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…)
1989 is pretty self-explanatory. Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture. One final “fuck you” from the Academy to end the 80s. When ranking the 80s Best Pictures, Miss Daisy is not the worst of the bunch. In probably like 6th or 7th. But in the category it was in — a terrible decision.
It beat — for those who haven’t memorized it like I have — Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July, My Left Foot and Dead Poet’s Society. Just one, “oh god” after another, isn’t it? Four clearly superior films. Or three and a, “I’d probably take that one over it too.” Still — not good. Jessica Tandy won Best Actress for Miss Daisy, which was a good choice. A veteran win was fine, since there wasn’t really another choice. Also, Oliver Stone won Best Director for Born on the Fourth of July, which I was against here. Brenda Fricker won Best Supporting Actress for My Left Foot, which I liked a lot here. And Denzel Washington wins Best Supporting Actor for Glory, which I’m very okay with.
And of course, we all know about this category. Clearly one of the best decision ever made. Which means, aside from the awful Best Picture choice and poor Best Director choice, this was actually a really good year. Damn shame what they did to that dog.
BEST ACTOR – 1989
And the nominees were…
Kenneth Branagh, Henry V
Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July
Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot
Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy
Robin Williams, Dead Poet’s Society (more…)
Haven’t had one of these in a while. A category where I actually, by my rules, need to look for alternatives. Since it has been a while — recap:
My rule is, in any given category, if I disagree with at least 3 of the nominees, and really think the category is weak, I’ll look up alternatives from other films of the year and see if the category is weak because the year was weak or because the Academy made shitty picks.
First, before I get into the category, let’s recap the rest of the 1989 Oscar year, because it’s not much better. Best Picture went to Driving Miss Daisy, and I think those three words already evoke a reaction. This is one of those movies that people know — “They fucked up.” The movie isn’t as bad as its reputation suggests, but — it was up against Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poet’s Society, Field of Dreams, and My Left Foot — it’s clearly not the best film from that list. Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot, in a no-brainer acting decision. Dude was incredible. Best Actress went to Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy, which is cool, I guess. She was like 90 at the time. Best Supporting Actor went to Denzel Washington in Glory, and Best Director, which I’ve discussed already, went to Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July.
Now, let’s get back to the alternatives. Honestly, I can’t find any. Wow. This year was weak for supporting actresses. The best I can do is, maybe, someone from Do the Right Thing? Ruby Dee? Either way, poor showing. (more…)
1989. A number. Another summer. Why that wasn’t nominated, I have no idea. But, you know, shit happens.
1989 goes down as one of the worst Best Picture choices of all time, and rightfully so. It was a terrible choice. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a Best Picture movie. The movie was Driving Miss Daisy, which beat out such films as My Left Foot, Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July and Dead Poet’s Society to win Best Picture. It’s the last (and really only) film to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination. Not win. Nomination. The only other films to do that are Grand Hotel (which only got the one nomination for Best Picture) and Wings (which was in first Oscar year). Both of those came really before the Academy figured themselves out. Assuming the Oscars as we know them really started in 1934, Driving Miss Daisy is the only film to win Best Picture without even a Best Director nomination. Thus ends the bad decisions of the 80s. Then the 90s came and they only made mistakes on like, two out of the ten years. Which is pretty good.
Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot, and Brenda Fricker won Best Supporting Actress for that film as well. Best Actress went to Jessica Tandy for Miss Daisy, because — well, she was old. Best Supporting Actor went to Denzel Washington for Glory. Not really bad decisions on anything except Best Picture there. I mean, Tandy wasn’t the best choice, but the category didn’t have a clear winner to take away from the sentimentality of the veteran nomination. So, you know, it doesn’t seem so bad.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1989
And the nominees were…
Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors
Kenneth Branagh, Henry V
Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot
Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July
Peter Weir, Dead Poet’s Society (more…)