February 2013 + 5 Favourite Best Picture Winners

With the most monthly of months (it’s exactly 28 days) over, it’s time to look back at my progress towards 100. Plus, read on for my five favourite Best Picture Oscar winners…

What Do You Mean You Haven’t Seen…?

But first, an update on my goal-within-a-goal. I very nearly didn’t make it, dear reader, what with a sudden realisation on Monday that February was nearly over, which was immediately followed by a busy week. But on the very last night (i.e. mere hours before posting this), I squeezed in a film from the WDYMYHS list (ooh, that’s an ungainly acronym). And that film was…

Dr. Strangelove.

Or, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Initial thoughts are, I didn’t see what all the fuss is about.

February’s films
The Artist
#11 The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
#12 The Artist (2011)
#13 Black Death (2010)
#14 Everything or Nothing (2012)
#15 The Pearl of Death (1944)
#16 Animalympics (1980)
Black Death#17 Final Destination 5 (2011)
#18 The Muppets (2011)
#19 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
#20 Safe House (2012)
#21 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)


It’s still the time of year that feels like ‘catch-up season’ to me — between a new year beginning and all the awards shows, it makes me think about and watch lots of recent films I’ve missed. This month, 73% of the films I watched hail from 2010, 2011 and 2012, and half of those from last year alone (though one might count Cabin in the Woods and Marigold Hotel as being 2011, but more on that when I get to their reviews).

Compared to previous years, a low-20s total is in-keeping: last year it was 23; in 2010 and 2011 it was 25; and in 2007 it was 21. Obviously this is slightly off-pace from the last three years (even if you take into account their stronger Januarys), but in 2008 I was only in the low teens at this point and still made it to 100, so nothing to worry too much about. Plus, in terms of target pace, I’m five ahead.

You may have noticed it was the Oscars last weekend, and earlier in the month I watched last year’s Best Picture winner, so my category for this week’s top five is…

5 Favourite Best Picture Oscar Winners

(Do note, I’ve only seen 41% of Best Picture winners, so this is in no way whatsoever comprehensive.)

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    The Return of the KingThis honour was widely seen as recognising the whole trilogy, and really my inclusion is for the same reason — I love all the Lord of the Rings films, but if I had to pick a favourite it would be Fellowship. That The Hobbit didn’t get anywhere near the Best Picture nods this season gives it a faint ring of The Godfather Part III: belated and misguided. Though even Coppola’s threequel got a nomination.
  2. The Godfather
    The GodfatherSpeak of the devil… I really need to re-watch the Godfather trilogy, so I can’t offer much insightful comment, but I’m one of those people who sides with Part I being better than Part II. I found Michael’s descent into the family more engaging than… what, his consolidation of power? Is that what happened? (I really do need to re-watch them.) Plus, you can’t beat a bit of Brando.
  3. Gone with the Wind
    Gone with the WindI love an epic — indeed, the average length of my three choices so far is 2 hours 34 minutes — and in many respects Gone with the Wind is the ultimate epic, a tale that sprawls through time and across locations, but with the relationship between two individuals at its heart. And it beat The Wizard of Oz to the prize, which is a bonus.
  4. Unforgiven
    UnforgivenAs with The Godfather, I need to re-watch this. It was one of the first Westerns I saw and I think it would benefit from the improved understanding of the genre I now have. Equally, it was instrumental in transforming a type of film I’d previously ignored (not through any conscious effort) in to one I enjoy. (There’s a whole article to write on modern mass perception of Westerns, but that’s for another day.)
  5. Annie Hall
    Annie HallFor all the talk of the Academy always getting it wrong, there are numerous times they’ve got it right. Or, at least, near as dammit. Which made choosing just five hard, but I’ve chosen this to try and balance things out — I don’t only like epics that mostly feature some kind of war (this was very nearly Schindler’s List). Woody Allen on form is great fun, and this is that. I liked Manhattan more though.

And one I don’t like…

    Million Dollar Baby
    Million Dollar BabyThere’s a lot of love for this movie in some circles — it’s ranked 15th in They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?’s list The 21st Century’s Most Acclaimed Films — but I really didn’t buy into it. Partly that’s because it’s about boxing, a sport that does absolutely nothing for me, in real life or in films; but even beyond that, I just didn’t get much out of it.

So those are my choices (for the moment). What were the times you felt Oscar got it most right — or most wrong?

Next month on 100 Films in a Year…

More dominance by recent films? Probably — I’ve got plenty to catch up.

Quarter way by quarter way? Probably — that is to say, I expect I’ll have reached 25 films by the end of March.

Find out in exactly one month? Definitely. [Insert cheesy grin & wink here.]

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