My response to the 89th Annual Academy Awards…

oscars

To say this moment was bizarre is a gross understatement.

Honestly, I am still needing time to process this.

I seldom have had times in my life where I am at a loss for words.

In an evening with glamour (Emma Stone had my favorite dress), humor (a job well done by Jimmy Kimmell), strong performances (sorry Justin Timberlake, John Legend, and Sting, but Auli’i Cravalho took the thunder), some well done speeches ( Mahershala Ali, as well as a win for Sound Mixer Kevin O’Connell after a previous 21 nominations without a win), an appearance from 98 year old Katherine Johnson, (the main real life character of Hidden Figures), and some very lucky tourists, the ceremony will be remembered for the greatest mistake Oscar has made in his 89 year old history.

When Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty (i.e. Bonnie and Clyde) took the stage to present the last award of the night, Beatty opened the envelope and paused. Like many others, I assumed he was just drawing out suspense for play. Turns out Warren was confused, because it was the same envelope as the previous award (which was for Emma Stone for Best Actress in La La Land). Faye took it, and proclaimed La La Land the winner of Best Picture (which many, like myself, predicted). As the producers were giving their speeches, there was some commotion on stage, and they were told that there was a mistake: the real winner was Moonlight (a huge tip of the cap should go to La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, who may be the greatest, most gracious “loser” in Oscar history). Steve Harvey (who had a very similar situation at Miss Universe in 2015) would later tweet “What’d I miss?”

There have been similar cases before. Back in 1933, Oscar Host Will Rodgers was presenting the Best Director award to Frank Lloyd for Cavalcade. “Come and get it, Frank!” Rodgers screamed. The problem was , there was another nominee named Frank Capra (nominated for Lady for a Day) who thought it was he who won. He was halfway to the stage before he knew he lost (he would call his walk back to his seat one of the worst moments of his life.)

Sammy Davis Jr. also was slightly embarrased in 1964, when, as he was to annouce two catagories, and was given the second envelope first (thankfully, the winner he announced, which was Tom Jones, was not nominated in the catagory).

And let us not forget streakers, Sacheen Littlefeather, Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar (where half the crowd did not cheer him), John Travolta not able to say Idina Menzel, and Michael Moore shouting “Shame on you Mr. Bush!”.

Still, those were (for the most part) the fault of the individual celebrities, not of the Academy. More importantly, none of them included the award for Best Picture. While Moonlight‘s win is historic (I mean, when you look at the subject matter), it will forever be linked to one mishap heard round the world.

Uncool, Academy. Very uncool.

 

 

My predictions for the 89th Academy Awards…

my-oscar-predictions

 

Every year at the Oscars, there is one battle that never fails to occur: the battle between my heart and my mind. After a few years of proof that my mind is often the better judge (since I missed Best Picture two years in a row), I am feeling a little more confident in my predictions this year (though my heart is still having it’s say).

As always, don’t forget you need to worry about all the catagories (even Best Documentary Short).

My predictions are…

 

Best Picture

atogt

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

I feel confident in saying my two year drought in the main catagory is over. Nothing is stopping La La Land from winning Best Picture (if you had to pick a movie for second place, it would be Moonlight).

Will win/Should win: La La Land (95% sure)

Could Win: Moonlight (not really though)

 

Best Director

director

  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

 

The Directors Guild is (for the most part) the best to predict Best Director, and they awarded it to Damien Chazelle. With La La Land and 2014’s  Whiplash, it is clear Chazelle is not going anywhere. Expect him to win on Oscar night, and become the youngest winner in the history of the catagory.

Will win/Should win: Damien Chazelle,  (95% sure)

Could win: Barry Jenkins, (very unlikely)

 

Best Actor

 

atogt

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

This is one of the main races of the night, between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington (Ryan Gosling would be trailing behind in third). Affleck has won many of the early awards, but Washington got the SAG award (which he had never won before, crazy as that sounds). Both performances (as well as the other three) are wonderful, but there are two factors left to bring up.

The first is of Affleck’s alledged accusations of sexual abuse, which has apparently caught up with him. The second is, with everyone fighting the “Oscars so white”, it looks like the edge is being given to Denzel, but barely.

Will/Should win: Denzel Washington (70% certain)

Could win: Casey Affleck (perhaps even Ryan Gosling)

 

Best Actress

 

atogt

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Natalie Portman and Emma Stone are the only performances I have seen so far. What Portman did was pretty much bring the late Mrs. Jackie Kennedy back to life. Still, no performance touched my soul more so than Emma Stone did in La La Land (capped off mainly when she sang “Audition”). She won the SAG award, which seems to have cemented her status in riding the “La La” train to her first Oscar.

Will win/Should Win: Emma Stone

Could win: Natalie Portman

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

atogt

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

I feel no one has been giving much love to Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea. He shows a wonderful growing talent that reminded me of Timothy Hutton’s Oscar winning performance in Ordinary People (1980).

Still, expect the win to go to Ali for Moonlight. Despite being only in the first third of the film, it is the one that you remember the most after the film ends.

 

Will win: Mahershala Ali (90% sure)

Should win: Lucas Hedges

Could win: Dev Patel

 

Best Supporting Actress

aaa

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

 

Truly, this is the easiest catagory of the night. While I admired all the performances (especially Naomie Harris), it is clear that Viola Davis will win for her electric performance in Fences. Done deal.

Will win/Should Win: Viola Davis (100% sure)

Could win: Naomie Harris (in an alternate universe)

 

Best Animated Feature Film

atogt

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Every year the Oscars seems to have at least one upset,and I am banking on Kubo and the Two Strings beating Zootopia (which is favored). Why? First, Zootopia has no other nominations while Kubo and the Two Strings has two. Second, both Zootopia and Moana are Disney, which may split the vote. Finally (and this is my heart taking control), Kubo was my favorite movie of last year, and I will be so happy if it wins.

 

Will win/Should win: Kubo and the Two Strings (60% sure)

Could win: Zootopia

 

Best Foreign Film

atogt

  • Land of Mind (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • Tanna (Australia)
  • Toni Erdmannn (Germany)

After the visa ban by President Trump, Asghar Farhadi is planning on boycotting the Oscars. This could help his film The Salesman win an Oscar (he won in this catagory for 2011’s masterpiece A Separation).

Will win: The Salesman (75%)

 

Best Original Screenplay

atogt

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

While La La Land brought the old school musical and meshed it with the world of today, expect the win to go to Manchester by the Sea. It is very rare to see a movie where tragedy meets with comedy so well, but that is what Kenneth Lonergan did.

Will win/Should win: Manchester by the Sea (80% sure)

Could win: La La Land

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

atogt

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

This may be the only catagory that Hidden Figures can get a win, but expect it to go to Moonlight.

