Category Archives: Oscars

Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: As Good as It Gets vs Good Will Hunting


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In this top portion of our 1997 movies bracket game we’re focusing mostly on those films of the year which garnered a lot of critical and awards season attention. In some cases this also means that we’re reliving those moments when people we didn’t really know at the time took that next step and became actual movie stars. It’s a never ending process in the entertainment industry: the “next big thing.” Sometimes it’s a dream that actually pans out with an honest to God A-list career and sometimes we look back and realize that was their one big project. Sometimes it’s something in between.
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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Titanic vs Boogie Nights


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Can it possibly have already been 20 years? That’s what I find myself asking when I look at this set of movies. Sure, ten years easy, maybe even fifteen. But 20? My math must be off. That’s what it is.

With the 1987 bracket now in the books, next up is a decade’s move up to the most memorable movies of 1997. We were slap dab in the middle of the Bill Clinton Presidency, the internet was the new hip thing, the Green Bay Packers returned to the top of the American football world, the Teletubbies premiered on BBC, Princess Diana was killed in an auto accident, the U.S. economy was booming, and the world began to slowly come to an end when The Spice Girls and Hanson became top-selling musical artists. Was this an important year for you? How did our movies here reflect that? Come along as we talk about two of them!
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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Citizen Kane


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Okay, so this is a pretty big one, right? For decades now, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane has been one of the ultimate go-to answers amongst film critics and aficionados when asked about what is The Greatest Film of All Time. It has, in fact, held down the top spot on multiple high profile lists, including the American Film Institute’s top 100 lists of both 1998 and 2007 and for forty years in the critics Sight and Sound poll. Just last year, the movie was again pronounced the greatest American film of all time by a poll of critics from the BBC. Roger Ebert included it in his unranked list of his top ten films. For quite some time it was just the standard answer to the question, as if it was a foregone conclusion. But time is a funny thing, and Citizen Kane has actually gone through a wide re-evaluation…or two.
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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Just two moves to the right of The Graduate (1967) on my movie posters puzzle is another well-known movie from the same iconic year in American history. This one stars three Academy Award winners and is also set in the San Francisco area. It’s also a reminder that the sexual revolution of the era which is so often associated with the peace and love hippie movement going on just a few neighborhoods over from where the action of this film takes place was a much wider phenomenon than that. The expanding presence of young women in the professional world combined with the advent and wide availability of effective birth control had an effect across a large range of populations. The script for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner touches this in only the gentlest of ways, but its social concerns are much more focused on another issue of the time which has, unfortunately, not shown anywhere close to the progress its characters appear to think it will.
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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: For Whom the Bell Tolls


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

This is one of the movies I have looked forward to seeing since setting this task for myself. For Whom the Bell Tolls is a toweringly famous novel, but the film version has faded from the public mind over the intervening decades. Come with me as I discuss my viewing of this forgotten curiosity.
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Ranking Oscar by the Decade (Details of the LeBlog Results)


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As we ranked each of the decades of Best Picture winning films and some of the movies rose to the top, eventually finding a place on our top 20 list, other movies sank to the bottom to be forgotten. But still others were genuinely missed when we announced the films that had moved on the final ranking stage and people started to ask to see a little more of how the sausage was made. How had their favorite film of the ’50s actually fared in that decade’s ranking?

Well, we’re going to go ahead and offer some of those answers on the other side of the break. What you’ll find are two different charts I’ve created to show how each decade’s Best Pictures ended up being ranked within their respective decades by our readers. I split it into two parts so you could see it all. Let’s take a look.
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What if the LeBlog Readers Ran the Academy Awards?


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Do you sometimes wish you lived in one of those ‘parallel universes’ or ‘alternate realities’ science fiction stories are so fond of dreaming up? You know, the kind where the whims of you and your friends would just fall into place and where your own tastes were pretty much accepted as common knowledge. Well, we’re going to give you just a little taste of what such a place would be like today. In this scenario, we plunge into the heart of a black hole and come out on the other end in a universe in which LeBlog readers are the arbiters of all pop culture taste. So much so, in fact, that when it’s time to give out the yearly awards in film (affectionately nicknamed “the Lebeaus”) it is only the members of the Academy of our readership who get a vote on the major categories. The golden statuette is a reference to two of our favorite genre pictures, Star Wars and Goldfinger. It carries a sword to deal with any smart guys who find it necessary to point out that the history of these awards goes back thirty-five years prior to either of those movies.

Today we will discover how such a world would be different from our own in respects to the film awards that were given out just this past weekend in our own tawdry original timeline. How do we know such a thing? Well, thankfully we’ve been collecting data from our readers over the last couple of weeks for just such an occasion. Obviously, from the top image you can tell that our wise readers have selected George Miller’s thrilling action sequel Mad Max: Fury Road as Best Picture of the year. The decision was not unanimous, with Earth 616’s eventual winner Spotlight posting a strong second place showing. In the end, however, brilliant production design and water tight staging of action sequences won the Lebeau for Miller and company.

Would you like to see the rest of this parallel universe? Just click below and enter a most glorious place and time.
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LeBlog Readers’ 20 Greatest Best Picture Winners!


