Sunday, October 4, 2009

Best Picture of 1976

Time again to deliver my verdict. This time, you will also have a chance to make your voice heard. Below my assessment of the contest is a poll in which you can vote for your favourite from 1976's crop of Best Picture nominees.

The nominees for Best Picture of 1976 are:

All the President's Men
Bound for Glory
Taxi Driver

Four of these nominees have stood the fabled test of time, each holding quite an important place in film history. The fifth, Bound for Glory, while an impressive film in its own right, clearly has a smaller stature. At the risk of seeming like a pompous film connoisseur, I tend to concur with history's interpretation. Thus, it is a relatively easy decision to knock it out of the running.

So that leaves four very well crafted and affecting films. Not an easy task to separate them. But you know I'm about to do just that, so I guess it wasn't that difficult. There are definitely two that I enjoyed more than the other two. Rocky, the Academy's choice, is certainly inspirational, but its lapses into melodrama, albeit infrequent, are enough to remove it from my list also. Similarly, Network, with its heavily satirical tone, will not be walking away with my blue ribbon due to its brief forays away from naturalism, something the final two nominees have in spades.

Taxi Driver and All the President's Men, although very different cinema experiences, share a brilliantly captivating use of realism. Either would be worthy, in my opinion, of taking the top prize. However, I must be brutal, so because it manages to make even the most extraordinary events believable and enthralling, Taxi Driver will be named my favourite of the 1976 nominees.

Best Picture of 1976
Academy's choice:


Matt's choice:

Taxi Driver

Your choice:

Don't forget to vote for your favourite. See how you all compare with my decision. For our next journey into Best Picture land, we're moving a little closer to the present as I take a look at the year 2001. There are only a small number of films whose sequels were also nominated for Best Picture and it would be nice to be able to view them in the right order. Hence, I'll begin the Lord of the Rings trilogy now and get to the nominees from 2002 and 2003 later on. A similar strategy shall be employed for the Godfather films.

And the nominees for Best Picture of 2001 are:

A Beautiful Mind
Gosford Park
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge

Check back soon as we visit the 21st century for the first time...


  1. Well Matt, all I can say is that we not only agreed that Taxi Driver was the best picture of 1976, the order of preference was almost identical. Such a good year with each film distinctively its own. Taxi Driver just has a pull to it that gave it the edge.

    So, on to 2001. Now that was a masterpiece, but I digress. Its not the title but the year we are talking about. One thing I'm happy about is that I have DVDs of each of the contenders.

    Without showing my hand too much, all I'll say is that my top two picks for 2001 were not nominated (Memento and Mulholland Drive).

    As for the five nominated films, according to my Top 10 chart for that year, they finished #3,4,5,7 and 8. So without naming names, I can report that they all were well received by me. Three of the five definitely need a re-visit and I'll even watch the other two if I have time.

  2. Taxi Driver is really the only choice here, Matt. I think you need to be having a chat with the Academy sometime soon...

    As for your next foray, there's only really one choice there, but lets see how you go.

    I'm presonally looking forward to what you make of the 70s, 80s and 90s - three decades of absolute excellence in films. And some dross :P

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Although I don't keep a top 10 list per se, for the last decade or so, I have been tracking my favourites of each year - sometimes it's more than 10 films, sometimes it's only a couple. Having a quick look at the file, I notice that the two films I have on the top of the list for 2001 are Memento and Mulholland Drive! People are going to start thinking we're the same person, Mike. Have you ever seen us in the same room together?

    However, moving further down, I only have two of the 2001 Best Picture nominees on the list at all, so we differ there.

    I should probably avoid letting that list influence me during this project. It will certainly be interesting to see if my preferences change at all. In any case, as I said, it's only the last decade or so that I started doing it, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

  4. Enzo, I'm intrigued by your resoluteness that there's one clear choice. I can't wait to hear what it is. I saw all the 2001 nominees when they were originally released and, for most of them, not again since then, so we'll see if my favourite back then remains my favourite. Either way, I don't think I considered it a clear cut above the rest. But who knows what I'll think when watching them all again with these older eyes...