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The Best Picture Often Isn't

Dave Randall

Posted on February 25, 2018 22:56

4 users

Hindsight is 20-20, but a large number of movies that have won the Oscar for Best Picture fade, in retrospect.

There are films up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, this year, that shouldn't have to lose. That's barring a wrong- envelope-episode like last year. The favorite, and winner of the SAG, Golden Globe and other awards, is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Rightfully so. Equally deserving: The Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, Ladybird, and Dunkirk. The latter would've had a greater chance were it not released in June.

What we have to remember about Oscar, is that, like all awards, it's decided by plebiscite from among Academy members in each category, and that they are political. This especially pertains to the Best Picture award.

Some Oscar winning films are one and done-movies. You see it once, and that's enough for a lifetime. A number of nominees that failed to win have gone on to become highly regarded classics. We could go back farther, but let's set the mark at 1941. How Green Was My Valley took the Oscar that year. Critics and historians will wax favorably about it, but even they know Citizen Kane was robbed.

Kane is extraordinary film making, so much so, it's taught as a course at major universities. Blame politics. Ostensibly the real life subject of the Orson Welles classic, media emperor William Randolph Hearst allegedly let the word go forth that praise for the film would result in negative attention in his newspapers, and worse. One of the cinema's greatest works went unrewarded.

1948- A film version of Hamlet won, as did its star, Sir Laurence Olivier. One of moviedom's most indelible adventures, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, was passed over. 1952- The over-rated, trite, technicolor extravaganza, The Greatest Show on Earth, prevailed over High Noon.

What does anyone who's seen these movies remember most? Gary Cooper's stoic Marshal and Frankie Lane singing, "Do not foresake me..."? Or the contrived soap-opera /literal trainwreck of Cecil B. De Mille's marathon in tents and tints? 

It goes on. Around the World in 80 Days? It must have been like you were in the theater for 80 days. Elmer Gantry stands as more dynamic a movie than The Apartment. Had The Sand Pebbles been British, like A Man for All Seasons, they would have traded places in 1966.

The next year offered what is considered Oscar's most powerful list of nominees. In the heat of a year filled with racial strife, In the Heat of the Night won. Half a century later, it's easy to see The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde have remained more in the public zeitgeist. 

No different in the 70's. American Graffiti was truly better than The Sting. In 1980, Raging Bull was two times the film Ordinary People was. Any of the other nominees would have been better the the turgid, dull Chariots of Fire

The worst robbery was in 1998, 20 years ago. Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan?

Remember: The Best Picture... is not always the best picture.

Dave Randall

Posted on February 25, 2018 22:56

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Source: Screen Rant
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The WHAT IS HAPPENING screw up moment of #Oscars Night. #BestPicture actually goes to #Moonlight pic.twitter.com/oFLkXUhNo4...

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