Top 5… Oscar years

Last night was the 84th Oscar ceremony and I wondered what Oscar themed top 5 I could do to celebrate. Well I thought I’d go for the big one and pick my top 5 Oscar years. To keep this feasible I only those that won and not those that were nominated and I focused more on the main awards (best picture, actor, actress, screenplay and director).

5. 1996

I’m kicking this off with the year Braveheart and The Usual Suspects won the big awards but for me Nicolas Cage was totally incredible and never better in Leaving Las Vegas and deservedly won the best actor award.

4. 1963

I’m a massive fan of David Lean and his crowning achievement was Lawrence of Arabia which took home the three it really deserved this year: Picture, director and cinematography. The two awards you could argue it should also have won (best actor and best adapted screenplay) were won by probably the only film that could have deserved to beat it, the amazing To Kill a Mockingbird.

3. 1998

1998 was the year Titanic swept the board at the Oscars, taking home a record-equalling 11 wins but this is far from the reason this is my number 3. It is actually the awards it didn’t win…

Taking home best actor and actress were Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in one of my most favourite comedies, As Good as it Gets. It’s rare for the Academy to recognise a comedy but this year they got it right! Then there was LA Confidential; Kim Basinger won for best supporting actress and it also took home the adapted screenplay. A crime thriller that has grown and grown on me over the years. But finally there was Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won for best original screenplay which was amazing but it was really Robin Williams taking the best supporting actor award that stays in the memory.

2. 1941

Hitchcock may never have won an award for director (shocking I know) but one of his films did once win best picture and having now seen Rebecca I can totally see why. Also this year brought us the brilliant Philadelphia Story with wins for James Stewart and the screenplay but it is John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath that make this a highlight year for me. An amazing film that deserved best director and best supporting actress for the sublime Jane Darwell.

1. 1976

People consider there to be five main awards at the Oscars: Best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay (adapted or original as you can’t have both!) In 1976 a film managed to sweep all five awards and that film was Milos Forman’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I remember the first time I saw this film and it ignited by interest in cinema. I owe so much to this and I am so glad the Academy recognised it as much as it did.

Honourable mentions

1940 – Gone with the Wind and Stagecoach. An excellent year.
1955 – “I could have been a contender”. Brando in On the Waterfront. Amazing!
1958 – David Lean winning big with his first masterpiece: The Bridge on the River Kwai
1965 – My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins making it a very musical Oscars!
1977 – The year Rocky picked up awards. I love it that Stallone’s own project came through.
1992 – Who can forget when The Silence of the Lambs swept the main awards?
1994 – I had to mention the year Schindler’s List won and Spielberg got his Oscar!

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