BEST PICTURES FROM THE OUTSIDE IN
This conversational history was a co-production with Nick Davis at Nick's Flick Picks and Mike Phillips at Goatdog's Movies. We began in 2008 by pairing the most recent winner (No Country For Old Men) with the first Oscar winner (Wings) and worked our way inward in reverse chronological order (from recent wins) and chronological order (from Oscar's earliest days). The match-ups are sometimes gorgeous twins and sometimes awkward fusions but it's nearly always an intriguing double feature.
well, we made it halfway at least. it was fun while it lasted!
20 Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and Rain Man (1988)
In which Dustin Hoffman loves K-Mart and Gregory Peck learns to love the Jews.
19 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes: Miss Daisy is from a vanishing era and three war heroes return home to lives they can't quite recognize as their own.
18 The Lost Weekend (1945) and Dances With Wolves (1990)
Kevin Costner loves everything: his bum leg, a Little Hut on the Prairie, a wolf, journal writing, Stands With Fist, the Lakota Sioux. Ray Milland loves only booze.
17 Going My Way (1944) and Silence of the Lambs (1991)
In which Hannibal Lecter eats liver with a nice chianti while Clarice Starling eyes him warily and Father O'Malley serves up communion with song while Father Fitzgibbon judges him
15 Mrs. Miniver (1942) and Schindler's List (1993)
Two spouses, both far from the front lines and fond of frivolity, are greatly changed and sobered by World War II. Both films deeply affected their audiences, too. Do they hold up?
13 Rebecca (1940) and Braveheart (1995)
Two notoriously sadistic directors (Alfred Hitchcock and Mel Gibson) burn people alive. Mel fancies himself a Warrior Poet but only Hitchock has cinematic poetry in his blood and, thus, doesn't need to spill so much of it.
12 Gone With the Wind (1939) and The English Patient (1996)
Romantic Epic Edition: the most MOVIE ever as a southern belle commandeers the biggest hit of all time and a modern throwback as war-torn lovers get swept off their feet in the desert.
11 You Can't Take it With You (1938) and Titanic (1997)
Split decisions on James Cameron's sinking ship and Frank Capra's chaotic comedy.
10 The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Two literary giants get bios: One goes somber and traditional, the other fictional and frothy.
9 The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and American Beauty (1999)
We discuss two hits with identity issues. The first is a biopic that's almost a musical and the second is a satire that's also... all things to all people?
8 Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Gladiator (2000)
Clark Gable vs. Russell Crowe Round 2: Adventure and betrayals on the high seas and in CGI colisseums in this extremely macho episode.
7 It Happened One Night (1934) and A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Clark Gable vs Russell Crowe Round 1: Frank Capra's legendary romantic comedy is pure bliss. Ron Howard's disability/drama/ spy/biopic/ romance/mathematics lesson is a muddle.
6 Cavalcade (1933) and Chicago (2002)
The letter of the day is "C" as in chaos.Tempers flare as merry murderesses reach Oscar glory and a historical epic refuses to end.
5 Grand Hotel (1932) and LotR: The Return of the King (2003)
The first "hyperlink" all star ensemble winner and the last of a gargantuan fantasy trilogy.
4 Cimarron (1931) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood wows the Academy with funereal grace and focus and the first Western to win Best Pictures wows the Academy with... with... we're still not sure.
3 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Crash (2005)
Oscar and The Message Movie -- they can't resist them. One is a masterpiece.
2 Broadway Melody (1929) and The Departed (2006)
Dancing sisters struggle for fame in the Big Apple in the first Oscar'ed musical while rats in human form plague Boston in Scorsese's crime drama.
1 Wings (1928) and No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Coen Bros's near silent crime drama and the only actual silent picture to win.