Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Picture of 1973

Another set of nominees in the can and another verdict to be made. I must say that the decision this time around was one of the easiest I've had to make in quite some time. In my mind, there was a clear frontrunner that was simply the most enjoyable. Consequently, my verdict below is possibly the shortest I've yet written.

The nominees for Best Picture of 1973 are:
  • American Graffiti
  • Cries and Whispers
  • The Exorcist
  • The Sting
  • A Touch of Class
Forget about trying to compare this bunch. Nominee shortlists have been diverse before, but 1973's selection is ridiculously multifarious. A 1960s coming-of-age comedy, a foreign arthouse film, a supernatural horror, a 1930s heist flick and a quirky romantic comedy.

Although, perhaps these films' commonality, with one exception, is in their sense of fun, albeit for entirely different reasons. American Graffiti's youthful fun is borne out of nostalgia. A Touch of Class delights with its witty and romantic fun. For those who get a kick out of a good fright, The Exorcist provides a fun and scary ride. On the other end of the spectrum, Cries and Whispers is intensely sombre. A fascinating film, but not one that many people would describe as fun.

The most fun of all, however, is The Sting. Playful and clever, it is terrifically entertaining cinema. From the script to the design to the cast to everything else in between, The Sting succeeds as a charming piece of escapism. So, just as the Academy did, I officially declare The Sting my Best Picture of 1973.

Best Picture of 1973
Academy's choice:

The Sting

Matt's choice:

The Sting

Your choice:

Please feel free to voice your opinion using the poll above or the comments section below. For our next adventure, we move back to the 1940s for yet another diverse selection of pictures. Your votes resulted in a tie between two contests, so I used my blogger's prerogative to settle the stalemate.

And the nominees for Best Picture of 1948 are:
  • Hamlet
  • Johnny Belinda
  • The Red Shoes
  • The Snake Pit
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
This week, I'm heading back to Las Vegas for another stint with the Aussie Improv Comedy Explosion. But fear not, the Oscar-nominee-watching shall continue...

1 comment:

  1. 1973 was an in-between year for Francis Coppola, and Steven Spielberg hadn’t directed his first theatrical film yet, but a few of the new breed of directors began making their marks. Terrence Malick‘s debut film Badlands was released to great reviews. Little did we know that over the next 38 years, he would direct only 3 more titles, with a fourth soon to be in theaters. Martin Scorsese hit pay dirt with his third feature, Mean Streets. It was bare-bones, gritty and crude, but it made my top 5. There were also a few veteran productions of note as well: Franklin Schaffner's Papillon, Fred Zinnemann’s Day of the Jackal, and Sidney Lumet’s Serpico. Versatile Canadian director Norman Jewison gave us a different kind of musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. It certainly is a movie of its time, but musically its writer composer duo, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber worked wonders together. I couldn't get those tunes out of my head for weeks.

    On to the five nominees:

    5. A Touch of Class: Romantic comedy throwback as seen through the social prism of the time, it didn't hold up as well today.

    4. Cries and Whispers: Essential and impeccable Bergman and probably the elite critics’ choice, but oh so bleak.

    3. The Exorcist: A landmark that ushered in the modern look of horror. Impeccably crafted, though I prefer my horror to be more subtle.

    2. American Graffiti: The young director that made the cut in ’73. George Lucas’s nostalgic look at his cruising’ nights in California is a showcase for his talents and for a group of actors, many of who would move on to distinguished careers.

    1. The Sting: I’ll agree with both you Matt and The Academy this year. With a decade that will be crammed with edgy, envelope pushing cinema, this unabashedly slick piece of Hollywood entertainment does what it sets out to do just about perfectly.

    Having just watched Johnny Belinda, I was pulling for 1948. No pure film noirs in this bunch, but like most films from this period, there are elements of noir to be found regardless of the genre.