Will win: Moonlight (85% sure)

Could win: Hidden Figures

Should win: Fences (which would make it a posthumous win for August Wilson)

 

Best Costume Design

atogt

 

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

 

Will win/Should win: Jackie (75% sure)

Could win: La La Land

 

Best Original Song

atogt

  • “Audition”, La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, Trolls
  • “City of Stars”, La La Land
  • “The Empty Chair”,  Jim: The James Foley Story
  • “How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

Lin’Manuel Miranda could possibly get his EGOT if both songs from La La Land split the vote. While that is possible, expect the Oscar to go to “City of Stars”, a song very difficult to get out of your head (not that you would want to anyway).

Will win/Should win: “City of Stars”, La La Land (75% sure)

Could win: “How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

 

Best Original Score

atogt

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

Another easy one. Check off La La Land, which is easily a staple in my Itunes library.

Will win/Should Win: La La Land (95% sure)

 

Best Documentary Feature

 

atogt

  • Fire at Sea
  • I am Not your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • The 13th

I have only seen Life, Animated, but I have heard nothing by praise for O.J. (the movie, not the man).

Will win: O.J.: Made in America (85% sure)

Could win: The 13th

Should win: Life, Animated

Best Documentary Short

atogt

  • 4.1 Miles
  • Extremis
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Will win: Joe’s Violin (70% sure)

 

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

 

ATOGT.jpg

 

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Will win: Star Trek Beyond (80% sure)

 

Best Production Design

ATOGT.jpg

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Will win/Should win: La La Land (80% sure)

 

Best Film Editing

ATOGT.jpg

 

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Will win/Should win: La La Land (85% sure)

Could win: Hacksaw Ridge

 

Best Cinematography

atogt

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Will win: La La Land (80% sure)

Could win: Moonlight

 

Best Sound Editing

atogt

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Will win: Hacksaw Ridge (70% sure)

Could win: La La Land

 

Best Sound Mixing

atogt

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Will win: La La Land

Could win: Hacksaw Ridge or Arrival

 

Best Visual Effects

atogt

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Will win/Should win: The Jungle Book (85% sure)

Could win: Doctor Strange

 

Best Animated Short

ATOGT.jpg

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Will win/Should win: Piper (75% sure)

Could win: Pear Cider and Cigarettes

 

Best Live Action Short Film

ATOGT.jpg

  • Ennemis Interieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

 

Will win: Timecode (60% sure)

 

Comment and share your predictions.

 

And the Oscar Nominees (and my thoughts) are…(2017)

oscars-2017

In years past, the president of the Academy would be accompanied by some known movie star and announce the list of the nominees to the movie going public. This year, it was streamed live with interviews with past Oscar winners and nominees such as Jennifer Hudson, Ken Watanabe, Gabourey Sidibe (I forgot she had comic chops), and Jason Reitman. It was a nice change of pace.

Here are the nominees (and my thoughts)…

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

 

Thoughts: I wish a tenth spot would open up for Silence, but overall, nothing too surprising here.

 

Best Director

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

 

Thoughts: Again, no love for Scorsese on his work for Silence, but each of the nominees were no surprise to me. Sad though there was no room for Denzel Washington for Fences.

 

Best Actor

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

 

Thoughts: No surprise, as these were the five heavy hitters (sorry Tom Hanks. Tough year.)

 

Best Actress

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

 

Thoughts: Here was the category that surprised me. As of now, I have only seen two of the nominees (Jackie and La La Land). Huppert’s surprise win at the Globes probably helped her here, as did Streep’s speech at the Globes (and the obvious fact that she is Meryl Streep). Still, the biggest surprise is Ruth Negga, who was probably the reason there is no nominations for Annette Benning (20th Century Women) or (more shockingly) Amy Adams (Arrival).

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

 

Thoughts: Despite a Golden Globe win in this category, Michael Shannon’s co-star, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, did not get a nomination. I was very happy though for Lucas Hedges, who did spellbinding work in Manchester by the Sea. This one may be a tight race.

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

 

Thoughts: No surprise, and the main category I can predict right here and now. This is a clear win for Viola Davis.

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

 

Thoughts: Either Zucchini or The Red Turtle would explain why Finding Dory was not on here, which did not surprise me at all.

 

Best Cinematography

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

 

Thoughts: Nice to see Silence recognized for at least one category.

 

Best Costume Design

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

 

 

Best Documentary

  • Fire at Sea
  • I am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • 13th

 

Thoughts: I am very happy that Life, Animated was recognized, though I have heard nothing but praise for O.J. (the movie, not, you know, the player).

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

 

Best Film Editing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

 

Best Make Up and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

 

Best Original Score

  • Jackie, Mica Levi
  • La La Land, Justin Hurwitz
  • Lion, Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran
  • Moonlight, Nicholas Britell
  • Passengers, Thomas Newman

 

Best Original Song

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, Trolls
  • “City of Stars”, La La Land
  • “The Empty Chair”,  Jim: The James Foley Story
  • “How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Land of Mine, Denmark
  • A Man Called Ove, Sweden
  • The Salesman, Iran
  • Tanna, Australia
  • Toni Erdmann, Germany

 

Best Production Design

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

 

Best Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigareets
  • Pearl
  • Piper

 

Best Live Action, Short Subject

  • Ennemis Interieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

 

Best Sound Editing

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

 

Best Sound Mixing

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

 

Thoughts: Yes, a Michael Bay movie is nominated for an Oscar.

 

Best Visual Effects

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Roge One: A Star Wars Story

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival, Eric Heisserer
  • Fences, August Wilson
  • Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
  • Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
  • Lion, Luke Davies

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land, Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
  • Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
  • 20th Century Women, Mike Mills

 

Congrats are in order to La La Land for tying All about Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) with 14 nominations. More importantly, congratulations are needed for the Academy for no longer having to hear about “Oscars so white”.

The 89th Academy Awards will take place on February 26th, 2017. Jimmy Kimmell will be hosting.

My predictions will be announced in the weeks to come.

 

And the Oscar goes to…

And-the-Oscar-Goes-to

 

Honestly, I am tired of the whole Oscarssowhite talk going around (I too wish it was more diverse, but it is not all the Academy’s fault: I mean, there were not many performances to begin with, sadly). Why can’t we just acknowledge the nominees as they are?

I have been doing Oscar Contests since I was about 13, and have learned as I went along (I used to think it was ok to have ties in catagories). I am not saying I know all the answers, but if you want to win an pool you may be in, here are my picks in all catagories (and reasons why)…

For a list of all nominees, visit

http://www.imdb.com/awards-central/oscars?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=2348233542&pf_rd_r=0KC5ZWBP7PAY2XWABKNB&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_t=15091&pf_rd_i=main&ref_=ac_ac_ac_lk10

Best Picture

Picture

 

Truly, the biggest award of the night is also the biggest toss up of the night. The PGA awarded The Big Short while SAG awarded Spotlight and DGA The Revenant. Those three are the top three closest to the finish line.

Being that The Revenant also should be winning Best Director and Best Actor, I have it down as winning Best Picture. Still, it is going to be a photo finish, so don’t be surprised if it goes to the other two (or even Mad Max: Fury Road).

