The 93rd Oscars are coming up.
In anticipation for the 93rd Academy Awards, I've decided to rank all eight Best Picture-winning movies that I have seen. There are a lot of Best Picture winners that I really want to see, like The Godfather and Unforgiven, but I haven't gotten around to those yet. Here are the ones that I've seen and how I'd rank them.
8. West Side Story (1962 Oscars)
This is the only Best Picture winner that I legitimately do not like. West Side Story is a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, put inside of a city with two rival gangs. The film is utterly ridiculous from beginning to end. It's hard to take the film seriously when these characters are supposed to be super tough, but they are fighting with ballet moves. I don't think the romance blends well with the dark tone at all. I don't like West Side Story, and I do not think it deserved its Best Picture win.
7. Rocky (1977 Oscars)
To be clear, there's a pretty big jump in quality from West Side Story to Rocky. Rocky is a classic underdog story that focuses more on romance than the actual boxing. This film is a very high quality movie that has an iconic story, great characters, and fabulous performances. Rocky Balboa has become one of the most popular characters in cinema history. But the original Rocky isn't a very exciting movie. I find II, III, and IV much more enjoyable than this one.
6. Oliver! (1969 Oscars)
Oliver! has a special place in my heart. In 6th grade, I landed the titular role in a community theater production in what was one of the best experiences of my life. Because of this, I enjoy the film a good bit. How it won Best Picture? I have no idea. The songs are great and it has the grounded realism of Charles Dickens' novel, but this isn't the highest quality film on the list.
5. Argo (2013 Oscars)
Once again, huge quality jump from Oliver! to Argo. Argo was a really great movie. Ben Affleck was snubbed for the Academy Award for Best Director. Somehow, he creates a movie that is thrilling even though you know that the heroes win. As a lover of movies, it was fun to see them put together a fake movie. The story for this film is incredible, and I really, really like it.
4. Schindler's List (1994 Oscars)
I've watched it once. If I have kids, I will watch it again. But Schindler's List is a movie that I do not plan on watching otherwise. This is one of the hardest movies to watch. I'm Jewish, and watching these horrific events take place hit me really hard. This is the highest quality film on the list. Steven Spielberg crafts a sweeping three-hour epic with fantastic performances from Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, as well as gut-wrenching moments throughout. It captures the pain and terror of the Holocaust perfectly while also showing us that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Braveheart (1996 Oscars)
Braveheart is awesome. Whether it's amped-up speeches, insanely gory battle sequences, or a slam-bang final act, this film is always making the viewer want to scream "YEAH! LET'S GO!". The cinematography is beautiful, the dialogue is incredible, and William Wallace's bravery is unforgettable. I don't think it justifies a three-hour long runtime, but otherwise, this film is incredible.
2. Gladiator (2001 Oscars)
I think of Gladiator as a slightly better version of Braveheart. It has all the gory action that you want as well as some scenes even more awesome than the great speeches in Braveheart. Russell Crowe gives an absolutely stellar performance. Joaquin Phoenix gives us one of the most disgusting villains I've ever seen. This has some of the best dialogue I've ever seen. It should've won the award for Best Original Screenplay. I love this film, and it absolutely earned the highest honor at the Oscars.
1. The Silence of the Lambs (1992 Oscars)
However, while I love Braveheart, Gladiator, Argo, and Schindler's List, none of them are really that close to Silence of the Lambs. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is pretty much perfect. Whether you are talking about the two stunning performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster or the deep, complex characters, this film is near perfection. It introduces us to Hannibal Lecter, who is one of the greatest characters in cinema history. If you have not seen this film and can handle some relatively scary scenes, go watch it right now.