What's the best 1994 Hollywood movie
40. "Braveheart" (1995)
The fact that the costume drama about the Scottish resistance fighter William Wallace can be seen today on YouTube primarily in goof videos, i.e. film errors are documented, cars in the picture, wristwatches, etc., does not necessarily have to stand for the poor quality of the strip. Can happen. As an action film, “Braveheart” isn't necessarily bad.
But it is just not a “best film”. What attracted Australian Mel Gibson, who lives in the USA, to the role of the North Brit? The sacrifice of his figure, death for the freedom of his people? Play hero. Pathos brought Oscar, two at once, for “Best Film” and “Best Director”.
The competition field was only mediocre in that year. The better film was "Apollo 13" by Ron Howard, he too told a heroic story.
39. "Green Book" (2018)
Spike Lee raged: "Whenever someone is chauffeured in any film, I lose!" - His "Do The Right Thing" lost to "Driving Miss Daisy" at the 1989 Oscars, and now he also had "BlacKkKlansman" against " Green Book “neglect.
He's right. He's also right to get upset. Seldom has it been as quiet as this year when the “best film” was announced. The award was a mistake.
Without a doubt, the drama about an Italian-American who has to drive a black star pianist through the racist south and thereby break down his own prejudices is well meant.
But the film relies on “We hold the mirror up to the viewer” moments in almost every scene. Wait a minute, it's Viggo Mortensen who carelessly throws the garbage out the window, isn't it Mahershala Ali? Viggo eats the chicken leg with his hands, doesn't Ali? He even wants cutlery? We're supposed to feel caught out because the filmmakers assumed: We are amazed at good manners. But that would also assume that every viewer should assume that the African-American has bad manners. At most one noble savage is.
Anyone who shows the supposedly atypical of certain behaviors in order to provoke audience reactions only shows how he himself is playing with racist clichés. When people are supposed to laugh because of African-Americans contrary to expectations An educated man and the white man is simple-minded, this “Look, it works the other way around!” attitude points to racism. It would have been more than enough to show how often Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) is beaten up by the rednecks.
And the controversy about the authenticity of the material should have finished the film. The family of Shirley denied that there was ever a friendship between him and Tony (Mortensen). Ali then even apologized to the family, a brave decision: That should have diminished his Oscar chances (he was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” and won too) - distancing himself from the role.
Poor Viggo! "I'm just the Drivvverrrr", he said in Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises". But even he would not have deserved an Academy Award here.
38. "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)
Was what Yes! See number 38. We like to repeat ourselves: Spike Lee raged: “Whenever someone is chauffeured in any film, I lose!” - His “Do The Right Thing” lost to “Driving Miss Daisy” at the 1989 Oscars.
The 1980s was a decade in which the issue of racism in Hollywood was even more clumsy. There was also no outcry when the slave drama "The Color Purple" was filmed in 1985 by a white man, Steven Spielberg. In Bruce Beresford's dramedy, which tellingly did not receive a nomination in the “Director” category, an Afro-American chauffeur (Morgan Freeman) becomes the best friend of a white Jewish lady (Jessica Tandy) - all ingredients in one mix, so to speak. Classic Oscar material!
The Rührstück is rightly considered one of the weakest "best films" of all time. Everything pointed to Oliver Stone's “Born On The Fourth Of July” in advance, but Stone was only awarded the director's Oscar - perhaps too little time had passed since his Vietnam film “Platoon”, which had only cleared in 1987.
37. "Chicago" (2002)
The academy showed a sense of humor. Instead of worrying about Polanski's Holocaust drama “The Pianist”, or perhaps Scorsese's showdown in equipment “Gangs Of New York”, she awarded Rob Marshall's musical Biedermeier “Chicago” with the highest award.
Perhaps the decision was made according to the watering can principle: The jazz dance received five more statuettes, albeit with “Best Editing” and “Best Supporting Actress” (Catherine Zeta-Jones, a unique opportunity for her), including just two important ones.
Hollywood just loves to see non-professional singing actors sing. Because it's sooo funny.
36. "The King’s Speech" (2010)
Masterpiece: Of ten nominated “Best Films” of the year, Tom Hooper's winning flick was actually the worst. The Oscar jury saw it differently. “The King’s Speech” also received awards for the director, as well as for Colin Firth (“Best Actor”) and David Seidler (“Best Original Screenplay”) - four of the five most important trophies.
The friendly historical drama about the stuttering King George VI convinced the Academy more than, well, let's say: "Black Swan". "The Fighter". "Inception". "The Social Network". “True Grit”… Firth is British and always plays British. Wake up, feet out of bed, coat on, slippers, get up, be British.
