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The Cougar Courier

Richard Recomends: Best Picture Winners

Richard Cardente, Reporter

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For 90 years, the Academy Awards have been honoring some of the best cinema has to offer. The 90th Academy Awards are on March 4th, 2018,  and now is the perfect time to talk about the Oscars.  I have seen every single Best Picture winner and these are just some films that I would recommend to some people.

Gone With The Wind 1939– One of the greatest movies ever  shown on the big screen.  Gone With The Wind tells the story of Scarlet O’ Hara as she goes through hardships during the Civil war and her relationship with Rhett Butler.  Gone With The Wind is filled with beautiful technicolor cinematography and amazing chemistry between Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh.  It is a very long film, but an engaging one.

Casablanca 1943– While I did not love this film as much as the other films on this list, I put it on here for historical significance.  An owner of a bar, Rick Blaine falls in love with a woman named Ilsa Lund during WWII and we see their relationship develop through the film.  Casablanca has some of the best acting, chemistry, and some of the most iconic moments every to be put on screen.  There is a reason why it has stood the test of time.

All The King’s Men 1949–  This is the film I consider to be the most underrated Best Picture winner, All The King’s Men tells the tale of Willie Stark and his pros and cons of being a Politian.  All The King’s Men features an amazing performance by Broderick Crawford as the titular Politian for which he won a well deserved Oscar for best actor.  The film should resonate with people these days because of the current conflicts within politics that exist today.

On The Waterfront 1954– Marlon Brando portrays Terry Malloy, an ex-boxer who must deal with his corrupt union bosses while working as a longshoreman.  On The Waterfront is not your typical big epic Hollywood film that the Academy loves, but a more grounded story which fells much more realistic that some other films of this time.  Boasted by some amazing performances by the entire cast, then you have yourselves an engaging masterpiece.

In The Heat Of The Night 1967- Not only a police investigation of a murder, In The Heat Of The Night is also a story of friendship between two people of different color.  The film was made was during a racial divide in America and explored racial themes throughout.  It is also just a great film that everyone should watch.

Midnight Cowboy 1969- Joe Buck travels to New York to make a new living while he meets a poor con man named Ratso.  Again, not a gigantic epic story, just a simple story about a developing friendship.  Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight are fantastic in the lead roles and the soundtrack is also great with an iconic ending.

The Godfather 1972- Do I even need to explain.  We all know this film is great.  The Godfather tells the story of Don Vito Corleone, head of the Corleone crime family and him dealing with different gangs along with his family.  However, Vito is on the decline and his son Michael must step in as the new head and the new Godfather.  Overall, amazing acting from the whole cast, great screenplay, and fantastic direction, this is a easy recommendation for people to watch.

The Godfather Part II 1974- A prequel/sequel to the original, The Godfather Part II shows the rise of Vito during his younger years and how Michael is dealing with his life as the head of the Corleone crime family.  Not only does this film improve from it’s original, but is one of the best films ever made and my favorite Best Picture winner.  The acting is perfect, the story is perfect, the cinematography is perfect, the director, editing, pacing, music, everything is absolutely perfect.  There is not a single thing that I can find fault with in this film.  Just go see it now because this film is the definition of a masterpiece.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 1975-  R.P. McMurphy, a psychotic criminal who is sent to a mental asylum with other deranged people.  McMurphy wants to bring these people into the real word while dealing with a very mean nurse.  This film surprised me on how amazing this film is.  Jack Nicholson gives off one of the greatest performances in cinema history and the entire supporting cast is fantastic.  This is a film carried entirely by is acting and it executes it perfectly.

The Deer Hunter 1978-  Wow!  The 70’s were just a great decade for the Oscars I guess.  The Deer Hunter explores the lives of men after the Vietnam War and how they are effected by the war mentally and physically.  The film is immensely intense with great acting from Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, and Meryl Streep.  The highlight of the film is its iconic Russian Rolette scene.  An amazing film overall.

Schindler’s List 1993-  One of the saddest and emotional movies ever made, but still worth watching.  The film explores Oscar Schindler’s attempt to save Jews from concentration caps during WWII.  Amazing cinematography in haunting black and white along with great acting makes this a movie at times difficult for many viewers to watch,but is still a must see movie.  Just get out the tissue boxes.

Forrest Gump 1994- We probably all saw this film by now but it is just as good as the first time we watched it.  The film revolves around the titular character and his many adventures and encounters during certain moments of American history.  1994 was a huge year for cinema and Forrest Gump won over films like Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption.  While those films may be a little bit better and more beloved, this is just a personal favorite of mine.

Titanic 1997- Another film that tons of people have seen, it is still a great film.  The movie is told through flashback by Rose who reminisces of her romance with Jack.  A very engaging story with amazing music and production design that make this film great.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King 2003- This was the film that showed people that the Academy was much more that what they were.  Honoring films that the may fly under the Academy’s radar.  The conclusion to the original trilogy, we see the fellowship attempt to destroy the one ring while battling Sauron’s army.  What fallows is a amazing ride of filmmaking that is difficult to pull off.  Great visual effects, production design, screenplay, among other make this one of the greatest achievements in modern film making and filmmaking history.

Argo 2012- Did you ever want to feel like you are in another decade, then this is the film too watch.  The film chronicles Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who disguises as a movie producer in order to rescue American in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in 1979 (takes place in 1980).  While not 100% historically accurate, Argo captures its setting to perfection.  I believed I was in 1980.  The film also had great acting  and was very intense, especially near the end even through you know what happened.

Birdman 2014- A struggling actor creates a play to become relevant again while going through internal struggles.  A film that is not like the casually film, Birdman has great acting, is well directed, and features cinematography and editing like no other.  It is bizarre yet rewarding.  Go watch.                     

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