Monday, September 3, 2012

Top 10 Best Picture Oscar Winners

For the past 84 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has held an annual awards ceremony honoring the "best" in film. Though, their picks are not always deserved, and many of their decisions - both contemporary and classic ones - are strongly questionable, to put it lightly. While films like Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, and Apocalypse Now have been nominated, they have been beaten by films like How Green Was My Valley, Ordinary People, and Kramer vs. Kramer. But the Academy occasionally makes the right decision, or at least a very good one. Check out some of the great picks after the cut.

Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
Star Wars lost to the little film that could, and it was totally deserved. Well done, voters.

The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)
This pick is hardly a surprise, but it remains one of AMPAS's best decisions ever. Wilder's film is a perfect consensus choice.

Casablanca (1943, Michael Curtiz)
Does this really need an explanation? Bogie and Bergman spout great dialogue with a fine supporting cast in tow. It's one of the best.

The French Connection (1971, William Friedkin)
This is a hard-hitting cop film that never ceases to thrill, and the Academy was kind enough to reward it (and Gene Hackman's fantastic performance).

The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
One of the greatest films ever made, and one of the finest casts ever assembled. Period.

Gone with the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming)
While this epic romance was probably never going to lose this award, it is, nevertheless, a great decision by the Academy.

It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra)
This screwball romantic comedy is one of the genre's best offerings, and rom-coms have been trying to reach this level ever since.

On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan)
This classic drama features an iconic performance from Brando. It's just terrific, from the supporting cast to Leonard Bernstein's pounding score.

Platoon (1986, Oliver Stone)
I prefer Hannah and Her Sisters, but this is only one of the best war films ever made. A deserved win, no doubt.

Schindler's List (1993, Steven Spielberg)
The win wasn't going to anyone else, and it didn't deserve to. As a popular choice for the year's best, Spielberg's Holocaust drama is a fine choice.


  1. Great list, Josh. The only one where I could disagree is Gone with the Wind. I just caught it for the first time in January and think it has some major issues. However, it's a grand epic, especially in the first half. Also, I think some of my issues come from viewing it from a modern perspective. That isn't really fair in terms of looking at it in 1939.

    1. Thanks, Dan. Gone with the Wind is quite dated, but it's still my favorite film from 1939. :)

  2. Great idea. I think I'm about to steal it! I also disagree on Gone with the Wind (it doesn't even make my top twelve in 1939, which was an amazing year for film). I also really didn't get the love for The French Connection, like at all. It was a standard cop movie that didn't really push that many buttons. Now I have to give this some thoughts. Yes, The Apartment would totally be towards the top of my list!!!

    1. Haha, steal away sir! That's fair on Gone with the Wind. I don't watch it much, but I do think it's a great film.

      I was that impressed with The French Connection until I rewatched it in June. I loved it so much that I watched it again the same week. It's my #3 of ALL TIME now.

      Love Love Love The Apartment! :D

    2. *I meant I "wasn't that impressed" with TFC

  3. Great choices! Those are some excellent movies, you should also do a list of the worst picks by Academy, though it would probably be much longer list :)

    1. LOL, now this is something to think about to. Off the top of my head, Braveheart and Crash need to be there.

    2. @Sati.: Thanks! I might do a worst list next week then.

      @Fisti: Haha. Neither of those two films would make my list. :-P

  4. I don't agree with some of the choices but this is a Great Idea for the post. Also, I really to see It Happened One Night and The French Connection.

    1. Thanks. You're perfectly welcome to disagree with me. :)

      I highly recommend those two films by the way.

  5. I agree all of these deserve their Oscar, I still want to see It Happened One Night and On the Waterfront. Hopefully this year yet!

  6. Enjoyed your list, Josh! There are some here I haven't seen yet -- I really need to get on that.

    My favorites from this list are probably Schindler's List and Annie Hall. And Casablanca is great, of course. The Godfather is terrific too. I haven't seen it in ages, but there are scenes I'll never forget, including the ending, where scenes of the new Godfather offering his profession of faith, during a baptism, are interspersed with scenes of his enemies being whacked. Because nothing behooves a follower of the Prince of Peace like having his rivals rubbed out in bloody ways. ;-) Great scene!

    Like some of your other readers, I'm not a huge fan of Gone With the Wind. It's one of those movies that I'm glad I've seen -- it's an important part of our culture -- but I have no burning desire to see it again. It's memorable, though. "As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again."

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! Definitely get on that. ;)

      Classic scene from The Godfather. Love it.

      For me, Gone with the Wind is the best film of 1939, so the Academy made the right choice. On that basis, it makes the list because it's one of the few times I think the Academy has done so. However, the film is not one of my very favorites. (It's at #80 on my top 100, but I'm probably taking it off when I update it.)

    2. Well, that make sense. I am not knowledgeable about academy awards or Oscar history. I was just commenting on my general reactions to these movies.

      I hope you will do a "worst picks" list next week. I'll look forward to that.

    3. Haha. That's fine. Just wanted to explain my pick. :)

      I AM doing a "worst picks" list next week, so look out for that.

  7. Damn fine picks here. I've been wanting to draft a list like this for a while. Can't argue with any of the flicks you chose - all worthy winners.