Many of you have been asking (publicly and privately) about the trifurcated Best Picture Oscar series that united Nick's Flick Picks, Goatdog's Blog and The Film Experience. Mike, Nick and I created the series together but the ball dropping was all me. I take full responsible for the unfortunate hiatus. Thanks for your patience.
IF YOU'RE A NEW READER the series works like so: We started in early 2008 grabbing the earliest best picture winner (Wings) and comparing it to the most recent (at the time) No Country For Old Men. Then we started working inwards from both directions of Oscar's timeline. Eventually the series will conclude in the late 60s, the halfway point of Oscar's chronology. Here's a complete index of all 15 episodes (thus far) which cover the years 1928-1942 and 1993-2007. Nick is also maintaining a tournament poll of your favorites and ours so, vote.
If you want to really dive into the discussion with us and enrich your knowledge of Hollywood's grand back catalogue, consider renting the match-ups that are on the way. In a couple of weeks we'll be pairing two of Hollywood's most iconic men, Bogie & Clint for a discussion of Casablanca (1943) and Unforgiven (1992). Then it's on to Going My Way (1944) and Silence of the Lambs (1991).
But right now...
NICK: Having watched my conspirators in pleasure show such effort and ingenuity in our last two installments to put our disparate films in dialogue with each other, I get to enjoy a ready-made Oscar juxtaposition of World War II dramas: Mrs. Miniver, the first entrant from this AMPAS-beloved genre to swipe the top prize, and Schindler's List, frequently hailed as a highpoint in the Best Picture heritage. Neither film is a battlefield picture; instead, they each focalize the magnitude of the war through the expanding consciousness of the titular character, and the subversion of her or his habits of thought and action. Both were the first movies by their pedigreed, Oscar-friendly auteurs to cop the Best Picture and Best Director trophies after multiple winless nods.
Of course there are also clear markers of dissimilarity between these films and the stories they tell. Mrs. Miniver confronts the war as a crucible of combat, thrift, and social disruption at a time of siege; Schindler's List reconstructs and scrutinizes the supremacist and genocidal ethics and terrible, sometimes enforced complicities that both inspired and drew force from the Nazi war machine. Kay Miniver is a radiant paragon of noble citizenship and domestic steadfastness; Oskar Schindler is a rake and a profiteer whose unlikely emergence as an objector and protector arrives with all kinds of vagaries and caveats attached. Mrs. Miniver was not in every respect a picture that Wyler cherished; Schindler's List was self-consciously conceived, produced, and received as the technical, cultural, and moral apotheosis of Spielberg's career...