Will win: The Revenant (65 % sure)

Could win: Spotlight, The Big Short

Should win: Room (my favorite of the year)

 

Best Director

 

 

Director

Only twice in history has a director won Best Director two years in a row. Being that he just won his second consecutive DGA award (the first time that has ever happend), it seems best to say that Alejandro G. Innaritu will win again this year for The Revenant (the DGA award has predicted Best Director at the Oscars all but 5 times in over 50 years). If there was a spoiler, it would be my personal pick, George Miller, for his incredible work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant (95 % sure)

Could/Should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

 

 

Best Actor

 

 

Actor.jpg

 

 

The wait is over. All who have been waiting for Leonard DiCaprio to win an Oscar will finally get to see the chance. Even one of his competitors, Eddie Redmayne, has stated he wants Leo to win. I would not be surprised if the other nominees felt the same way. It also helps that it is the best performance of the group. I personally can’t wait to see the standing ovation, and hear his speech.

Will win/Should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (100 % sure)

Could win: No one really, but if I had to pick, it would be Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

 

 

Best Actress

Actress

 

 

 

One of the reason’s I picked Room as my favorite movie of 2015 was the performance by Brie Larson. It is one that will go down in history, and an Oscar will only help it more. The only real threat is Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, proving she is still one of the best young actresses around.

Will win/Should win: Brie Larson, Room (95% sure)

Could win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Supporting Actor

“CREED”: (L-r) SYLVESTER STALLONE as Rocky Balboa in “CREED.” Photo: Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros. Pictures

 

 

 

 

I am still a bit upset that Room’s Jacob Tremblay was overlooked, but all the five nominees give stellar performances. Still, none was more surprising or as heartfelt as Sylvester Stallone in Creed. Tom Hardy is probably the next closest, proving he is one of the best actors working today. Still, expect a win for Rocky.

Will win/Should win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Could win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Supporting actress

 

 

I must admit I was not a huge fan of The Danish Girl, but I was impressed by the great turn by Alicia Vikander. Despite other great performances in the catagory, I feel she will win. However, it would be kind of cool to see Kate Winslet win, mainly to see her and Leo holding Oscars next to each other.

Will win/Should win: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (90% sure)

Could Win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Original Screenplay

 

Original Screenplay

While Inside Out was the most original film of the last few years, expect the win to go to Spotlight.

Will win: Spotlight (90%)

Could win: Straight Outta Compton

Should Win: Inside Out

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

 

Even if the film was very confusing at times, expect this award to go to The Big Short.

 

Will win: The Big Short (90%)

Could win/Should win: Room

 

Best Animated Feature

Animated

While I have heard great things about Anomalisa, I doubt anything is beating Inside Out.

Will win/Should win: Inside Out (95% sure)

Could win: Anomalisa

Best Forgein Language FilmForgein Language film

 

 

I have not seen any of the films, but I have heard nothing but good things about Son of Saul, a film I am hoping to see.

 

Will win: Son of Saul (85% sure)

 

Best Cinematography

Cinematography

 

It is rare for someone to win consecutive Oscars, so it is even rarer for someone to do so three times in a row. Still, that seems to be the case for Emmauel Lubezki, after winning two years ago for Gravity and last year for Birdman. Expect him to win again for The Revenant, unless they finally give one to Roger Deakins (for Sicario).

Will win/Should win: The Revenant (85% sure)

Could Win: Sicario

 

Best Film Editing

Film Editing

The fast paced, yet somehow smooth editing of Mad Max:Fury Road should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could Win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

Production Design

Despite the awesome looking images of The Revenant and the realistic looks of Mars of The Martian, the futuristic deserts of Mad Max: Fury Road should drive away with it.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Martian

 

Best Costume Design

Costume Design

Sandy Powell is up against herself for Carol, but her work in Cinderella is what is the best of the bunch.

Will win/Should win: Cinderella (75% sure)

Could win: Carol or The Danish Girl

 

Best Make-up/Hairstyling

Make-up

Another award for the outstanding Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Revenant

 

Best Original Score

Original Score

I am as big a fan of John Williams as anyone, and his work in Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is more proof he is the best film composer ever. However, he has already won five Oscars while another legendary composer, Ennio Morricone, has yet to win a competitive Oscar (he won an Honorary one a few years ago). Like Dicaprio and Stallone, expect a standing ovation.

Will win: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight (90% sure)

Could win/Should win: John Williams, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

Original Song

I won’t lie: I am not a huge fan of any of the songs, but the best one, “Til it happens to you” from The Hunting Ground, should bring an Oscar to Lady Gaga and (finally) Diane Warren.

Will win/Should win: “Til it happens to you”, The Hunting Ground (75% sure)

Could win: “Writings on the Wall”, Spectre

Best Sound Editing

Sound Editing

I am still trying to find out the difference between Sound Editing and Mixing, but expect both to go to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing

See above. Don’t bet against a rock band on trucks.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Documentary Feature

Documentary

Will win: Amy (80% sure)

 

Best Documentary Short Subject

Documentary Short

Will win: Body Team 12 (50% sure, and not just because they look like Minions)

 

Best Animated Short Film

Animated Short

Will win: World of Tomorrow (45% sure)

 

Best Live Action Short Film

Short film

Will win: Ave Maria (30% sure)

Best Visual Effects

Special Effects

The Revenant had one amazing bear attack and Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens gave us more Star Wars brilliace. Still, the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road had very little CGI effects, which is why it should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (75% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

Oscar Best Picture Winners: The Best of the Best (2017)

 

0oscars

Seeing all the Best Picture winners in history is not all that hard. All you need is time and a love for movies.

Ok, some are bad, but they still make you realize how great movies can be.

I also plan on doing this once a year, not only to add the newest best picture winner, but because my thoughts may change (not really for the top films or bottom films, but those in the middle). No, I have yet to see every Best Picture nominee (which would be a big time consumer), but some years I did see enough to know if the choice was right or not.

And the Oscar goes to…

 

89.

The English Patient

It is not the longest film to ever win best picture, but The English Patient (1996) easily seems like the longest. The story of a nurse (Juliette Binoche, who won an oscar for Supporting Actress and does a fine job here) who hears the story of a love story that is beyond boring (unlike films it beat, mainly Fargo). Elaine Benes from “Seinfeld” was right about this film.

Parents: Not for kids. Sexuality and violence.

88.

The Broadway Melody

One of the first musicals (and talkies), The Broadway Melody (1929) suffers mainly because it was in the first years of talkies, when Hollywood was still working with the new technology. It reminds me a little too much of the film they were failing to make in the film Singin’ in the Rain.

Parents: Ok for kids, but it may bore them.

 

87.

The Greatest Show on Earth

 

Considered one of the worst Best Picture winners, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) does look nice, but the story of a circus behind the scenes is anything but Great (yes, that is James Stewart next to Charlton Heston as a clown). It is certaintly not better than High Noon or (even though it was sadly not even nominated) Singin’ in the Rain.

Parents: It is ok for kids.

86.gigi.jpg

A nice looking movie, with nice costumes, surrounded by a creepy story, Gigi (1958) is like a nice looking apple with worms on the inside. It is a musical, but with only one song that is ok.

