Your most rewarding and disappointing "Best Picture" Oscar winner?

I’ve tried to watch as many of the pictures that won the Oscar for “Best Picture” over the years. I’m wondering which movies you enjoyed viewing, completely agreeing with the “Best Picture” Oscar, and the movies you thought were completely unworthy (or disappointing and not live up to the hype) of the "Best Picture nod.

The first movie I’ll list didn’t even win the Oscar for 1941, but most people think it did. Citizen Kane is considered by many to be the greatest movie of all time, but it lost the Best Picture to How Green Was My Valley.

But I’ll start with Citizen Kane, because I was so looking forward to seeing this movie… I read all the information I could find on it, it always shows up in the top films of all time, and it really looked like a can’t miss. But for me, it did miss. It’s a good movie, and I understand completely that the film changed the way movies were made. It was a cutting edge film that demonstrated techniques seen for the first time on the silver screen. However, even knowing all that, I still found it hard to appreciate all of these things while watching the movie. I guess I’ve been saturated with everything that in 1941 was cutting edge.

Going to other movies that fit my categories:

***Clunkers ***

Kramer vs. Kramer - 1979 - Beat Apocalypse Now and Norma Rae.

Ordinary People - 1980 - Beat Raging Bull

Forrest Gump - 1994 - Beat Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show and The Shawshank Redemption

**Marty **- 1955 - Decent, entertaining movie, but very short and not something I thought was so memorable as to win the Best Picture Oscar

Movies That Met or Exceeded Expectations

Mutiny on the Bounty - 1933

Gone With The Wind - 1939

**Casablanca **- 1943

The Bridge on the River Kwai - 1957

**Patton **- 1970

The Godfather - 1972

The Sting - 1973

One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest - 1975

**Amadeus **- 1984

The Last Emperor - 1987

**Braveheart **- 1995

A Beautiful Mind - 2001

The Departed - 2006

No Country For Old Men - 2007
Your picks?

Weak Choices:

Broadway Melody. Very routine, even for the time. Though back then, voters voted in blocs and it was MGM’s turn.
The Greatest Show On Earth. Usually considered one of the worst picks, though the movie is still pretty good (if corny). Still, it’s not up with The Quiet Man or High Noon.
In the Heat of the Night. Only a so-so film. The race angle was good, as were Steiger and Poitier, but it’s not up with Bonnie and Clyde or The Graduate
The French Connection. Not a bad film, but has some groaningly bad moments and Doyle often acts like a pretty stupid cop (pretending he’s not been recognized even when he knows he’s been recognized, for instance). Still not as good as A Clockwork Orange or The Last Picture Show.
The Deer Hunter. A very weak field that year, but it is overall a stupid film. The Academy wanted to honor a Vietnam war film and this was their chance.
Forrest Gump. Worth seeing, but overall the weakest of the nominees that year.
The English Patient. I don’t hate this film like many others, though it’s a bit overlong, but it’s not up to the quality of the other nominees.
Gladiator. Again, a so-so film. A weak field, but Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the choice.
A Beautiful Mind. The weakest entry in the field.
The Departed A consolation prize to Martin Scorsese. Also the weakest film in the field.

Good Choices
It Happened One Night. Some strong competition, but still the best by a hair.
All the King’s Men. Neck and neck with A Letter to Three Wives, this wins because it deals with somewhat larger issues.
The Apartment. A weak year (The Alamo may have been the worst film to be nominated for Best Picture), but it’s still a fine film.
West Side Story
A Man for All Seasons
The Godfather, though with tough competition from Cabaret
Annie Hall. Yes, it’s a better film than Star Wars, blowing the rebels out of the water with depth of characterization, dialog, and having something to say. Star Wars is a teenager’s film; Annie Hall is for adults.
Shakespeare in Love. One of the best written films ever and the best ever written about the creative process.
Chicago. Just a great musical.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. A prize for the entire trilogy.
Crash. Great characterization, fascinating insights.
Slumdog Millionaire

There were many others that I thought were good films, but which weren’t the best choice that year.

The winner for 1989, Driving Miss Daisy, was the weakest of the 5 nominees, the others being Field of Dreams, My Left Foot, Born On the Fourth of July and Dead Poets Society. I can watch Field of Dreams endless times.

But my biggest gripe is 1993 when Schindler’s List won over Rudy, which wasn’t even nominated but is THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE! It is. It surely is. I have literally seen it more than 400 times. So take my word on this.

I’ve said this here before (and gotten into ‘arguments’ about it), but having Rocky beat out Taxi Driver in 1976 was a travesty. Some claim that I’m being biased by the many very shitty sequels that followed the original Rocky. No, independent of anything (except its own cliche-ridden script), Rocky was an average film (at best). Have you watched it recently?

Watch Taxi Driver. It gets better as it ages. It was the key movie of the 1970’s. In fact, IMNSHO, it played a not insignificant role in defining the decade. A GREAT film.

Schindler’s List and Rudy in the same breath? Am I being whooshed?

