Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ranking the Best Pictures of the 1980's

Since I have completed watching every nominated movie from this decade now, the time has come for more ranking.

10. Terms of Endearment (1983) – A terrible film from a rather terrible year.  The 80’s were not known for making good movies and this is a perfect example of one of them.  It’s a sappy tearjerker of a film that had the luck to come out at the right time.  Just like a team that finishes one game above five hundred but win’s their division, this is what you get.

9. Out of Africa (1985) – Talk about competing in a weak division, another example of a film that had no serious competition.  Very stylish but boring and tedious, a perfect example of what the 1980’s were like in Hollywood.

8. Chariots of Fire (1981) – The start of a long run of bad movies (see above) to come from the decade.  With the exception of Ordinary People and Gandhi, this film is typical of the type of film that won best picture during the decade.  A simple slightly boring movie about English runners in the 1924 Olympics doesn't rank well against the other movies from the decade.

7. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - An aptly fitting film to close out the weak decade of the 80's.  A simple heartfelt drama about an old woman unable to drive and her son hiring her a driver.  She doesn't like or trust him but they eventually learn to become friends.  It's not a terrible film, but when compared to other films that won it's not that good.

6. Rain Man (1988) - Another typical 1980's film, although great acting from Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruse.  It did come from a weak decade and a very soft year so it really isn't much of a classic.  Simple drama about a man finding out he has a mentally disabled older brother and finding himself, and a lot of money, as they go across country.  It was the first movie that I saw in the theater before it won best picture so I was rooting for it back in 1989.

5. Platoon (1986) - Hollywood's attempt to wash away their guilt for treating Vietnam veterans like dirt after the war.  There was a popular movement in the mid 80's to finally recognize Vietnam vets including parades and movies like this.  Talk with a vet who served and they will tell you that this movie is pure fiction, not much of it based on reality.  It does have some strong acting and to date the last Vietnam War film to win best picture.

4. Amadeus (1984) - A rather good film about Mozart, although not very historically accurate but very well done.  One of the finer best pictures from the decade that produced some of the worst best pictures.  The costumes were great, very good acting and the soundtrack isn't too shabby either.

3. The Last Emperor (1987) - A stylish epic that doesn't get the recognition it deserves.  Made during a decade where most movies were bland and meaningless, this is one of the few that was very well done.  Based on the life story of the last emperor of China it shows his life as he grows up, deals with WWII and imprisoned under the dirge of communism.

2. Gandhi (1982) - The grand epic that is an island in a sea of horrible movies.  One of the few best pictures of the decade and ranks well among other best picture winners.  A well done bio-pic about the life of Gandhi well acted and great cinematography.  One of those films that still stands up over time.

1. Ordinary People (1980) - Clearly the best picture to win from the decade, but it still riles me that it beat Raging Bull.  Either way it is one of the best dramas to be made, a simple but powerful film that will stand the test of time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And Then There Were Sixteen

What does a teenage Canadian singing phenomenon, killer eyebrows, disabled war vet, childhood memories during the war and a former mental patient becoming a dancer all have in common? If you said twentieth US Vice President Chester Arthur, you would technically be correct, but that wasn't the answer I was looking for. It's actually all the films I watched recently. Nope, just kidding you it really is Chester Arthur, but here are some more films I have seen lately.
 
 
Three Smart Girls (1936) – Deanna Durbin’s first movie, a comedy about three sisters trying to keep their divorced father from remarrying and get their parents back together.  Not much of a story and generally silly by today’s standards, but an enjoyable film with a young Ray Milland long before his greatest acting role, having his head attached to Rosey Greer.
 
 
So what was the best film of 1936?  No matter how you cut it, it will always end up with The Great Ziegfeld.  His influence over the previous forty years in entertainment was still strongly felt even after his death, so as a dedication film it was going to win.  And it is a very enjoyable and well-acted movie.  At a very close second is The Story of Louis Pasteur with Paul Muni in one of his greatest roles.  Inches after is Libeled Lady one of the funniest movies you will ever see.  Fourth is Dodsworth a great drama that doesn’t get shown or mentioned much but still a great movie.  Fifth is Mr. Deeds Goes to Town because there is only so low you can put a Capra movie.  The other half would include Anthony Adverse as sixth, A Tale of Two Cites seventh and San Francisco as eighth.  To be honest those three could move and swap places, they are all really good movies.  Ninth is Romeo and Juliet, not that it was bad just that there were so many other great films that year.  And tenth is Three Smart Girls, still a good movie, not as good as the others it was nominated against.
 
 
Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938) – Tyrone Power’s eyebrows and Tyrone Power with Dom Ameche showing the rise of jazz in the early twentieth century.  Lots of Irvin Berlin music including the film’s title, makes it a good musical, but not much more than a good musical.  There is the standard love story triangle but the enjoyment comes from the classic jazz.
 
 
And this too closes out another year.  For all practical purposes the decade is finished but there are still two that I hold out hope for to see.  So this is where it gets tough.  But the best film was You Can’t Take It With You, a great Capra classic and Lionel Barrymore in one of his best roles ever.  Right behind in second is Jean Renoir’s classic Grand Illusion, the first foreign language film to be nominated for best picture and one of the best films ever made.  Third is Test Pilot was a great all-star cast.  Fourth is Boys Town the sappy but great classic.  Fifth would be Jezebel carried by Bettie Davis.  And the second half goes with The Citadel in sixth, great acting by Robert Donat which helped him win best actor the next year, seventh is The Adventures of Robin Hood in all its Technicolor splendor, Pygmalion which was the non-musical My Fair Lady is eighth, ninth is Alexander’s Ragtime Band a good musical and tenth is Four Daughters a nice drama but nowhere as good as the top.
 
 
Coming Home (1978) – Talk about a depressing movie.  Strong acting roles makes it watchable but overall not that great of a movie.  Jane Fonda’s husband, Bruce Dern goes off to fight in Vietnam.  While she is volunteering at the veterans’ hospital she meets and falls in love with Jon Voight.  More of a political statement than an actual drama or war film, it has become rather forgotten as time as gone on.
 
 
To rank out 1978 is very easy at first then harder to figure which was the worst.  The Deer Hunter was the best movie and still over thirty five years later a classic movie.  While Michael Crimino gets a lot a grief for Heaven’s Gate, which is also an amazing movie, he made a strong and powerful movie with a great cast.  Clearly second is Midnight Express one of the most chilling and intense movies ever made and reminds you not to smuggle drugs out of Turkey.  Third only by default is Coming Home since it’s only slightly less bad than the last two movies nominated this year.  In fourth is An Unmarried Woman only climbing out of last place since it is a good period piece of the late 1970’s, but not that good of a movie.  Last is Heaven Can Wait which is a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan and not the original Heaven Can Wait.  It’s like I decided to remake Raiders Of The Lost Ark but called it Apocalypse Now.  I recommend avoiding the 1978 version and see the original from 1941.
 
