Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Take the Oscar Challenge

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Take the Oscar Challenge

Dean Treadway of filmicability threw down the gauntlet. He challenged Movieman0283 at The Dancing Image, Sarah at Sarahnomics, T.S. at Screen Savour, Jose at The World's Best Films, and myself, to pick a "Best Picture" for each year that the Academy Awards have been around that we would have given the Oscar to instead. While film buffs like us are always arguing the relative inadequacies of the Academy's ultimate decisions, I have to say, this isn't as easy as it looks. Distilling one year's worth of films into one clearly defined "Best Picture" has been difficult for some years (1974), easy for others (1941), and in some cases, near impossible in an "Are-these-my-only-choices?" kind of way (1943). I generally selected films that I felt were influential, whether for good or for bad, moved the medium forward somehow, represented the time in which it was released, and may have been a significant work in the director's filmography. Truthfully, my biggest problem with the list is that it reflects where my deficiencies lie. Since I thought it only fair to list films I've actually seen, there are many types of films underrepresented in this list. I could stand to watch more Japanese, Indian, and foreign cinema in general. I am sadly lacking knowledge of some of the world's best directors' films, like Bergman, Fellini, Godard, Kurosawa, and Satyajit Ray. I should see more silents, or more films pre-1940, period. What I won't apologize for are any films I picked from 1967 on. I know this period well, and I can defend any of these... including Point Break (1991). I'm not going to tag anyone because of how enormous a task this proved to be for me. So read this, and share your thoughts, or create your own list, and I'll be happy to link to it here. 1927: Sunrise, dir. F. W. Murnau 1928: La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc), dir. Carl Theodor Dryer 1929: Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), dirs. Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí 1930: All Quiet on the Western Front, dir. Lewis Milestone 1931: Frankenstein, dir. James Whale 1932: Scarface, dir. Howard Hawks 1933: Extáze (Ecstasy), dir. Gustav Machatý 1934: It Happened One Night, dir. Frank Capra 1935: The 39 Steps, dir. Alfred Hitchcock 1936: Modern Times, dir. Charles Chaplin 1937: La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion), dir. Jean Renoir 1938: The Adventures of Robin Hood, dir. Michael Curtiz 1939: La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game), dir. Jean Renoir 1940: The Philadelphia Story, dir. George Cukor 1941: Citizen Kane, dir. Orson Welles 1942: Casablanca, dir. Michael Curtiz 1943: Shadow of a Doubt, dir. Alfred Hitchcock 1944: Double Indemnity, dir. Billy Wilder 1945: Roma, Città Aperta (Rome, Open City), dir. Roberto Rosselini 1946: It's a Wonderful Life, dir. Frank Capra 1947: Black Narcissus, dirs. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger 1948: Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves), dir. Vitttorio De Sica 1949: The Third Man, dir. Carol Reed 1950: Sunset Boulevard, dir. Billy Wilder 1951: A Streetcar Named Desire, dir. Elia Kazan 1952: Singin' in the Rain, dirs. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen 1953: Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear), dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot 1954: Shichinin no Samurai (Seven Samurai), dir. Akira Kurosawa 1955: The Night of the Hunter, dir. Charles Laughton 1956: The Searchers, dir. John Ford 1957: Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal), dir. Ingmar Bergman 1958: Touch of Evil, dir. Orson Welles 1959: Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows), dir. François Truffaut 1960: Psycho, dir. Alfred Hitchcock 1961: Plein Soleil (Purple Noon), dir. René Clément 1962: Lawrence of Arabia, dir. David Lean 1963: 8 1/2, dir. Federico Fellini 1964: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, dir. Stanley Kubrick 1965: Per Qualche Dollaro in Più (For a Few Dollars More), dir. Sergio Leone 1966: Blowup, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni 1967: Point Blank, dir. John Boorman 1968: 2001 : A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick 1969: Easy Rider, dir. Dennis Hopper 1970: Il Conformista (The Conformist), dir. Bernardo Bertolucci 1971: McCabe and Mrs. Miller, dir. Robert Altman 1972: The Godfather, dir. Francis Ford Coppola 1973: The Exorcist, dir. William Friedkin 1974: The Godfather Part II, dir. Francis Ford Coppola 1975: Barry Lyndon, dir. Stanley Kubrick 1976: Taxi Driver, dir. Martin Scorsese 1977: Star Wars, dir. George Lucas 1978: Days of Heaven, dir. Terrence Malick 1979: Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola 1980: Raging Bull, dir. Martin Scorsese 1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark, dir. Steven Spielberg 1982: Blade Runner, dir. Ridley Scott 1983: The Right Stuff, dir. Philip Kaufman 1984: Once Upon a Time in America, dir. Sergio Leone 1985: Brazil, dir. Terry Gilliam 1986: Blue Velvet, dir. David Lynch 1987: Fatal Attraction, dir. Adrian Lyne 1988: Spoorloos (The Vanishing), dir. George Sluizer 1989: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, dir. Peter Greenaway 1990: Henry & June, dir. Phillip Kaufman 1991: Point Break, dir. Kathryn Bigelow 1992: Malcolm X, dir. Spike Lee 1993: Carlito's Way, dir. Brian De Palma 1994: The Shawshank Redemption, dir. Frank Darabont 1995: Heat, dir. Michael Mann 1996: The Long Kiss Goodnight, dir. Renny Harlin 1997: The Ice Storm, dir. Ang Lee 1998: Out of Sight, dir. Steven Soderbergh 1999: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, dir. Jim Jarmusch 2000: Unbreakable, dir. M. Night Shyamalan 2001: The Royal Tenenbaums, dir. Wes Anderson 2002: Hable con Ella (Talk to Her), dir. Pedro Almodóvar 2003: Swimming Pool, dir. François Ozon 2004: I ♥ Huckabees, dir. David O. Russell 2005: Munich, Steven Spielberg 2006: Children of Men, dir. Alfonso Cuarón 2007: There Will Be Blood, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson


Dean Treadway said...

Great list! Thanks for putting the english titles in for me (though most of those I should have known by their native titles). At first glance, I was struck by the inclusion of Unbreakable! A truly unsung, underappreciated movie.

Dean Treadway said...

Wages of Fear is a film I like, but I like the remake SORCERER even more. The one film I wish I could like more on your list is GHOST DOG. Love Whittaker, dislike the movie, though. What unworthy villains for that character to battle. Never seen LONG KISS GOODNIGHT. Will comment more soon.

James Hansen said...

Nice list. I agree that this was super super tough to put together and just about as subjective as it gets. I changed the rules a little for mine in order to stick to the Oscar spirit, but quickly found myself breaking those ownrules. Oh well... here's my list for what it's worth!

Joel Bocko said...

Good list - I loved Unbreakable when it came out, not sure I like it as much now but I think I still prefer it to Sixth Sense (we'll see). The Point Break choice is an interesting one - do we have a forthcoming post on that topic (I like it too, but always placed it more in the "guilty pleasure" department - though the use of the presidential masks is admittedly a stroke of genius).

Tony Dayoub said...


"Long Kiss Goodnight" has been playing on IFC... try to catch it there.


Love your list. I'll comment on it over there.

Movieman 0283:

I'm sorry I ever put anything down regarding defending "Point Break" because now everyone wants me to. But I do believe it is deserving, and I will post something on it down the line.