35. "The English Patient" (1996)
To this day, Anthony Minghella's war drama is considered the greatest success of Miramax, the production company run by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, which started an unprecedented triumphal march in Hollywood as an "indie company" in the early 1990s. There were twelve nominations and nine wins here. However, the work did not get three of the most important (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor) Oscars.
A heavy romanticization of the already badly romanticizing love-is-stronger-than-war novel Michael Ondaatjes. Fiennes ‘Representation of Count László de Almásy, a name as if drawn from the name generator, is based on the real figure of the aristocratic explorer.
Does anyone still talk about this film today?
34. "Shakespeare In Love" (1998)
The triumphal march of Miramax (see “The English Patient”) continued, this time the Weinstein's Spielbergs “Saving Private Ryan” boxed out of the field - one of the greatest injustices in Oscar history, one becomes more and more aware of this from year to year.
Even Harrison Ford, who had to read this "best film" from the slip on stage, was taken aback. “Shakespeare In Love” doesn't do much wrong, it's a kind of romantic comedy for high school graduates, scatters the poet's titles as Running gags into the film, after “Ha! I've recognized it "- the young educated citizen is allowed to pat himself on the back.
Harvey Weinstein is said to have run an aggressive campaign, not even for his film, but simply against Spielberg's film: The drama set in World War II has numerous historical inaccuracies.
But even the other competition was miles ahead of this Shakespeare juggler's festival: "Elizabeth", "Life Is Beautiful" and of course Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line".
33. "The Artist" (2011)
In the following year, the Academy almost went one better with “King’s Speech” in terms of fun awards. Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood. “The magic of the cinema”, “the beginnings of the dream factory” etc. The aim of honoring a silent film in black and white was to demonstrate heroism. Dare anti-progress. No one in the audience was faded in more often during the evening than Harvey Weinstein, who sold the risk “The Artist” internationally and smirked more and more price on price.
So everyone said in unison: If you love the cinema, you have to love this film. Five Oscars for filmmakers who will never come close to an Oscars again, including director Michel Hazanavicius and lead actor Jean Dujardin.
The "artist" benefited from the weak competition. Although Scorsese's “Hugo” also fell into the “History and Magic of Cinema” category, Scorsese had already been considered a few years earlier. Terrence Malick's “Tree Of Life” was too obscure, Spielberg's “War Horse” too uninteresting and Bennett Miller's “Moneyball” was stuck in the niche as an athletic drama.
32nd "Crash" (2005)
Paul Haggis ’Los Angeles drama about cross-class racism ranks first among all“ Love To Hate You ”films. Above all, the way in which the fates of the characters are linked seemed unsuccessful. Like an altman for the poor. When it later became known that Haggis was a Scientologist, the Oscar was also considered given away.
Individual ensemble performances went under. Brendan Fraser in a serious role for the first time, Matt Dillon as a hateful cop perhaps in his best role. The “best film” should have clearly gone to Ang Lee's “Brokeback Mountain”; that Lee only received the directing award is considered one of the biggest wrong decisions in Oscar history. The Academy didn't dare to honor a drama about gay cowboys.
Spielberg's “Munich”, which masterfully balances the Israeli and Palestinian / Arab perspective on the Middle East conflict, even went completely empty-handed.
31. "Gladiator" (2000)
In his best year, Steven Soderbergh was nominated for two films, "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic" (he received the directing award for this), but lost in "Best Picture" to the sandal epic "Gladiator" by Ridley Scott. It is difficult to compare the importance of the awards - “Traffic” got the director, screenplay and supporting actor (Benicio del Toro), “Gladiator” and “Film” mostly got technology Oscars, but also “Best Actor” Russell Crowe .
Perhaps Hollywood seized the opportunity, unprecedented in the last few decades, to award a prize to a Roman war film again. The work itself is simple: a "Seek and Destroy" revenge drama that fits the era of George W. Bush.
Russell Crowe was also seen in better roles before and after. After all, the characters had easy-to-remember names, the bad guy was called Commodus, the gladiator Crowe, of course, Maximus.
30. "A Beautiful Mind" (2001)
There it is again: Russell Crowe. Nominated again as "Best Actor". The biopic about the schizophrenic mathematician and Nobel Prize laureate John Nash was not without explosiveness, as the "beautiful ghost" Nash is said to have made anti-Semitic remarks during psychiatric episodes (he died in 2015). Still: geniuses, marked by illness - classic Oscar material.
The inevitable, ever-present Ron Howard, who was never noticed as a filmmaker with an idiosyncratic handwriting, was finally given the directorial award, so that he was pacified. The competition made it easy for him. “Gosford Park” was likely to be Robert Altman's last film, but it was too complicated. "Moulin Rouge" too avant-garde as a musical.
