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OBPC WRAP-UP (Part 4 of 4): The Grouches: Major Film Awards

October 10, 2014

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, here it is at last. The last hurrah, the final bow, the end of an era. I’ve saved some whoppers for this last installment of my Oscar countdown, including awards for Original and Adapted Screenplay, Director, and “Best” Best Picture.

 

But first, here are the best of each decade:

 

1928-1939: It Happened One Night, 1934

1940-1949: Rebecca, 1940

1950-1959: All About Eve, 1950

1960-1969: Midnight Cowboy, 1969

1970-1979: The Godfather, 1972

1980-1989: Amadeus, 1984

1990-1999: Unforgiven, 1992

2000-2013: No Country for Old Men, 2007

 

Now, on to the awards!

 

The Grouch for Best Original Screenplay

 

*HONORABLE MENTION*

The Sting, 1973

Screenplay by David S. Ward

 

**NOMINEE**

The Apartment, 1960

Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

 

**NOMINEE**

Patton, 1970

Screenplay by Edmund H. North and Francis Ford Coppola

 

**NOMINEE**

Unforgiven, 1992

Screenplay by David Webb Peoples

 

**NOMINEE**

Shakespeare in Love, 1998

Screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

 

***WINNER***

Annie Hall, 1977

Screenplay by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

annie hall animation

Allen and Brickman deserve this award for the boundless humor alone, but they add just the right amount of pointed observation as well. Plot isn’t as important to them as is mood and tone. The script is remarkably even-handed too, with just about the same amount of time devoted to Annie and Alvy. And it stays true to Allen’s brand of comedy, balancing the bloom of new love with the tragedy of its wilting.

 

The Grouch for Best Adapted Screenplay

 

*HONORABLE MENTION*

All About Eve, 1950

Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Based upon the short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr

 

**NOMINEE**

Midnight Cowboy, 1969

Screenplay by Waldo Salt

Based upon the novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy

 

**NOMINEE**

The Godfather, 1972

Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola

Based upon the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo

 

**NOMINEE**

The Godfather Part II, 1974

Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola

Based upon the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo

 

**NOMINEE**

Amadeus, 1984

Screenplay by Peter Shaffer

Based upon the play of the same name by Peter Shaffer

 

**WINNER**

No Country for Old Men, 2007

Screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Based upon the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy

No Country1

No Country boasts a less verbose script than the typical Coen Brothers film, but the dialogue is rich in textural detail and nuance. Drawing upon the McCarthy novel, the Coens convey essential character relationships through the shortest character exchanges. Structurally, the script boasts surprise after surprise, seldom of the pleasant variety. The Coens have constructed a terse yet expansive adaptation, one that knows how to marry words with imagery.

 

The Grouch for Best Direction

 

*HONORABLE MENTION*

David Lean

The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957 & Lawrence of Arabia, 1962

 

**NOMINEE**

John Schlesinger

Midnight Cowboy, 1969

 

**NOMINEE**

Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather, 1972 & The Godfather Part II, 1974

 

**NOMINEE**

Milos Forman

Amadeus, 1984

 

**NOMINEE**

Steve McQueen

12 Years a Slave, 2013

 

***WINNER***

Joel and Ethan Coen

No Country for Old Men, 2007

Coens

Have any two brothers ever worked so well together? In No Country, the Coen siblings match technical perfection with moments of pure grace. They have a masterful command of tension and tone, and as always, the performances from their cast are pure dynamite.  The Coens can handle pulpy violence and rustic philosophy, and make it all seem of a piece.

 

Now, before we get to Best and Worst Picture…

 

After much agonizing, deliberating, second-guessing, and sleepless nights, here are my personal rankings of all 86 Best Pictures!

 

 All 86 Best Pictures, Ranked Best to Worst:

01) No Country for Old Men (2007)

02) Midnight Cowboy (1969)

03) The Godfather (1972)

04) The Godfather Part II (1974)

05) Amadeus (1984)

06) Annie Hall (1977)

07) 12 Years a Slave (2013)

08) Patton (1970)

09) All About Eve (1950)

10) The Apartment (1960)

11) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

12) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

13) The Departed (2006)

14) The Deer Hunter (1978)

15) Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

16) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

17) It Happened One Night (1934)

18) Unforgiven (1992)

19) The Hurt Locker (2009)

20) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

21) The French Connection (1971)

22) Rebecca (1940)

23) In the Heat of the Night (1967)

24) The Sting (1973)

25) Shakespeare in Love (1998)

26) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

27) Ordinary People (1980)

28) On the Waterfront (1954)

29) Casablanca (1943)

30) West Side Story (1961)

31) Rocky (1976)

32) Ben-Hur (1959)

33) Gandhi (1982)

34) Forrest Gump (1994)

35) The King’s Speech (2010)

36) All the King’s Men (1949)

37) Grand Hotel (1932)

38) Rain Man (1988)

39) Dances with Wolves (1990)

40) Out of Africa (1985)

41) Schindler’s List (1993)

42) Million Dollar Baby (2004)

43) Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

44) A Beautiful Mind (2001)

45) American Beauty (1999)

46) Marty (1955)

47) Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

48) The Sound of Music (1965)

49) Argo (2012)

50) From Here to Eternity (1953)

51) Hamlet (1948)

52) You Can’t Take It With You (1938)

53) Titanic (1997)

54) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

55) Terms of Endearment (1983)

56) The English Patient (1996)

57) The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

58) The Lost Weekend (1945)

59) Gone with the Wind (1939)

60) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

61) The Artist (2011)

62) A Man for All Seasons (1966)

63) Braveheart (1995)

64) Chicago (2002)

65) Gladiator (2000)

66) Chariots of Fire (1981)

67) How Green Was My Valley (1941)

68) Platoon (1986)

69) Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

70) Tom Jones (1963)

71) Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

72) My Fair Lady (1964)

73) The Last Emperor (1987)

74) The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

75) Gigi (1958)

76) An American in Paris (1951)

77) Mrs. Miniver (1942)

78) Oliver! (1968)

79) Wings (1928)

80) Cimarron (1931)

81) Crash (2005)

82) Going My Way (1944)

83) Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

84) The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

85) The Broadway Melody (1929)

86) Cavalcade (1933)

 

“Worst Best Picture”

 Cavalcade, 1933

caval

I’ve seen plenty of dreck like The Greatest Show on Earth or Cimarron at bottom of other Oscar reviewers’ lists, but nothing quite earned my ire like this British prestige drama from a bygone era. It’s too busy wallowing in its own self-importance to approximate anything emotionally satisfying, whisking us through generations of stuffy, whiny mannequins masquerading as characters. The greatest travesty of all? This is supposedly based upon a play by Noel Coward. If I may borrow a phrase from Eugene O’Neill: such melodramatic piffle.

 

The “Best Best Picture”

 No Country for Old Men, 2007

No Country2

This should come as no surprise given that I’ve already awarded No Country‘s writing, direction, and acting. I knew this film, Midnight Cowboy, and The Godfather would comprise my top three—but I really wrestled with how to rank them. Ultimately I had to trust my gut. No Country boasts an endless watchability about the bleakest of subject matters. It’s so wonderfully self-assured and conceived, it’s enough to intimidate any potential filmmaker. Humor and tragedy aren’t just juxtaposed here; they feel inevitably intertwined. It’s one of my favorite films of all time, for sure.

 

And thus marks the final post of my Oscars Best Picture Countdown. My deepest gratitude to you, dear reader, for sticking with me.  Hoping you’ll continue to do so as I pursue future projects! CineMaverick out. Peace, y’all.

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