By A.Jade Munsie
The Academy Awards are marking 93 years of honouring the best in film this April. The coveted golden statue, the Oscar, has graced many talented actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers and production crews over its nearly 10 decades of celebration.
While these are not all Best Picture winners, this is a look at some of the great Oscar-acknowledged films that we may have forgotten about over the years. These films are timeless and what they have to say will forever be relevant to the human heart.
Director: Delbert Mann
Screenplay: Patty Chayefsky
Marty (Ernest Borgnine) is a big-hearted, 34-year-old Italian butcher in the Bronx. Unmarried, he claims women don’t want anything to do with him because he’s ugly. It’s Saturday night, and with nothing to do, his mother convinces him to get out of the house and go dancing. Maybe he’ll meet someone. What happens that night is an example of how at the most unpresuming moments, two unassuming people can meet and know they’re meant to be together, regardless of the status quo. It all comes down to who makes you happy.
Marty took home 4 of 8 Oscars in 1956, including Best Picture, Director (Delbert Mann), Screenplay (Patty Chayefsky) and Actor (Ernest Borgnine).
Paper Moon (1973)
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Screenplay: Alvin Sargent
It’s Kansas in the 1930s, and Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) is your typical run-of-the-mill con man, swindling widows out of innocent dollars. But when he meets Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neil) at her mother’s gravesite, he decides to take the young orphan to her aunt’s house in Missouri. After receiving $200, which belongs to Addie, Moses spends it. Addie, being decisive, tells Moses he owes her that money and the two partner up for a con adventure full of schemes, lies, and heart.
Paper Moon took home 1of 3 Oscars in 1974 for Best Supporting Actress (Tatum O’Neil – at age 10 she’s the youngest to ever win an academy award).
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Director: Hugh Hudson
Screenplay: Colin Welland
This iconic film follows the true story of runners, Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) and Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), and their race to glory. From Cambridge in 1919 to the 1924 Olympics in Paris, the two runners face sacrifice, obstacles, disappointments and the highs and lows of what it means to be an athlete. As Harold works to be the best and the fastest, he neglects the one who sits on the sidelines loving him. Meanwhile, Eric must decide where running fits into his faith. This film is a testament to standing up for what you believe in and living that belief, and the cost of what we are running after.
Chariots of Fire took home 4 of 7 Oscars in 1982, including Best Picture, Screenplay (Colin Welland) and Original Score.
Director: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: Blake Edwards
This musical comedy follows a talented, yet under-appreciated singer, Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) who is on the verge of eviction, in a ploy to becoming Count Victor Grazinski, Europe’s most promising female impersonator. Victoria becomes the hit of the town as Victor, but when Chicago gangster, King Marchand (James Garner) sees her perform, he doesn’t believe Victor is the man he claims to be. As the story unfolds, it reveals secrets and truths about what we’re all hiding, and what we pretend to be for others.
Victor/Victoria took home 1 of 8 Oscars in 1983 for Best Original Song Score.
Life is Beautiful (1997)
Director: Roberto Benigni
Screenplay: Roberto Benigni and Vincenzo Cerami
Set in 1939 Italy, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) is a Jewish man who meets the most beautiful gentile woman, Dora (Nicoletta Braschi). After humouring her with his great affection, the two marry and have a son. But when NAZI Germany takes over Northern Italy, Guido and his family get taken to a concentration camp. Separated from his wife, Guido uses his joy for life and humour to shield his son from the true devastation of the camp. What plays out is the truest love story of all time.
Life is Beautiful, or La vita è bella took home 3 of 7 Oscars in 1999, including Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Actor (Roberto Benigni – a first for a male non-English speaking performance).