Your life isn't complete without knowing the answer to the following question:
What Are the Ten Longest Titles of Best Picture Nominees? We've answered it once before but Precious... which is officially titled Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire has shaken up the rankings. Plus, new readers haven't read this. So, it's new to you!
There are several ways to count the titles and they result in different orders. I've opted to do it by character count, not including spaces.
point of contention: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope used to simply be called Star Wars. Now, people add the episode tags because there are so many of them... If you allow for the revised official titling, Star Wars makes the top ten, tying for #9
10 Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) Just barely makes the top ten but it's an appropriate choice. It's so long winded it clocks in at 3 hours. Hey, it takes a long time to shove in all those celebrity cameos, people. The Player was an hour faster with the same task but Michael Anderson is no Robert Altman.
09 (tie) Best Picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), still beloved today, may be Jack Nicholson's finest crazy hour. It won Jack the first of his three Oscars but it was the fifth of his 12 nominations (the record of male actors). Then there's Best Picture nominee I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932). Even the tag line of this drama about a wrongly imprisoned man is a mouthful "Six sticks of dynamite that blasted his way to freedom... and awoke America's conscience!" But, with a 93 minute running time, it's actually the quickest sit in this top ten.
08 (5 way tie) The wordy titles being Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Meredith Wilson's The Music Man (1962), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954). The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) rounds out the list. My favorite from this list is Woolf which is one of most exhilarating films of all time. Sierra Madre is the only one of these five that I haven't seen. In my defense there's not an actress in it and since I'm first and foremost driven by actressing... Well, that's my excuse. Side note: While attending the junket for Elegy a couple of years back Dennis Hopper listed this as one of the five best/most important movies ever. He was caught off guard by the question and answering on the fly but still...
07 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Paul Newman was Butch (RIP). Robert Redford is still "The Sundance Kid" (did you read the Sundance coverage last month?)
06 (tie) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
You knew the Rings trilogy would be here. And even if you didn't know the title, you'd assume Button had a long one while watching it, wouldn't you?
---> Elijah Wood has seen too much. He is terrified to watch all of the Rings movies back to back.
05 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) takes the five spot. Incidentally, Return... is one of the very longest Oscar winners at 201 minutes. (Only Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and Ben-Hur have numbed more asses. The last Rings film is even one minute longer than The Godfather Part II). And it's the longest film on this here list.
04 Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
The newest addition to the list.
03 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
I realize this title is lifted from the novels but I think it's awkward at best and unintentionally funny at worst.
But it's a good movie so who cares.
02 (tie) The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
01 Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Not only does this classic comedy have the longest title ever from a best picture nominee, it has one of the best titles period. Ever. All time. Don'cha think? It's also a merciful 95 minutes long. Comedies are funniest when they're short, timing being everything. One day filmmakers and audiences will come back to their senses and the bloated Judd Apatow movies of the world.
I can do without most ":" subtitle situations... but wouldn't it be great if more titles were this creative, funny and movie-descriptive? Remember when that Nicolas Cage romantic comedy was called Cop Gives Waitress 2 Million Dollar Tip which was a fun "ripped from the tabloids" descriptive title and then it became the utterly generic sounding It Could Happen to You, a title which could fit only three hundred thousand other movies with ease. zzz.
So, here's to short movies with long titles like Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. It's easy to sit through them and it's fun to say their names aloud.