Not one of the five previous verdicts over which I have pondered has been an easy task. The decision for the Best Picture of 1956 is certainly no exception. Due to my involvement in StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown of the same year, three more films from 1956 crept into my viewing schedule and, as I already indicated, some of these additional films had me wishing they were in the Best Picture race. Nonetheless, I am to choose from the five films the Academy selected and so it shall be done.
The nominees for Best Picture of 1956 are:
- Around the World in 80 Days
- Friendly Persuasion
- The King and I
- The Ten Commandments
1956 was certainly a year for epic films. Three of the contenders clock in at over three hours, but interestingly, these three epics are of completely different genres - one is Biblical, another comic adventure, the third an intimate family saga. So, as always, it becomes difficult to compare them with each other. As for the two shorter films - which are both still over two hours - we have a Broadway musical adaptation and a film which I'm not quite sure how to categorise since it contains elements from several genres - western, drama, war, comedy, family. For that reason, and the fact that it simply emits a less important vibe than the other four, I will remove Friendly Persuasion from my shortlist first.
Of the remaining four, any could be labelled my favourite. They each succeeded in their own particular way. The King and I is charming and beautiful, yet it remains overly sentimental. Around the World in 80 Days is certainly a fun adventure, offering some stunning cinematography, but its tendency to draw out certain sequences makes for an erratic pace. The Ten Commandments is a spectacle of design and visual effects with a weighty sensibility, but it is perhaps this self-important weight that left a funny taste in my mouth.
That leaves us with Giant, although, honestly, it's a very close call. Giant is not without flaws, but it emerged with more engaging emotional content than the others, largely owing to its performances. Hence, Giant shall be named my favourite of 1956.
Best Picture of 1956
Around the World in 80 Days
Don't forget to make your own voice heard by voting for your favourite 1956 Best Picture nominee above. Some of the previous votes have become very interesting, so check out those results, too. You can access them on their respective verdict pages by clicking on the years on the sidebar to the right. Next up we move to the 1980s...
And the nominees for Best Picture of 1984 are:
- The Killing Fields
- A Passage to India
- Places in the Heart
- A Soldier's Story
Join me as we continue the ride through Academy Awards history with a year full of movies dealing with some fairly serious subject matter.