29. "Dances With Wolves" (1990)
At that time Pauline Kael wrote for the “New Yorker”: “Kevin Costner has feathers in his hair and feathers in his head”. The big boy fantasy of an American who just wants to play Indians and is looking for an adventure with a bow and arrow. In fact, "Dances with Wolves" is the classic case of a "White Savior" work, such as "The Last Samurai" or "Avatar": A man from the supposedly more highly developed culture shows the "underdeveloped" how to (militarily) is saved from destruction.
However, one need not attribute any cultural elitism to the director and Kevin Costner. He drew attention to the decline of the Native Americans because this was caused by the brutality of the “white man” during the colonization of the continent.
But who did moviegoers mourn the most in this great box office success? Not about the Indians killed by Northerners. But about the wolf shot by northerners.
About the animal, not about the people. That also says a lot about the sustainability of the melodrama.
28. "Argo" (2012)
The toughest competitor was Spielberg's presidential biopic "Lincoln", but the jury found the salon philosophies celebrated in it perhaps too intellectual. And at Spielberg you always think: if you can save yourself, something will come back. “Django Unchained” was by Tarantino, and Tarantino is - unfortunately - not given a “Best Film”. "Amour" came from Europe and was from Michael Haneke. "Life Of Pi" had a tiger.
And why now “Argo”? The true story of a CIA team that freed hostages from the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 somehow picked up on the Middle East issues of our time, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the fear of war and terror. With an emphasis on "somehow".
It's also a curious success story, how the Americans fooled the Persians, and disguised as a film team. Leading actor Ben Affleck received his Oscar as a producer. Amazingly, he, who had earned a respectable reputation as a filmmaker over the years, has not recovered from it to this day. Affleck seemed stuck in the Batman franchise swamp until recently.
27. "12 Years a Slave" (2013)
So high-profile was this Oscar year that even the favorite, Steve McQueen's true story-based slave drama, couldn't be sure of victory. In the end, the film prevailed against "Gravity", "Captain Phillips", "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Dallas Buyers Club".
One would underestimate “12 Years a Slave” if one ascribes the triumph only to the fact that one wanted to finally give the “Best Picture” Oscar to a dark-skinned director who is devoting himself to a dark chapter in America. That the award was therefore politically motivated.
The weaknesses lie in the sometimes hastily episodic narrative, the unsuccessful attempt to make twelve years of imprisonment tangible. The fact that the main trophy for “12 Years a Slave” was primarily intended as a statement, some say: Consolation Prize, could be supported by the victory in just two other, more or less important categories: “Best Supporting Actress” (extremely short appearance by Lupita Nyong 'o) and, after all, "Best Adapted Screenplay".
Brad Pitt, who was not really talented as an actor, acted as a producer and built himself in a supporting role as a plantation owner; he based the entire character on a southern dialect, but it seems so thought out that you don't want to ignore it. It draws too much attention, like the equally committed stars Fassbender and Cumberbatch.
It is the film of these three stars, a real slave-owner parade, not the film of the slave Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Eljiofor). It could never have been intentional - unless the big stars were lining up at the director's. Could McQueen have said no to these people three times?
26. "Rain Man" (1988)
It was only since that film that something like an idea of autism emerged in the global public. Barry Levinson's work romanticizes the autistic (Dustin Hoffman) as a kind of introverted, sometimes almost cute-looking genius. Autism is a developmental disorder that is classified as a disease.
"Rain Man" fell into an Oscar year with smarter ("The Accidental Tourist"), more political ("Mississippi Burning"), clever ("Working Girl") and more elaborate films - Stephen Frears' version of " Dangerous Liaisons ”. The "Rain Man" story is basically a stale fairy tale: Hallodri (Tom Cruise) learns of the existence of an older brother, (Hoffman), who has inherited his father's millions. On a long brother journey to find himself, the sunny boy gets to know the true value of life through his autistic brother.
25. "Chariots of Fire" (1981)
How long ago it was in the 1980s is shown by a glance at the Oscar winners in the categories "Lead Actress" and "Lead Actor": Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (in his last role). “On Golden Pond” was a melodrama that was hard to bear.
How short the 1980s were was shown by the still dynamic, outstanding film of the year, Spielberg's Indiana Jones adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
But neither should stand a chance against Hugh Hudson's (who is that?) Historic sports drama "The Victory's Hour", which told of British runners from the Olympic year 1924 who had to start against - racist - prejudice. Everyone knows the winning theme song from Vangelis to this day and was awarded a prize back then; In a hard-fought year as a composer, Randy Newman ("Ragtime") and John Williams could have worked out a chance for "Raiders" - one of his best scores in that triumphant stretch between 1975 and 1984. The Academy knew that too - and didn't want to honor the legendary musician again.
