16 February 2015

Twenty Years of Oscar: If Speaks Picked Best Picture, Part I

Each year, we get a list of movies deemed by Hollywood to be the best of the year. For most of my life, this was a short list of five films.

A few years ago, Oscar decided to stop being so elitist and allow up to ten Best Picture nominees. I say do ten if you can do ten. Alas, we've gotten random numbers recently. Nine one year. Eight this year.

For the 1995 show, celebrating the year in movies 1994, I was ten years old. It was the first Oscar telecast I remember watching. It was also the first year I remember actually seeing a movie I loved in the theater win the Best Picture Oscar. I was hooked. The movie was Robert Zemeckis' "Forrest Gump."

I've decided to do a series of posts this week dedicated to the past twenty years of Oscar. There will be posts on what I would've picked, ranked lists of winners I liked in certain categories. General Oscar worship-type stuff. It must be done. The Academy Awards, especially the Best Picture award, is what got me into movies. And you'll find this post and the others to be quite autobiographical.

Here's how Best Picture would look if I got to pick:

Actual Oscar Winner is indicated with a *.
Movies Speaks has never seen indicated with strikethrough. Please recommend which of these I should actually see. 

The 67th Academy Awards - 1994

"Forrest Gump" *
"Four Weddings and a Funeral" 
"Pulp Fiction" 
"Quiz Show"
"The Shawshank Redemption"

10-Year-Old Speaks: "Forrest Gump"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Pulp Fiction"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "The Shawshank Redemption"

The 68th Academy Awards - 1995

"Apollo 13"
"Braveheart" *
"Il Postino: The Postman"
"Sense and Sensibility"

11-Year-Old Speaks: "Apollo 13"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Braveheart"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Braveheart"

The 69th Academy Awards - 1996

"The English Patient" *
"Jerry Maguire"
"Secrets & Lies" 

12-Year-Old Speaks: "Jerry Maguire"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Fargo" 
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Fargo"

The 70th Academy Awards - 1997

"As Good as It Gets" 
"The Full Monty" 
"Good Will Hunting"
"L.A. Confidential"
"Titanic" *

13-Year-Old Speaks: "As Good as It Gets"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Good Will Hunting" 
30-Year-Old Speaks: "L.A. Confidential"

The 71st Academy Awards - 1998

"Life is Beautiful"
"Saving Private Ryan" 
"Shakespeare in Love" *
"The Thin Red Line"

14-Year-Old Speaks: "Saving Private Ryan"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Saving Private Ryan"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Saving Private Ryan"

The 72nd Academy Awards - 1999

"American Beauty" *
"The Cider House Rules"
"The Green Mile"
"The Insider"
"The Sixth Sense"

15-Year-Old Speaks: "The Green Mile"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "American Beauty"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "American Beauty"

The 73rd Academy Awards - 2000

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
"Erin Brockovich"
"Gladiator" *

16-Year-Old Speaks: "Gladiator"
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Traffic"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Traffic"

The 74th Academy Awards - 2001

"A Beautiful Mind" *
"Gosford Park"
"In the Bedroom"
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
"Moulin Rouge!"

17-Year-Old Speaks: Had only seen "Moulin Rouge!"
20-Year-Old Speaks: Had still only seen "Moulin Rouge!"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "In the Bedroom"

The 75th Academy Awards - 2002

"Chicago" *
"Gangs of New York" 
"The Hours"
"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
"The Pianist"

18-Year-Old Speaks: Did not see any of these. He was too busy partying and chasing tail. 
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Gangs of New York"
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Gangs of New York"

The 76th Academy Awards - 2003

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" *
"Lost in Translation"
"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" 
"Mystic River"

19-Year-Old Speaks: "Mystic River" 
20-Year-Old Speaks: "Mystic River" 
30-Year-Old Speaks: "Lost in Translation"

So, to recap...

My youngest self would've agreed twice ("Forrest Gump" and "Gladiator").
My 20-year-old self would've agreed twice ("Braveheart" and "American Beauty").
My current self would've agreed twice ("Braveheart" and "American Beauty").

What does that say about me? 


  1. I've seen all the ones that you've missed, so in order from best to worst:

    Sense and Sensibility
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Secrets and Lies
    Erin Brockovich

    Ill Postino

    Four Weddings and a Funeral


    Life is Beautiful


    1. You rock, man! And you amaze me with your Oscar dedication. Love it. Can't wait to dig back into the year 2001 soon.

    2. I'm so excited for that. My Netflix queue is packed with all the ones I haven't seen yet...and I just watched one of them yesterday. EEK!!!


    1. Oh, I agree with you too ;-)

      It's also in my Top Ten of all time.

    2. I'm so with both of you. Not sure if Top Ten of all time but probably Top Twenty for me. The fucking performances in that thing. Goodness!

  3. I never got into the Oscars until I started dating you. I was aware of them, but that's it. I of course have not seen nearly as many movies as you, but I think I would have agreed more with the Academy than you, although some are really close calls. I am fine with Forest Gump winning. I hate Good Will Hunting was the same year as Titanic. Shakespeare in Love seriously beat Saving Private Ryan, I had no idea. And I can 't believe Chicago beat Gangs of New York and The Pianist.

    1. That Chicago win was tragic! As was the Shakespeare in Love win, even though I liked it. Titanic won for being such a phenomenon. I'm glad I've been able to share my love of The Oscars with you.