Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Best Picture of 1992

Another list of nominees have been viewed, this time from 1992. And I know I've said it a million times already, but it bears repeating - this is a tough decision. All five films are most definitely worthy of their nomination.

The nominees for Best Picture of 1992 are:

The Crying Game
A Few Good Men
Howards End
Scent of a Woman

Five very unique films in a variety of genres. I didn't dislike any of them, and would easily have been content if any of the five had won the Best Picture award. The difficulty in selecting my own favourite stems from the fact that each film stands out from the others for a different reason. Unforgiven's spectacular cinematography; A Few Good Men's wittily clever script; Scent of a Woman's engrossing lead performance; Howards End's exquisite design; and The Crying Game's ... well, I'm sure it wins at something, I just can't think of it right now. So, for that rather unwarranted reason, I'll strike The Crying Game off my list first.

Unforgiven was the Academy's choice for Best Picture. And it's a choice I understand. The dark western is at once epic and intimate, a seemingly contradictory quality that is certainly popular amongst Academy voters, and rightly so. I appreciate Unforgiven. As a devotee of film, I acknowledge its qualities, but it would be pretentious of me to select it as my favourite, simply because I didn't gain the most enjoyment from it. Almost exactly the same thing can be said of Howards End. Although a delicately crafted film, it simply was not my favourite.

So that leaves us with A Few Good Men and Scent of a Woman. Very difficult to separate. Both contain sentimentalities, but perhaps I'm a sucker for that sentimental stuff. The single moment by which I was most moved appeared in Scent of a Woman. However, its somewhat contrived resolution means that, instead, A Few Good Men is going to sneak away with the dubious title of Matt's favourite of 1992. Although the other four nominated films each captivated me in one way or another, it was this intelligent legal drama that more consistently drew me in.

Best Picture of 1992
Academy's choice:


Matt's choice:

A Few Good Men

Your choice:

The next round of Matt vs. the Academy will consist of nominated films from 1939. There were 10 nominees that year, as there were for several awards years in the early days of Oscar, and, following the Academy's announcement a short while ago, next year's Best Picture race will again be contested by 10 films. A fascinating decision. Nonetheless, as you can see by the following list, 1939 was a spectacular year for classic cinema.

And the nominees for Best Picture of 1939 are:

Dark Victory
Gone With the Wind
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Love Affair
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Of Mice and Men
The Wizard of Oz
Wuthering Heights

A fine couple of weeks of viewing ahead, that's for sure.


  1. Matt - I am SUCH a fan of your project. I think I will take in a few 1939 classics actually. Just seeing Of Mice and Men in that list sent a shiver.... Whee! You rock.

  2. When I sat down to watch Howard's End a few days ago, I didn't really expect it to hold my interest as it did in 1992 - having seen countless British period dramas since then. Well I found myself, as the movie's message recommended "connecting" with the personal and social conflicts of the Schlegels, the Wilcoxes and the Basts. When you have great storytelling surrounded by exquisite production and costume design and topped off by some of Britain's finest actors, you have a winner. It's my winner of Best Film of 1992.

    So Matt, you are now tackling the mighty '1939,' still considered Hollywood's greatest year for movies. A great year it was, so that even with ten nominees, there still wasn't room for Gunga Din, The Four Feathers, The Lady Vanishes, Only Angels Have Wings, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Young Mr. Lincoln and cult classics The Women and Destry Rides Again. I wish I would have devoted more time to Turner Classic Movies spotlight on 1939 a few months ago. I have seen the front-runners many times, but I'm going to try to get a hold of Of Mice and Men and Love Affair.

    By the way, in case anyone is interested, The Academy has changed the rules on voting for Best Picture. Since they expanded it to 10 films this year, they no longer wish the voters to simply mark only one choice for Best Picture. I think the reasoning is that a film can win Best Picture with less than 1000 votes now and that's not desirable. Instead, each ballot must have all 10 nominees ranked from 1 to 10. There will be some sort of preferential formula used to select the winner. So a film can receive the most #1 picks, but still not win the prize. This should be interesting.

  3. Dude, tough call. Scent of a Woman is a magnificent film. Having said that, Eastwood got the sympathy Oscar on Unforgiven - it really wasn't that much chop from memory. He has since earnt that first Oscar, but he sure didn't deserve them for that film.

    Anyhoo, A Few Good Men is definitely one of the films on high rotation in my collection. Whenever I feel like experiencing some exceptional writing, it gets popped in to the DVD player.

    Good choice. Until next time...