Friday, June 25, 2010

Best Picture of 2002

It's hardly worth mentioning any more, but yet again, I have reviewed five more excellent films. The 2002 crop of Best Picture contenders is an impressive assortment worthy of their nominations. My pick of the bunch was not an incredibly difficult decision, but it was a close call, nonetheless.

The nominees for Best Picture of 2002 are:
  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Pianist
The fascinating thing about this collection is the level of disillusionment one takes away from each film. Despite their artistic and entertainment value, each picture presents a relatively bleak view of life, sometimes leaving the audience with little faith in humanity. They each retain the positive aspects of their respective genres while introducing some darker themes to boot. Of course, there's nothing wrong with dark themes. The films are all very effective and touching. It's just interesting that they were all nominated together, that's all.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers achieves the awe and wonder inherent in a good fantasy film, but adds to it a good dollop of evil, which occasionally produces some surprisingly naturalistic pathos. The sole musical of the bunch, Chicago, succeeds in providing its genre's greatest assets. Indeed, its enthusiasm and excitement won over the Academy, yet it features as its leads a host of rather despicable characters. The Hours takes on depression as its main area of exploration, particularly the depression associated with the fear of leading a wasted life. It's hard to leave that one with a smile on your face.

Gangs of New York wears its violence on its sleeve, and its protagonist, although motivated by the desire to honour his father, could be more accurately described as being consumed with revenge. Finally, in The Pianist, we are presented with ignorant bigoted genocide, a more depressing theme is hard to find. While it may not have garnered Oscar's top prize (although, the Academy is not shy about its respect for Holocaust films), for its emotionally powerful journey, The Pianist will be declared my choice of Best Picture of 2002.

Best Picture of 2002
Academy's choice:


Matt's choice:

The Pianist

Your choice:

Vote for your own favourite with the poll above. We move now to another year of ten nominees by reviewing the films up for consideration in 1940, a collection which happens to include a number of classics.

And the nominees for Best Picture of 1940 are:
  • All This, and Heaven Too
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Great Dictator
  • Kitty Foyle
  • The Letter
  • The Long Voyage Home
  • Our Town
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Rebecca
My current rehearsal schedule may begin to encroach on my movie-watching duties, so please don't be surprised if there is a short delay before we get to these fine films. I'll do my best to keep the hiatus to a minimum.


  1. I wrote this before you latest post and I am too lazy to change it, so forgive me if I sound like I'm echoing some of your sentiments. Matt.

    2002 is another fine year of nominated films, even though violence and death seem to pervade the stories of these movies. While Chicago just wasn't my cup of tea, I think it fully deserved its nomination. I'll go that far. Some of my non-nominated favorites from 2002 were Far From Heaven, P.T. Anderson's quirky love story Punch Drunk Love, Adaptation, Road to Perdition and two Spanish language gems, Talk to Her and Y tu Mama Tambien.

    As for my pick. Here's the countdown

    5. Chicago - no surprise there, but congratulations to the first musical since Oliver in 1968 to win Best Picture.
    4. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Joins The Bells of St. Mary's and The Godfather, Part II as a nominated sequel to a nominated original.
    3. The Pianist - moved up several spots with the latest viewing.
    2. Gangs of New York: The start of a string of Martin Scorsese films that showed that he hadn't lost his touch.
    1. The Hours: Though films about women don't make my top pick too often, 2002 had two such films. Far From Heaven and The Hours. Both are beautiful to look at, wonderfully acted and emotionally rich. I think I'd go for The Hours even if Far From Heaven was nominated. It was my clear choice in 2002 and remains the same today.

    With the exception of All This and Heaven Too, all nominated films of 1940 are available. There are some classics that are shown frequently on TCM as well as some hard to find gems. Should be a good year.

    As for you, Matt:

    "Tonight, old man, you did it!
    You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it,
    And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it;
    I doubted you'd do it. But now I must admit it
    That succeed you did. You should get a medal
    Or be even made a knight.

    Break a leg!

  2. even considering how much I hate Roman Polanski's personal anything and i think he should die in a prison somewhere, The Pianist is still a remarkable, thrilling achievement.

  3. I was expecting you to NOT pick Pianist or proved me wrong.

    For 1940, my choice is Rebecca (both for best nominee and best of 1940). Which won. Yay.

    And in the poll, I voted 1994. Shawshank! Pulp Fiction! Quiz Show! Oh, and two other movies.