Shoulda Won Oscars–Best Picture

1941–Citizen Kane–long considered the No. 1 movie of all time, deservedly so.

1944–Gaslight–quirky psychological drama with great performances by Boyer (villain), Bergman (wife), and Lansbury starting out (cynical maid); the cruelty of husbands personified

1945–Spellbound–Hitchcock snubbed again, Peck and Bergman; synth score, Dali sequence; first major psychiatry drama

1951–A Streetcar Named Desire– 1st big Brando role, excellent Leigh; Tennessee Williams’ best script; Kazan directing

1952–High Noon, a ‘little western’ beautifully and suspensefully constructed; Gary Cooper at his best; great cinematography and use of clocks and psychological time; one of the most isolated hero pictures ever made

1964–Dr. Strangelove, mostly restrained satirical anti-war picture and cynical statement about humans and their future; Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Kubrick at their funniest

1966–Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Taylor’s best; Burton very strong, Dennis and Segal both effective; super b & w look cinematography; harrowing script by Albee, directed by Nichols

1968–Romeo and Juliet; a truly romantic film; Zefferelli captured the Renaissance on film; Rota’s score; first convincing film of this classic, all the poetry and passion intact

1971–The Last Picture Show, gritty B & w classic–great look; Bogdanovich’s best; numerous strong performances, especially by Ben as Sam the Lion; one of the best films made of male coming-of-age

1975–Nashville–a throwback to the big cast films with multiple storylines successfully and wonderfully done; as quirky as America–numerous types; splendid original spoof songs; Altman’s best until Short Cuts; the end of the American Dream as rendered through country and western music industry

1976–All the President’s Men and Network, truly a banner year for truly great films; Prez–suspenseful–who dreamed research and undercover could be this undull and exciting; Redford and Robards very strong; great script and handling of Watergate; Holbrook perfect as Deep Throat; Network–the first and best-ever satire of mass media’s/TV’s madness; Dunaway crazy and beautiful, Holden very strong as the only ‘sane’ character’, Peter Finch’s wonderful crazy; over the top, witty, realistic script

1979Apocalypse Now, Coppola’s biggest and most difficult challenge to adapt Viet Nam as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; wild, crazy but beautifully done; fabulous Brando and Hopper cameos; fantastic music and cinematography; visually splendid; extremely risky and powerful, ultimately

1981On Golden Pond, well-done play adaptation of a family drama about aging; all performances strong especially the Fondas and Hepburn; captures the generation gap, fears, and family conflict; nice score by Grusin

1982The Verdict, moving sympathetic and empathetic Newman performance–alcoholic lawyer taking on his biggest case against the system of the Catholic church–should have won Best Actor; study of betrayal, search for truth and justice; great scenes and supporting performances by Rampling, Mason, and O’Shea

1984 Passage to India–David Lean’s strong adaptation of Forster novel, lovingly filmed; strong on romance, class structure and justice as well

1988Mississippi Burning–maybe the best unvarnished tale of racial hatred with serious Dafoe and funny Hackman as FBI agents investigating murders of the ‘Mississippi 3’; captures how tense and bigoted it once was ‘down South’ even in the ’60s

1989Field of Dreams, a gem about the American Dream as seen through baseball story; Costner at his best, Lancaster and Jones even stronger; fanciful scenes, remarkable moments; maybe the best-ever film about dreams and possibilities coming true

1991JFK, Oliver Stone’s biggest, best, and most controversial; an absolutely fearless maverick take on perhaps the biggest event in U.S. history

1995Sense and Sensibility, the best-ever Austen put on film; Thompson’s adaptation and strong role with an equally strong cast; look and feel of the time well-captured

1996Shine, moving little Aus film with great story, scenes, performances, and humor; underdog achieves greatness despite harsh, poor upbringing; music well-handled

1998The Thin Red Line, the most poetic war movie ever done; based on Jones’ novel and filmed by Malick–like Badlands, he got this one right; genuinely beautiful and more convincingly transcendent

2011 Midnight in Paris, the Woodman’s most organized and magical romance; neat  homage to art, writing, Paris, the ’20s and before; charmingly done; even the ‘Butterscotch Stallion’ is good in the lead role; as good as Annie Hall and more satisfying


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