Since the 87th Academy Awards are just around the corner I’ve decided it’s time to catch Oscar fever and do some awards related lists. I’m starting with my favourite films that have been awarded the title of best picture. I have to add a caveat here that I haven’t actually seen that many of the early award winners and that my classic movie knowledge is limited. I have also realised that in very many cases I don’t think the best picture actually won… so look out for that list too.
Year won: 1972
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan
Producer: Albert Ruddy
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Marlon Brando
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola
“Sonny: What the hell is this?
Clemenza: It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
The Silence of the Lambs
Year won: 1991
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
Producers: Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt, Ronald M. Bozman
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Best actor in a leading role: Anthony Hopkins
Best actress in a leading role: Jodie Foster
Best director: Jonathan Demme
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Ted Tally
“Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
Year won: 1993
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Producers: Steven Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen, Branko Lustig
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Best director: Steven Spielberg
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Steven Zaillian
Best cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Allan Starski, Ewa Braun
Best film editing: Michael Kahn
Best Music, Original Score: John Williams
“Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.
Amon Goeth: You think that’s power?
Oskar Schindler: That’s what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he’s brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he’s going to die. And the Emperor… pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.
Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.
Oskar Schindler: That’s power, Amon. That is power.”
Kramer vs Kramer
Year won: 1979
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Producer: Stanley R. Jaffe
Directed by: Robert Benton
Best director: Robert Benton
Best actor in a leading role: Dustin Hoffman
Best actress in a leading role: Meryl Streep
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Robert Benton
“Billy Kramer: When’s Mommy coming back?
Ted Kramer: I dont know, Billy. Soon.
Billy Kramer: How soon?
Ted Kramer: Soon.
Billy Kramer: Will she pick me up after school?
Ted Kramer: Probably. And if she doesn’t I will.
Billy Kramer: What if you forget?
Ted Kramer: I won’t forget.
Billy Kramer: What if you get run over by a truck and get killed?
Ted Kramer: Then Mommy will pick you up.”
Year won: 2006
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
Producer: Graham King
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Best director: Martin Scorsese
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: William Monahan
Best Achievement in Film Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker
“Frank Costello: When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Year won: 1975
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
Producers: Saul Zaentz, Michael Douglas
Directed by: Milos Forman
Best actor in a leading role: Jack Nicholson
Best actress in a leading role: Louise Fletcher
Best director: Milos Forman
Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material: Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman
“McMurphy: [about shock treatments] They was giving me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot! The next woman takes me on’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!”
Year won: 1942
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Produced by: Hal B. Wallis
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Best director: Michael Curtiz
Best Writing, Screenplay: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
“Rick: Who are you really, and what were you before? What did you do and what did you think, huh?
Ilsa: We said no questions.
Rick: …Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Year won: 1999
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
Producers: Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Best actor in a leading role: Kevin Spacey
Best director: Sam Mendes
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Alan Ball
Best cinematography: Conrad L. Hall
“Lester Burnham: Remember those posters that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”? Well, that’s true of every day but one – the day you die.”
Year won: 1985
Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge
Producer: Saul Zaentz
Directed by: Milos Forman
Best actor in a leading role: F. Murray Abraham
Best director: Milos Forman
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Peter Shaffer
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Patrizia von Brandenstein, Karel Cerný
Best Costume Design: Theodor Pistek
Best Sound: Mark Berger, Thomas Scott, Todd Boekelheide, Christopher Newman
Best Makeup: Paul LeBlanc, Dick Smith
“Salieri: On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and basset horns – like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly – high above it – an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God.”
12 Years a Slave
Year won: 2013
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender
Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Anthony Katagas
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley
“Solomon Northup: I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!”