I haven’t watched all of the Best Picture winners (the most recent one I haven’t watched yet is The Sting, and I’ve seen a smattering of older ones). Of those I’ve seen, the most “blah” so far has been Ordinary People. The title should warn you: that’s exactly what it’s about. There’s nothing exceptional, remarkable, or entertaining about the characters in any way.

I intentionally avoided Forrest Gump as long as I could, basically because so many people were talking about it, and I was so tired of hearing about it, that I felt that I wouldn’t have to talk about it if I didn’t see it. Finally, without fanfare, I watched it on cable. My feelings: meh. Didn’t really feel for the character, so maybe I missed the point, but I just didn’t see what was so wonderful about it.

I was very pleased when Unforgiven won Best Picture; it’s still one of my ten favorite movies of all time.

I think **Rocky **is better than Taxi Driver. But it’s a personal thing. Those are 2 well-done works.

Both are better than The Departed. That really was a career award.

So in a way, Taxi Driver and **Raging Bull **and GoodFellas did win.

Rocky is probably the best example, not only because it beat Taxi Driver (unsurprisingly; that film divided the Academy and Scorsese didn’t even get a director nomination that year), but also Network, All the President’s Men and Bound for Glory–all remarkably acted, well-crafted, entertaining, mature, political works.

I think RealityChuck is too hard on In the Heat of the Night, which is an excellent movie, but an aesthetically conservative one. Nobody could blame them for not voting for the more daring and forward-thinking Bonnie or Graduate, but think of what it would’ve been like for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner to win that year instead.

That’s Rocky.

Essentially, evaluating Picture winners falls into several categories: “Perfectly fine movies but not my choice (or perhaps history’s either)”, “Really not good movies that somehow managed to win”, “Movies of a Time that simply date badly now”, or “Movies that won whose competition was pretty lackluster, too”

Group one includes You Can’t Take it with You, How Green Was My Valley (over Citizen Kane), Hamlet, Patton, Ordinary People and Gandhi.

The second group includes The Great Ziegfeld, The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days and A Beautiful Mind.

The third group includes Going My Way, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Sting, and Out of Africa

And the fourth would include The Broadway Melody, Cavalcade, The Lost Weekend, Marty and Rain Man

Rudy was an incredible movie; it was just an all-around great and entertaining film. Schindler’s List was overwrought pity-porn, exploiting the memory of the Holocaust in a cheap and low way (in my opinion). Anyone who understands that Rudy is ultimately a better movie is cooking with gas, IMO.

The Right Stuff losing to Terms of Endearment was a travesty.

I think this is a very astute comment.

Gump,Shawshank and Pulp all deserved it.Shame they came out the same year.

Was thrilled that Shakespeare in Love beat Private Ryan.

Most Disappointing:

The Departed
The ending sucked. It was also tacked on after the better ending of the movie it copied. When a good movie is handed to you on a silver platter, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you don’t make the movie worse.

Most Disappointing (in no particular order):

CRASH- not a bad movie, but not on par with Brokeback Mountain or Good Night and Good Luck (both nominated that year).

The English Patient- another good film, but Fargo deserved it more imo

Forrest Gump- a flash in the pan blockbuster that lost to Pulp Fiction, another blockbuster but one that will be studied in film schools [or their direct descendants] in a century.
Most Enjoyed and Agreed With:

Slumdog Millionaire- I know, lots of critics, lots of people who didn’t like it, but bite me- I like a happy ending once in a while.:wink:

Silence of the Lambs- definitely trounced its competition that year (and thank God JFK didn’t win)

Million Dollar Baby- I don’t usually like Clint Eastwood and I swear the reason we know the Zapruder film is legit is that if it was made in Hollywood they’d have had Morgan Freeman narrate it- it’s almost a cliche- but a very good movie that gave a well deserved Oscar to Hillary Swank (and an overdue if not deserved for this particular role Oscar to Morgan Freeman).

Which one? (I think it tried to tie LOTR, but with more deaths.)

What’s so great about Quiz Show, or even Crouching Tiger? I saw both movies, and Quiz show played like a History Channel documentary. I think because it was about “the business” in Hollywood, that Hollywood types thought it was more important than it was.

Crouching Tiger had some impressive visuals, but other than that was not really what I would call an oscar-worthy movie.

The one where Sullivan is shot coming home from doing the shopping.

Mystic River was disappointing. Granted, it didn’t win a “Best Picture” but I was severely disappointed with the movie, and the performances (which did earn Oscars), weren’t amazing. I was disappointed.

My most satisfying victory has to be No Country for Old Men.


I’m not the worlds biggest English Patient fan, but the fact that it beat out Fargo irritates me (Secrets and Lies as well, but to a lesser extent).

In my own most humble opinion, Chicago was the weakest of the four (by a solid mile, but that’s another thread). Even if you ignore The Two Towers, we are still left with The Pianist, The Hours, and Gangs of New York.

Although I DO like Gladiator, I am a huge Traffic fan and really felt it deserved the win that year.

I thought “Gandhi” was a very mediocre, plodding, by-the-numbers biopic wrapped around a legitimately Oscar-worthy acting performance.