Best Pictures – Postgame Wrapup
February 28, 2012 9 Comments
First, just some stats for the back of my trading card. (handy reference)
- Last Best Picture seen: The Hurt Locker (2009)
- Last Best Picture liked: The Hurt Locker
- Last Best Picture liked, pre-2009: Lord of the Rings (2003)
- Last Best Picture liked, pre-2003: Gladiator (2000)
- Current streak, consecutive number of years’ Best Pictures not seen & not likely to ever see: 2 (King’s Speech/2010 and The Artist/2011)
- Previous 2+ year no-see streak: In The Heat of the Night (1968) / Oliver! (1969)
- Most recent 3+ year no-see streak: 1947-1950 (4 years). Will my current streak eclipse this?
- Longest streak of consecutive Best Pictures seen: 1990-2009 (20)
- Best Pictures not seen, 1970-1989: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Terms of Endearment (1983), Out of Africa (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
- Most-liked # of Best Pictures in a decade: 1970s (Patton, French Connection, Godfather 1 & 2, The Sting, Rocky, Deer Hunter)
- Least-liked 60s-00s Best Pictures decade: 2000s I liked maybe 3 (Gladiator, LOTR, Hurt Locker)
- Most recent Best Picture I (a) haven’t yet seen and (b) think I might like to: Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).
- Before that: Ben-Hur (1959).
- # Best Pictures seen by decade: 2010s: 0, 2000s: 10, 1990s: 10, 1980s: 7, 1970s: 9, 1960s: 6, 1950s: 3, 1940s: 4, 1930s: 1 (Gone With the Wind)
- The 70s really were a great decade for movies, but for all the ‘auteur theory’ talk of a golden age that was ruined by Jaws/Star Wars, it’s striking just how many of those Awesome, Artistic 70s Movies were basically just guy movies. Soldiers, cops & robbers!
- Recent (last 10-12 years) Best Pictures all seem to have a similar blah, technically-good-but-I-never-want-to-see-it-again flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s a certain sameness even to the ones whose plots/settings are on the surface very different. It’s as if they are all carefully constructed/reverse-engineered to be Oscar Winners. I was tempted to write a longer post likening it to the CDO bubble – banks reverse-engineering rating-agency models to construct AAA securities vs. studios reverse-engineering the Academy’s implicit model of Best Picture taste to construct Best Picture winners, drawing the obvious parallel that in both cases the results often turn out to be inflated junk.
- The 80s were a really weird decade for Best Pictures, sort of all over the place. After the Guy Movies of the 70s, the decade rolls in getting a bunch of weepy family soap operas out of its system (Kramer vs Kramer (1979), Ordinary People (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983)), has a serious infatuation with high-prestige costume/historical/period dramas (Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Amadeus, The Last Emperor), and by the end these are morphing into often semi-embarrassing Issue Movies (Platoon, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances With Wolves).
- Silence of the Lambs (1991) is such an outlier here. Nice trick that was, people still don’t seem to realize it was a horror movie. Going back, the biggest outlier before that looks to be Annie Hall (1977) – an actual comedy!
- On the other hand I would say virtually everything post-2000 has been outliers.
- The last 3 Best Picture titles all start with “The”. This is the longest streak since 1971-74; will that streak be eclipsed?
I don’t have to tell you how excited I am to tune in next year to watch the entire Oscar ceremony in order to find out! (Really. I don’t. Right?)