Art Vs Commerce: Rise of Oscar Season (90s)

My Personal Rankings

The list gets long, and some of y’all definitely missed a bit I snuck in last time… which means maybe you’re skimming it and I could decide two films needed to be notched up over the “skillfully made but problematic” district and no one would notice… will the 90s Best Pictures do better than the 80s did?

  1. Casablanca (1943)
  2. The Godfather (1972)
  3. It Happened One Night (1934)
  4. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  5. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  6. Schindler’s List (1993)
  7. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
  8. On The Waterfront (1954)
  9. All About Eve (1950)
  10. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  11. The Apartment (1960)
  12. In The Heat of the Night (1967)
  13. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  14. The Sting (1973)
  15. Rocky (1976)
  16. Platoon (1986)
  17. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  18. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  19. Forrest Gump (1994)
  20. Ordinary People (1980)
  21. Titanic (1997)
  22. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  24. Cimarron (1931)
  25. The French Connection (1971)
  26. Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
  27. Rain Man (1988)
  28. Unforgiven (1992)
  29. Going My Way (1945)
  30. Rebecca (1940)
  31. Annie Hall (1977)
  32. Gone With the Wind (1939)
  33. Wings (1928)
  34. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  35. West Side Story (1961)
  36. The Sound of Music (1965)
  37. Hamlet (1948)
  38. My Fair Lady (1964)
  39. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
  40. American Beauty (1999)
  41. Braveheart (1995)
  42. Patton (1970)
  43. Marty (1955)
  44. You Can’t Take It With You (1938)
  45. The Grand Hotel (1932)
  46. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  47. The Last Emperor (1987)
  48. An American in Paris (1951)
  49. Terms of Endearment (1983)
  50. Gigi (1958)
  51. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  52. Gandhi (1982)
  53. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  54. Around The World in 80 Days (1956)
  55. Out of Africa (1985)
  56. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  57. Oliver! (1968)
  58. Amadeus (1984)
  59. The English Patient (1996)
  60. Dances With Wolves (1990)
  61. Chariots of Fire (1981)
  62. A Man For All Seasons (1966)
  63. Tom Jones (1963)
  64. Ben-Hur (1959)
  65. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
  66. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  67. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  68. All the King’s Men (1949)
  69. From Here To Eternity (1953)
  70. The Lost Weekend (1945)
  71. The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
  72. The Broadway Melody (1929)
  73. Cavalcade (1933)

So according to my spreadsheet… because of course I have a spreadsheet with rankings and formulas, I am that kind of film nerd… the 90s are a distinct bounce-back from the 80s in terms of overall quality, if not on par with the 70s. But it’s also the decade that it all started to go wrong. Because studios learned that prestige was a commodity, and it could be bought.

And it only got worse once it became clear the Oscars has a type.

Next time, in our penultimate chapter, our last joint champion, trilogy talk, and the milestone I’ve least been looking forward to.

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