Peter O’Toole (King Ralph) headlines David Lean’s epic tale Lawrence of Arabia which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1962. Starring Sir Alec Guinness (Murder by Death), Omar Sharif (The 13th Warrior), and Anthony Quinn (Last Action Hero), this film won 7 Oscars. Nearly every scene will take your breath away.
Writer/Director Woody Allen (Casino Royale) earned his first Oscar love for 1977’s Annie Hall starring him and Diane Keaton (The Godfather Part III). It also went on to define a “Woody Allen movie” for the next forty or so years. This film is responsible for romantic comedies, New York stories starring curmudgeons like Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm, and a brief fashion trend in the late 1970s which Diane Keaton continues to rock these days.
Director Danny Boyle (127 Hours) took home the Academy Award for Best Director when helming the Best Picture from 2008 - Slumdog Millionaire. The film won 8 Oscars and is the highest domestic box office grossing Best Picture winner since 2003's Lord of The Rings: Return of the King. The film was praised by nearly every film critic alive in 2008 but is probably best known for being the film which won Best Picture instead of The Dark Knight. Check it out.
Holy cow! They really made interesting movies back in 1931! Cimarron, the Academy Award winner for Best Picture that year, is really something to see. Wild, unbelievably racist, hilarious in all the wrong ways, this is one to revisit.
On almost every list of the greatest American films of all time, at the top of the list, is a film from 1941 called Citizen Kane. Orson Welles' American classic continues to dazzle and impress more than 70 years later. Well, back in 1941 they felt differently. How Green Was My Valley ate Kane's lunch and forced Welles to try to be satisfied with an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. What a chump.
You may not realize it upon first listening but both Mike and Danny really enjoy 1971's Academy Award winning Best Picture, The French Connection. The verisimilitude, the gritty look at 1970s New York, and the legendary car chase give this movie real gravitas. But there is just. so. much. going. on. What is up with this movie!??!
The last film to take home "the big five awards" at the Academy Awards - Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay (Adapted), remains as resonant and thrilling today as when it was honored for being the best picture in 1991. The Silence of the Lambs is a chilling, taut, and fully-realized thriller featuring great, award-winning performances from Jodie Foster (Somersby, The Beaver) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (The Mask of Zorro, Transformers: The Last Knight). Jonathan Demme's (Married to the Mob) direction gives the film a dreamy, musical quality and Ted Tally's (The Juror) screenplay masterfully adapts Thomas Harris' novel. This one will stick with you for days and is worth revisiting.
1979's Best Picture winner, Kramer vs. Kramer, gets a bad rap for being too sad. It's sad. But it isn't sad-sad. You get my meaning. It's a strong Best Picture winner and features a great performance from Dustin Hoffman.
Writer/Director Paul Haggis tells us that we are all terrible, flawed, selfish, racist humans in his 2005 Academy Award winner Crash. Nominated for 6 Oscars, it won 3 including Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay for Haggis.
Milos Foreman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) won his second Best Director Oscar and guided a second film to win the Best Picture Academy Award with 1984's Amadeus. Starring Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham, the music of Mozart, and an opera horse that poops linked sausage, the film took home 8 Academy Awards.
Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman star in this quaint, and mostly-harmless Best Picture winner from 1989. The movie was nominated for nine Oscars and took home four including Best Picture and Best Actress for Tandy. This film beat Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July, and Dead Poets Society. Which of these films have you revisited since 1989? We know which ones the cable channel TNT has revisited.
Peter Jackson's Middle Earth trilogy concludes with the mammoth Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Winner of ALL 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated (including Best Picture and Best Director), LOTR: ROTK tests the skill of the Fellowship and the patience of the audience sitting through the Extended Edition's 4-plus-hour running time.
Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Casino) finally got his Oscar love in 2006 with The Departed. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg, this thriller packs more BAH-stan accents than you can shake a stick at.
Marlon Brando took home his first Best Actor Oscar (after four straight nominations) in 1955's Best Picture winner On The Waterfront. The film won 7 additional Academy Awards and was nominate for an additional four. The film holds up very well and Brando radiates with brooding rage. Worth your time.
Forrest Gump, the inoffensive, scoop of vanilla Best Picture winner from 1994 took that honor from Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, and Quiz Show. Think about that while listening to this episode or to Tom Hanks' now-cliche Southern drawl and slow-witted delivery.
Alfred Hitchcock's first American-produced film, Rebecca, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 1940. It won two, for Best Picture and Best Cinematography. Hitchcock himself was nominated for Best Director, an honor which would elude him throughout his career. Sir Laurence Olivier stars as a haunted widower and Joan Fontaine his new wife, both living in the shadow of Rebecca.
Somehow, in 1966, director Fred Zinnemann filmed a movie about Sir Thomas Moore and his opposition to King Henry VIII's decision to cast aside the Catholic Church and obtain a divorce so that he could remarry. And somehow this film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. A Man for All Seasons is languid and a bit stodgy - but it does feature Orson Welles in a terrifically crazy performance as a Catholic Cardinal! So there's that.
Listen to this episode to hear the guys discuss:
What they liked:
- Some of the costumes and cinematography, both of which were honored with Academy Awards.
- The over-the-top performance of Robert Shaw as King Henry VIII
- Paul Scofield's portrayal of Sir Thomas Moore
What they did not like:
- The pace of the film
- Some of the supporting characters and plot contrivances
Gene Kelly dances his way across Paris, and through a couple of dames in 1951's Best Picture Oscar Winner An American in Paris. Come for the songs, stay for the costumes, and scratch your head through the nearly-20 minute final dance montage. This film beat out A Streetcar Named Desire (nominated for 12 Academy Awards that year) and The African Queen.
Listen to this episode to hear the guys discuss:
- What a hot mess this movie really was - and how overtly un-likeable the main characters are in the film.
Everybody's favorite, cuddly, sweetheart Mel Gibson rolled through award season 20 years ago with his period epic Braveheart. Not for anyone trying to avoid graphic violence, dirty people, or Scottish flute music, this Academy Award winner for Best Picture ushered in a wave of war epics and period romances. So....thanks? This episode features a special co-host and is, generally, historically accurate.
This is a big one. The Granddaddy of modern American cinema. A classic. On every best movie list ever made (and with good reason). If we have not yet, we should send it out into the cosmos for all other civilizations to enjoy. It's all awesome. All of it. Except Talia Shire.