Parents: It is ok, but not something they would really like.

85.

Cimarron

The first Western to win Best Picture, Cimarron (1931) tells an ok story, but is easily forgettable. It is no where near as good as another film from 1931 (even though it was not nominated), Charlie Chaplin’s uncanny masterpiece City Lights.

Parents: Ok for children, but I feel they will be bored.

84.

American Beauty

I don’t feel like American Beauty (1999) has aged entirely as well as some would have hoped. It has great acting, but the film about a man having a mid life crisis has far too many creepy moments in it that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, unlike better movies like The Green Mile.

Parents: Not, I repeat, NOT for kids. A lot of sexual stuff.

83.

Tom Jones

Albert Finney is a great actor and does fine work here as the title character, but Tom Jones (1963) is supposed to be funny and (while I know comedy is subjective) it really isn’t. It is a tad creepy. Unlike Lillies of the Field.

Parents: Not really for kids.

82.

Out of Africa

 

Out of Africa (1985) does give us a decent Robert Redford performance and a wonderful performance by Meryl Streep (no surprise). What is a surprise is how bland the movie feels. It is no match nowadays for Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, which was left empty handed at the Oscars, still a travesty.

Parents: Nothing too bad, but I doubt kids would like it.

 

81.

Around the world in 80 Years

David Niven is pitch perfect as the man who wants to travel what the title says, but Around the World in 80 Days (1956) is full of wonderful sights with too simple a story to take seriously. Also, as a fan of Frank Sinatra, it was a big downer to see him in the film for nearly seven seconds.

Parents: Ok for kids, if they can pay attention that long.

80.

The Great Ziegfeld

Despite being long and a little predictable, The Great Ziegfeld (1936) is worth watching for the performances, mainly Best Actress winner Luise Rainer who is glamourous and transcendent. Still, I think I liked San Francisco better.

Parents: Again, it is ok for kids if they can stand the length.

79.

The Life of Emile Zola

The first half is very hard to sit through, but the second half of The Life of Emile Zola (1937) has the actual story to it. Paul Muni also does a wonderful job in the title role.

Parents: Nothing wrong here for kids.

78.

Shakespeare in Love

You would be hardpressed to find anyone who likes Shakespeare in Love (1998) more than Saving Private Ryan (or even Life is Beautiful), but it does not make SIL any worse. Paltrow is very good here as well in the role that got her an Oscar. Still, a horrible shame it won over Saving Private Ryan.

Parents: Not for kids.

77.

Midnight Cowboy

One of the strangest on this list, Midnight Cowboy (1969) does feature career performances (mainly Dustin Hoffman), but I still admit to being a huge fan of Butch Cassidey and the Sundance Kid.

Parents: NOT FOR KIDS (At the time of this film, it was rated X).

76. Cavalcade

A basic melodrama, Calvalcade (1933) does tend to drag at times, but the performances of the time do a nice job.

Parents: Ok for kids.

75. An American in Paris

Their next film, Singin’ in the Rain (this is the third time I mentioned it so I think it is obvious I am fan), is far better. Still, An American in Paris (1951) has director Stanley Donen and star Gene Kelly giving great visuals and masterful dancing. Not bad, even though A Streetcar named Desire and The African Queen (not nominated) were better.

Parents: Ok for kids.

74.

A Man for All Seasons

Though it is very slow at times, A Man for all Seasons (1966) has fine acting (mainly Best Actor winner Paul Scofield) about a man who sticks to his guns, no matter what.

Parents: Ok for kids.

73.

Hamlet

Despite a great feel of the period and being a great example of an actor (Laurence Olivier) directing himself, Hamlet (1948) does not live up to another movie from the same year, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which is far superior.

Parents: Ok for kids

72.

The Last Emperor

Another example of beauty over substance, The Last Emperor (1987) is a grand looking flick with lots of eye popping visuals. Too bad the story is on one level, unlike other films that year like The Untouchables or Moonstruck.

Parents: Not for kids (some nudity, plus they will be bored)

71.

Gladiator

I will probably get colorful feedback for this one. Afterall, I was in middle school when Gladiator (2000) came out, and I loved it back then. Now, a decade and a half later, it still has its moments (meaning yes, Maximus, I am still somewhat entertained),  but it wears thin after a while. Admittedly, it is not as good as the years other nominees, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Traffic.

Parents: High School and above.

70.

Wings

The original best picture winner, Wings (1927) does drag on at times. Still, it does have some really nicely done fight scenes (especially considering the time it was made). Also, it is the first Best Picture winner, so that alone is still kind of cool.

Parents: One (very brief) glimpse of nudity, but that is it.

69.

 

 

Mrs. Miniver

A nice potrayel of the beginning of World War Two, Mrs. Miniver (1942) is mainly known not for its performances (which include Oscar winners Greer Garson and the always lovable Teresa Wright), but for what happend on Oscar night. Garson gave the longest speech in Oscar history, nearly six minutes long.

Parents: Ok for kids.

68.

All the King's Men

While it is not the best movie ever made about politics (that will always be Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939), All the King’s Men (1949) is still one every politician should see. The acting is stellar, and it is a reminder that corruption is as easy to pick up in politics as ever.

Parents: Ok for kids

67.

Gandhi

There is no doubt in my mind that Gandhi (1982) gives a stellar Ben Kingsley performance that makes you think it is actually the real life activist has come back to life. Still, it does drag on at times, and is no where near as engrossing (let alone popular) as E.T. is.

Parents: Ok for kids, if they can stand the run time (should be watched in High School).

66.

The Deer Hunter

Coming out at just the right time, The Deer Hunter (1978) does go on a bit long. However, it does have great scenes including a wedding scene to inspire all wedding scenes, and, of course, Russian Roulette.

Parents: Not for kids, in anyway shape or form.

65.

Gentleman's Agreement

Gentlemen’s Agreement (1947) does give us a great performance by Gregory Peck and (Oscar winner) Celeste Holm. It is also one of the best films made about anti-semitism. Still, it is probably not as well known now as Miracle on 34th Street.

Parents: Ok for kids

64.

Birdman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (2014) is definetly a film for the ages (the first to seem like it was done in a long take since Hitchcock’s Rope). The performances are uncanny throughout, though I still feel Boyhood is the better movie.

Parents: Not really for kids, though High Schoolers may be ok.

63.

Rebecca

While it is certainly not the director’s best film, Rebecca (1940) is the only film of Alfred Hitchcock to win Best Picture. It does build suspense, provides acting greats like Olivier and Fontaine, and has a delicious villian in Mrs. Danvers. I do not think, however, it is as good as The Grapes of Wrath.

Parents: Suspenseful (of course) but not too bad for kids.

62.

spotlight

Despite only winning two Oscars (Best Picture and Best Screenplay), what makes Spotlight (2015) so engrossing is how tightly sealed the scrip is (as well as every actor on their A game). Sure, it is not as good as All the President’s Men (the Citizen Kane of journalism movies), but it ranks up there.

