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Oscars: How Important is Best Picture?

How meaningful is a Best Picture Oscar in the grand scheme of things? Well, obviously that’s going to depend on the point of view of each individual person considering the question. For the purposes of this article we’re going to assume that it’s a pretty big deal within the context of the awards themselves, but we’re going to have a look at the history of voting patterns in relation to other Oscars given out each year, its importance within the film business, and how these relate to long term relevance.

Let’s see how much I can find to say on this subject, shall we?
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July 4: Happy Birthday Neil Simon and Tracy Letts

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Today our headliners will be best known to those who follow the theater—they are both winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama—although each one has also adapted more than one of his plays for the screen.

Neil Simon celebrates his 90th birthday today.  He began his writing career working in television, and was one of the incredible array of writers working on Sid Caesar’s shows in the fifties, which also included previous birthday headliners Woody Allen and Mel Brooks.  He was a two-time Emmy nominee for Caesar’s Hour.

At the beginning of the sixties, Simon turned to playwriting.  His first play, Come Blow Your Horn, premiered on Broadway in 1961 and was quite successful.  He has won three Tony Awards, for the retired category of Best Author for The Odd Couple, and for Best Play for Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers, the last of which also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  A few of his other notable plays include Barefoot in the Park, Plaza Suite, The Sunshine Boys, and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Simon has also been a successful screenwriter.  He has done screenplays for many adaptations of his plays.  He has also written a number of original screenplays, including The Heartbreak Kid, Murder by Death, The Goodbye Girl, and more.  He has been nominated for four Oscars and won a Golden Globe for the screenplay for The Goodbye Girl.

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