The battle for Best Picture of 1994 included a particularly impressive selection of nominees. I realise that assessment is one that has prefaced almost every verdict I have delivered so far in this project, but this time I really mean it. In a decade and a half, four of these five films have achieved a rather prominent place within pop culture. Nothing to sneeze at.
The nominees for Best Picture of 1994 are:
- Forrest Gump
- Four Weddings and a Funeral
- Pulp Fiction
- Quiz Show
- The Shawshank Redemption
Five very accomplished films, all with bucket loads of merit. The sole romantic comedy of the bunch, Four Weddings and a Funeral, is the first one out of the running for my top honours. Partly due to the innate unfairness that labels comedies as less significant as other genres, and partly due to its saturation of slightly underdeveloped supporting characters.
The other four pictures are much harder to separate. Quiz Show, the nominee with the least success cementing its place in film history, suffers mildly from the ambivalence that is elicited by its likeable but morally questionable lead character. Nonetheless, the film is still immensely engaging. Forrest Gump, Oscar's choice for Best Picture, offers a somewhat passive lead character, yet remains emotionally impactful with plenty of charm to boot. Pulp Fiction is, on occasion, gratuitously wordy, but its humour and inventiveness far outweigh any flaws.
Thus, we are left with the film that IMDb users have voted their number one film of all time, The Shawshank Redemption. It may not necessarily take that crown in my all time list, but it certainly has my support as 1994's best. It is a masterly film that succeeds on many levels, drawing the viewer in with humour, pathos and suspense.
Best Picture of 1994
The Shawshank Redemption
Your opinion can be made by using the poll above to select your favourite 1994 nominee. Soon, we will begin our next year of review. We head to the 1960s again to take a look at the following bunch.
And the nominees for Best Picture of 1962 are:
- Lawrence of Arabia
- The Longest Day
- The Music Man
- Mutiny on the Bounty
- To Kill a Mockingbird