In January of 1991, Stephen Rebello sat down with Hollywood Legend Janet Leigh to discus her entire career from the studio system up through the then-present early-nineties. If you are a movie fan, you will want to read this one.
With this year’s Academy Awards telecast set to grace our televisions in just a few weeks, I thought we’d have a look back at the films that the Academy has seen fit to declare the Best Picture of each year and let you readers rank them by decade in retrospect. We’ve taken advantage of hindsight (I hear it might be 20/20) and thrown our two cents in on the era of the Great Depression and the period of the Second World War already. Now it’s time for that glorious time of prosperity, the “I Like Ike” 1950s in which so many of the roots of the pop culture we still enjoy began to spring up.
Below, you’ll find a short write-up on each of the Oscar winning films of the decade and an opportunity to rank them first through tenth. If you haven’t seen some of them, you should still feel free to rank the ones you have seen and the rest either by understood reputation or whatever other criteria makes sense to you. Modernity and traditionalism are pulling against one another here. Line up and give one side a little tug.
Fifteen years ago today, Disney opened their second theme park on the West Coast. When Disney’s California Adventure opened its gates, one prominent Imagineer muttered “I liked it better when it was a parking lot.” To see why, check out this clip of Rosie O’Donnell and the cast of The Drew Carrey Show sleepwalking their way through some of the park’s headline attractions.
The February 1990 issue of Movieline checked in with actress Jasmine Guy. At the time, she was starring on the hit TV show Different World, costarred opposite Eddie Murphy in Harlem Nights and was getting ready to release a record.
Twenty-five years ago, Kim Basinger was trying to sell her new movie, The Marrying Man. She says as much in this interview with Movieline Magazine. While Basinger refuses to discuss a number of topics, she opens up about quite a few things that might surprise you. Basinger doesn’t hesitate to criticize Hollywood which to hear her tell it sounds like one bad experience after another. She also talks about her grand plans for the town of Braselton (which she bought and then dumped five years later at a huge personal loss) and an outburst at the Oscars in which she shamed Hollywood for not nominated Do the Right Thing for Best Picture.
No, no, we’re not going to be including movies that fell short of winning the Best Picture Oscar in this series, and yes, that might end up annoying some of you. Nowhere more than in today’s look at the 1940s, in which you’ll find that films like Citizen Kane, The Grapes of Wrath, The Philadelphia Story, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and It’s a Wonderful Life are on the outside looking in. That’s a daunting list of classic films, all of them nominees, but there are some pretty great movies that took home the big prize too, and that’s what we’re focusing on.
After the break, you’ll find a short paragraph telling a little bit about each of the ten Best Picture winners of the decade, along with the colorful posters for them. Then you’ll get a chance to rank them first to last. Once we’ve accumulated the results from each decade, we’ll present the top 20 overall vote-getters and let you guys rank them as well to come up with our definitive list of the greatest Oscar-winning films ever. Keep coming back every two days to help us build this bit of history.
And now, it’s time to rank the Oscar winners of the ’40s!
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In the late eighties, director Joe Ruben had built up some buzz with low budget movies that were a little better than people expected them to be. Movies like Dreamscape, The Stepfather and True Believer. Critics wondered what he might be capable of with more resources at his disposal.
In 1991, Ruben got that chance when he directed America’s newest sweetheart, Julia Roberts, in the thriller, Sleeping With the Enemy. Since then, Ruben moved on to movies like The Good Son and Money Train before going into semi-retirement. But at the time of this interview from the February 1991 issue of Movieline, there was reason to believe that Ruben might develop into an A-list director.
In the January 1995 issue of Movieline, contributor Martha Frankel spent some time in Paris with controversial director, Roman Polanski, as he finished his latest movie. They had a very open discussion in which no topic appeared to be off-limits. Yes, Polanski addresses the reason for his exile from America. He also talks about the murder of his first wife, Sharon Tate. But mostly, he seems really concerned with what people think of his movies and whether or not he has cooties.
It’s awards season, and the apex is coming up at the end of the month as the Academy Awards ceremony will be held to reward the best in film for the year. As a part of our Oscars coverage I’m going to ask our readers here at LeBlog to rank the Best Picture winners of each decade starting with the 1930s. I decided to skip the first two years of the awards in the 1920s because I’m wagering not many of us have seen either of those movies…and their existence is mathematically inconvenient. Let me know in the comments section if this decision is seen as blasphemous.
Every couple of days I’ll post a little quick info about each Best Picture winner from the assigned decade and allow everyone here to rank them as they see fit. Once we work our way up to the current day, the top scorers will then be skimmed from the top and presented for one final ranking. Obviously there will be times when many of us will not have seen some of the movies. Don’t let that deter you. Odds are that if you rank the movies you’ve actually seen highly we’ll end up with a list that will stand up to scrutiny. After all…these are all Oscar-winning films!
First up–the 1930s!
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The Golden Raspberries started off as an informal joke. Something for a publicist and his friends to do after the Oscars had ended. Over time, it has become and enduring and irreverent tradition. In theory, The Razzies poke fun at the worst movies of the year. But like any awards ceremony, the Razzies frequently make the wrong call. We’re going back and looking at the history of the Golden Raspberry Awards one year at a time.
The seventeenth annual Razzies nominated the movies of 1996. Independence Day and Twister were the highest-grossing movies that year. The English Patient won Best Picture and Frances McDormand won Best Actress for Fargo. But for the second year in a row, the Razzies were all about strippers.
The final round of our 1996 bracket game had a healthier than usual turnout. Thanks to everyone who participated. I don’t know about you, but I had a fun trip down memory lane even if 1996 wasn’t a stand-out year for cinema. As you can see from the picture above, Fargo is our winner and William H. Macy looks pretty excited about it. While the end result isn’t a big surprise, Fargo is certainly a deserving winner.
In the mid-to-later eighties, Carolco was riding high on a steady diet of action movies. Midway through the next decade, it collapsed. The story has been told in bits and pieces across various articles here at Le Blog. But a reader named Matthew has worked with a friend to put together a YouTube series on the Rise and Fall of some of Hollywood’s bygone studios. The first installment focuses on the action giants at Carolco. Check it out.