 
Hope And Glory (1987) – A view of WWII through the eyes of an English child who has to leave the city and live with his grandparents in the country.  Less of a war drama and more of a slice of life film, it’s a well-acted film that is enjoyable and was worthy of a best picture nomination.
 
 
This is the last film I had to see no only for this year but for the decade.  Stay tuned for my rankings of the best pictures of the decade and the ranking of all fifty nominated movies.  For this year The Last Emperor was the best movie and has become somewhat of a lost classic.  I’d say that has more to do with the decade, while being one of the worst in movie history, 1987 was a stronger year, but the negative stigma of being made in the ‘80’s doesn’t help.  Second is Broadcast News a quirky comedy drama that got Albert Brooks an Oscar nomination for supporting actor.  Third is Fatal Attraction not so much as a film but for the effect it had on society even to this day.  Fourth is Hope and Glory a standard type of film from the decade but done well.  Fifth is Moonstruck, not a great movie but a popular one that everyone like.
 
 
Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – Bradley Cooper plays a former teacher who is taken in by his parents after leaving a mental hospital after recovering from a nervous breakdown.  He is trying to see his ex-wife and tries using Jennifer Lawrence to connect with her.  She in turn is using him to compete in a dance contest.  Great acting, especially from Jennifer Lawrence and a strong cast makes this one of the better films of the year.
 
 
But is it the best film of the year?  No, but it is right now in the top three.  I would still rank Argo first, Beasts of the Southern Wild second, Silver Linings Playbook in third bumping Life of Pi to fourth.  Fifth is Les Miserables and staying far in last place is Zero Dark Thirty.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ranking the Nominated Pictures of the 1940's

Since I have seen all the films of the decade, time to rank them.  All seventy of them.

70. Wilson (1944) - Clearly the worst movie of the decade to be nominated.  A sad attempt to white wash (pun intended) a rather bad president.  It would be like making a movie about Pol Pot and only talk about his love of flowers.  Don't see it.

69. The Great Dictator (1940) - Charlie Chaplin was better when he did silent movies.  Personally I think this movie was a bit overrated, not his best work.  In a different decade, such as the 1950's it may have ranked higher, but this was a decade with lots of good movies.

68. Crossfire (1947) - Another muckraking type of film.  This one attacking anti-semtism, which is important and is good that they made a film about it.  But it came out the same year as Gentleman's Agreement, which did it much better.  Also falls into the trap of making the villain one dimensional and not have human emotions.

67. A Letter to Three Wives (1949) - A rather boring and confusing film about three wives who get a letter saying their husband will be running off with someone they know.  The film is shown through flashbacks and basically shows how each woman thinks her husband will be the one to leave.  And then none of them do and you wonder why did I watch this film.  Save time, watch the remake done on The Simpsons, much better.

66. Heaven Can Wait (1943) - An interesting film about a man waiting to get into heaven while his life is reviewed by the devil.  Through flashbacks you see he was a horrible person, but somehow still gets into heaven.  Thankfully never remade except for the title with Warren Beaty used to remake Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

65. 49th Parallel (1942) - Made during WWII about German pilots invading Canada.  Does have the great Laurance Olivier but he dies right after the opening credits and then becomes rather unwatchable.

64. The Letter (1940) - A remake of a 1920's film that was another negative effect of the Hays Code that decided to clean up movies.  Not one of the best films of the decade, Bettie Davis has been much better in other films.

63. The Pride of the Yankees (1942) - Gary Cooper is amazing as always.  A great bio-pic.  A classic movie.  But it is about the Yankees who I hate more than anything in the world since I am a proud Mets fan.  It is a good movie but my hatred of the worst team in any sport pushes it further down.

62. The Little Foxes (1941) - The issues in a southern aristocrat family from the early 20th century.  Bettie Davis is very good and it is well directed.  But it is slow and rather dull.

61. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) - A nice musical about George Cohan, except I don't like musicals and George Cohan was before my time, way before my time.  James Cagney is good and is one of his best known films.

60. In Which We Serve (1943) - A very depressing WWII movie about sailors trying to survive in the ocean after this ship is attacked by the German Army.  More propaganda than entertainment, still interesting to watch WWII movies made during the war.

59. Wake Island (1942) - Just like this one.  It was actually released before the battle was even over.  Spoiler alert, we lost this battle.  But made at the right time as propaganda to encourage people to get behind the war effort, another interesting film to watch.

58. The Song of Bernadette (1943) - Based on the alleged miracle in France in the 19th century where a young woman found a mineral spring where it was no where to be found.  She becomes a nun because she believes this is her calling after finding this spring.  Rather well done in that it doesn't get too religious but at the same time it holds to it's values.

57. One Foot in Heaven (1941) - A feelgood movie about a Methodist minister who travels all around the country building churches and the drama that ensues with his family and communities.  Not a great movie, but a wholesome family film that is enjoyable.  Fredric March is pretty much the entire film, but he was good at that.

56. Johnny Belinda (1948) - The one that finally got Lew Ayres an Oscar nomination, he got missed for All Quiet on The Western Front somehow.  A Canadian doctor teaches a deaf woman how to communicate after everyone in town treats her like an animal.  It gets very ugly and scandals, murder and trials ensue.  Jane Wyman won a hard earned Oscar for best actress.

55. All The King's Men (1949) - The last of the muckraking films of the decade to win.  Loosely based on the life of Huey Long former governor of Louisiana, it shows a hard working man becoming a corrupt politician.  A good film but if this happened today he would end up getting a reality show.

54. The Razor's Edge (1946) - The story of a WWI veteran who decides to drop out and travel the world to find himself.  Tyrone Powell, eyebrows and all, shun love and money in an attempt to understand life.  Think of it as an early Easy Rider without the scene where Jack Nicholson gets his head bashed in.

53. The Yearling (1946) - A family style movie of a boy who wants to take care of a deer that keeps eating their crops.  Does have Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman so it carries some weight.  Think of it as a Disney type of movie that is good for kids to watch.

52. Watch on the Rhine (1943) - Another of those WWII films made during the war, this time with Nazi spies.  Bettie Davis is great, as always.  The villains are a bit comical, but the film isn't too bad.  Since they didn't know how the war would end, the film ending is the unique style you would see from other war based films of this era.

51. Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - Another great muckraking film of the time, rather dated today.  Gregory Peck takes on anti-semitism by changing his last name and tries to get into hotels and other places where Jewish people were not allowed.  Dean Stockwell is his son who gets beaten up at school because the kids think he's Jewish.  In the late 1940's this was a big issue, not so much today.

50. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - Oh the cheerful Joad family and their trek from Oklahoma to California.  The movie is much more cheerful than the novel, which isn't that hard if you have read the book.  Very good acting and does tell a powerful story, that it was not fun to be a migrant farmer in the 1930's.

49. Suspicion (1941) - Standard Hitchcock mystery, woman thinks her husband is trying to killer her, blah blah blah, life insurance, blah, blah, blah, poison milk, blah, blah, blah.  Does have Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine who won the Oscar for best actress, so it isn't that bad.

48. Foreign Correspondent (1940) - A slightly better Hitchcock film, one of two nominated in 1940.  Joel McCrea is an American journalist who gets caught up in a spy mystery.  Made while England was at war but just before the US got involved.

47. The Pied Piper (1942) - Another interesting film about WWII made during the war.  This one about an Englishman on vacation in France when Germany invades, great timing I know.  He is asked to take the children of the inn he is staying at with him to escape the war.  This soon grows into many more children.  Otto Preminger even has a small acting role.  Has a young Roddy McDowall years before he would play his greatest role as Cornelius in Planet of the Apes.

46. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) - Orson Well's follow up to Citizen Kane. Basically a dysfunctional family before the days of Arrested Development, and nowhere nearly as funny. Not a very memorial film but good enough to be nominated.

45. Random Harvest (1942) - Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson in a strange love story about a man who has a head injury and loses his memory. He starts a new life and his wife goes to work for him but doesn't tell him that she is his wife. Surprising you don't see more movies made about this since this is all you ever hear about on the news.

44. Our Town (1940) - The well known play turned into a movie. A bit more cheerful than the play but William Holden trying to be a teenager when he looks forty five does throw it off. Still a classic movie and one worth watching.

43. Hold Back the Dawn (1941) - Charles Boyer and Olivia de Hav├Člland in a love story about a man trying to get into the United States from Mexico after arriving from Europe. He meets a school teacher who he tricks her to fall in love with him to marry him so he can get across the border. Think Green Card fifty years earlier.

42. The Long Voyage Home (1940) - A great John Ford film of a bunch of short stories based on a plays written by Eugene O"Neill about sailors transporting explosives during WWII, although the original stories were about WWI.  Has John Wayne as well, so how can you go wrong?

41. The Philadelphia Story (1940) - Standard romantic comedy, but done very well with good actors.  Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart all are great and make the film a fun movie to watch.  Has been remade into a musical in the 50's (High Society) which I haven't seen, and probably won't.

40. Rebecca (1940) - A Hitchcock classic, the only one to win best picture, but not may favorite Hitchcock movie.  Laurence Olivier is great in this film, as he is in any film, but it seems rather mild compared to other mysteries.  Rare occurrence for a director to have two of their films nominated in one year, the only other person that comes to mind is Francis Ford Coppola in 1974.

39. Anchors Aweigh (1945) - Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra are really great in a genre that I just don't like, musicals.  But this one is one of the better ones and one I could even watch again.  Well not all of it, but parts of it.  What was it about, who cares, great songs and Gene Kelly dances, that was the main point of the movie anyway.

38. Spellbound (1945) - One of the better Hitchcock films of the decade with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck in a strong dramatically acted film.  Does have the standard Hitchcock plot turns and twists.  Most notable for Salvador Dali creating the dream sequence for the film.  Just see the film to watch that part, it's worth it.

37. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) - The first sequel to be nominated for a best picture almost thirty years before Godfather Part II.  It was the sequel, kind of, for Going My Way.  Had some of the same characters, but isn't as good as the first film which is much better.  Still a good happy go lucky film.

36. The Bishop's Wife (1947) - A nice film with Cary Grant and David Niven based on a bishop trying to raise money for his church and an angel who comes to help him.  More recognized as a Christmas movie than anything else, one of the better ones that is hard to dislike.

35. The Lost Weekend (1945) - And another muckraking film this time showing the evils of alcohol.  Ray Milland's only Oscar, and it was a better acting role than the one having his head sewn onto Rosey Greer.  Very close I may add.  Should of ranked lower but the giant bat that attacks Ray Milland bumped it up one spot.

34. Battleground (1949) - Great WWII film about American soldiers fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  Although made after the war it doesn't have the intensity of films made during the war, still an all star cast with Van Johnson and Ricardo Montalban and many others.  Great war movie not seen often enough on television.

33 Madame Curie (1943) - Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon are united again, this time as the radioactively charged couple Marrie and Pierre Curie.  Ok, I know that was a bad joke, but it was either that or goof on the last name as a bowl of glowing stew.  Come to think of it that might have been better.  But not better than the movie which is an early bio-pic about their lives.  Contrary to The Simpsons, they didn't grow fifty feet talk and destroy Paris.  Although it would have been cool if they did.

32 Kings Row (1942) - A great powerful drama that is considered one of Ronald Regan's best acting performances.  A gritty film about people living in a small town in the early twentieth century.  Charles Coburn is great as he always is, this time as an evil doctor.  A classic worth seeing at least once.

31 Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - A clever comedy with the great Claude Rains is an angel who is trying to help a boxer who was taken to heaven too soon and then brought back to take over someone who just died.  Sound familiar, it was remade as Heaven Can Wait.  Normally this wouldn't be a big issue to rename a film (Philadelphia Story to High Society) but there was another film a few years later called Heaven Can Wait which was a different film.  Just taking a moment to remind you once again that Warren Beatty is an idiot.

30. Going My Way (1944) - The happy go lucky film that is just a nice film.  Made during WWII it was the type of film to make people feel better.  Good songs, decent acting, just a nice film, good enough to be in the top thirty of the decade.

29 For Whom the Bells Tolls (1943) - Much better than the novel, but that can be said for almost everything Hemingway wrote.  Gary Cooper is the American helping fight the fascists during the Spanish Civil War.  The film is so good due to great acting and removing all of the unnecessary political junk from the book and telling an exciting story of guerrilla warfare.

28 Great Expectations (1947) - The classic Dickens book made into a movie.  Most of his books were made into very good movies and this is another one of them.  Rather stuffy and silly compared to modern times, but still a great story and great acting from John Mills and Alec Guinness, yes Obi-Wan as a young man.

27 All This, and Heaven Too (1940) - A great drama with Bette Davis and Charles Boyer about a school teacher who was rumored to have had an affair with a French noble.  Originally written and even filmed back at a time where people would face ridicule for actions considered not appropriate.  Today you get a reality show and cash in on it.

26 The Heiress (1949) - Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift, pre face re-arrangement, in a great drama about a rich young woman who falls for gold digger who fools her into falling in love with him.  He jilts her and then she becomes a rather bitter person and ends up running into him again when he is out of money.  Really good film with great acting.  On of the best from the decade.

