To frequent readers of The Bard, it is no secret that I am a fan of movies. However, I recently realized that despite the fact that I love movies as mush a I do, I have not seen that many Best Picture winners. In fact, of the 85 movies that have won an Academy Award for Best Picture, I have seen a whopping ten. It looks like I have some work to do… Nonetheless, here is how I would rank the ten Oscar winners that I have seen:
10. West Side Story (1961)
It’s hard to describe exactly why I don’t like this movie. I have been told that this movie is great, but I just don’t buy it. The music is decent, but I didn’t like the acting or the choreography or pretty much anything else. I don’t think that this movie has the charm that it tries to have.
9. Chicago (2002)
While this movie has some flashy and interesting sequences, for a musical, it is rather boring. It picks up as it goes on, but because it does not have the same appeal as the other movies, I cannot rank it any higher than this.
8. My Fair Lady (1964)
I saw this when I was young, and because it was an old movie I thought that I would immediately dislike it. However, I remember being pleasantly surprised by this movie. One of the negatives of this movie is that it feels overly long. It has a 3 hour run-time, not including the intermission, so watching this movie can feel like a chore in some parts.
7. American Beauty (1999)
This is a solid movie and Kevin Spacey gives an excellent performance. The acting is definitely the key to making this the movie that it is. This movie is definitely a great commentary on suburban 1999 life, but it can feel a little pedantic at times, trying too hard to be deep. Because of this, it can be somewhat distancing to the viewer (see also: The Social Network).
6. Oliver! (1968)
Yes, four of the bottom 5 movies are musicals. Maybe they just aren’t my thing. However, I actually like Oliver!. I think that it’s a pretty film and is definitely the most enjoyable of the ones listed. It has good singing and great sets. Fun fact: it’s the only film rated G to have won Best Picture.
5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
There was one time when i considered this my favorite film. It’s a great movie, but after having some time to reflect on it, I don’t think that it is quite as great as I once thought it was. It has great performances by Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, and Jay Baruchel as well as great, interesting color-drained directing by Eastwood as well. It’s definitely a sad movie, but it can be a little melodramatic and sappy at times.
4. Casablanca (1943)
It has great dialogue and great, legendary story. The witty dialogue makes it great upon repeat watch as well (I’ve seen it six times!) which is a quality that not every movie has. I can completely understand why other people may rank higher or may even consider this their favorite movie, but I personally happen to like a few other movies more.
3. The Departed (2006)
Martin’s Scorsese’s remake of the Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs is a thoroughly enjoyable film. It’s a very smoothly directed film and has really great performances and action sequences. It’s one of those films that you don’t want to end. Side note: this is one of my friend’s favorite movie. What up Hammarskjold?
2. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
It’s a tough call for me whether I think this movie or The Dark Knight is the better film of 2008. I really like the bright directing style of this movie and how the movie moves seamlessly from sequence to sequence. It feels completely like the modern day fairytale that it is supposed to be and it is never once not gripping.
1. All About Eve (1950)
This movie is fantastic. It may be an older film, but it is as relevant as ever. In fact, I think that the movie will continue to get funnier over time as the jokes about the phoniness of show business just become more and more relevant. I am usually pretty harsh when it comes to judging comedies, but this movie is over 60 years old and it still manages to make me laugh out loud. It’s a great movie all around, and of all of the Best Picture winners I have seen, it is definitely my favorite.