Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fever History

The time draws nigh, and no website does a classier or more interesting job of presenting and parsing all the key anticipations and conundrums of any pending Academy Awards ceremony than Sasha Stone's Oscarwatch.

She's been building for several years now and this year presentation and content are at their peak. This year's completely unpredictable Best Picture race, for example, is very well covered, with the week-to-week swaying of conventional wisdom from Little Miss Sunshine to The Departed to Babel to...all the way back again?

The left gutter covers the nominees, the right gutter covers all the awards leading up, and the user is the winner. Sadly, Sasha has been threatened by the Academy if she does not change the name, which could cost her the entire $20,000+/year or so she's earning in ad revenues for herself and her child. Seems a bit grinchy, no?

After all, Sasha and Oscarwatch actually increase interest in the awards show itself. There's no conceivable way to imagine she'd hurt ratings, not if the site is fueling discussion over the more cliffhanger contests.

And her elegant presentation enhances the Oscar brand itself. From today, here's an amateur editor's run of all the Best Picture movie posters, in chronological order from 1927 (Wings) to last year (2006 - Crash). Airplanes to cars. Right on, Oscar.

I never published a 10 Best of 2006 list, so in lieu and after reviewing the poster collection, how about a 10 Best Best Picture (1927-2006) list?

There's a bit of controversy over which Best Pic winners deserved it and which don't hold up after history, but I actually think that on balance it's a pretty good list of movies worth seeing. So this list isn't really meant to be the "best" anything; instead I just thought which of the movies on that hallowed list that turned out to be, rather than simply ravishing scale or heart-rending sentiment, the hardest for me to turn off when they come on:

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. Casablanca (1943)
  3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  4. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  5. The Sting (1973)
  6. The Last Emperor (1987 - particularly the 219 minute director's cut, riveting)
  7. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  8. The French Connection (1971)
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  10. Unforgiven (1992)
Purely subjective, of course, plenty of other eminently rewatchable pictures. I'm just sayin'.

Funny how half of the flicks on the list are from the 1970's. And five of them are built expressly around the theme of violence.

I guess that all being said, here's to Marty having the Best night.

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