25 The Human Comedy (1943) - Mickey Rooney is terrific in a wartime film made about how hard life was at home.  A bit more propaganda than entertainment, but mixed very well.  One of the better life during the war films actually made during the war.  At the time this film came out no one know when the war would end or if we would win.  That adds a certain element of intensity that comes across the screen.

24 The Talk of the Town (1942) - A hat trick of great actors, Ronald Colman, Cary Grant and Jean Arthur.  Cary Grant is the town anarchist who hides out in a house being rented by Ronald Colman that Jean Arthur takes care of.  Sounds more like a 70's sitcom but a really good film that also tosses in a bit of philosophy.

23 The More the Merrier (1943) - Another great Jean Arthur movie, this time with Joel McCrea in one of his few non-westerns and Charles Coburn who won a best supporting actor.  A romantic comedy about people trying to find an apartment in the Washington DC area during WWII.  Typical romantic comedy, but with great actors it becomes an enjoyable film to watch.

22 Mildred Pierce (1945) - Joan Crawford in her epic role that won her best actress and became an instant classic.  The story of a woman who rises up and becomes a successful businesswoman and all the trials and tribulations that come with it.  The peak of her career before she started making really bad movies about ten years later.

21. Hamlet (1948) - Laurence Olivier's version of the Shakespeare play is probably the most accurate.  You feel like you are in
Denmark.  Rather long, and can be a bit stuffy, but the best version of this play and probably the best Shakespeare movie adaption.

20 Twelve O'Clock High (1949) - A great adventure film about the Air Force during WWII.  The flight and battle scenes are the most realistic of a film from that era.  And it has Gregory Peck so that makes it even better.  Pretty much the best film of the year but it didn't get the honor.

19 Kitty Foyle (1940) - Ginger Rogers in an amazing dramatic acting role about a woman who marries into a wealthy family, is not accepted, leaves, finds out she is pregnant.  It's gets a bit more depressing, but does end up with a happy ending.  While the film may be a bit sappy, Ginger Rogers was terrific and won best actress, her acting alone is enough to carry this film.

18 Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - The classic Christmas movie.  One of the all time greats that is just an enjoyable movie to watch.  Remade a number of times but the best is the original.

17 Henry V (1946) - The classic Laurence Olivier Shakespeare adaptation that took years to make.  It was well worth it, one of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever made.  A classic film that is just a really good movie.  The story, well the King of England takes over France with a handful of people or something like that.  Don't worry, just watch it.

16 The Maltese Falcon (1941) - One of the first film noir movies that were to become very popular over the decade.  Classic detective looking for a rare valuable falcon statuette.  Everything you want in a detective movie and more.  With Peter Lorrie and Humphrey Bogart it is a great classic film.

15 Double Indemnity (1944) - And another great film noir, one of the best ever done in this genre.  The great story of a woman trying to get her husband killed and seducing the insurance salesman.  Edward G. Robinson is at his finest as the inspector who can figure out anything.  Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are terrific as well.

14 Gaslight (1944) - Another classic with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman about a man trying to make his wife go crazy.  Great acting, good mystery.  But it is one of the few times that a movie title became a part of our language.  Even today seventy years later if you say the term "Gaslighting" everyone will know what that means.  That makes this film one of the best of the decade.

13 Sergeant York (1941) - The true story of the great WWI hero Alvin York who the most decorated solider of the war.  Played by Gary Cooper, it shows his heroic actions during the war.  The real Alvin York didn't want his story told but only did when he needed funding for a bible school and insisted on Gary Cooper playing him.

12 Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - Based on the life of Edna Gladney, although rather fictionalized, who was a board member of the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society. The film shows the negative stigma of adoption back at the turn of the 20th century and how she spends her life helping to find adoptive parents for orphans.  And has the very beautiful Greer Garson.

11 The Snake Pit (1948) - Once again the beautiful Olivia de Havilland in another classic film.  This time loosely based story of Mary Jane Ward's experience in a mental institution.  Shows the horrible existence of mental institutions back then and very well acted.

10 The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) - One of the best westerns of the decade, before they hit their peak in the 1950's.  A dramatic story about mob justice and the rights of the accused.  A great film that is not often mentioned or watched, it's rarely on television.  It has been considered historically significant by the Library of Congress, so you need to see it.

9. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - A very powerful drama about life after WWII.  Great acting helps this film, but it was a product of it's time.  One of the best movies about people dealing with the war and how soldiers had to adapt coming back to normal society.

8 Since You Went Away (1944) - One of the finest movies ever made.  So good that you don't want it to end.  Showing the life of an American family during WWII with Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotton, Jennifer Jones, teenage Shirley Temple and if that isn't enough Lionel Barrymore has a small part.

7 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - One of the greatest, if not the greatest, adventure films of all time.  Humphrey Bogart, Walter Houston and Alfonso "We don't need no badges" Bedoya.  So many classic lines, such a great movie, all all time classic.

6 It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - The great Frank Capra made another American classic, the premiere Christmas movie that is part of American culture.  Everyone has seen it, everyone enjoys it, everyone loves it.  Shown as much as A Christmas Story around the holidays, it will be watched a hundred years from now.

5. Mrs. Miniver (1942) - One of the finest films made about life during WWII and a bit of a propaganda movie.  This is common for films made during the war as opposed those made after.  Great acting, intense drama and a strong political message make it one of the best films of the decade.

4. How Green Was My Valley (1941) - The film that beat out Citizen Kane.  Even though historically it is one of the most disappointing upsets, this is clearly the second best film of the year and it is a very good movie.  The only reason why it gets criticized is because of Citizen Kane.

3 The Red Shoes (1948) - Artistically one of the most amazing films ever made.  Even if you don't like classic music or ballet, this is one of the best movies ever made.  The dance sequences, the production value, the whole film is one that is just perfect.

2 Casablanca (1943) - One of the most popular and loved movies of all time.  You knew it would have to finish in the top three, right?

1 Citizen Kane (1941) - Not only the best film of the decade, but the best film ever made.  Also shows that life is not fair, but that history will correct the mistakes of the past.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ranking the Best Pictures of the 1940's

As I have seen all the films nominated during the 1940's, first I will rank the ten best pictures and a later post will rank all seventy films nominated during that decade.

10. All The King's Men (1949) - The last of the muckraking films of the decade to win.  Loosely based on the life of Huey Long former governor of Louisiana, it shows a hard working man becoming a corrupt politician.  A good film but if this happened today he would end up getting a reality show.

