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…)
I actually really like 1955 as a year, even though most people would probably see this as a blank year for the Academy. The five Best Picture choices were a pretty weak set overall (at least two of the choices probably shouldn’t have even been nominated), and, while I think they made the best decision, their decision was not really one that would stand out among the other films that have won in the category.
Marty wins Best Picture, which I think was the best decision based on the nominees. It’s a film I love a lot. But I’m under no illusions that this film would ever win outside of a year like this. Not that I care. Delbert Mann winning Best Director for the film (which I talked about here), is a decision I don’t think was totally necessary, but I understand it. So I guess that’s okay. Ernest Borgnine winning Best Actor this year (which I talked about here) is also a decision that I like, but only because my first choice, Frank Sinatra, already had an Oscar, So it kind of worked out in the end. Best Supporting Actor was Jack Lemmon for Mister Roberts, which I think is a great decision, and Best Supporting Actress was Jo Van Fleet for East of Eden, which, I haven’t fully made up my mind yet (but I’m about 95% sure I’m gonna go another way).
And then we have this category. This category was really only between two people, and, while I can understand why Anna Magnani won here — when you watch the performance, you can see why she would win — I still don’t get why they wouldn’t give it to Susan Hayward here. She’s been nominated a bunch of times by now, hasn’t won, is someone they’re clearly looking to give an Oscar, and she’s playing a type of character she excels at — the pitiful drunk. That’s her character. Plus, this is the first time she’s really nailed it and is really worth voting for. And you don’t give it to her? I don’t get it.
BEST ACTRESS – 1955
And the nominees were…
Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow
Katharine Hepburn, Summertime
Jennifer Jones, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo
Eleanor Parker, I’ll Cry Tomorrow (more…)
1955 is usually a “skip” year for most people. That is, when you’re reading through a list, looking at all the high and low points, like, “On the Waterfront, all right!”, or, “Around the World in 80 Days? Really?”, when you see 1955 and see Marty, most people, either not recognizing it or viewing it as a kind of blank, just mentally skip past it without a word. Usually they’ll be say the title, but mostly as a mental pause, as they skip ahead to the next film.
The reason for this is that Marty, while a fantastic film utterly deserving of Best Picture this year, isn’t a big film. In any other year, it probably wouldn’t come close to winning. But, it wasn’t in the strongest of categories. And since it doesn’t have too much of a lasting reputation like the films around it do, most people skip it. Which is a shame. It is a great film. Ernest Borgnine won Best Actor for it, and I’ve talked about how, while I wouldn’t have voted for him, it’s great that he won. Also this year, Anna Magnani won Best Actress for The Rose Tattoo, in what was mostly a weak year. I’m somewhat undecided on my feelings on that. Best Supporting Actor went to Jack Lemmon for Mister Roberts, and Best Supporting Actress went to Jo Van Fleet for East of Eden. See? Nothing here particularly stands out, which is why this year, understandably, yet somewhat unfairly, keeps getting skipped over and overlooked.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1955
And the nominees were…
Elia Kazan, East of Eden
David Lean, Summertime
Joshua Logan, Picnic
Delbert Mann, Marty
John Sturges, Bad Day at Black Rock (more…)
The great thing about 1955 is, it’s one of those years that’s so bland that it trips you up when you go back to it. It’s not that they made poor choices (far from it, actually), it’s just that it’s one of those years where, when you go back, it’s just a blank. There’s no real excitement or anything to make it stick in your mind. I don’t have enough separation from Oscar years to really know how accurate any example is going to be. But think something like — I don’t know, Super Bowls? One of those boring years, like 2005, when the Steelers beat the Seahawks. I always forget that one. It was boring. You have to think about it for a second (unless you have something that makes the memory catch quicker, like, winning $500 during the game. In which case you know goddamn well who won that game. You did). It’s like that.
Anyway, the reason it’s one of those “dead years” — is because the film that won Best Picture was Marty. Marty is a film that was originally a made for TV movie that they adapted for the screen. It still plays kind of like a play, since it’s mostly two people talking and has about four locations total. And it’s only like 95 minutes, which clocks in as the shortest Best Picture of all time. It does not, however, win for shortest Best Picture title. That goes to Gigi. And, Wings. But, it’s one of those films that, while great, probably would not have won if it were nominated any other year.
Delbert Mann won Best Director for the movie — I guess because it’s one of those, “Well, we’re giving it to one, might as well give it to the other one too,” as most years tend to work. Best Actress went to Anna Magnani for The Rose Tattoo. Who? Exactly. This is why no one remembers this year. Best Supporting Actor went to an actor in one of his first films roles — Jack Lemmon. Best Supporting Actress went to Jo Van Fleet for East of Eden. So it’s one of those years where — nothing makes it stand out from the ones around it. Namely, the year before when On the Waterfront wins and the year after, when Around the World in 80 Days wins. (more…)