Thursday, December 01, 2005


Ranking the best picture nominees

I'm only ranking years where I've seen all the nominees. In the other years, I'll put the ones I haven't seen in italic and the ones I have seen in bold.

The Racket
7th Heaven

The Broadway Melody
In Old Arizona
Hollywood Revue
The Patriot

All Quiet on the Western Front
The Big House
The Divorcee

The Love Parade

East Lynne
The Front Page
Trader Horn

Bad Girl
The Champ
Five Star Final
Grand Hotel
One Hour with You
Shanghai Express
The Smiling Lieutenant

A Farewell to Arms
42nd Street
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Lady for a Day
Little Women
The Private Life of Henry VIII
She Done Him Wrong

Smilin' Through
State Fair

The Barretts of Wimpole Street

Flirtation Walk
The Gay Divorcee
Here Comes the Navy

The House of Rothschild
Imitation of Life
It Happened One Night
One Night of Love

The Thin Man
Viva Villa!

The White Parade

Alice Adams
Broadway Melody of 1936
Captain Blood
David Copperfield
The Informer

Les Miserables
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Mutiny on the Bounty

Naughty Marietta
Ruggles of Red Gap
Top Hat

1. A Tale of Two Cities
2. Dodsworth
3. Libeled Lady
4. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
5. San Francisco
6. The Story of Louis Pasteur
7. Three Smart Girls
8. The Great Ziegfeld
9. Romeo and Juliet
10. Anthony Adverse

1. Stage Door
2. A Star Is Born
3. The Awful Truth
4. Lost Horizon
5. The Life of Emile Zola
6. Dead End
7. In Old Chicago
8. One Hundred Men and a Girl
9. Captains Courageous
10. The Good Earth

1. Grand Illusion
2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
3. Pygmalion
4. You Can't Take It with You
5. Jezebel
6. Test Pilot
7. The Citadel
8. Four Daughters
9. Boys Town
10. Alexander's Ragtime Band

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
2. The Wizard of Oz
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Ninotchka
5. Stagecoach
6. Of Mice and Men
7. Wuthering Heights
8. Love Affair
9. Goodbye, Mr. Chips
10. Dark Victory

1. The Philadelphia Story
2. Foreign Correspondent
3. The Grapes of Wrath
4. The Great Dictator
5. Rebecca
6. The Letter
7. The Long Voyage Home
8. Kitty Foyle
9. All This, and Heaven Too
10. Our Town

Blossoms in the Dust

Citizen Kane
Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Hold Back the Dawn

How Green Was My Valley
The Little Foxes
The Maltese Falcon

One Foot in Heaven
Sergeant York

1. The Invaders aka 49th Parallel
2. The Magnificent Ambersons
3. Yankee Doodle Dandy
4. Kings Row
5. The Talk of the Town
6. The Pride of the Yankees
7. The Pied Piper
8. Random Harvest
9. Wake Island
10. Mrs. Miniver

1. Casablanca
2. The Ox-Bow Incident
3. The More the Merrier
4. In Which We Serve
5. The Song of Bernadette
6. Heaven Can Wait
7. Madame Curie
8. For Whom the Bell Tolls
9. The Human Comedy
10. Watch on the Rhine

1. Double Indemnity
2. Gaslight
3. Wilson
4. Since You Went Away
5. Going My Way

1. Mildred Pierce
2. Anchors Aweigh
3. The Lost Weekend
4. Spellbound
5. The Bells of St. Mary's

1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. The Best Years of Our Lives
3. Henry V
4. The Yearling
5. The Razor's Edge

1. Great Expectations
2. Miracle on 34th Street
3. Crossfire
4. The Bishop's Wife
5. Gentleman's Agreement

1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
2. The Red Shoes
3. Hamlet
4. Johnny Belinda
5. The Snake Pit