9. Gentleman's Agreement (1947) - Another great muckraking film of the time, rather dated today.  Gregory Peck takes on anti-semitism by changing his last name and tries to get into hotels and other places where Jewish people were not allowed.  Dean Stockwell is his son who gets beaten up at school because the kids think he's Jewish.  In the late 1940's this was a big issue, not so much today.

8. Rebecca (1940) - A Hitchcock classic, the only one to win best picture, but not may favorite Hitchcock movie.  Laurence Olivier is great in this film, as he is in any film, but it seems rather mild compared to other mysteries.  Rare occurrence for a director to have two of their films nominated in one year, the only other person that comes to mind is Francis Ford Coppola in 1974.

7. The Lost Weekend (1945) - And another muckraking film this time showing the evils of alcohol.  Ray Milland's only Oscar, and it was a better acting role than the one having his head sewn onto Rosey Greer.  Very close I may add.  Should of ranked lower but the giant bat that attacks Ray Milland bumped it up one spot.

6. Hamlet (1948) - Laurence Olivier's version of the Shakespeare play is probably the most accurate.  You feel like you are in Denmark.  Rather long, and can be a bit stuffy, but the best version of this play and probably the best Shakespeare movie adaption.

5. Going My Way (1944) - The happy go lucky film that is just a nice film.  Made during WWII it was the type of film to make people feel better.  Good songs, decent acting, just a nice film, good enough to be in the middle of the pack.

4. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) - A very powerful drama about life after WWII.  Great acting helps this film, but it was a product of it's time.  One of the best movies about people dealing with the war and how soldiers had to adapt coming back to normal society.

3. Mrs. Miniver(1942) - One of the finest films made about life during WWII and a bit of a propaganda movie.  This is common for films made during the war as opposed those made after.  Great acting, intense drama and a strong political message make it one of the best films of the decade.

2. How Green Was My Valley (1941) - The film that beat out Citizen Kane.  Even though historically it is one of the most disappointing upsets, this is clearly the second best film of the year and it is a very good movie.  The only reason why it gets criticized is because of Citizen Kane.

1. Casablanca (1943) - And the best best picture of the decade, the classic Casablanca, one of the top of all time of those that won.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The End Of Another Decade

I have now completed another decade, as well as some films from the recent year and finally get to the biggest debate of our lifetime, which was the best film of 1980?  But for now, let's jump into what I've seen as I inch that much closer to five hundred films.

One Foot In Heaven (1941) - The Methodist's Going My Way.  Alright no one has ever said that before, but I think it fits.  A bio-pic about a Canadian minister traveling the United States building churches and spreading the gospel.  Well acted by Fredric March, it's an enjoyable film but a bit preachy, but it did have a council of clergymen as advisers for the film, so that is to be expected.

And this closes out 1941, as well as the entire decade.  I will rank the top ten films in another post and after that one all seventy films in another.  But for the year that has been closed out, Citizen Kane was robbed of it's great honor of being the best picture for that year.  Second would be How Green Was My Valley because it was a great film.  It's just not better than Citizen Kane.  Third is The Maltese Falcon since it is such a good film noir movie.  Fourth is Blossoms In The Dust another great film and closely followed by Sergeant York another classic.  For sixth is Hold Back The Dawn a well done romantic drama.  Seventh goes to Here Comes Mr. Jordan a nice film that just edged out Suspicion a good Hitchcock film that is eight.  Ninth would be One Foot In Heaven and tenth is The Little Foxes, not that it was a bad movie, just someone had to finish last.  Overall a great year for movies.

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) - Not so much a movie as more of a clip show of famous acts under contract with MGM.  Full of comedy bits, dramatic skits, songs, dancing and fanfare, it's a movie that took a vaudeville type of show and put it on film.  It's entertaining but more interesting to watch a film from this era, not too many films from the 1920's still around and even less get shown.

This being the third film I've seen for this year, it ranks third.  Not that it was bad, but it's not really a movie.  The Broadway Melody is still the top runner with In Old Arizona still second.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - Although I did see this before the Oscars were announced, I knew it wasn't going to win best picture.  A good Scorsese film, but not in his superb class of movies.  Done in a similiar way to Goodfellas, it covers the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort in the late 80's and the 90's in Wall Street.  As someone who interned back in the late 80's in the financial district, there was a lot that I remembered from watching this film, there was a good deal of accuracy in the mood of that era.  Great acting from Leonardo DiCarpio who didn't win an Oscar, but was real close in my opinion.  Rather long and some editing could have helped, but overall a really good film that deservied to be nominated.

This is the sixth film I saw of nine.  It would fall in before Nebraska and after Dallas Buyers Club for fifth.  Even though it didn't take home any Oscars, it is one of the five best of the year, doubt it would fall lower.

Philomena (2013) - The 490th film I have seen.  Another bio-pic about a woman who tries to find her child that she gave up for adoption against her will in the 1950's after hiding the secret for fifty years.  She ends up traveling to America with a reporter who is writing up her story as she tries to track down her son.  A rather good film, not too long, somewhat simple, but much better than I though it would be.

And this is the seventh film for the year, leaving only two left.  Pretty rare for me to see so many films before the best picture was announced, but winning those contests at my local movie theater has paid off.  This film would rank right after The Wolf of Wall Street and in front of Nebraska to be sixth, pushing Nebraska back to seventh.

Tess (1980) - An adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles that just isn't worth watching.  It goes on forever, the story is painful to watch, as well as most of the acting.  Nice cinematography, but not much could save this film.  Even if you had a different director than the unhuman animal who did direct it, still couldn't make this a watchable film.

But putting this horrible film aside, comes the big moment.  Which film was the best film of 1980?  I'll build the suspense and count backwards.  Sixth was Tess (I know only five films were nominated, hang in there), fifth was blank because watching a wall for 186 minutes is more enjoyable than that time spent watching Tess.  Fourth is Coal Miner's Daughter, a very good film but couldn't compete with the top films.  Third, to no surprise is The Elephant Man a very good film.  It now comes down to Ordinary People and Raging Bull.

A few things will have to be compared here to determine which was better.  As for the director Robert Redford won, but are you going to say he's a better director than Martin Scorsese?  Call that one a draw.  For the actor it's Donald Sutherland against Robert De Niro, no contest since De Niro won that easily.  For the actress Mary Tyler Moore was better than any actress in Raging Bull.  Supporting Actor is a challenge between Joe Pesci and Timothy Hutton.  Judd Hursch was nominated too and Timothy Hutton still won, advantage Ordinary People.  Ordinary People did win adaopted screen play, Raging Bull won best editing.  Seeing how it's still somewhat tied, the tiebreaker will have to be the technical items like sound, cinematography, costume design.  That Raging Bull is the clear winner.  And while Ordinary People is still a great film, Raging Bull is considered a modern day classic, always getting ranked in top movie lists.