Parents: The subject matter is far too intense for kids.  High School and above.

61.

Sunrise A Tale of Two Humans

At the first Academy Awards, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1929) won Best Picture in the catagory of Unique and Artistic Production, the only time that catagory exhisted. Still, these days critics tend to like it more because of its authentic artistry that is standing the test of time a little better than Wings.

Parents: Ok for kids

60.

The Lost Weekend

Still the best film made about drinking, The Lost Weekend (1945) shows one of the best examples of a character battling their desires ever shown on film (thanks, of course, to the Oscar winning performance by Ray Milland). The imagery he sees are rather frightening.

Parents: May be a bit intense for kids.

59.

All Quiet on the Western Front

While it was not the first war film ever made, the invention of sound in movies did help All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) stand the test of time. I would argue it is still the best film ever made about World War One, and still has images that will make you quiver.

Parents: It is a war film, but because of when it was made, it is not terribly violent.

58.

Driving Miss Daisy

 

I am still a bigger fan of Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, and My Left Foot, yet there is still something endearing about Driving Miss Daisy (1989). It must be the undeniable chemistry between Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.

Parents: Ok for kids, though there is some swearing.

57.

Mutiny on the Bounty

Although Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) only won Best Picture and nothing else, it stil does a nice job of being entertaining thanks to Gable and Laughton as one of cinema’s best bad guys. Still, I would rather watch Top Hat.

Parents: Ok for kids

56.

The Departed

Even if Goodfellas and Raging Bull are better movies in the long run, it was The Departed (2006) that finally brought Martin Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director. The story of mobsters has multiple layers and fine acting by all in the cast. I do still feel Little Miss Sunshine was better though.

Parents: Definetly not for kids.

55.

Going my Way

Going My Way (1944) may not be the main thing Bing Crosby is known for nowadays, but he definetly shines as Father O’Malley for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor. His co-star Barry Fitzgerald was also nominated in that catagory, but won for the same performance in the supporting actor catagory. I still need to find out how that worked out.

Parents: It is ok for kids.

54.

The French Connection

 

One of the more heart pounding films on this list, The French Connection (1971) is what shot Gene Hackman to film immortality. His Popeye Doyle is one character you better not have against you, especially in a car chase.

Parents: Not for kids.

53.

How Green was my Valley

I can’t help but feel sorry for How Green was my Valley (1941). Truly, it is a rather good movie. The problem is that it beat out compitition at the Oscars that are far better than it. Films like The Maltese Falcon, considered the first (and best) film noir in history. Or that other movie, Citizen Kane.

52.

Oliver!

Oliver! (1968) was the last musical to win Best Picture in the 20th Century, and does not get the praise I feel it deserves. It is funny, charming, scary (Bill Sykes is creepy as heck), and delivers great numbers.

Parents: Ok for kids.

51.

Terms of Endearment

Even though I would prefer The Right Stuff and Tender Mercies, there is no denying the emotional power of Terms of Endearment (1983). Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger are perfect as mother and daughter, and no womazing neighbor could be played better than anyone not named Jack Nicholson. It also has a tearjerker scene for the ages.

Parents: Not really for kids

50.

The Kings Speech

While others prefered The Social Network (a very good film) , The King’s Speech (2010) was more entertaining for me. No small part goes to the acting (Colin Firth is spellbinding, and Geoffrey Rush is equally brilliant), about a simple story of someone who has a stuttering problem (mind you, he is a king). Still, my favorite movie of that year was Winter’s Bone.

Parents: There is one 30 second scene of swearing, and another of 5-10 seconds,  but that is it. Really, just fast forward through it, and you are ok.

49.

The-Bridge-Of-The-River-Kwai-1957

 

If you bring up the name Alec Guinness to anyone nowadays, they would most likely remember him at Obi-Wan Kenobi from the original Star Wars. After that, it would be his Oscar winning role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). It will be difficult seeing anyone else in the role. As for the film itself, while I do like 12 Angry Men better, there is no denying the gravity epic scape of this film.

Parents: May be a bit long for kids, but nothing too horrilbe.

48.

DF-02238.CR2

 

12 Years a Slave (2013) is easily one of the hardest films to watch on this list, but also one of the most important. It is one of those films you don’t watch as much as you can, but it is one that stays with you for the remainder of your life. All the actors are masterful here (mainly Oscar winner Lupita N’Yongo in her first film role).

Parents: Quite a bit of nudity, and the subject matter clearly makes it not for kids. Still, when you children get mature enough (High School or College) they should see the film.

47.

Grand Hotel

In a way, Grand Hotel (1932) was a trend setter. It was the original all star cast film (Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, John and Lionel Barrymore) that did not just rely on star power. It relied on stellar acting and a wonderful story. Fun Fact: The film also stared Jean Hersholt, who was later given a special Oscar for which now bears his name.

46.

In the heat of the night

 

Winning over films like Guess who’s coming to Dinner and The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night (1967) was a film for its time, a film about the tensions of racism (which, of course, still resonates today. While Rod Steiger won the Best Actor Oscar, it is easily Sidney Poitier you will remember as Virgil Tibbs (though that is not what people always call him).

Parents: High School and above, as this is when nudity started showing up more and more in movies.

45.

Titanic

 

I was in my preteens when Titanic (1997) came out (though I never saw it in theaters). I knew it was a big film when I saw it (and that there was a drawing scene). It was also what truly got me into the Oscars in the first place, so I owe it that.

Parents: There is the famous nude scene to avoid, and some swearing. Only High School and above.

44.

Ordinary People

Next to Raging Bull, Ordinary People (1980) is obviously not the clear winner. Still, the film by Robert Redford does tell a very intriguing story with acting you will remember. Mainly, it is Oscar Winner Timothy Hutton who gives a performance almost as perfect as Raging Bull‘s Robert De Niro. Almost.

Parents: The film is R rated for swearing. High School and above.

43.

Chicago

I can’t say how much I liked Chicago (2002) when it came out in theaters. I loved it. It is one of a few movies I have seen four times in the theater (my personal record). True, The Pianist was a better film, but seldom has a movie come out in theaters that I had a lot of true fun at.

Parents: It is a musical, but not for kids. High School and above.

42.

The Artist

 

The Artist (2011) made my job of telling people what movies to see and not see a lot easier. It reminded us all that films are not just about what you may or may not hear, but about what you feel. That, plus the movie has one heck of an awesome dog.

Parents: This has one “obsene gesture” (someone uses the middle finger) but that is it. The film is ok for kids.

41.

Platoon

Easily one of the best war films ever made, Platoon (1986) has about more grit than almost any film every made. This is thanks to director Oliver Stone (who was in the Vietnam War), and sums up the film perfectly with the line on the poster: The first casualty of war is innocence.

Parents: Definetly not for kids (some nudity is shown but not for long), but should be watched at some point when they are in High School.

40.

