moneyball

5. Demián Bichir, A Better Life (more…)