February 26, 2008

A Perspective On Best Picture

Posted in Film tagged , , at 1:52 am by Lindsay

After being let down at the “No Country For Old Men” win at the Academy Awards ceremony last night, I felt compelled to revisit the list of Best Picture winners, and more interestingly, Best Picture nominees.  I’m finding that often, the jewels are to be found in the nominees, not necessarily the winners. 

For example, take 1940.  “Rebecca”, Hitchcock’s first American picture takes the cake.  Now, I love Hitchcock.  I love Daphne Du Maurier whose novel the film is based on.  “Rebecca” is a good film.  It’s well-made, well-acted, and tells an interesting story.  However, “Rebecca” never ranks in the top five Hitchcock movies, so I’m a little puzzled on how it beat films like “The Grapes of Wrath”, “The Letter”, and “The Philadelphia Story”. 

Then there’s 1941.  “How Green Was My Valley” took home the top prize.  I have never seen this film, but my dad speaks highly of it, and he has good taste in movies, so I’m sure it’s a fine film.  Also nominated that year?  “The Maltese Falcon” and a little movie called “Citizen Kane”. 

Or there’s another problem.  Too many amazing movies were made in one year.  Enter 1939.  While “Gone With the Wind” – my favorite movie of all time – was deserving in it’s Best Picture win, the remaining nominees are some of the best movies ever – “Dark Victory”, “Goodbye Mr. Chips”, “Love Affair”, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”, “Ninotchka”, “Stagecoach”, “Of Mice And Men”, “The Wizard Of Oz”, and “Wuthering Heights”.  (They used to nominate a lot more films for Best Picture.)  There may have been one winner, but there were no losers in 1939. 

 Other notable losers from miscellaneous years: “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Sunset Boulevard”, and “To Kill A Mockingbird”.

Let “Citizen Kane” be our lesson – at one time, it couldn’t beat out a handful of other movies, but now it beats out every other movie ever made. 



  1. Pullman said,

    I have watched How Green Was My Valley and I agree that it is a great film, but it is interesting how it hasn’t become an iconic film like The Maltese Falcon or Citizen Kane. These were two ground breaking films, though. Maybe they were just ahead of their time?

  2. DC said,

    My example of the jewel being in the nominees would be a little more recent than yours, but 1991: The Silence of the Lambs won for best picture while Beauty and the Beast (one of my faves!) went without recognition. ha ha!

  3. LA said,

    Beauty and the Beast is a great film! And I’d be more than happy to never see The Silence of the Lambs again. My favorite film from last year was “The Queen”. I don’t think many people saw it, but at least Helen Mirren was recognized for her amazing portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.

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