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This has been a long, but fun, process and I want to thank everybody who has voted and participated in the comments sections of these articles since we started with the Best Picture winners of the 1930s. I’ve been really happy with the feedback I’ve gotten. After this past summer’s ranking of Disney Songs resulted in some unexpectedly high representation from certain eras, I thought that if I had it to do over again I would have the readers do another ranking after narrowing the initial field. And that appears to have helped this time around.

While we’ll never get everybody to agree on something as subjective as taste in films, I do think we’ve ended up with a pretty legitimate list. There are some slight surprises with some movies maybe being a little overrated or underrated, but as the image above will indicate, some of the undeniable cinema classics are among the very top ranked films on our list. Hopefully nobody will be too dejected or outraged by the final results. We’re going to count down from number 20 to number one as we go. Have a look and then join us at the bottom for some discussion!
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An Oscars Conversation with Lebeau and Daffystardust


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Greetings lovely LeBlog readers! As a part of our Oscars coverage this year Lebeau and I decided to try a little conversation on the topic via traded typing. We’ll be discussing our personal favorite nominees, the current controversies surrounding the awards, our expectations of the televised event, and whatever else might just pop into our heads. I’m your Oscars coverage manager Daffystardust and obviously I’m an Oscars enthusiast. Lebeau is less so, but hey, his name’s on the joint so he’s gonna get his say. Hey there Lebeau! What stands out for you about this year’s nominated films and performances?
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This Year’s Costume Design Nominees


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Hello! I’m Allison, and I care about costume design.  These days I mostly express that by calling out the zany Y2K looks of an old Disney Channel sitcom, but at other times in my life I’ve had the more constructive outlets of costuming theatre productions and teaching costume design and costume history workshops at a theatre camp. I’ve occasionally had to consult my friend Camille’s encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history when designing, so she’s my collaborator for this post as well (which was especially handy when she was brave enough to watch The Revenant, a task I could not stomach).

When it comes to this award, the Oscars love a period piece –  since 1967, only two films have won for contemporary costuming. More recently, over-the-top designs for films like The Great Gatsby and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland have been dazzling the Academy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, this category has not been kind to gritty survivalist stories, which is bad news for the beautifully bonkers design of Mad Max: Fury Road and the designated haberdashery of Leo’s suffering in The Revenant. Bear those trends in mind and it seems likely that it’ll be Cinderella’s year, but there are strong nominees that could challenge it on Sunday night.

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This Year’s Best Picture Nominees


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This here is the big kahuna. Best Picture. The film that is held up as the best of the year and made to embody that year for the rest of all time. So why is the winner so often overshadowed by another nominee that gains with repeat watchings, or ages better, or simply is better? Why by my estimation are there more than forty nominated films over the years that have been better than the movie that ended up beating them for this honor? Well, group think is part of the explanation. A few of the right people start spreading an opinion and suddenly those around them start nodding along. It’s also fair to say that it’s not always easy to figure out what will age well or be seen as not just out of fashion, but downright corny or offensive by future generations. You can’t expect the voters to be soothsayers. The sooth is not simple to say. You’ll also have to look at it from the other point of view. More than forty of the Best Picture winners actually are tops among the nominated films of the year. By my estimation, at least.

Now let’s have a look at this year’s nominated films!
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This Year’s Best Actor Nominees


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It’s a sure sign of our sputtering patriarchy that this has often been treated as the second most important award of the night. The traditional structure of year after year of ceremonies placed it after Best Actress and just before Best Picture on the schedule more often than not. The later the presentation of the award, the more important it is. Then last year, with what I remember to be a complete absence of fanfare, all of a sudden Eddie Redmayne was up on stage accepting his award while Best Actress still hadn’t been given out. I haven’t read any particular explanation for the change…if one was even needed. The first thing that springs to mind is that they knew who the winners were going to be and decided to give Michael Keaton a few minutes between losing for Best Actor and going up on stage as an important part of the Best Picture troupe. Or perhaps they just predicted it? Longtime favorite Julianne Moore winning at last for Still Alice certainly made for a more satisfying storyline late in the show. I’m not sure what the order of presentation will be this year, but I’d like to suggest a pre-arranged cycle in which each is given first in alternating years.

Of course, this is the one of the two that has more heat this year.
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Rank the Top 20 Best Picture Winners of All Time!!


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Over the past couple of weeks, we here at LeBlog have been busy narrowing down the films which have won the Academy Award for Best Picture to a final twenty candidates. As we reviewed each decade of the award’s existence, we ranked the Best Picture winners from that decade, generating a score for each film based on how the participants have placed the movies from numbers 1 to 10. Different decades saw different voting patterns. For example, in the 1940s the classic favorite Casablanca ran away and hid from the competition to the point that it ended up being the only film from that decade to make our final list of 20. In the 1960s we had a few favorites that became bunched at the top and all performed well enough to be considered here. In our last few decades, voting became more contentious as memories of perceived sleights started to motivate voting in addition to real passion for films from our own era. This created a cannibalization of these decades and we’ve got just two candidates for the top 20 from the last twenty years. Is that a realistic assessment of the strength of the Best Picture winners? Maybe, maybe not. But it is how we ended up voting, and I’m betting that once we rank this final 20 we find we’ve got a pretty legitimate top 20 Best Pictures list.

Let’s give it a shot!
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