Edward Copeland over at the creatively titled blog "Edward Copeland on Film" is conducting an interesting poll: He's asking readers to list the 10 best winners of the Oscar for Best Picture. That sounds like a really easy question, doesn't it? Surely the best picture winners represent the best films ever made? Ha!
A handy list of winners is here. That's assuming you don't have easy access to the alcove at the Hollywood & Highlands mall next to the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held. The best picture winners are listed on tall pillars, pillars that celebrate the mediocrity celebrated by Hollywood. I was there last night and was pleased to see that "Crash" has already taken its place.
After wading through the "Driving Miss Daisys," "Bravehearts," "Forrest Gumps" and "Gigis" this was the list I came up with of the best. It isn't creative or anything, but it's mine:
1)"The Godfather II"- Here's how I came to this decision: "Chinatown" was nominated for Best Picture that year and lost and I can't feel bitter, since the superior film won. If a champion boxer or racehorse is defined by who he beat to get there, "The Godfather II" beat the best.
2)"Lawrence of Arabia"- The dozens of subsequent epics that undeservedly took the Oscar -- your "English Patients" or "Out of Africas" do nothing to tarnish this particular winner.
3)"The Apartment"- This one is high on my list not just because of how much I love the movie, but because of my general amazement that the Academy got it right and honored this pitch-black comedy. On the other hand, once the Academy decided to nominate "The Alamo" that year rather than, say, "Psycho," all bets were off.
4)"The Godfather"- Duh.
6)"Gone with the Wind"- Duh.
7)"Annie Hall"- It's just always amazing to me when the Oscar goes to the best film in a particular year and not to the longest film, the prettiest film or the film that explains that everybody in Los Angeles is racist and that's what makes us human. Then again, "The Turning Point" was nominated for best picture that year -- how does *that* happen?
8)"Bridge on the River Kwai"- It's not really a war movie at all. It's a pure action movie. Action movies don't win Oscars. How did this one? It's almost enough to justify the fact that "The Great Escape" -- perhaps the best action movie ever made -- only received one nomination, for editing. Perhaps it isn't too late to get a retroactive Oscar of some sort for "Die Hard"?
9)"Midnight Cowboy" - Yeah, it's dated, but watching the newly released double-disc DVD a couple weeks ago, I was suprised at how well it held up.
10)"Schindler's List"- Perhaps Spielberg's fifth or sixth best film, but this is the one that won best picture.
Zip over to Edward's blog and vote before April 29 to have your opinion count.