Posts tagged “1954

Mike’s Top Ten of 1954

1954 is notable for having three of the absolute greatest films ever made in it. Straight up, when people rank the best of the best — these movies will show up within the first 150.

Now’s also a good time to talk about the big elephant in the room as it relates to the 50s — television. The rise of television, coupled with studios having to give up ownership of their theaters meant they were increasingly nervous about the future of their product. (That’s right, this has been going on for years.) So they started making these gimmicks to get people into the theater. First, it was CinemaScope. And Cinerama. And all the different variants. Then it was 3D. There are a bunch of movies that were originally released in 3D spread around the 50s.

The other thing they did was find things TV couldn’t offer, like exotic locations. There was an increasing trend in the 50s of “runaway production,” which was essentially going off and shooting films entirely in other countries. The big one in this era was Italy. A lot of movies were shot on location in Italy in the 50s. (more…)


A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1954 – On the Waterfront

I think I mentioned 1954 in the intro for these articles. I said how 1954 poses so many problems, given the incredible amount of choices out there.

To run down the serious choices: Seven Samurai, Rear Window, Godzilla. I can probably include a few more less serious ones (since they won’t top those three). And yet, Waterfront still seems like the choice over all of those. Because it is one of the most acclaimed films of all time, the most acclaimed film of the year, and is a huge film for the actual year of 1954, because it is ultimately about blacklisting and the House of Un-American Activities. It’s the perfect article.

Oh, and there’s that whole, “Coulda had class, coulda been a conteder” speech.

But who remembers that, right? (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 – 1954

1954 is a very simple year to recap, so I’ll use this introduction to talk about the widespread changes in the film industry during the 50s. (I’ll save HUAC for 1952.) The Paramount Decision took effect by January 1, 1950. So the 50s as a decade was the first decade where the studios did not have a monopoly on production, distribution and exhibition. They no longer controlled the theaters. So during the 50s was the rise of independent cinema. Drive-Ins. Exploitation movies. Where people like Roger Corman got their start. This thinned out the profit for studios, because they had to fight to get people to come see their movies. Not to mention the other thing that threatened the studios in the 50s —

Television. The rise of television was a huge threat to the studios. The studios needed to find a way to get people back into the theater. So you saw these gimmicks start to pop up. Cinerama, Todd AO, Cinemascope — which were all essentially widescreen. You also saw 3D — things like that. Things you could only see in the theater. They also increased “runaway production” in the 50s, shooting more films on location in other countries (Quest examples are Summertime and this year’s Three Coin’s in the Fountain), to give them that feeling that only the movies could.) This also lead the studios into that corner they’d be in during the 60s, trying to use big budget movies to get people into the theater, like Cleopatra and The Sound of Music. Not to mention, the 50s were also huge culturally, with the rise of the “younger” culture. Elvis, rock ‘n’ roll, movies like Rock Around the Clock and The Girl Can’t Help It. (And you saw this reflected in movies when the children of the 50s, like Lucas and Coppola and Spielberg, started making movies.)

As for 1954 as an Oscar year: On the Waterfront basically sweeps. Best Picture, Best Director for Elia Kazan (talked about here), Best Actor for Marlon Brando (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint (talked about here). All perfect decisions. Other winners were Grace Kelly as Best Actress for The Country Girl (talked about here), perhaps the most contested Best Actress decision of all time (one I feel was a good one), and Edmond O’Brien as Best Supporting Actor for The Barefoot Contessa (talked about here), which was good based on the actor but not so much based on the role. Though with three Waterfront nominees in the category, it stands to reason why it happened.

So that’s 1954. A strong Oscar year, not a single bad decision. This is definitely one of the better years in Academy history.

BEST PICTURE – 1954

And the nominees were…

The Caine Mutiny (Columbia)

The Country Girl (Paramount)

On the Waterfront (Columbia)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Three Coins in the Fountain (20th Century Fox) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1954

1954 is a real easy year to recap.

On the Waterfront wins Best Picture, Best Director for Elia Kazan (talked about here), Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint (talked about here), and this category. All perfect decisions, obviously.

The two non-Waterfront winners were, first, Grace Kelly as Best Actress for The Country Girl. This is perhaps the most hotly contested Oscar category of all time, so you can read my thoughts on the matter here. And the other was Best Supporting Actor, which went to Edmond O’Brien for The Barefoot Contessa (talked about here). I’d have preferred a Waterfront nominee, but O’Brien was definitely worth an Oscar, so the decision works.

And then here — it’s Brando, it’s Waterfront. That “contender” speech alone gives him this Oscar.

BEST ACTOR – 1954

And the nominees were…

Humphrey Bogart, The Caine Mutiny

Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront

Bing Crosby, The Country Girl

James Mason, A Star is Born

Dan O’Herlihy, Robinson Crusoe (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1954

This is the Oscar category. The quintessential category. The one everyone argues over. Grace Kelly or Judy Garland? Before we get into that, let’s recap 1954.

On the Waterfront wins Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando, Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint (talked about here), and Best Director for Elia Kazan (talked about here). All of them were perfect decisions. Then Edmond O’Brien wins Best Supporting Actor for The Barefoot Contessa (talked about here), which is historically a good decision, even though he didn’t give the best performance in the category.

Okay, back to the good part. This category may be the single strongest Best Actress category of all time. Most people look at Garland and Kelly, but look at the other three nominees — Dandridge, Hepburn, Wyman — there’s really great stuff there, too. But we all know this category comes down to Judy and Grace. So I’ll kill the suspense now and tell you flat out — Grace deserved this. Nothing against Judy, but when you weigh the two performances against one another, and then factor in the year Grace had on top of it — she’s actually an easy winner here. I know Groucho Marx called this “the biggest robbery since Brinks,” but it really wasn’t. Not when you factor in everything.

BEST ACTRESS – 1954

And the nominees were…

Dorothy Dandridge, Carmen Jones

Judy Garland, A Star is Born

Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina

Grace Kelly, The Country Girl

Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1954

1954. On the Waterfront. Case closed. It wins Best Picture, Best Director for Elia Kazan (talked about here), Best Actor for Marlon Brando and Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint (talked about here). All four perfect decisions for all time.

The other decision that wasn’t this category was Grace Kelly for Best Actress for The Country Girl. This is perhaps the single most contested decision in Academy history, as a lot of people feel Judy Garland should have won for A Star is Born. I, personally feel the category is too close to call, and the fact that Grace Kelly also made Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, Green Fire and The Bridges at Tokyo-Ri, decidedly tips the scale solely in her favor. That’s just an incredible list there for a single calendar year.

Which brings us to this category. Also, look how short this synopsis was. That’s called restraint. It doesn’t happen often with me. Anyway, this category — the Waterfront log jam led to Edmond O’Brien winning, which, I’m glad happened. Because Edmond O’Brien is the fucking man.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1954

And the nominees were…

Lee J. Cobb, On the Waterfront

Karl Malden, On the Waterfront

Edmund O’Brien, The Barefoot Contessa

Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront

Tom Tully, The Caine Mutiny (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…)


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

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