February 6, 2013 — February is the month to celebrate everything Oscar – The 85th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony will air on Sunday, February 24 – and today we’ll look closer at the Best Picture category.
To date, there have been 503 films nominated for this top honor, including this year’s nominations, Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty.
Here are my choices for the best ten films in no particular order that have received the honor of “Best Picture” in the last 84 years:
1. It Happened One Night – 1934 – A spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert) runs away from her family and meets a man who offers to help her (Clark Gable), who is actually a reporter looking for her story.
2. Gone with the Wind – 1939 – Fine Civil War and Reconstruction drama starring Clark Gable as an unscrupulous man in love with a scheming woman (Vivien Leigh) in the South.
3. Casablanca – 1943 – Set in unoccupied Africa (Morocco) during the early days of World War II, an American bar owner (Humphrey Bogart) meets a former lover (Ingrid Bergman) who deserted him in Paris the day the Germans took over.
4. From Here to Eternity – 1953 – In 1941 Hawaii, the lives of servicemen and their women (a large cast featuring Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra) unfold right before Pearl Harbor is attacked.
5. West Side Story – 1961 – A Romeo and Juliet type musical about two youngsters from rival gangs who fall in love.
6. The Sound of Music – 1965 – A widower (Christopher Plumber) with seven children falls in love with a woman (Julie Andrews) who leaves a convent to become their governess.
7. Annie Hall – 1977 – A neurotic New York comedian (Woody Allen) falls for a ditsy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) in this movie that created an instant fashion trend.
8. Ordinary People – 1980 – The accidental drowning of the older son deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother (Mary Tyler Moore), the good-natured father (Donald Sutherland), and the troubled younger son (Timothy Hutton).
9. Terms of Endearment – 1983 – A movie about a controlling mother (Shirley McLain) and a free spirited daughter (Debra Winger), and their trials and tribulations through their lives.
10. Dances with Wolves – 1990 – Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) is a Civil War soldier exiled to a remote western where he befriends wolves and Indians.