So the second best film of 1980 was Ordinary People.  The best film of the year, and the best of the decade, which was robbed of an Oscar, Raging Bull.

Ranking The Nominated Pictures of the 2000's

So since I have finished the decade of the 2000's, and have ranked the ten best pictures, the next step was to rank all of the films during the decade.

55. Good Night and Good Luck (2005) - Good luck trying to watch this film.  It is boring, goes nowhere and doesn't accomplish anything.  But it was filmed in black and white, oh wait that didn't help, it still sucked.

54. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) - Why was this film nominated?  You could keep extrapolating until you get to why was it even made, but bad films are made all of the time.  But no one I know likes this film, it is a train wreck, but not in a interesting way.  More in a bloody mess type of way.  Avoid it, not worth watching.

53. Moulin Rouge! (2001) - A flaming cat turd of a film from Baz Luhrmann, but you shouldn't be surprised.  This film is a nightmare to watch unless you are a fourteen year old girl, then it's the greatest movie you've ever seen.  Not to be a spoiler, but this is pretty much standard for all of his films.  Somehow this one was nominated.

52. The Hurt Locker (2009) - Another one of those films that years from now people will scratch their heads and say why did this win?  And anyone who was alive would shrug their shoulders and not have an answer.  Not really a good war film either but the only one, so far, to win based on the Iraqi war.

51. Seabiscuit (2003) - A rather boring film, unless you love horse racing history, then you would find it a rather boring film.  Goes on way too long and is filled with a lot of mindless unnecessary political commentary in between the story.  Another of those why did this get nominated?

50. In the Bedroom (2001) - If you take away the three main actor and actresses, you have a movie that would make paint drying really exciting.  Even with the top three stars it is still a very mind numbing film that was not very good.

49. Inglourious Bastards (2009) - The only good thing about this film is Christoph Waltz. Brad Pitt isn't too bad, a bit over the top, but that is what his character is.  Otherwise this is a nightmare of a film to watch and unnecessarily too long.

48. Michael Clayton (2007) - Very stylish film that seems confusing and doesn't seem to have much of a plot, story, direction or purpose.  One of those films that people will forget years from now, if they haven't already.

47. Atonement (2007) - A standard English film that is fine, but not Oscar worthy.  The only claim to fame is the one continuous scene on the beach at Dunkirk, but even that wasn't factually correct either. Or most of the film too.

46. An Education (2009) - Just like the previous film, English movies, with rare exception, are still some of the weakest films made. This fell into the first expanded year of nominees, so it got more exposure than if it came out years earlier.  Yet still one of the weaker films that got nominated during the decade.

45. Finding Neverland (2004) - A film that attempts to be a bio-pic which is really as far from the truth as you can get in a film based on historical events.  Rather well acted and an enjoyable film, but clearly not a best picture.

44. Avatar (2009) - One of the greatest special effects film ever made.  The only problem is that they ran out of money on the special effects and couldn't pay someone to write a screenplay.  So you get a film that is amazing to watch and painful to try and follow the story.

43. Brokeback Mountain (2005) - If this film wasn't about two men involved in the relationship, would it have been nominated?  The answer is simple, no it would not.  So is it a worthy film for nomination?  Only because of the controversial subject matter did it get attention.  That is not what makes up a Oscar worthy film, but it was very well acted so it ranks a bit higher than other movies nominated from the decade.

42. Lost in Translation (2003) - A quirky film, rather stylish, but still not much meat to it.  Bill Murray was good in the lead role and earned a nomination for Best Actor, and it won Best Original Screenplay.  But it's not one of those films that you have to see over and over again, or think about once after you watch it.

41. The Hours (2002) - An interesting film that has multiple time lines occurring during the film.  It does have rather good acting, but rather depressing subject matter.  A good film but not great, but worthy of being nominated.

40. The Pianist (2002) - An intense film based on the true story of a Polish pianist and how he survived WWII and avoided being sent to concentration camps and was hid.  Good acting, pretty good film, but it was directed by a pedophile so it does lose ranking.

39. Chicago (2002) - If you enjoy musicals then you love this movie.  If you don't it ranks up there with having your toenails being pulled off.  It was based on the play and was the first musical to win in thirty four years but didn't start a new pattern thankfully.  The costumes were done well and it was a popular film especially that the county was still numb after 9/11.  Otherwise it will be forgotten as a top movie years from now.

38. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - A rather depressing movie about a poor orphan who ends up on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and can answer all the questions even though he has no education.  You find out that the reason why he knows the answers is based on usually a horrible tragedy in his life.  And his brother is a crime boss, or at least a wanna be crime boss and other sappy drama.  But it is in the standard Bollywood style so it is one that made it big in Hollywood.

37. Frost/Nixon (2008) - A respectable film loosely based on the interviews of David Frost with former President Nixon.  Well acted, somewhat interesting, but doesn't really hit home.  Good enough to be nominated but not able to win in a weak year, middle of the pack for the decade.

36. Gosford Park (2001) - Quirky film made by the great Robert Altman that wasn't great but if it was done by a different director would have been much worse.  Very stylish, great scene decoration, costume design, but the story is not incredible.

35. Chocolat (2000) - A nice film about a chocolate shop opening in a small French village in the 1950's.  Very well done, a good film that doesn't get much exposure, but one of the better ones of the decade.

34. Babel (2006) - An attempt to try and do what Magnolia did perfectly and Crash did somewhat well. Films with multiple story lines are generally tough to pull off, especially when they are not occurring at the same time.  This is rather confusing until the film is over, which is a bit too late.  Good enough to be nominated, but falls in the middle of the pack for the decade.

33. The Queen (2006) - A historic drama about the time of Princess Diana's death and how the Queen handled it.  Great acting from Helen Mirren, but beyond that it becomes a rather tedious boring film. Unless you are fascinated with the lives of tyrants, then you'd rank it higher.

32. The Reader (2008) - A strange film that I'm still convinced was a soft core porno, but some good acting and rather well done. Stands out more for being nominated in a weak year, but still a good enough film to be nominated and rank rather well.  As for being a great film, it wasn't, but it could have been much worse.

31. Erin Brockovich (2000) - Fine acting from Julia Roberts and a nice film.But this film is somewhat overrated.  Everyone was convinced that their water was polluted after watching this film.  And there is the issue of accuracy, especially when it comes to the science.  But why should that matter, unless you were making a bio-pic, er um, middle of the pack.

30. The Blind Side (2009) - An enjoyable well acted film, and another bio-pic in the decade of bio-pics.  This one is a bit more accurate and a nice heart-felt fuzzy movie.  A film that was in the pack of ten that year but would still have been nominated if there were only five.  Put it this way it wasn't the best film of the year but much better than the one that won the Oscar.
 