24. "Out of Africa" (1985)
John Huston brought his last film to the cinema with "Prizzi’s Honor", but it was not good enough. The best film was Peter Weir's "Witness", in which Harrison Ford has to protect an Amish boy. The big panoramic drama was of course Sidney Pollack's “Out of Africa”, in which a machine flies over the Nairobi savannah to John Barry's dreamlike sounds, and Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) does not want to give up hope of an extramarital romance with Redford.
Of course the film is beautifully photographed, huh, the hair washing with the can. But it seems unlikely that a work in which the needs of the Africans are merely assistants to the fluctuating emotional world of white colonialists would still have an Oscar chances from today's perspective. “Out of Africa” is undoubtedly a well-intentioned film; but also very old-fashioned in its day.
23. "Terms of Endearment" (1983)
In one of the weakest Oscar years of the 1980s, “Time of Tenderness” was at least the second most successful film of the year - after “The Return of the Jedi”. James L. Brooks' family tragicomedy also landed the coup of awarding Jack Nicholson his second Oscar (as a supporting actor) - so our favorite maniac would actually have received two of his three Academy Awards to date for merit in comedy (1997 came for “It couldn't be better”).
And exactly 25 years after her first nomination ("Some Came Running"), Shirley McLaine finally received her Leading Actress Award. "Terms of Endearment" offered a decent narrative (director Brooks also wrote the original script), the better film was Lawrence Kasdan's "The Big Chill", the expected winner would actually have been Philip Kaufman's gripping space race drama about the Mercury Seven must be, "The Right Stuff".
22. "Ordinary People" (1980)
Films with such titles are always a danger, but Robert Redford's debut as a director is not a friendly film: it deals with a quintessentially American, mega-literary (Judith Guest authored the novel) theme - the tragedy that falls on a functioning middle-class family.
A teenage boy dies, his younger brother (supporting actor Oscar for Timothy Hutton) wants to kill himself because of this - he blames himself for the accidental death of his brother. Whose mother (Mary Tyler Moore) implicitly too. The father (Donald Sutherland) tries to mediate.
The Oscar for Robert Redford, one of Hollywood's greatest acting stars, was also a political decision. But he and his film are still - and not without good reason - overshadowed by two films that were bolder, more exciting and more visionary - and which came out almost completely empty at the Academy Awards. David Lynch's “The Elephant Man” and of course Martin Scorsese's “Raging Bull”, which many saw as a favorite.
But neither Lynch, then 34 and despite producer Mel Brooks without a large lobby, nor the “New Hollywood” star Scorsese should be able to hold a candle to Redford's comparatively conventional work.
21. "Spotlight" (2015)
In times of “fake news” accusations against the media, this “best picture” award went down like oil. The real story of the Boston Globe investigative team uncovering a series of abuse by priests. “Spotlight” is calm, sober - possibly a film whose story you would rather read than see.
The competition in the Oscar year was weak: "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Martian", "Bridge Of Spies" ... "The Revenant" would have been an option, but Alejandro G. Iñárritu already received the "Best Picture" the year before for "Birdman".
"Spotlight" also cemented the tiresome Academy tendency to no longer recognize as "Best Film" someone who clears as many categories as possible, which should be the only quality criterion, but rather reflects the zeitgeist solely because of its political message.
How many works are there besides “Spotlight” that received only one award besides “Best Film” (here “Best Adapted Screenplay”)?
20. "The Last Emperor" (1987)
Free travel for the “last emperor” in 1987, a rather poor Oscar year. Bernardo Bertolucci was the first western filmmaker to shoot in Beijing's "Forbidden City", of course because he staged the life story of Puyi, the last emperor of China, as a sad and dramatic coming-of-age story, but above all for himself interested in the beauty of the country, its palaces and landscapes.
It remains to be seen that Bertolucci was an esthete.
19. "Forrest Gump" (1994)
To speak of an injustice might be a bit of an exaggeration. "Pulp Fiction" was obviously the better movie of the year, but "Forrest Gump" had everything the Academy loves: an American historical drama, with JFK, Vietnam and AIDS, all from the perspective of a man who was mentally retarded.
The American dream: everyone can participate in the great events of the country. That Forrest is as lucky as Homer Simpson (space travel, not taken from the novel) is an almost cynical punchline.