1. The Heiress
2. A Letter to Three Wives
3. Twelve O'Clock High
4. Battleground
5. All the King's Men

1. Sunset Blvd.
2. All About Eve
3. Born Yesterday
4. Father of the Bride
5. King Solomon's Mines

1. A Streetcar Named Desire
2. A Place in the Sun
3. An American in Paris
4. Quo Vadis
5. Decision Before Dawn

1. High Noon
2. The Quiet Man
3. Moulin Rouge
4. The Greatest Show on Earth
5. Ivanhoe

1. Shane
2. Roman Holiday
3. From Here to Eternity
4. Julius Caesar
5. The Robe

1. On the Waterfront
2. The Caine Mutiny
3. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
4. Three Coins in the Fountain
5. The Country Girl

1. Mister Roberts
2. Marty
3. The Rose Tattoo
4. Picnic
5. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

1. Giant
2. The King and I
3. The Ten Commandments
4. Friendly Persuasion
5. Around the World in 80 Days

1. 12 Angry Men
2. Witness for the Prosecution
3. The Bridge on the River Kwai
4. Peyton Place
5. Sayonara

1. Auntie Mame
2. Gigi
3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
4. The Defiant Ones
5. Separate Tables

1. Anatomy of a Murder
2. Room at the Top
3. The Diary of Anne Frank
4. The Nun's Story
5. Ben-Hur

1. The Apartment
2. Elmer Gantry
3. The Sundowners
4. Sons and Lovers
5. The Alamo

The Guns of Navarone
The Hustler
Judgment at Nuremberg
West Side Story

1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
3. The Music Man
4. The Longest Day
5. Mutiny on the Bounty

1. How the West Was Won
2. Lilies of the Field
3. Tom Jones
4. Cleopatra
5. America America

1. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
2. My Fair Lady
3. Becket
4. Mary Poppins
5. Zorba the Greek

1. A Thousand Clowns
2. Darling
3. The Sound of Music
4. Doctor Zhivago
5. Ship of Fools

1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. A Man for All Seasons
3. The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming
4. Alfie
5. The Sand Pebbles

1. Bonnie and Clyde
2. The Graduate
3. In the Heat of the Night
4. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
5. Doctor Dolittle

1. The Lion in Winter
2. Oliver!
3. Funny Girl
4. Rachel, Rachel
5. Romeo and Juliet

1. Midnight Cowboy
2. Z
3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
4. Anne of the Thousand Days
5. Hello, Dolly!