29. Up in the Air (2009) - A film that was nearly impossible for me to watch only a few months after I was laid off myself.  But as time goes on I realize it was a good film.  While I can never say I truly enjoy this movie, I can recognize that it was well done.  Ranking it in the top thirty is a bit of overcompensating for my previous reviews, but it does fall somewhere in the middle for the decade.
 
28. Million Dollar Baby (2004) - A solid Clint Eastwood film about a female boxer. Well acted and took on a somewhat controversial topic, it has slowly lost it's significance as time goes on. It did finally give a long overdue Oscar to Morgan Freedman. It won best picture over The Aviator which is a bit of a mystery.
 
27. Ray (2004) - A really good film about Ray Charles that was well acted by Jamie Foxx and was one of the better bio-pics of the decade.  But it wasn't an exciting film or something that ranks in the top eschelons of movies.  Still very enjoyable to watch and hear some great music.
 
26. Sideways (2004) - The little film that could.  One of the better independent films of the decade that spread by word of mouth.  Simple story, done well with good acting makes it a rare gem in the independent film genre.  Definitely worth a nomination and more recognition than it gets.
 
25. Traffic (2000) - A film that takes on multiple story lines, which is usually done poorly, but not this time.  Add the interesting element of color tinting, something that is very rare.  The only other film I can think of was Intolerance from 1916.  The film is not the greatest, but for taking chances like this ranks it much higher.
 
24. Up (2009) - One of the better animated films of the decade and one of the few nominated for best picture.  Much more than a kids movie, it is a good story that you can follow as an adult.  First cartoons were just Itch & Scratchy, then they tried to install morals and values.  Films like this are good movies that happen to be animated.  Although it does make the story much cheaper to film without all the special effects.
 
23. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) - A very good foreign film, still a rarity to see one nominated for best picture.  It also takes the genre of martial arts and makes it into a stylish film.  Almost every other film made in this genre, especially in the 1970's, were comical and outlandish.  While it is still fantasy, it's done very well and not campy.
 
22. Munich (2005) - A very powerful movie that may or may not be a true story.  It's based on actual things that did happen and could have been done in the way the film suggests, or not.  Either way it is a really good film and very intense.  One of the better nominated films of the decade.
 
21. Gladiator (2000) - A film made in the classic action drama style like a 1950's epic movie. A Roman general ends up on the run and becomes a gladiator. I know I'm giving a very vague recap but it has been a few years since I've seen it and besides great costumes and some cool fight scenes it's a good movie that falls about the middle of the best picture pack for the decade.
 
20. The Departed (2006) - The one that finally got Scorsese the Oscar for best director and picture. A very intense cop film that is a remake of a Hong Kong movie from a few years earlier. This is not his best, there are at least a half a dozen better, but it's not his worst with an equal amount much worse. It was a lifetime achievement Oscar, kind of like The Greatest Show on Earth but thankfully he isn't done making movies yet.
 
19. District 9 (2009) - A really great sci-fi movie and a great movie overall.  This is one genre that gets ignored by the academy and usually for good reasons.  This one was very creative and had a good story.  Worthy of the top twenty.
 
18. A Serious Man (2009) - Although not the best Cohen Brother's film, still better than any other film that year.  Typical Cohen Brother's movie that is worth to watch and a great film.  Since their standard is so high, even films that aren't amazing, they are really good films.  (Think I've proven I really like their films?)
 
17. Juno (2007) - A very funny and well done film.  Won an Oscar for best original screenplay, deservedly so, and was well acted.  One of those films that would still be enjoyable fifty years from now, meaning it doesn't depend on current event gags or plot lines.
 
16. Milk (2008) - A very well done bio-pic with amazing acting.  Sean Penn was great, he did win best actor.  But Josh Brolin was incredible, even looked like Dan White.  Even though he was a supporting actor, he stole the film.  And yet he didn't win an Oscar?
 
15. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - I've thought about this film and seen parts of it again.  It just seems to get better and better each time you watch it.  The makeup was outstanding, really good acting and an interesting story that wasn't a bio-pic!  Wonder how it got made during this decade.  Inched ahead of Milk to be the best film of the year.
 
14. Master and Commander (2003) - A film done in the classic swashbuckling style of movie from the 1930's like Anthony Adverse.  A really good adventure film, good acting, cinematography, set decoration, costume, it just looked great and was fun to watch.  One of the best films of the year and of the decade.
 
13. Mystic River (2003) - A powerful drama that had great acting and was a very intense film, even up to the last scene.  It's the type of film you would regularly see in the 1970's, very rare but enjoyable to see made during this decade.
 
12. Capote (2005) - One of the best bio-pics made during the decade.  Great acting by the recently late Philip Seymour Hoffman who really became Truman Capote and earned a best actor Oscar.  It also doesn't fall into the standard bio-pic formula of covering their entire life, this just covers his research for In Cold Blood.  A very good film that doesn't get shown much but may become a classic.

11. The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - The first of the trilogy that got nominated, only the second film since The Godfather trilogy to do so.  The Godfather won two out of three, Lord of the Rings only got one.  Yet they are amongst the best films of the decade.  The first one was a bit slow so it ranks a bit lower.

10. Precious (2009) - A surprising terrific drama with great acting dealing with a very depressing subject matter.  Overall a well done film that should have been the best picture.  At least it did earn supporting actress and adapted screenplay Oscars.  One of the top ten films of the decade.
 
9. Crash (2005) - A powerful drama that shows what you see on the surface is not always what is underneath. Those who you think are racist are not and those who you think aren't really are. A very good movie that reminds us that there are differences between races, nationalities, religions and not everyone will get along but we should judge on character.

 
8. Gangs of New York (2002) - Another great Scorsese film that got robbed.  An epic film about 19th century New York City that was so well done, acting, scenery, costumes, everything about this film was amazing.  Ranks up there with his other great classics, it deserves more recognition than it got.
 
7. The Return of the King (2003) - This was more of an Oscar for the trilogy than specifically for this film, but it was worthy of it. Only the second trilogy to have all films nominated for best picture. Great special effects tied to a classic story and a rare feat for a sci-fi fantasy film to win.
 
6. There Will Be Blood (2007) - A powerful film that is so good and only gets better because of Daniel Day Lewis who clearly got the Oscar for best actor.  Its just one of those films that is an instant classic.  Could have won best picture if it came out a year later but it lost out to another film, the best film of the decade.

5. The Aviator (2004) - And another film that Scorsese was robbed for, kind of see why he got his Oscar for The Departed?  Leonardo DiCaprio was snubbed once again with another great role.  Clearly the best film of the year, even if ignored by the academy.