1994 is considered to be one of the greatest film years of the 20th century. The popularity of “The Shawshank Redemption”, which was celebrated virally with the rise of imdb (there it is listed as “Best Film of All Time” after user voting), was not foreseeable at that time.
The triumph of Forrest Gump was clear to everyone; on the Oscar stage, Quentin Tarantino, who picked up the script award for "Pulp Fiction" that had been awarded well before, thanked him for "the only prize my film will get that evening."
18. "Ghandi" (1982)
Sidney Lumet's "The Verdict" and Spielberg's "E.T." were the better films, but with "Ghandi" Richard Attenborough created the giant-scale biopic as we know it today. An unknown actor with maximum resemblance to the hero (Ben Kingsley), recordings at the original locations (India), and, unthinkable in the CGI era, the navigation of a gigantic crowd of extras - Attenborough allegedly directed 300,000 people when filming Ghandi's funeral, what as Record for a film applies.
After the film started, some historians pointed out that Mahatma Ghandi was anything but a saint, for example knew how to use India's caste system for himself. What is certain is that “Ghandi” unleashed a small wave of The West Looks at India works, which in the early 1980s also included “Octopussy” and “A Passage To India” - filmed by David Lean, who had tried unsuccessfully to film the life of Gandhi since the 1960s.
17. "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all the “Best Picture” contributions of this millennium. Nobody, least of all the director Danny Boyle, who was previously registered in Hollywood, could have foreseen the triumph of this tragic comedy about a poor Indian boy who uses his incredible life story as a knowledge advantage in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
There were eight Oscars for it. As many as not since the third “Lord of the Rings” (he got eleven in 2003). And for twelve years nobody got more than this film! “Slumdog Millionaire” is perhaps a tad too whimsical to be really meaningful, a little too childish, with Bollywood dance at the end. The only serious competitor that year was Gus van Sant's “Milk”.
16. "Amadeus" (1984)
1984 was a big year in music - pop and rock music. Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, U2, Queen, and pretty much all records in the heavy metal genre. And yet there was a now legendary music poster that hung in its place in quite a few children's rooms and paid homage to a completely different star: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (even if the motif might show his adversary Antonio Salieri).
There is of course more speculation than truth about Mozart's rivalry to the Italian “rival” and “avowed murderer”, even if the film's tagline chants: “Everything You Heard Of Is True”, based on the plot of the dramatized play of the same name that provided the template.
The fact is that director Milos Forman himself was probably surprised that Salieri actor F. Murray Abraham completely outshone his Mozart (Tom Hulce) and won the leading actor Oscar. Hulce ‘Amadeus is really unbearable, a horny child.
“Amadeus” is more of a production than a political film, but sometimes it doesn't have to be more. The Mozart wave peaked and ended a year later with Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" hit.
15. "Platoon" (1986)
Oliver Stone's Oscar triumph had a symbolic character: after “The Deer Hunter” from 1978, it was only the second Vietnam War film that was awarded “Best Film” - another oversight like Coppola's “Apocalypse Now”, which was once against “ Kramer vs. Kramer “lost, the Academy didn't want to afford it. The cast of Charlie Sheen in a Martin Sheen role, the chronicler of the jungle madness, was a clear reference to the classic.
With the figures of Elias (Willem Dafoe), who is only known by his first name, and Barnes (Tom Berenger), who is only known by his surname, Stone placed his heroes and anti-heroes more than clearly (Elias dies in Jesus pose), but the The then 40-year-old director, himself a Vietnam veteran, otherwise demonstrated a matter-of-fact view of the US debacle in Far East Asia.
14. "The Hurt Locker" (2009)
The first year in ages in which more than five entries for the “Best Film” were in the running. Allegedly out of general frustration about not including “The Dark Knight” last year, the jury wanted from now on to have all really really good works per year with them. Ten films were now competing for the trophy.
With Kathryn Bigelow not only won a director for the first time for “Hurt Locker”, it was also her personal triumph over ex-husband James Cameron, who was favored at the same time as “Avatar”. The Pixar film "Up" in the applicants' field was a pleasure, even though it served as a filler for the list. Really best film was Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds”.
But “Hurt Locker” had the theme of the Iraq War, which had not yet been presented in a satisfactory way, and Bigelow paired effect cinema with sensitive character narration. Jeremy Renner stands out as a bomb defuser who, after years of breakneck work, could no longer answer the question of the meaning of life.
13. "Unforgiven" (1992)
The best film of the year was possibly “The Crying Game”, but it didn't have much to do with America. Clint Eastwood's revisionist western was a "no-brainer" because it celebrated the failure of the gunslinger and with it the sickness of the most famous cowboy actor after John Wayne.
