Many of us have read posts and articles pertaining to predictions and rankings. Because of BAFTA and SAG results, most claim to know how Oscar night will pan out tonight for the winner of Best Film.
Why do the classic winners seem so much better than winners in recent years? How far back do you go before it’s considered a classic? Twenty years? 1990s? 80s? 70s? before 1960?
The answer is I’ve grown up with the classic winners. I’ve seen On the Waterfront, West Side Story, Casablanca, All About Eve, Cabaret, and Ben Hur more times than I can count for most of my life. Are they better than today’s films or are they better because there is an emotional imprint that makes them meaningful? Have people under the age of 40 even seen the classic greats I’ve mentioned? If not, their favorites are relative to their age bracket. When they are 60, what film will they say is the best?
Articles like to speculate about the Best Film nominees that did not win but should have. For me, that would be films such as Rear Window, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, The Professional, The Shining, Psycho, Shawshank Redemption, and The Big Lebowski to name a few.
What about Best Film winners from the last twenty years? Can you think of many? It was hard to recall but a few. I had to look them up.
2022 – CODA
2021 – Nomadland
2020 – Parasite
2019 – Green Book
2018 – The Shape of Water
2017 – Moonlight
2016 – Spotlight
2015 – Birdman
2014 – 12 Years A Slave
2013 – Argo
2012 – The Artist
2011 – The King’s Speech
2010 – The Hurt Locker
2009 – Slumdog Millionaire
2008 – No Country for Old Men
2007 – The Departed
2006 – Crash
2005 – Million Dollar Baby
2004 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2003 – Chicago
Best films are an emotional response. They tap into the hearts of different groups, genders, and ethnicities. I’m a fan of universality. That is, the more universal the story, the longer it stands the test of time. A well-made film transcends boxes. Also, I squirm at the thought the Best Film of the year is supposed to “say something.” Several of the best films do not try to persuade you of anything. They are compact, simple stories. A story of survival. Characters moving from point A to B. Love in its various forms. Themes of friendship, loyalty, revenge, and hope. I hate politics. Yet, I sure enjoyed All the President’s Men.
Whether the non-nominated should have been or the nominated were robbed, one aspect is certain: you may scoff at my favorite Best Film Oscar choice, and I shrug with indifference at your choice. You might even think the Oscars are ridiculously rigged and not worth thinking about. I get that.
I’d still like to know.
What are some of your top favorites who won Best Film?
What are some nominated films that should have won Best Film but did not?
Why are the classics better than films from the last 20 years? Disagree?