Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the Oscar Goes To....

Your 2008 Best Picture is No Country for Old Men. I've made my feelings about that particular film very clear over at USeeThat, but I have another axe to grind.

It's more of a question really. I watched the Oscar broadcast to see a countdown of all the Best Pictures leading to the present one, and I wondered: Where have all the great films gone?

Here in reverse chronological order are all the Best Picture wins of the 21st century:

No Country for Old Men

The Departed


Million Dollar Baby

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


A Beautiful Mind

Some of these are good movies. Some of them are great movies. But are they All-Time Great movies?

Here's the lineup for Best Picture in the decade of the 1970s:

Kramer vs. Kramer

The Deer Hunter

Annie Hall


One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

The Godfather Part II

The Sting

The Godfather

The French Connection

Can anyone realistically say that a Crash or a Chicago or a Lord of the Rings has the drama of a Kramer vs. Kramer? The cultural influence of a Godfather? The pathos of a Deer Hunter? The timelessness of a Rocky? The wit of an Annie Hall? Is it even close? Should a cinematic adaptation of a play or the third movie in a trilogy even really be considered for Best Picture?

Perhaps the Best Pictures of the modern day will be looked back upon as timeless classics, and it is only through the opaque, rose colored glass of history that the best films of thirty years ago seem so superior. But if not, why? Are the true best pictures falling through the cracks? Are modern film making techniques somehow diluting the quality of the films they purport to improve? I'm certain the directors, writers, et. al of the modern era are working just as hard as their predecessors to produce quality products, so why the disparity?

As someone who was a mere child in the 70s and has never been a Hollywood insider, I don' t know if I'm qualified to speculate intelligently about this, but it sure does arouse my curiosity.

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