2. Airport
3. Five Easy Pieces
4. Patton
5. Love Story

1. The Last Picture Show
2. A Clockwork Orange
3. Fiddler on the Roof
4. The French Connection
5. Nicholas and Alexandra


The Emigrants
The Godfather

1. The Sting
2. American Graffiti
3. The Exorcist
4. A Touch of Class
5. Cries and Whispers

1. Chinatown
2. The Conversation
3. Lenny
4. The Godfather Part II
5. The Towering Inferno

1. Nashville
2. Dog Day Afternoon
3. Jaws
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
5. Barry Lyndon

1. Network
2. Taxi Driver
3. All the President's Men
4. Rocky
5. Bound for Glory

1. Annie Hall
2. Star Wars
3. The Goodbye Girl
4. The Turning Point
5. Julia

1. An Unmarried Woman
2. Heaven Can Wait
3. Coming Home
4. The Deer Hunter
5. Midnight Express

1. Breaking Away
2. Kramer vs. Kramer
3. Apocalypse Now
4. All That Jazz
5. Norma Rae

1. Raging Bull
2. Coal Miner's Daughter
3. The Elephant Man
4. Ordinary People
5. Tess

1. Reds
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. On Golden Pond
4. Atlantic City
5. Chariots of Fire

1. Tootsie
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Gandhi
4. The Verdict
5. Missing

1. Terms of Endearment
2. The Right Stuff
3. Tender Mercies
4. The Dresser
5. The Big Chill

1. Amadeus
2. The Killing Fields
3. Places in the Heart
4. A Soldier's Story
5. A Passage to India

1. Prizzi's Honor
2. Witness
3. The Color Purple
4. Kiss of the Spider Woman
5. Out of Africa

1. Hannah and Her Sisters
2. The Mission
3. A Room With a View
4. Children of a Lesser God
5. Platoon

1. Broadcast News
2. The Last Emperor
3. Moonstruck
4. Hope and Glory
5. Fatal Attraction

1. The Accidental Tourist
2. Working Girl
3. Dangerous Liaisons
4. Mississippi Burning
5. Rain Man

1. Field of Dreams
2. My Left Foot
3. Dead Poets Society
4. Driving Miss Daisy
5. Born on the Fourth of July

1. Goodfellas
5. Awakenings
5. Dances With Wolves
5. Ghost
5. The Godfather, Part III

1. Beauty and the Beast
2. The Silence of the Lambs
3. Bugsy
4. JFK
5. The Prince of Tides

1. The Crying Game
2. Howards End
3. Unforgiven
4. A Few Good Men
5. Scent of a Woman

1. Schindler's List
2. The Piano
3. The Remains of the Day
4. The Fugitive
5. In the Name of the Father

1. Pulp Fiction
2. Quiz Show
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Forrest Gump
5. Four Weddings and a Funeral

1. Sense and Sensibility
2. Apollo 13
3. Babe
4. The Postman (Il Postino)
5. Braveheart

1. Jerry Maguire
2. Secrets & Lies
3. The English Patient
4. Fargo
5. Shine

1. L.A. Confidential
2. The Full Monty
3. As Good As It Gets
4. Good Will Hunting
5. Titanic

1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Shakespeare in Love
3. Elizabeth
4. Life Is Beautiful
5. The Thin Red Line

1. American Beauty
2. The Insider
3. The Sixth Sense
4. The Green Mile
5. The Cider House Rules

1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
2. Erin Brockovich
3. Traffic
4. Gladiator
5. Chocolat

1. In the Bedroom
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
3. Gosford Park
4. A Beautiful Mind
5. Moulin Rouge

1. Gangs of New York
2. The Pianist
3. Chicago
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
5. The Hours

1. Lost in Translation
2. Mystic River
3. Seabiscuit
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
5. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

1. Sideways
2. The Aviator
3. Finding Neverland
4. Million Dollar Baby
5. Ray

1. Good Night, and Good Luck
2. Capote
3. Crash
4. Brokeback Mountain
5. Munich

1. Letters From Iwo Jima
2. The Departed
3. The Queen
4. Little Miss Sunshine
5. Babel

1. No Country for Old Men
2. Juno
3. Michael Clayton
4. Atonement
5. There Will Be Blood

1. Milk
2. Frost/Nixon
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. The Reader

1. A Serious Man
2. Inglourious Basterds
3. Up in the Air
4. An Education
5. District 9
6. Up
7. The Blind Side
8. The Hurt Locker
9. Precious
10. Avatar

1. The Social Network
2. Winter's Bone
3. True Grit
4. Toy Story 3
5. Black Swan
6. The Fighter
7. Inception
8. The King's Speech
9. The Kids Are All Right
10. 127 Hours


1. The Descendants
2. Moneyball
3. Midnight in Paris
4. Hugo
5. The Help
6. War Horse
7. The Artist
8. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
9. The Tree of Life

1. Argo
2. Lincoln
3. Silver Linings Playbook
4. Life of Pi
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild
6. Amour
7. Django Unchained
8. Zero Dark Thirty
9. Les Miserables

1 Dallas Buyers Club
2 Captain Phillips
3 Nebraska
4 The Wolf of Wall Street
5 Her
6 12 Years a Slave
7 American Hustle
8 Gravity
9 Philomena

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. The Imitation Game
3. Whiplash
4. Birdman
5. American Sniper
6. Boyhood
7. Selma
8. The Theory of Everything


In any list of this nature, there are , inevitably, gonna be a bunch of things any given person will disagree with. That said, three things leapt out at me immediately.