It was the topic that Hollywood loves: The “hero against his will” appears again for the already disenfranchised, the whores. For Eastwood, who was also 62 at the time, the solid film was the prelude to his golden stretch as a film director, which lasted a full 16 years until “Gran Torino” in 2008.
And he is still 89 years old today, in front of and behind the camera.
12. "The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King" (2003)
Clean sweep: eleven nominations, eleven Oscars. As many as otherwise only "Titanic" and "Ben Hur" (which, however, had received more nominations in their time). The Academy honored the overall performance of Peter Jackson, the former B-Splatter director who shot three Tolkien films at once, settled down with the crew in New Zealand for more than a year and thus took pretty much every financial risk the production company could take "New Line Cinema" had to fear.
The most beautiful film, of course, remains part one, “The Companions”, because the effects still had that indie charm of Jackson's early works - and above all got along without sentimentality. The "two towers" and the "return of the king" was noticeable after the huge success of the debut, that by re-shooting and re-editing - to see more of the love story of Aragorn and his elves - an even stronger blockbuster feeling should be awakened.
But Jackson had the chutzpah to simply cut out the spectacular death of the great villain Christopher Lee alias Saruman for reasons of time (is included in the Director’s Cut).
Nevertheless: finally, finally a fantasy work as “Best Film”.
11. "Titanic" (1997)
It is quite possible that director James Cameron only focused on the romance (= potentially higher box-office income) between Jack and Rose when preproduction became more and more expensive (the most expensive of its time) and the liabilities to financiers increased. After all, this is actually about a ship, not two lovers, right?
That Cameron goes under with his marine chaos shoot like the Titanic, was long considered by bookmakers as a set and was at the same time a lousy symbol. His work is a real monolith, at least in the eternal box-office rankings: The only film from the 1990s that has not only been in the top ten of the most successful films of all time for 22 (!) Years, but still in third place - ousted in 2009 by Cameron's own adventure "Avatar", in 2019 by the "Avengers". Like “Avatar”, the film had a grower effect: no overwhelming box office in the first few weeks, but loyal viewers who kept coming back to the halls because there was just too much to see for just one visit to the film.
"Titanic": no sci-fi, no franchise, no 3-D in the original, no miserable Marvel, no "Star Wars", and still on top.🛒 Order the Blu-ray from Titanic here
James Cameron showed the sinking of the luxury liner in real time (almost 90 minutes), and the love story was followed by incredibly exciting survival action, with a maybe a bit underemployed Kate Winslet, but at least a Leonardo DiCaprio, who may never have been better than here, because he has not yet let the maniac hang out, so he has not always played the same role as from Scorsese 2001.
Eleven Oscars, that equaled the record of “Ben Hur”, who was 38 years old at the time. The Academy class was interesting because “Titanic” shared the evening with the second big favorite, “A Good As It Gets”. The bookmakers were right, you couldn't make any big winnings: The two main actor Oscars went, as expected, to Nicholson and Helen Hunt.
"Titanic" marks a lonely success that did not require any action figure merchandise, no superhero ice cream confectionery or accompanying cartoons, and which told an old story and still puzzles the physicist: If Jack hadn't ... still ... had a place on the Plank?
What more could a film want than to leave unanswered questions that are still wildly debated today.
10. "American Beauty" (1999)
What does a high-earning American do in the midlife crisis? He falls in love with his daughter's girlfriend and ends up being killed by the neighbor who blames him for his son's homosexual feelings.
The breakout from the system, and even more: the crisis of the middle class man is an all-American, literary subject, Alan Ball ("Six Feet Under") wrote the pointed screenplay, debut director Sam Mendes received an award, and Kevin Spacey of course, too.
1999 was a packed year: “The Green Mile”, “The Insider”, “The Sixth Sense”: In the end, the most subversive of the contributions prevailed.
09. "The Shape Of Water" (2017)
It is difficult to decide what "Shape of Water - The Whisper of Water" especially is. A tribute to a genre? Is it an homage to an age, or is it an homage to the magic of cinema itself? Maybe a comment on sexual self-determination?
It's all there, and that's also a personal triumph for Guillermo del Toro. Hollywood seemed to have swallowed it. Most recently, the Mexican was commissioned with schematic horror (“Crimson Peak”) and giant monster trash (“Pacific Rim”).
In just two hours of playing time, every character, from the heroine Elisa (Sally Hawkins) to the KGB spy Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and the US Army General Hoyt (Nick Searcy), has an illuminated, biographical relationship with the supposed jungle monster, that changes all of your lives. For some, the creature from the South American river is a “thing”, for others a “capital”, for Elisa a creature with intelligence and feeling.
