Monday, February 17, 2014

Best Picture Winners 1955 - 1959

The count now stands at 12 choices for Best Picture that I feel are pretty respectable out of 26 winners.

1955 - The winner was Marty and the other nominees were Mr. Roberts, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Picnic and The Rose Tattoo. Another year with notable omissions among the nominees, such as the James Dean classics Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. But Marty, a small scale domestic comedy/drama holds up pretty well and is a reasonable choice. It is remembered in popular culture whenever characters say, "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do?"

1956 - The winner was Around the World in 80 Days and the other nominees were Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I and The Ten Commandments. This is another choice for BP that is often cited as one of the Academy's worst. All the other nominees are better and just in terms of spectacle, 80 Days one virtue, Commandments is better. The Ten Commandments is still televised annually and is probably the best of Cecil B. Demille's kitschy classics and deserved the win.

1957 - The Bridge Over the River Kwai won, and the other nominees were 12 Angry Men, Witness for the Prosecution, Sayonara and Peyton Place. With Angry Men and Witness you have two courtroom classics but Bridge, one of David Lean's epics, was a deserving win for a masterpiece.

1958 - The winner was the MGM musical, Gigi, and the other nominees were Auntie Mame, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones and Separate Tables. Why do the best musicals rarely win, but undeserving ones like this often do? Another year where the real problems was the best pictures weren't nominated. I think South Pacific was a better musical, but even more Touch of Evil should have been nominated. Also bypassed, Vertigo, the Hitchcock classic that often hovers near the top of critic's lists of all time bests.

1959 - Ben Hur was the winner and the other nominees were Anatomy of a Murder, The Diary of Anne Frank, Room at the Top and The Nun's Story. I like Anatomy a lot, but I'm fine with this Heston epic story of the Christ winning.

Which brings the count to 15 solid picks out of 31.

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