A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe may have won the Oscar for Gladiator, but I have yet to meet anyone who thinks it was a better performance than the one he gave in A Beautiful Mind (2001). The film is centered mainly on his performance (as well as Oscar Winner Jennifer Connelly’s as his wife). Now a random question: He is obviously a genius, but how on earth did he get those biceps? Just wondering.

Parents: Some sexual talk and swearing, but nothing else. Middle School and above would be ok.

39.

Argo

 

In one of the best years for film, it was Argo (2012) that took the prize. It was a story that (at least for me) was not well known (at least compared to other movies that year like Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty), it was directed by an actor (which the Oscars like to reward a lot, despite the director not getting a nomination which is still a big question mark today), and it was (most importantly) entertaining as can be.

Parents: High School and above only.

38.

The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

 

I never read the books till I saw the first film, but I had a feeling that Peter Jackson was saving the best for last. That is exactly what happend with The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King (2003). It is a spectacle that is hard to ignore (even if great performances by Sean Astin and Viggo Mortensen were). Some could argue it won all of it’s 11 nominations (a record for a perfect score) for the trilogy as a whole, but the film is still easily the best of the whole series (including The Hobbit films, which I thought were just so so).

Parents: Some scary moments, but films your kids would want to see. Still, start with the first films or they will definetly be confused.

37.

No Country for Old Men

There are few filmmakers as diverse as the Coen brothers, and it was their film No Country for Old Men (2007) that brought them each three Oscars (for directing, writing, and producing). It is terrifying (Javier Bardem gives us the best villian of the 21st century), enticing (Bardem is the scene stealer, but every actor is on their A game here), and thought provoking (I still have yet to find out what I feel about the ending). Also, don’t forget some of that awkward humor (the cordroys that Josh Brolin returns to the store with has me laughing every time).

Parents: Another film not for kids. No real nudity (some talk about sex) but it is a really dark, violent film. High School and above.

36.

The Hurt Locker

It is the lowest money maker of all Best Picture winners (it’s competition that year was Avatar, which is still the biggest world wide money maker), but The Hurt Locker (2009) is a better film. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (who was once married to James Cameron), it is as real a war film as you will ever see. I still feel like it is the type of film fans of first person shooter games would love. It is a film that should be shown to anyone even remotely interested in enlisting.

Parents: High School and above only.

35.

Unforgiven

Unforgiven (1992) is Clint Eastwood’s love letter to the Western. Like all of the films Eastwood directs, it is a simple story with multiple layers that have unforgettable characters. Their are a lot of tough guy actors, but seldom have there been any as memorable as Clint Eastwood. No man on screen has ever looked as scary holding a gun.

Parents: Not for kids, but should be ok for High Schoolers (a brief sex scene at the start, but no nudity).

34.

The Silence of the Lambs

 

JFK is one of my all time favorite movies, but the Academy went insteaad with another masterpiece, The Silence of the Lambs (1991). One of three films to win the top five Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), it set a new standard for horror that many these days are trying to duplicate but none really have (to be fair, it is hard to top a villian like Hannibal Lecter).

Parents: High School and above. No one else under that age group.

33.

Rain Man

 

Rain Man (1988) is what most people think of when they think of autism. Dustin Hoffman is the one with the showier role (he won his second Oscar for the performance), but Tom Cruise does equally fine work as his brother. Still, it was not as intoxicating to me as Mississippi Burning.

Parents: There is one brief sex scene (and brief nudity), but the R rating is mainly for language. High School and above.

32.

Slumdog Millionaire

 

Probably my favorite thing about the first time I saw Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was that I knew next to nothing about the film. It is almost Capra-like in the way it tells the fairy tale story of how fighting for the one you love,  no matter what, is really wonderful. That, and an awesome ending dance number.

Parents: There is no real sex scenes, just swearing and some violence. I would think Middle School and above.

31.

The Sting

The Sting (1973) was the first encounter I had with it’s two stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Each are as charming as ever, and it is their presence alone that makes the film worth watching. That, and awesome music.

Parents: There is some swearing, and one scene of nudity (a strip show type of thing), but that is it. Skip that scene, and middle school and above.

30.

Braveheart

Although Apollo 13 is a better movie, Braveheart (1995) still holds a nice place in my heart. It was the first hard rated R film I saw (though obviously not in the theater, as I was only eight at the time). True, it is known to have historical innaccuracies (a lot of movies do), but it is still entertaining as ever. It is also proof that, regardless of his personal life, Mel Gibson knows how to make a movie.

Parents: High School and above only. There is one scene of nudity, but nothing explicit.

29.

Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur (1959) is a remake of a 1925 film that is easily more remembered. It is long, but it is carried by a performance by Charlton Heston, great sweeping images, and a chariot race that has never been matched. The scene where he first meets Jesus is the best biblical scene ever put on film.

Parents: It is long, and full of some violence, but middle school and above are fine.

28.

Patton

It is hard for one actor/actress to carry a film, but George C. Scott does that and more as the title character of Patton (1970). It does go on long, but every time Scott is on screen, you can’t help but smile.

Parents: Some violence but nothing bad. Middle schoolers and above, provided they can stand a long movie.

27.

Kramer vs Kramer

I am going out on a limb here: I think Dustin Hoffman gives his best performance in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). He plays one of the most relatable fathers in movie history, and Meryl Streep is equally good as his ex wife. Of course, there is no doubt it is not as good a movie as Apocalypse Now.

Parents: There is a scene of nudity, a little violence, and swearing. High School and above.

 

 

26.

Crash

Yes, I really did like the film Crash (2005). I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I do. It has great acting (which no one can deny), and it is about the characters more so than the story. I still like it more than Brokeback Mountain (which I still feel is a little overrated, though Heath Ledger was magnificent).

Parents: A sex scene (with nudity), a ton of swearing, and violence. High School and above.

25.

Amadeus

Movies are not the best source for accurate details (except for Documentaries), but are awesome at entertaining. That is what makes Amadeus (1984) so wonderful. If you are looking for accurate facts,  you won’t find many. If you want entertainment, you sure as heck will.

Parents: The extended version has nudity, while the normal (PG) version does not. Either way, I would say High Schoolers and above.

24.

From Here to Eternity

When I saw the preview for the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, I thought it looked like sure oscar bait (I was 14 and stupid). Later, I discovered From Here to Eternity (1953), and what a good movie about Pearl Harbor can be.

Parents: Aside from the beach scene (which is not that bad at all), middle schoolers and above would be fine.

23.

Chariots of Fire

I am a bigger fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark and On Golden Pond. Still, there is something very uplifting about Chariots of Fire (1981). Mainly, it is the way the story is told, and that immortal music that has been parodied to death.

Parents: Ok for kids.

22.

Million Dollar Baby

Regardless of whether you agree with the ending. you have to love how Clint Eastwood got there. His Million Dollar Baby (2004) is one of the best sports films ever made. Each of the three main actors are at the top of their games, and it gives us the best Morgan Freeman scene ever.

Parents: It is difficult to watch at times, so I would think High School and above (or at least really mature Middle Schoolers).

