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The top five Oscars


skimpole
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The five top oscars are, as you probably know, Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and (relevant category of) Screenplay.  Most people probably know that the only three movies to win all five categories are It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.  I think it's the actress category is the weak link here to explain why there aren't more of these winners.  Usually the best picture should be the best directed or have the best screenplay, or be reasonably close to them.  And it usually helps to have a great lead performance.  But it doesn't necessarily have to have both a great male and female performance.  In my view Louise Fletcher's role is arguably a supporting one, and her win was clearly dependent on the movie's momentum.  And arguably the same could be said of Hopkins' role.

 

In my view, three quite different movies should have won the top 5:  Children of Paradise, Vertigo, and Annie Hall.  What are your choices?

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The five top oscars are, as you probably know, Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and (relevant category of) Screenplay.  Most people probably know that the only three movies to win all five categories are It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.  I think it's the actress category is the weak link here to explain why there aren't more of these winners.  Usually the best picture should be the best directed or have the best screenplay, or be reasonably close to them.  And it usually helps to have a great lead performance.  But it doesn't necessarily have to have both a great male and female performance.  In my view Louise Fletcher's role is arguably a supporting one, and her win was clearly dependent on the movie's momentum.  And arguably the same could be said of Hopkins' role.

 

In my view, three quite different movies should have won the top 5:  Children of Paradise, Vertigo, and Annie Hall.  What are your choices?

 

The three movies you mentioned that won the top five are not among my favorite films -- far from it. I certainly think Isabelle Adjani should have won Best Actress for The Story of Adele H, over Louise Fletcher. But I have to think of a film which I may think deserved those five awards. Usually films have one main character as a focus, so the lead of the opposite sex is often supporting.

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The five top oscars are, as you probably know, Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and (relevant category of) Screenplay.  Most people probably know that the only three movies to win all five categories are It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.  I think it's the actress category is the weak link here to explain why there aren't more of these winners.  Usually the best picture should be the best directed or have the best screenplay, or be reasonably close to them.  And it usually helps to have a great lead performance.  But it doesn't necessarily have to have both a great male and female performance.  In my view Louise Fletcher's role is arguably a supporting one, and her win was clearly dependent on the movie's momentum.  And arguably the same could be said of Hopkins' role.

 

In my view, three quite different movies should have won the top 5:  Children of Paradise, Vertigo, and Annie Hall.  What are your choices?

Your AA exegesis does have merit, though I would have to say in the case of IHON, that Claudette was very worthy of her Oscar, while Louise as you say maybe was more dependent on the film being superb to have won hers.

 

I definitely could vote for "Vertigo" as being in the league to win all five awards. I think Kim Novak was always underrated as an actress.

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skimpole--my choices would be "Gone With The Wind" (1939), "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), " and "The Nuns' Story" (1959)  (1959's "Ben-Hur" is Way overrated, IMHO).

Peter Finch as Best actor of 1959?  Why him over Lemmon in Some Like it Hot or Grant in North by Northwest or Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder?

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Interesting topic, skimpole.  I was surprised only three movies have won the big five.

 

Very hard to narrow it down!  My choices are My Man Godfrey, Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Seven Year Itch, Desk Set, Pillow Talk, Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Chinatown, Last Tango in Paris, Klute, Don't Look Now, and Wings of Desire, though the trapeze artist's part might be considered as more supporting.

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Here are the movies that have been nominated for the top five oscars 1927-1960:

 

Cimarron

A Star is Born (1937)

Gone with the Wind

Goodbye Mr. Chips

The Philadelphia Story

Rebecca

Mrs. Miniver

Gentleman's Agreement

Johnny Belinda

Sunset Blvd

A Place in the Sun

From Here to Eternity

The Country Girl

Giant

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The Apartment

 

(More to follow)

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Here are the movies nominated for the top five oscars 1961-1991

 

The Hustler

Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf

Bonnie and Clyde

The Graduate

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

The Lion in Winter

Love Story

Chinatown

Lenny

Network

Rocky

Annie Hall

Coming Home

Atlantic City

On Golden Pond

Reds

(The Silence of the Lambs)

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And here is the last batch of movies

 

The Remains of the Day

The English Patient

American Beauty

Million Dollar Baby

Silver Linings Playbook

American Hustle

 

Actually, now that you mention it, I think The English Patient should have won all five awards.

