With the Oscars finally over, everyone looks at who won Best Picture with some thinking, “Who did the producers have to sleep with to win over The Social Network?” (Guilty: I’m one of those people.)
Yes, AMPAS has had its fair share of Oscar boo-boos (Tommy Lee Jones over Ralph Fiennes, Crash over Brokeback Mountain, etc.), but there have been winners that have held up after all these years.
So to sum up everything, I give you ten Best Picture winners that are still relevant today.
10. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
Some might be saying, “Oh, Psycho should have been nominated that year. It’s the best movie from that year.” Well, that may be true, but I strongly believe that The Apartment earned its Oscar fair and square. Jack Lemmon’s performance as the honest but usually unlucky C.C. Baxter is my favorite from his repertoire of acting credits.
9. Marty (Delbert Mann, 1955)
Like The Apartment, Marty focuses on the honesty of the lead character, in this case Ernest Borgnine’s Marty Piletti (who in my opinion is the most honest character you’ll find in a movie). Marty also showed that a movie doesn’t have to have glamorous stars to make a very entertaining and delightful movie.
8. From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953)
From Here to Eternity may be better known for Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s romp on the beach, but there’s more than the notorious embrace. It’s about five lives that were unaffected by reality before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It also contains stellar performances from Lancaster, Kerr, Montgomery Clift at his best, Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed, the latter two won Oscars.
7. Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
I would’ve gotten ambushed if I didn’t mention this somewhere. I admitted in my review that I really didn’t like Scarlett at all, but I also said that Vivien Leigh was very good in the role. But on a different matter, who doesn’t love Clark Gable as Rhett Butler? Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn.
6. The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
War movies winning Best Picture is pretty common by now, but not many have left the same emotional impact The Deer Hunter had on its audiences back in 1978. Robert De Niro is at the height of his acting, Meryl Streep provides strong support and Christopher Walken is absolutely devastating. The Russian roulette scenes will leave your nerves frayed and the final scenes will put you through the wringer.
5. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
Yes, the cinematography is STUNNING, but there’s more than that. It’s the story that makes Lawrence of Arabia what it is. It also contains Peter O’Toole’s best performance, which alone is a must-watch.
4. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Let’s face it. Who wasn’t crying from this when it was over? Liam Neeson is the ideal hero while Ralph Fiennes is the horrifying villain. Spielberg, who up at that time was better known for his blockbuster hits, makes the most haunting movie about the Holocaust that Hollywood has ever seen.
3. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
Gangster movies pre-The Godfather only focused on getting the money, getting the women and getting the power. The Godfather showed the depths of the Mafia like never before. Marlon Brando, who makes the comeback of a lifetime, is a powerhouse as the aging Vito Corleone. The rest of the cast, which includes Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale and Talia Shire, make The Godfather what it is: brilliant.
2. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
Yes, I’m one of those people who prefer the sequel over the original. Like the first one, The Godfather Part II shows what control the Mafia over one person. What makes the sequel better than the original is how more in-depth it is. Throw in gripping performances from Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and John Cazale, and you got a classic.
1. On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
Yes, the movie that beat out the other nine entries for the #1 spot is one of my all-time favorites, On the Waterfront. True, it is dated, but the impact it had almost sixty years ago hasn’t gotten soft at all. Marlon Brando is at his finest as Terry Malloy and is supporting by a superb cast that includes Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden.
Honorable mentions: The Best Years of Our Lives, The Lost Weekend, The Hurt Locker
Written and compiled by Anna
Anna is the writer of blog Defiant Success.
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