 

21.Dances with Wolves

First, the obvious. Goodfellas is far better of a movie. Even so, Dances with Wolves (1990) gets bad raps for beating it. It is still glorious to behold, and deserves more love. It is gritty, realistic, and deserving of respect.

Parents: High School and above (and they should see it).

20.

Forrest Gump

In one of the best years for movies, it must have been difficult to pick Forrest Gump (1994) over better flicks like Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. Still, the Tom Hanks film (which he is remembered for most) was the first real “drama” I had seen in my life. It still touches the heart every time I watch it.

Parents: Middle School and above.

19.

All about Eve

It must have been a hard choice to choose between All about Eve (1950) and Sunset Blvd. I do prefer the latter, but the former is still wonderful entertainment. With stars like Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, and Mariyln Monroe, it indeed is a bumpy night of enjoyment.

Parents: Middle School and above. Any younger would get bored.

 

18.

The Best years of our lives

It’s a Wonderful Life is loved by pretty much anyone who has seen it, but it lost to another great movie, The Best Years of our Lives (1946). No film about return soldiers has topped it, and while all the actors are great, the best is Harold Russell, an actual war veteran.

17.You can't take it with you.jpg

Bette Davis was wonderful in Jezebel, as was Spencer Tracy in the wonderful Boys Town. Also, color films were in the arena with films like The Adventures of Robin Hood. Still, You Can’t Take it with You (1938) is definetly one of Frank Capra’s best. I smiled the whole way through. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling you won’t forget.

Parents: Ok for kids.

16.The Sound of Music

Although it was dubbed “the sound of mucus” by film critic Pauline Kael, The Sound of Music (1965) is one of the most loved films ever made. Even the hardest hearted person can’t help but get the songs in their head.

Parents: Easily, this is the first Best Picture any kid should start with.

15.

My Fair Lady

Extravegent is the best word to describe My Fair Lady (1964). Even if Audrey Hepburn does not do her own singing, she give a beautiful performance. Also, no one can ever be Henry Higgins like Rex Harrison. No one. It is hard to find a favorite song here, but mine would be “I  could have danced all night”. Not bad for a movie that beat Mary Poppins and Dr. Strangelove.

Parents: A little long, but ok for kids.

 

14.

One flew over the cuckoo's nest

When one looks at One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), one sees how it would have been a totally differennt movie. Heck, it would have been horrible without Jack Nicholson and Louise Rainer. It became the second film to win all five top Oscars, and is also what every movie should be in the first place: Enjoyable.

Parents: High School and above.

13.

West Side Story

West Side Story (1961) was the first musical film I saw after seeing the stage version. It was my chance at seeing how a movie musical could, in a way, be better than the stage version. The choreography is stellar, and the songs are left in your mind, whether you want them to be or not.

Parents: Ok for kids, despite some violence.

12. Rocky

Network won three acting Oscars (only the second one to do so), Taxi Drive gave us Travis Bickle, and All the President’s Men was the best newspaper movie ever made. Still, like the character it is showing us, Rocky (1976) was the underdog winner for Best Picture. Despite  how you may feel about the sequels, the first was inspiring to everyone, including Charles Chaplin, who said he loved this as it was one of the last films he saw before he died.

Parents: Some violence, but middle schoolers and above are ok.

11.

Annie Hall

I apologize to all my fellow fans of Star Wars, but Annie Hall (1977) was the better movie. I have not seen all of Woody Allen’s films (yet), but I can’t see them being better than this. His writing, directing, and acting are all top notch.It has truly earned its place as one of the top three or four best rom coms ever made.

Parents: There is swearing, and some sexuality. I would say (maturee) Middle Schoolers and above.

10.

Marty

The title character of Marty (1955) is one of the most realistic characters you will see in any movie, as well as one of the most relatable. It is the shortest Best Picture winner (90 minutes), but it packs in as much warmth, humor, romance, and realism as any film I have ever seen. Oh, how I wish this film was longer.

Parents: Ok for kids.

9.

The Apartment

A year after his comic masterpiece Some Like it Hot, Billy Wilder came up with The Apartment (1960), equally as fantastic. Jack Lemmon gives possibly his best performance as a man who is as kind hearted as ever, even if he rents his apartment out to his co workers. It is probably the best “dramedy” ever made.

Parents: The subject matter is a little adult, but nothing is ever shown. Middle Schoolers and above would be ok.

8.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the number one movie to show that movies should be shown on big screens, not on hand held devices (I have yet to see it in theaters). It is spellbinding, action packed, and gorgeous beyond belief. Still, I do like To Kill a Mockingbird more, but just by a hair.

Parents: Middle School and above.

7.

It Happend One Night

The first real sweep of the Oscars happend with It Happend One Night (1934), one of the funniest films ever made. Everything about the film has not aged, even over eight years later. Gable and Colbert are perfectly cast, and it set the standard for road comedies that none have been able to match. Actually, they have not even gotten close.

Parents: Ok for kids.

 

6.

On the Waterfront

At the time On the Waterfront (1954) was released, it was a statement that director Elia Kazan used as showing his stance for out communists in Hollywood. Thankfully, the movie is so great that all of that controversy is not even a factor these days. This is thanks to the storytelling, the music, but mainly the acting. While Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Karl Malden are fantastic, it is Marlon Brando who leaves the biggest mark on the film. His performance is the best in film history.

Parents: A little violent, but ok for kids. Middle Schoolers and above.

5.

The Godfather Part 2

Chinatown is one of history’s best film noirs, but it does not compare to The Godfather, Part Two (1974), arguably the best sequel ever made. Pacino gets more time to shine, and De Niro is mesmerizing as his younger father. Those last ten minutes are as haunting as anything you will see on film.

Parents: Not for kids. High Schoolers and above (though they better see the first one before hand).

4.

Gone with the Wind.jpg

Apparently, screen legend Gary Cooper once said that Gone with the Wind (1939) would be the biggest bomb ever. I doubt he has said much more that could be more wrong. Just shy of four hours (the longest of any Best Picture winner), it never drags at all. In what many consider the best year for movies (other nominees included The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, and Stagecoach), GWTW swept (most of) the awards. It is also (when ajusted for inflation) the biggest money maker domestically and worldwide. Add in the acting, the music (my personal favorite of all movies), and the epic scope, and, frankly, you should give…well, you know.

Parents: Despite the length (and some minor violence, plus the obvious swear word), it is ok for kids. Middle Schoolers and above.

3.

Schindler's List

Schindler’s List (1993) is easily one of the most difficult films to sit through, as well as one of the most important. Director Steven Spielberg films the movie in black and white (had it been done in color, it would not have been good) to suck the life out of one of the worst times in human history. Nazis have always made memorable villians in movies, but not like this. They are not just evil looking like in The Sound of Music or being stopped by Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here, they are human beings, doing unspeakable crimes. Except for one, who did the unthinkable acts of saving nearly 1100 Jews.

Parents: Easily not for kids, though High Schoolers most definetly should see the film at some point.

 

2.

