It’s cold outside and, yes, we’re in the midst of the awards season. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for Best Picture later this month. The Academy started handing out the awards first for 1927’s product. “Wings” won the first Best Picture award. Last year “The Hurt Locker” took the prize.
As we know the Best Picture Oscar usually goes to very popular movies, which made a lot of money for their producers. But that doesn’t mean what’s accepted as popular is always mediocre, or even predictable.
To some extent, my list goes to show that the Best Picture award has occasionally gone to somewhat offbeat movies that no one would have expected to have been contenders when they were being produced. Yet, upon their release their excellence just bowled over that year’s competition. (Both stills are from “Casablanca.”)
“Casablanca” (1942): Directed by Michael Curtiz; Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
“Midnight Cowboy” (1969): Directed by John Schlesinger, Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Brenda Vaccaro
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975): Directed by Milos Forman; Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Danny DeVito
“On the Waterfront” (1954): Directed by Elia Kazan; Cast: Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint
“Unforgiven” (1992): Directed by Clint Eastwood; Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Maybe soon I’ll put together a list of favorites that didn’t win, but I think they ought to have.