The romance between woman and creature could have drifted into “Beauty and The Beast” shallow areas, but del Toro does not portray his “monster” as an enchanted person who condemns his shell. Perhaps something else is even true: Elisa suspects that her human figure is a facade. After all, she only lives out her sexuality - masturbation and intercourse - underwater. When she was a foundling she was found near a river, she is as silent as the Amazon creature, and the scars on her neck look like stunted gills.
Guillermo del Toro had to defend himself against allegations of plagiarism - he stole crucial sequences of his work from the short film "The Space Between Us", and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet also accuses his colleague of theft and refers to similar scenes from his film "Delicatessen".
At least as far as “The Space Between Us” is concerned, one could assert a presumption of innocence, del Toro asserts that he had never seen the Dutch film.
08. "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)
Hillary Swank doesn't just play a boxer who wants to make a living from wrestling, she plays a boxer who breaks the boundaries of this man's world, who convinces her coaches Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. “Million Dollar Baby” is still considered a somewhat old-fashioned Oscar winner, also because it is classically structured as a three-act act and tells an underdog story.
But it's more, a feminist film, because Maggie Fitzgerald's (Hillary Swank) liberation is self-empowered. Also a film in which the staunch Republican Eastwood unexpectedly makes a plea for euthanasia.
And Freeman, then 67, also received a “Hell Yeah!” Moment, a boxing match that everyone was hoping for but that no one expected. Better than old Rocky Balboa old school style.
07. "Moonlight" (2016)
Barry Jenkins ‘victory was overshadowed by the gaffe of announcer Warren Beatty, who wrongly announced“ La La Land ”as the winner. The coming-of-age story had many things that the Academy had tended to ignore in its infamous tradition: it was about a gay black boy who is learning to accept his sexual identity as an adult; his father figure is a drug dealer who is not a baddie, but a person with financial worries.
It was clear that the race between the DIY musical “La La Land” and “Moonlight” would both be revolutionary in their own way. But otherwise the field in 2016 was well stocked: "Arrival", "Manchester By The Sea", "Lion", "Hell Or High Water" ... As director Jenkins likes to tell, he is asked again and again: In your film, yes no whites at all.
06. "Parasite" (2020)
For the first time, a foreign language film was named “Best Film” - and also “Best International”. A unique double honor. Bong Joon Ho's satirical social drama was also the best entry in the field, "The Irishman" received zero awards, Sam Mendes ‘war drama" 1917 "and Tarantino's" Once upon a Time ... in Hollywood "only received awards in minor categories.
Occasionally not perfectly balanced between comedy and tragedy, the South Korean film tells movingly, like Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" before, of the insurmountable class barriers in South Korea - how an attempt at advancement can lead to catastrophe. Western viewers mostly think of the punch lines and twists; Whether a greater awareness of the statements made by South Korean cinema can be aroused after this is still open.
05. "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" (2014)
Fun fact: One of two “Best Picture” nominees of the year to feature a jazz soundtrack. The other was "Whiplash". The whole film seems like a fun fact. Strictly speaking, “Birdman” is not “best picture” material, as its story turns out to be too milieu-specific and intimate, but it's just unbelievable fun to look at - and to suffer with Michael Keaton in the process.
Comeback Keaton plays a forgotten superhero movie actor who now wants to succeed as a Broadway mime, but feels his limits (M-E-T-A-E-B-E-N-E !, because Michael "Batman" Keaton is also aware of his limits). His brutal dialogue with a theater critic, a disgusting representative of the writer genre, exactly reflects the frequent conflict between artist and professional recipient: He hates prejudice, she hates ex-Hollywood people who make you mature but only do the stage because they have to make the stage. Basically, "Birdman" is a film made by artists for artists as well as for art enemies.
There is a dispute among avid viewers about the exact number of cuts, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu says there was only one cut in the 119 minutes. Either way, the result is breathtaking: a constant rush of adrenaline, everyone is running through the nested theater sets, screaming at each other, falling at each other.
Keaton's involuntarily naked stroll through Times Square is terrific, and Emma Stone's fearful look, which turns into a smile in the last few seconds of the last scene, gives us one of the luckily most open-ended film ends ever.
"Birdman" then continues to spin in his head, one might almost say: flies like a bird.
04. "The Departed" (2006)
It is considered chic not to like this Scorsese in particular. Know-it-alls always refer to the original of this remake, which in reality, like all of us, has not even seen (“Infernal Affairs”). Criticize the mannered game of Jack Nicholson, the dazzling or sudden death of almost all characters, and again, again, again there is a key motif song of the Stones, as always with "Marty": "Gimme Shelter".