The Godfather.jpg

It is hard to believe, but The Godfather (1972) almost did not win Best Picture. It only won three Oscars (the main culprit was Cabaret, which, although a good film, could never compare with Coppola’s masterpiece). A friend of mine says it is the best film about family ever made, and I could not agree more. When one thinks of the mafia, this film is the first to come up in every mind. Even those who never have seen it. Although there are few roles for women in the movie, it is clear why it is one of the best movies ever made in so many people’s hearts.

 

Parents: High Schoolers and above.

 

1.Casablanca.jpg

Time has always been the best judge of movies, and no film has ever aged better than Casablanca (1943). There has never been a better romance, a better cast (especially the supporting), or (most of all) a better script (seriously, I have seen the movie a number of times, and still don’t know how many quotable lines there are). It is like wine: it gets better with age, and with every viewing. It is cliche to say so, but it will always get better, as time goes by.

Parents: Ok for kids.

My Oscar Predictions (2014)

This Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris hosts the 87th birthday of the most sought after trophy in show business: Oscar.

Here are my predictions in every category (if you are doing a pool, you need to know the lesser known categories too), and reasons why…

Best Picture:

Having seen all the nominees, it is another two-way race. This year, it is Birdman vs. Boyhood. Boyhood had the momentum at first (winning most of the critic awards, plus the Golden Globes). However, Birdman swooped in and took the Producers, Directors, AND Screen Actors guild awards.

It can go either way, but while my head is saying Birdman, it is being way over powered by my love for Boyhood (not to say that Birdman was a bad film: it was great.) Still, one of the things that Birdman does not have going for it is a Best Editing Nomination, which is crucial, as the last film to win Best Picture without that nomination was Ordinary People (1980). Also, while history does not always agree with Oscar, I am feeling they will here, as a movie like Boyhood is something that will never be done probably ever again.

Will win: Boyhood

Could win: Birdman

Should win: Boyhood

Best Director

While Richard Linklater looked like the go to winner, the Directors Guild (which is really good at predicting this award) went with Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu for Birdman. It is hard to vote against the DGAs.

Will win: Inarritu, Birdman

Could win: Linklater, Boyhood

Should win: Inarritu (it was a technical blowout of awesome).

Best Actor

The only real acting race, it is between Michael Keaton for Birdman and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Keaton was the frontrunner, but Redmayne struck back with his SAG award.

In the end, I am going with Redmayne. The Oscars has a lot of statistics people use to help predict, but there is one that is overlooked. Ever since Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar for playing the Queen in Shakespeare in Love (1998), there has been at least one winner in the four acting categories who has won the award for playing a real life person. Since that will not happen in the other three acting categories this year (see below), that gives the edge to Redmayne.

Will win: Eddie Redmayne

Could Win: Michael Keaton

Should win: Benedict Cumberbatch (for his very emotionally well done work in The Imitation Game)

Best Actress

I have only seen two of the nominees, but one of them I did see is going to win. Julianne Moore not only has the sympathy vote of never having won, but her work in Still Alice is spell binding. It is one of the easiest calls of the night. Don’t bet against Moore.

Will Win: Julianne Moore

Could win: Rosamund Pike Gone Girl (really no one can beat Moore)

Should win: Moore

Best Supporting Actor

I still have yet to see The Judge, but Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo do great work. The problem is, they are up against J.K. Simmons for Whiplash, and he is winning this award. It is the most sure win of the night. Simmons will win. He has looked back on his nominees, and has said “Sorry guys, not my tempo.”

Will win: Simmons

Could win: Maybe Norton or Hawke, but they have no real chance

Should win: Simmons (He was really remarkable)

Best Supporting Actress

Sorry Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, and even Meryl Streep. You four should know by now this is going to Patrica Arquette for her masterful work as the mom of Boyhood.

Will win: Arquette

Could win: Stone (again, VERY unlikely)

Should win: Arquette

Best Original Screenplay

While it could go to Birdman or Boyhood, my money is on Wes Andersen finally getting a much deserved Oscar for his work on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Could win: Birdman

Should win: Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay

Expect this to be the only win for The Imitation Game.

Will win: The Imitation Game

Could win: Whiplash

Should win: Whiplash

Best Animated Feature

Despite the Golden Globe win, I feel Big Hero 6 will prevail over How to Train your Dragon 2.

Will win: Big Hero 6

Could win: How to Train your Dragon 2

Should win: The Lego Movie (don’t get me started on this horrible snub)

Best Foreign Language Film

Leviathan won the Globe, but I have heard nothing but praise for Ida.

Will Win: Ida

Could win: Leviathan

Best Cinematography

He won already last year, but expect a second win for Emmanuel Lubezski for his stellar work on Birdman

Will win: Emmanuel Lubezski Birdman

Could win: Robert D. Yeoman The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should win: Lubezski

Best Film Editing

While I loved the Editing of Whiplash, it will probably go to Boyhood, making the film win a total of 3 Oscars for the night.

Will win: Boyhood

Could/Should win: Whiplash

Best Production Design

Will win/Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design

Will/Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Make up

Will Win: Foxcatcher

Could/Should win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score

Will win: The Theory of Everything

Could/Should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song

Another tough category, as I first thought “Lost Stars” would easily win, but then I heard “Glory” and “I’m not gonna miss you” (by Glen Campbell, suffering from Alzheimer’s). Since Selma won’t win Best Picture, it should win here for its tune that will captivate you for days afterwards (although “Everything is Awesome” could spoil).

Will win: “Glory”

Could win: I’m not gonna miss you”

Should win: “Lost Stars”

Best Sound Editing

Will win: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing

Will win: Whiplash

Best Special Effects

Will win: Interstellar

Best Documentary

Will win: CITIZENFOUR

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Will win: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short Film

Will win: Feast (was shown before Big Hero 6)

Best Short Film, Live Action

Will win: Boogaloo and Graham

Reactions to the Oscar nominations….

A few thoughts on the Oscar Nominations:

  • Happy to see I have already seen seven of the eight best picture nominees (American Sniper review to come soon)
  • Nice to know there is some love for “Whiplash” besides J.K. Simmons (who is now on his way to being a lock for a win)
  • Bradley Cooper is nominated for an Oscar three years in a row: much love for him (sadly the same can not be said for David Oyelowo and Jake Gyllenhaal).
  • A little shocked by the snub of Jennifer Anniston.
  • Best Supporting catagories only real shock is Laura Dern (“Wild”), nothing else.
  • While I am very happy that Wes Anderson finally has an Oscar Nomination, I am upset that “Selma”s Ava DuVernay did not get one).
  • “Life itself” is snubbed out of Best Documentary? Lame.
  • OF ALL THE SNUBS, HOW THE HECK IS THE LEGO MOVIE NOT UP FOR BEST ANIMATED FILM?!?!?!?! (My only conclusion is that part of it is not animated.) Still, its theme song is nominated.
  • Film Editing (the hidden factor of best picture) snubbed out Birdman for reasons unknown.
  • Two of my favorite songs of the year are nominated: “Glory” from “Selma” and “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”.

Oscar predictions to come soon…