One of my favorite traditions is watching the movie I most want to win Best Picture at some during the weekend of the Oscars. The rules are simple: it has to be nominated for the top prize, and it has to be viewed either the day before or the day of the Oscars. Granted, the film I most want to win rarely has a shot in hell at actually winning, but that’s not really the point. And before I dive into what I’ll be watching this weekend, here’s a look at the Oscar weekend films I’ve viewed over the past several years.
Good Will Hunting, lost to Titanic
As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, L.A. Confidential and Good Will Hunting were all more deserving films, but they didn’t stand a chance against James Cameron's massive hard on of a disaster flick.
The Thin Red Line, lost to Shakespeare in Love
I’ll never forget my dad asking me what movie I wanted to see on Oscar Sunday, 1999. He assumed Saving Private Ryan would occupy the day. How wrong could he be?
American Beauty, winner
The last year of the ‘90s was a damn fine year for film, and although American Beauty has accrued its fair share of haters, I still dig it wholeheartedly.
Traffic, lost to Gladiator
I called Traffic the best film of the 2000s, and although Gladiator’s win came as no surprise, it just feels so inadequate.
In the Bedroom, lost to A Beautiful Mind
I’ve never liked A Beautiful Mind. Never have, never well.
The Pianist, lost to Chicago
Adrien Brody pulled off the biggest Oscar upset in my lifetime. Then Ronald Harwood won screenplay. Then Polanski nabbed Director. The Academy should’ve kept it going.
Mystic River, lost to The Return of the King
Dedicated readers know how much I detest the Lord of the Rings films, and, save an unexpected apocalypse, The Return of the King didn’t have a chance at losing. Oh well.
Million Dollar Baby, winner
Million Dollar Baby is another flick that has oddly earned several naysayers since it won the top prize. I still find it utterly fascinating.
Yep, it’s true, when Crash came out, I drank the Kool-Aid. I was immersed in its cheap drama and simple gimmick. That all changed the night it won Best Picture. When Jack Nicholson announced Crash as the winner, I found myself horribly disappointed. But why? I called Crash the best film of 2005, so a Best Picture win seemed fitting right? Wrong. Know why? Two words: Brokeback Mountain.
Babel, lost to The Departed
There’s no way I can hate on the fact that a Scorsese film (finally) won Best Picture, but Babel, to me, is an understated marvel.
There Will Be Blood, lost to No Country for Old Men
Again, it’s impossible to hate on No Country for Old Men, but Paul Thomas Anderson, and his masterpiece, deserved this more.
Slumdog Millionaire, winner
I’d choose Milk as the winner now, but I suppose I’m still okay with the Slumdog sweep.
Precious, lost to The Hurt Locker
I was ecstatic when the tiny Hurt Locker ousted the gargantuan Avatar, but no film from 2009 rocked me like Precious. Except Hunger, naturally.
The Social Network, lost to The King’s Speech
Black Swan was my favorite film last year, but because the race was between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, I opted to watch David Fincher’s remarkable film. The King's Speech's Best Picture win I understand, but I will never get how Tom Hooper deserved his Best Director prize over the other nominees.
The Tree of Life, will lose to The Artist
The Artist is a really good movie, and its win will be revelatory to future awards races, but, of the nine nominees, no film blew me away more than Terrence Malick’s epic moving poem. Here’s to hoping The Help doesn’t pull a major upset, which I don’t think will happen, but still.