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This is going to take a while for me to contemplate every year of Oscar history or at least every year up to a certain point. I don't know that I'm going to come up with many films that I would consider deserving of being considered "the best" in all those categories. But okay, one immediately obvious choice jumps out at me, so I will post it now and if I think of any others post them later.

 

It's 1943's CASABLANCA, of course, deemed a 1943 film by Oscar standards. I would give the top awards to the film (Hal Wallis the producer, though Warner supposedly sprinted to beat him to the stage and take all the credit, prompting Wallis to leave WB), to Curtiz, to Bogart, to Bergman and to the Epsteins and Koch. 1943 wasn't a terribly strong year for American film, in my opinion.. Maybe we were too focused on the war. SHADOW OF A DOUBT is the only film I might consider stealing an award or two away from CASABLANCA.

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And here are the movies that were only nominated for four of the five, with the missing one in italics from 1927/28 to 1939:

 

7th Heaven (Actor)

The Patriot (Actress)

The Divorcee (Actor)

The Champ (Actress)

Lady for a Day (Actor)

The Thin Man (Actress!)

The Informer (Actress)

Mutiny on the Bounty (Actress)

Dodsworth (Actress)

The Great Ziegfeld (Actor)

Mr. Deeds goes to Town (Actress)

My Man Godfrey (Picture)

San Francisco (Actress)

The Awful Truth (Actor!)

The Life of Emile Zola (Actress)

Boys Town (Actress)

The Citadel (Actress)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Actress)

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I think one of the most baffling omissions is the failure of My Man Godfrey to receive a Best Picture nomination. It received 6 nominations all in important categories: Director, Screenplay, and all four acting categories. 1936 was a year that had 10 nominees for Best Picture, making it even more confounding.  My guess is that its studio, Universal, decided to push for its box office success, Three Smart Girls which earned one of the 10 spots. After winning Best Picture for 1929/30's All Quiet on the Western Front, Universal became a minor player in the Oscar stakes until the 1970s, finally winning its second Academy Award for Best Picture for 1973's The Sting.

 

As far as other films that should have swept the top 5 Oscars, I would say Gone with the Wind came the closest (with only Gable's loss to Donat). My personal wish would have been The Apartment (with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine besting Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor).

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And here are the movies who were nominated for four of the five oscars in the forties, with the missing nomination in parentheses

 

The Grapes of Wrath (Actress)

Kitty Foyle (Actress)

Citizen Kane (Actress)

Here comes Mr. Jordan (Actress)

The Little Foxes (Actor)

Sergeant York (Actress)

Random Harvest (Actress)

Casablanca (Actress)

The Song of Bernadette (Actor)

Double Indemnity (Actor)

Going My Way (Actress)

Wilson (Actress)

The Bells of St. Mary's (Screenplay)

The Lost Weekend (Actress)

The Best Years of Our Lives (Actress)

The Snake Pit (Actor)

All the King's Men (Actress)

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Continuing with movies, this one for the fifties, nominated for four of the best five oscars, with the one missing in parenthesis.

 

All About Eve (Actor)

Born Yesterday (Actor)

The African Queen (Picture)

High Noon (Actress)

Roman Holiday (Actor)

On the Waterfront (Actress)

Marty (Actress)

Giant (Actress)

The King and I (screenplay)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Actress)

Sayonara (Actress)

The Defiant Ones (Actress)

Separate Tables (Director)

Ben-Hur (Actress)

The Nun's Story (Actor)

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This is a most interesting exercise. 1981 was a weakish year. I would have no problem voting for Body Heat for all five awards. It was nominated for none of them. Raiders of the Lost Ark has equally strong claims for best picture and best director, but a Body Heat sweep would be perfectly reasonable.

 

I'd give Gone With the Wind the top five for 1939, too, although the competition for best actor and best director is strong.

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This is a most interesting exercise. 1981 was a weakish year. I would have no problem voting for Body Heat for all five awards. It was nominated for none of them. Raiders of the Lost Ark has equally strong claims for best picture and best director, but a Body Heat sweep would be perfectly reasonable.

 

I'd give Gone With the Wind the top five for 1939, too, although the competition for best actor and best director is strong.

 

Regarding 1981, Reds is one of my top ten films of all time -- a great epic romance as well as a exploration of the nature of history. It lost the Best Picture Oscar because of its subject matter. (Chariots of Fire, although a genre I usually love, is rather badly made).  In terms of foreign films of 1981, Mephisto is excellent.

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Still more of the movies nominated for four of the top five oscars, with the not nominated category in parentheses.  Now with the sixties.

