While I’ve been home in the United States awaiting a Visa, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands over the summer and going into the fall. One idea I had to fill some of that time was to watch all 90 Oscars Best Picture winners in order from Wings to The Shape of Water. It has been easier said than done, as I’ve only made it through the first two winners as of now, but I remain committed to the idea. It has been hard to get hyped to start some movies that are nearly 90 years old, along with other things taking up some of my time while I’m home.
During my marathon I’ll still include watching the winning movies that I’ve already seen several times like the Godfather, and Titanic among many others. I feel like this will help me get in the mindset voters would have been in at the time the movie won, and give me a better understanding of winning trends, and how films have evolved over the 90 years since the first Academy Awards. Plus it gives me a chance to rewatch some of my favorite movies of all time, and some much needed breaks in between movies I have a feeling I won’t like. On that note I’m also trying to go into the marathon with an open mind and give every movie an equal chance. Yes there are movies that I’ve heard are bad, or assume I won’t like based on the subject, but I’m going to try my best not to let those biases affect the movie watching experience.
That being said I’m also really excited to finally watch several Best Picture winners that I’ve just never gotten around to watching yet. Some of the movies I’m most excited to finally watch are: Gone with the Wind (An all-time classic that I somehow haven’t seen yet), On the Waterfront (Young Brando is the man), The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia (apparently I’m a closet Alec Guinness fan as well), The french Connection (my dad was a sucker for those 60’s and 70’s crime dramas), and No Country for Old Men.
I think the hardest thing for me will be getting through the first 20 or so winners. I enjoy old movies as much as the next guy, but some of the movies on the list are so old that filmmaking was a new enough concept when they won the Oscar that they’re still pretty rough around the edges. I’ve already watched the first two on the list; Wings and the Broadway Melody, and you can already tell that editing, sound and camera work still needed some work. Theres nothing wrong with that as the industry was just in its infancy, but it will be nice to see how movies became more sophisticated over the years.
I’ll be rating each movie when I watch it, mostly just to remind myself how I felt about each movie at the time immediately after watching it, since this will probably be a long process that I hope will be done in time for the next Academy Awards in February, 2019.
What I hope to get out of this experience is mostly just a deeper appreciation for filmmaking, and how it has evolved over the last century. I, like everyone, have certain genres of movies that I tend to lean towards. I’ve always been drawn to your classic action movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or fantasy movies like the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, and crime dramas like The Godfather. I think those are great movies and genres to love, but it does leave plenty of great movies out of what I would normally choose to watch. I hope this exercise helps me broaden my horizons and maybe open my eyes to new films and genres that I have overlooked in the past.
I’ll probably provide some updates along the way, as it is a long process. I’ll also have a post at the conclusion of this odyssey with my thoughts on the experience, and possibly my rankings of the 90 Best Picture winners.