We live in a democracy. Majority rules, right? Not always. Not at the Oscars, anyway (necessarily). You’d think that the process of deciding the year’s Best Picture would be as clear-cut as to award the movie with the most votes. But it’s not, and hasn’t been since 2008. (It doesn’t necessarily work that way to determine the US President, so why should determining the year’s top movie be any different?)
In 2009, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) expanded its Best Picture nominations from five to 10 (now the number of nominees can be anywhere between 5 and 10), it reintroduced its preferential voting system, one that was last used from 1934 – 1945. The system is pretty complex, and with over 7,000 ballots to sort, it takes about a week for those famed accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers to determine the winners.
Now that all eight Best Picture Oscar-nominated films have been announced, it’s time to catch up with your screenings before the February 28 ceremony. Here’s a parade of trailers for all Best Picture nominees to get you ready. Check out a complete list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards here.
In honor of Pope Francis’s visit to New York City, check out Going My Way, the 1944 Leo McCarey-directed classic about another religious figure in New York who decides to do things, well, a little differently. The trailer below was released following the film’s seven Oscar wins (not sure why the trailer says eight), including Best Picture, Best Actor (Bing Crosby), Best Director, and Best Writing (Original Story and Screenplay). The film spawned a sequel, 1945’s The Bells of St. Mary’s (nominated for eight Oscars in its own right, with one win for Sound Recording), starring Ingrid Bergman and Crosby reprising his role as Father Chuck O’Malley.
AMPAS recently released this year’s official Oscar poster, and I must say, it’s pretty awesome! Each of the 84 Best Picture winners is represented as an Oscar statuette. Check out the poster below, and click here to see each statue design up close.
The 85th annual Academy Awards airs Sunday, February 24 at 7pm EST on ABC.
After some high-profile Best Picture wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and AFI, Argo has come ever closer to solidifying its Oscar front-runner status following last night’s Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award win for Best Picture. The PGA Award is often a reliable indicator of the Best Picture winner at the Oscars. The twist here is that the Oscar winner for Best Picture typically also wins for Best Director, but, as has been repeatedly documented, Argo‘s director Ben Affleck was famously snubbed for a nomination. It’s extremely rare for a film to win Best Picture without its director being nominated. The last movie to achieve this was Driving Miss Daisy 23 years ago. It looks like we’re coming closer to repeating this feat in just a few short weeks.
Although Argo is deserving of the Best Picture honors it’s received to date, Affleck’s Oscar snub is perhaps the best thing to happen to the film. It seems that several awards bodies are quick to remind the Academy of its foolish decision to leave Affleck out of the race, and they’re doing it by awarding him and the movie at their own award shows. Had Affleck been nominated, I question whether the film would be receiving this same attention, especially when competing against other deserving films like Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Misérables, and Life of Pi.
So the question persists: If Argo wins Best Picture, who will win Best Director?
After completing the eight-year odyssey that was my 170 list, I’ve turned my sights to a new list: the Oscar Best Picture winners. To date, I’ve seen 65 of the 83 winners (and I’ve seen all Best Picture nominees since 1998).
As the 84th Academy Award nominations are to be announced later today (8:30am EST/5:30am PST), I’m turning my focus to these immortalized films and I’m giving myself until the 2013 Oscars to complete the list. That said, I’m declaring 2012 “The Year of the ‘Best Picture’.”
Here are the remaining 18 Best Picture winners I have left to watch:
Awards season is upon us and several critics circles, SAG, and the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes) have listed their best films lists, awards, and nominations in a variety of categories. There’s no reason for me to sit back silently and not get my two cents in. Overall, there haven’t been many surprises, though a few notable snubs immediately come to mind upon reading some of these lists and nominations.
Based on my years of following such lists and awards shows, I’ve put together my “official” Oscar nomination predictions for the four acting categories and Best Picture. I follow each prediction with a “preliminary” winner. These are not my “official” winner predictions, as those will come closer to the Oscars.
The nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 24.
This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made a couple of announcements that will, perhaps, shape the future of the Oscars. A couple of years ago, the Academy decided to go back to its roots and expand the Best Picture category from five nominated films to 10. The idea was that this move would help improve the telecast’s ratings by allowing films with a wider viewership and fan-base have a better shot at grabbing a nomination. (There was a bit of an Internet uproar when high-grossing films like The Dark Knight and Wall-E were snubbed from the Best Picture race in 2009.)
During the 1998 ceremony, ratings were huge because most people had seen Titanic, the one film that stood a shot at scoring big that night—and it did. The film had such a large following that those fans were glued to their TV screens to watch Titanic‘s smooth sailing towards the Best Picture prize. Since then, arguably no nominated film has achieved the same level of interest (except for, maybe, Avatar), and the Oscars’ lagging ratings have reflected this. Now, the vast majority of nominated films are indie darlings that don’t have the same type of national or international distribution as their big-budget counterparts. So what does this mean? Fewer eyeballs. Fewer people watch the films that are nominated, and if they’re not familiar with the films that are nominated, there’s no good reason to tune into the Oscars. (And fashion is not a good reason.)
Currently on my DVR is the 1927 classic Wings. It’s the story of two men—one rich and one middle class—who share a common interest in the same woman as they become fighter pilots during World War I. Starring one of the biggest actresses of the time, Clara Bow plays a woman whose affections for one of the pilots are largely unnoticed. A 25-year-old Gary Cooper appears in this classic.
Wings earned the distinction of being the very first Best Picture Oscar winner. It’s also the only silent film to win the award. During that very first Oscar ceremony in 1929, the film beat out The Racket and 7th Heaven for the Outstanding Picture honor. It also went on to win for its “engineering effects,” a category that only existed that first year.
Director: William Wellman Screenwriters: John Monk Saunders, Hope Loring, Louis D. Lighton Producers: B.P. Schulberg, Lucien Hubbard (uncredited) Cast: Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston Genres: Drama, Romance, War Distributor: Paramount Pictures Runtime: 139 min.