1974: As good as The Conversation is, I'd have Godfather II a mile in front. (I've always felt Chinatown was overrated.)

1998: A strong year, but for mine The Thin Red Line is better than both Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love.

2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the most overrated films in the past decade, IMO. I'd have it a distant fifth, even in such a weak year, and even with Chocolat also nominated. It's thin pickings, but like the Academy, I'd have picked Gladiator -- of the five films nominated, anyway.

I appreciate the effort that's gone into compiling this list; it's a really interesting conversation piece.
I don't think the Queen was anything that extroadinary. It was well-executed but forgettable.

It's interesting to see you don't have any biases towards any one director. You put Gangs of New York at #1 but you have Departed as #3, and similarly for Clint you put Letters #1 and Master #5

I thought Master and Commander was one of the most authentic movies i've ever seen. Did you think it was bad or just the least qualified of the nominees.

Glad to see Finding Neverland, Seabiscuit, and Letters from Iwo Jima getting some love.

In 1999, you made interesting choices. I think that's the general sense of critical respect from that year.

The Hours was boring and a chick-flick, i agree with #5. I'm guessing you're a guy, I didn't read who had the byline, but you also put Moulan Rouge at #5. I interpret that to mean you sided with Chicago in the great Chicago vs Moulan Rouge debate.

Quiz Show was a good movie, so was Sense and Apollo 13.

Was Babe really that deserving of a best picture nomination, even, let alone 3rd on your list?

Was Secrets & Lies any good, never seen it.

Mind elaborating about your dislike for Titanic and your love of Sideways?

We can go on all day here, can't we.
Of course, these don't reflect my preferences for the years in question, just how I would rank the 5 (or in other years more) pictures they chose. Moulin Rouge I felt was a musical designed for people with the attention spans of gnats. If you are going to do a musical, finish a song. I thought The Queen was pretty amazing for its deft blend of satire and pathos. As for Marty, I think The Departed is a far better film than Gangs of New York, but the difference in ranking is attributable solely to what 5 were up each respective year. In 1999 for example, I only liked American Beauty and The Insider. The others I would have given mixed to unfavorable reviews. Master & Commander was OK, but bored me a lot of time. Titanic I think would have been much better as a silent movie. The insipid dialogue and situations that Cameron inflicted on his cast was laughable. My favorite moment was when Billy Zane chases Leo and Kate around the sinking ship with a gun. "Oh no -- I hope they don't get shot. Then they might drown!" I did like Sideways a lot, though of the Payne films, About Schmidt is my favorite.
Holy cow, Copeland! I thought for a second that your 2009 list was a RANKING - then I realised that it was just alphabetical, thank the heavens! (So what ARE your preferences for this year, then?)

In other news, you're clearly a brave man to declare Crash your favourite in its year, and I respect your integrity (of course, you would say the same of me declaring Babel my favourite of the 5 - wouldn't you...?)

and this very interesting list has reminded me that you not only lack the patience for Chariots of Fire but you (or whoever actually wrote the piece in question) apparently lacked the ability to see that the film contained any other costumes than business suits and running shorts...

and you seriously place The Turning Point over Julia? Over ANYTHING??
These are all my rankings. As I said in the beginning, I only rank years in which I've seen all the nominees. I have not seen all the 2009 nominees. As for The Turning Point and Julia, they present the problem many years do: trying to differentiate between levels of shit. Annie Hall was clearly the best of that field and Star Wars was remarkable fun. Goodbye Girl had its moments, but was hardly a great film and the remaining two were bores so it was almost a case of playing eeny meeny miny mo in picking rankings. Julia suffered the most because I had rewatched it most recently and still disliked it. If I had taken a second look at The Turning Point around the same time, who knows, the ratings could have been reversed? As for Crash, I thought it was the best of another weak field and that the amount of animosity hurled at the film struck me at the time as somewhat odd. In my own personal awards, none of those five would have been there.
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