4. The Two Towers (2002) - The best of the trilogy but they held off for one more year to give all the films recognition.  The best sci-fi movie of the decade and ranks up amongst the top of all time.
 
3. A Beautiful Mind (2001) - A great bio-pic from the decade of bio-pics. A powerful story of a genius who has hallucinations and develops a world of mystery that crashes around him. Well acted and a good story that stays consistent in its story telling from start to finish. One of the better films of the decade.
 
2. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) - I am convinced that since this was a foreign language film it wasn't going to win best picture.  The conundrum is that if it was in English, then it wouldn't have been that good of a film.  Seeing the battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective is something rare to see in American cinema, but was really well done.  Lost out because of the makeup to Scorsese but is the second best film of the decade.

1. No Country for Old Men (2007) - A modern day classic, one of the best Coen brother's movie, a simple story that was told perfectly. The acting is amazing, Javier Bardem is the most evil and creepiest villain of all time. I consider almost of the Coen brother's movies to be the best of the year but this is one that will go down as one of the best of all time. Clearly the top picture of the decade.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

86th Oscar Results

Watched the Oscars the other night and decided to post the results right away.  That and I have a bunch of other posts to put up here on the blog.

Visual Effects
Chris - Gravity
Adam - Gravity
Winner - Gravity
Chris - 1
Adam - 1


Like I said this one was a no-brainer. Gravity will win all of the technical awards and possibly a few others.

Sound Mixing
Chris - Gravity
Adam - Gravity
Winner - Gravity
Chris - 2
Adam - 2

Once again a very easy choice, technical award = pick Gravity.

Sound Editing
Chris - Gravity
Adam - Gravity
Winner -  Gravity
Chris - 3
Adam - 3

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?


Cinematography
Chris - Gravity
Adam - Gravity
Winner - Gravity
Chris - 4
Adam - 4


Gravity made you feel like you were in outer space. Another earned award for the movie.

Makeup & Hairstyling
Chris - Dallas Buyers Club
Adam - Dallas Buyers Club
Winner - Dallas Buyers Club
Chris - 5
Adam - 5

This was another simple one especially since American Hustle wasn't nominated. Although from the luck it had last night it would have probably lost this category too.

Costume Design

Chris - The Great Gatsby
Adam - The Great Gatsby
Winner -  The Great Gatsby
Chris - 6
Adam - 6

Turns out I was right about this film winning.  And how a film made by Baz Luhrmann is redundant with horrible.

Production Design
Chris - Gravity
Adam - The Great Gatsby
Winner - The Great Gatsby
Chris - 6
Adam - 7

I was right about costume design and production design both winning.  I am a genus.  I am pulling away!

Film Editing
Chris - Gravity
Adam - 12 Years A Slave
Winner - Gravity
Chris -  7
Adam - 7

So I, um, take back what I just said  Looks live Gravity will win almost all the technical awards.

Music Original Song

Chris - Mandella
Adam - Mandella
Winner - Frozen
Chris - 7
Adam - 7

This was one of two categories where neither of us picked the winner.  But I'm not upset since U2 lost.

Music Original Score
Chris - The Book Thief
Adam - Gravity
Winner - Gravity
Chris - 7
Adam - 8

Realized that Gravity was going to win all of the technical awards.  Or at least it did win six out of seven categories.

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Chris - The Wolf Of Wall Street
Adam - 12 Years A Slave
Winner - 12 Years A Slave
Chris -  7
Adam - 9


As we move into the major categories this is where the top films will start to win, that was my guess which I turned out right.  May be starting to pull ahead?

Writing Original Screenplay
Chris - Her
Adam - American Hustle
Winner - Her
Chris - 8
Adam - 9

Ok I'll keep my mouth shut about bragging.  This is like The Descendants two years ago which won a screenplay Oscar but didn't get anything else. 

Short Film Animated
Chris - Get A Horse!
Adam - Get A Horse!
Winner - Mr. Hublot
Chris - 8
Adam - 9

The only other one neither of us got right.  Guess there was no love for Disney?

Short Film Live Action
Chris - Helium
Adam -The Voorman Problem
Winner - Helium
Chris - 9
Adam - 9

The wife hit the lottery and picked one of the wild cards.  These can make or break the contest.

Documentary Short Subject
Chris - Facing Fear
Adam - The Lady in Number 6
Winner - The Lady in Number 6
Chris - 9
Adam - 10

Luck bounced my way on this one.  Didn't realize but it was a film about the Holocaust.  If you make a documentary about that it usually will always win.

Best Animated
Chris - Despicable Me 2
Adam - Frozen
Winner - Frozen
Chris - 9
Adam - 11

Turns out Disney did get some love.

Best Documentary
Chris - Cutie and the Boxer
Adam - 20 Feet From Stardom
Winner - 20 Feet From Stardom
Chris - 9
Adam - 12

I'll admit I was lucky.  This is the last of the wild cards where you just may as well pick anyone randomly.

Best Foreign Language
Chris - The Great Beauty
Adam - Omar
Winner - The Great Beauty
Chris - 9
Adam - 13


My gamble here paid off.  Kind of makes up for gambling on best editing. 

Best Supporting Actress
Chris - Lupita Nyong'o
Adam - Lupita Nyong'o
Winner - Lupita Nyong'o
Chris - 10 
Adam - 14

A slam dunk and she won.  Not that she didn't deserve to win just that Jennifer Lawrence was just as good.

Best Supporting Actor
Chris - Jared Leto
Adam - Jared Leto
Winner - Jared Leto
Chris - 11 
Adam - 15

Killer acceptance speech praising those fighting for liberty in the Ukraine and Venezuela.

Best Actress
Chris - Cate Blanchet
Adam - Cate Blanchet
Winner - Cate Blanchet
Chris - 12
Adam - 16

I'm looking forward to watching her in this movie.  It is a Woody Allen film which helps but I just hope it isn't a repeat of me watching Forest Gump after The Shawshank Redemption.

Best Actor
Chris - Matthew McConaughey
Adam - Matthew McConaughey
Winner - Matthew McConaughey
Chris - 13
Adam - 17


Called this one as well.  Great acceptance speech to add.

Best Director
Chris - Steve McQueen
Adam - Alfonso Cuaron
Winner - Alfonso Cuaron
Chris - 13
Adam - 18

This was for a few reasons, some of them valid and some not.  The valid ones are that it is a very good film and the academy wanted to give Gravity a major category award.  The non valid ones I won't bother to discuss.

Best Picture
Chris - American Hustle
Adam - 12 Years A Slave
Winner - 12 Years A Slave
Chris - 13
Adam - 19

And since I saw it already I can keep my streak of having seen every film that has won best picture.  I win this year and hopefully I will finish in the top at my local movie theater Oscar contest.