This Sunday is the 88th Academy Awards, so there’s no better time to run down my top ten Best Picture winner. Making this list was really hard, I may not always agree with the winners but one things for sure, the Oscars never give the Best Picture award to a bad film.
On the Waterfront (1954)
On the Waterfront is a classic Brando gangster film. Brando is without a doubt one of the greatest actor of all time and I think he gives his best performance here. It won 8 Oscars including, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It’s a highly influential film, with icon scenes. If you like gangster films and you haven’t seen it, you must.
The King’s Speech (2010)
Tom Hooper’s, The King’s Speech is a film that blew me away, when it first came out. Tom Hooper blew me away, as well as Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, it’s a film full of outstanding performances and a really inspirational story. It was awarded 4 Oscars.
The great Western debate of Clint Eastwood vs. John Wayne, is an easy choice for me. Clint Eastwood is the ultimate badass and in Unforgiven he plays the grizzled, old gunslinger perfectly. Unforgiven earned Eastwood his first Best Director Oscar. Unforgiven is the classic revenge story told masterfully by a master.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I think the scariest performance of all time, is Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lector is so disturbing but Hopkins made it impossible to look away. I get scared the most, not in horror films but in psychological thrillers, like Silence of the Lambs. Jodie Foster gives a career defining performance and with Jonathan Demme directing, the film was awarded multiple Oscars.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Probably the best sequel ever made is The Godfather 2. Francis Ford Coppola is in the top ten greatest directors of all time and when you look at his filmography, it’s amazing how many masterpieces he’s created. The Godfather 2, did everything a sequel should. It continued the story, whilst adding more to the characters and expanding the scope of the film. It earned 6 Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture.
Say what you will about Mel Gibson, he’s a great actor and an even better director. The first thing I want to talk about is the late, great James Horner’s amazing score. It’s a score that echos the film, in emotion and epicness. The battle scenes are violent, gritty and put you into the action in a visceral way that rivals anything in The Lord of the Rings. It may have strayed away from the facts, at times but thats why its a film and not a documentary. Braveheart is a film I can watch over and over, getting something new every time.
The Departed (2006)
It’s unbelievable that The Departed is the only time Martin Scorsese has ever won an Oscar. The Departed is a great film and a very well deserved Oscar but Scorsese should have won several times before 2006. The Departed has a great ensemble cast but somehow Mark Wahlberg was the only actor nominated for this film, despite everyone giving performances that were very worthy of an Oscar. Damon gave the best performance of his career, DiCaprio was amazing as always, there were so many outstanding performances that keep you engaged throughout. Scorsese has a story with so many moving parts, yet manages to weave it all together in the most entertaining way possible.
In 1976 Rocky changed sports films forever. I love the Rocky series but there’s no denying that Rocky is by far the best one (although an argument for Creed could be made). The story of Rocky and the story of how Rocky was made, is the ultimate underdog tale. The colourful characters introduced, are fascinating and create an emotional connection with the audience, that last for 6 films. The Rocky franchise is one of the best and the one that kicked it off, won Best Picture in a very hard year.
The Godfather (1972)
I mentioned the second Godfather earlier in the list but now it’s time for my favorite. The Godfather (along with the number 1 on this list) is in my top ten films of all time list. The reason I prefer the first Godfather over the second is the character arcs. I love the characters of Michael and Vito Corleone and the development they go through. Of course Brando and Pacino are outstanding and the rest of the supporting cast are terrific. The Godfather has a beautiful score, that wasn’t even nominated. The Godfather won 3 Oscars and still today is considered one of the greatest films ever made.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Spoiler for my top ten films of all time list, that’s coming up soon, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is my favourite film ever. There isn’t anything missing that you could possibly want from LOTR. Return of the King is the best conclusion to any franchise. You can make fun of the seven endings but when you have such a long epic series, it deserves as many endings as it wants. It leaves nothing unfinished and is completely satisfying, after hours with the characters. Return of the King had the greatest battle scenes in any film, not just because of the effects and choreography but because of the emotion that oozes from every actor in the final battle. I love listening to film scores and Howard Shore’s score puts me straight back into the world everytime I listen to it. The film won 11 Oscars, which makes it tied with Titanic and Ben-Hur for the most Oscars won by a single film.
The French Connection
No Country for Old Men
Next Week – Top Ten Disney Animated Films