 

Sons and Lovers (Actress)

The Sundowners (Actor)

Judgement at Nuremberg (Actress)

Lawrence of Arabia (Actress)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Actress)

Tom Jones (Actress)

Becket (Actress)

Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Actress)

Mary Poppins (Actor)

My Fair Lady (Actress)

Zorba the Greek (Actress)

Darling (Actor)

Ship of Fools (Director)

A Man for All Seasons (Actress)

In the Heat of the Night (Actress)

Oliver! (Actress)

Anne of the Thousand Days (Director)

Midnight Cowboy (Actress)

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Still more of the movies nominated for four of the top five oscars, with the not nominated category in parentheses.  Now with the seventies:

 

Patton (Actress)

Five Easy Pieces (Actress)

The French Connection (Actress)

Sunday Bloody Sunday (Picture)

Cabaret (Actor)

The Emigrants (Actor)

The Godfather (Actress)

The Exorcist (Actor)

The Sting (Actress)

The Godfather Part II (Actress)

Dog Day Afternoon (Actress)

The Goodbye Girl (Director)

Julia (Actor)

The Turning Point (Actor)

The Deer Hunter (Actress)

Heaven Can Wait (Actress)

All that Jazz (Actress)

Kramer vs. Kramer (Actress)

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Still more of the movies nominated for four of the top five oscars, with the not nominated category in parentheses.  Now with the eighties:

 

The Elephant Man (Actress)

Ordinary People (Actor)

Gandhi (Actress)

Missing (Director)

Tootsie (Actress)

The Verdict (Actress)

The Dresser (Actress)

Tender Mercies (Actress)

Terms of Endearment (Actor)

Amadeus (Actress)

The Killing Fields (Actress)

A Passage to India (Actor)

Places in the Heart (Actor)

The Kiss of the Spider Woman (Actress)

Out of Africa (Actor)

Prizzi's Honor (Actress)

Witness (Actress)

Children of a Lesser God (Director)

Broadcast News (Director)

Fatal Attraction (Actor)

Moonstruck (Actor)

Mississippi Burning (Actress)

Rain Man (Actress)

Working Girl (Actor)

Born on the Fourth of July (Actress)

Dead Poets Society (Actress)

Driving Miss Daisy (Director)

My Left Foot (Actress)

 

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Still more of the movies nominated for four of the top five oscars, with the not nominated category in parentheses.  Now with the nineties:

 

Dances with Wolves (Actress)

Thelma and Louise (Actor)

The Crying Game (Actress)

Howard's End (Actor)

Unforgiven (Actress)

In the Name of the Father (Actress)

The Piano (Actor)

Schindler's List (Actress)

Forrest Gump (Actress)

Pulp Fiction (Actress)

Il Postino:  The Postman (Actress)

Fargo (Actor)

Secrets and Lies (Actor)

Shine (Actress)

As Good as it Gets (Director)

Good Will Hunting (Actress)

Life is Beautiful (Actress)

Saving Private Ryan (Actress)

Shakespeare in Love (Actor)

The Insider (Actress)

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And here's the rest

 

Erin Brockovich (Actor)

Gladiator (Actress)

A Beautiful Mind (Actress)

In the Bedroom (Director)

Chicago (Actor)

Gangs of New York (Actress)

The Hours (Actor)

The Pianist (Actress)

Lost in Translation (Actress)

Mystic River (Actress)

The Aviator (Actress)

Brokeback Mountain (Actress)

Capote (Actress)

Good Night, and Good Luck (Actress)

The Queen (Actor)

Juno (Actor)

Michael Clayton (Actress)

There will be Blood (Actress)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Actress)

Frost/Nixon (Actress)

Milk (Actress)

The Reader (Actor)

The Hurt Locker (Actress)

Precious (Actor)

Up in the Air (Actress)

The King's Speech (Actress)

The Social Network (Actress)

True Grit [2010] (Actress)

The Artist (Actress)

The Descendants (Actress)

Amour (Actor)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Actor)

Lincoln (Actress)

Nebraska (Actress)

12 Years a Slave (Actress)

The Wolf of Wall Street (Actress)

Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Actress)

Foxcatcher (Actress)

The Imitation Game (Actress)

The Theory of Everything (Director)

Room (Actor)

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Well my intuition that Actress is the weak link in having more top five oscar winners is certainly born out by the evidence.  Of the 171 movies nominated for four of the five, two are missing out on screenplay, three on picture, eleven on director, 45 on actor and 110 on actress.

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