For better or worse, the Oscar choices make movie history, and we're stuck with them.
It’s possible to appreciate the outlook of “Crash” while still recognising that it’s a bad movie; unfortunately, Oscar season circa 2005 wasn’t interested in subtle distinctions.
The only good thing about this film were the great actors and their huge attempt at soul-searching. Well done, Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone.
The film about northerner Solomon Northup’s tumultuous experience being kidnapped into slavery was Oscar bait before it even existed.
“No Country for Old Men” is a tense cat-and-mouse drama about a simple Texas guy trying to survive a world that has no mercy for him or anyone else in it — a place that’s already dim and growing darker by the day.
The Broadway hit focused around the trial of husband-killer Roxie Hart, played by Renee Zellwegger. Richard Gere is having a ball as Billy Flynn, her swanky lawyer, and Catherine Zeta-Jones lights the place up as Velma, her newfound, scandalous best friend.
While the police drama “The Departed” was not an innovative film nor was it typical Oscar fair, it had one major advantage going for it as the awards season arrived and that was Martin Scorsese’s track record.
The film is a 203-minute epic that feels like it goes by for only a fraction of its length. Peter Jackson turns one of the most familiar novels in the English language into a fresh and immediate heart-in-your-throat adventure.
Ben Affleck knows how to put a good story together, and it’s hard to regret sitting through anything that stars Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kerry Bishé or Victor Garber.
The ultimate nostalgia and gimmickry over invention – remember, this won over Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Hugo, a much better movie about the imaginative spirit and creatively technical minds that made silent film such a wonder.
It’s an astonishing slow-burn thriller with real ideas, and Mark Boal’s journalistic screenplay gives each scene an undercurrent of realism that cuts deep.
It's an old-fashioned melodrama in the guise of a somber — but relatively standard — boxing drama. Eastwood’s on-screen presence helps give the film some extra gravitas, while Hilary Swank delivers a memorably feisty performance as a natural fighter whose ambition gets the better of her.
One of the greatest love stories ever told might sound like Oscar bait, but no Oscar bait ever looked quite like this. The film portrayed a gorgeous, intimate statement on the desire for companionship in an alienating world.
Danny Boyle’s Indian fairy tale won people over with its energy, revising classic Bollywood tropes for international audiences through a rags-to-riches story about the value of dreams.
This take on King George the VI (Colin Firth) and his struggle to overcome his debilitating stutter and the great traditionalist reputation of his father, King George V (Michael Gambon), is above par for most prestige pictures.
As much as “Spotlight” salutes journalistic achievements, it works best when probing its shortcomings. There’s no finer barometer for studying this struggle than Keaton’s performance, which embodies the internal process of trying to do the right thing — and instead achieving the opposite effect. It's still our top pick, though.