The Academy wanted to honor the then 64-year-old director before it was too late, they drew the lessons of Kubrick and Hitchcock and Chaplin. Scorsese would have deserved the directing award for “Taxi Driver”, “GoodFellas”, “The Age Of Innocence” and “Raging Bull”, but also for this: four actors can be seen in their best roles, taking into account their skills, including theirs Limits, and their charisma.
Matt Damon is a greyhound and plays a greyhound. Mark Wahlberg is like a rapper playing a cop and is fabulous at it. Martin Sheen as his father's chief of police wants to hold the strings together; the last time he asks about fire, a red herring, is as old-fashioned as it is fatalistic and sad.
But the king is Leonardo DiCaprio. As an undercover investigator who expects to be exposed and massacred every day, he almost sweats right through the screen. For tactical reasons, however, DiCaprio did not line up for the academy for this portrayal, but for the role as a thug adventurer in "Blood Diamond" (he lost - but Peter O'Toole, longing for an Oscar, in "Venus" , also).
Some of Martin Scorsese's films were even better than "The Departed". But also more exciting? No way.
03. "No Country For Old Men" (2007)
In the "sand, dust and dirt" Oscar race of the year, the Coen brothers' film took off against P.T. Anderson's "There Will Be Blood".
On paper is a Neo-Noir based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, but of course Joel and Ethan Coen turned it into a story of their own, one that revolves around perhaps the hardest feeling that adulthood can have: enduring ambiguity.
Of course, the Texas thriller, scheduled for 1980, also pays homage to the western (which the brothers didn't want to give up altogether, see their later “True Grit” remake). As a character study, the narrative also revolves around the question of what actually defines identity and success, to put it more simply: How good do you have to be at what you do? The cops ask this more clearly than the criminals.
Anton Chigurh, the killer, does well with the handcuffs, and of course he escapes. Javier Bardem received an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor". It was the most convincing portrayal of an actually sympathetic murderer since Anthony Hopkins ‘Interpretation of Hannibal Lecter from 1991.
02. "The Silence Of The Lambs" (1991)
Only the third - and to date the last - film to win the "Big Five" of the Oscars: film, direction, screenplay (adapted), leading actress, leading actor.
If you read the novel by Thomas Harris today, you have Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in mind, but the cast of these two was a coup back then: Foster's Starling far, far more fragile than in the original and nevertheless analytically equal to the opponent; Hopkins ‘Lecter like a block of ice with sudden bursts of flames. No comparison to the clownish embodiment of the character by Brian Cox in Michael Mann's "Manhunter". A real overpowering as a chamber play (the illuminated cage with the trapped villain became the defining piece of equipment of every thriller), and in the action scenes by director Jonathan Demme it is equipped with skilful montages.
The influence of the film on the genre - the closeness of investigator and perpetrator - cannot be overestimated, and the competition in Oscar year, "JFK", Warren Beatty's first-person project "Bugsy", the courtesy nomination for Barbra Streisand ("Prince of Tides ") as well as the recognition of Disney animation (" Beauty and the Beast "), no chance.
And this film also achieved what no film before, what no genre film had achieved in the strongest decade of the genre, the 1970s: a horror film becomes “Best Film”. The "Exorcist" lost then, 1973, today unthinkable, against "The Clou".
01. "Schindler’s List" (1993)
Perhaps one of the least influential of all of Hollywood's great films - because the theme and implementation are so unique. The triumph of “Schindler's List” lay in sensitivity, in size, then in hardness, in brutality, in cautiousness and in intimacy, in everything that was necessary to approach the Shoah. Nothing seemed suggestive. And the few scenes that were actually supposed to show humor were actually funny.
27 years later, “Schindler's List” has the same effect as in 1993. It is not the fame - seven Oscars, including the one for best director - that will be remembered, but the countless scenes in which Spielberg brings up the horrors of the Holocaust the canvas brings, be it direct or symbolic.
The girl in the red coat. The Nazi playing the piano during the shootings in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amon Göth's “I forgive you”. The boy escaping into the sewer of the labor camp with classical music in his ear. “There is more to it than that.” Itzhak Stern's walk past the executed room boy. And in the whole film there is only one time to see Hitler (on a portrait photo in the background), and only one shot with the Hitler salute.🛒 Order the Blu-ray from “Schindler's List” here
In the end, the director allows his main character, the industrialist Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), to collapse. There are critics who dismiss Schindler's “I could have done more” as undue self-indignity; but perhaps Schindler's thought is precisely the bitter thought that would have occurred to anyone who has recognized the extent of their willingness to help in their situation.
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