THE VERDICT – Best Motion Picture: 2001

I was glad I did this year. Four of these films are seen to be classics. Sadly though, the actual winner is the most hated. But I can actually see why it won – it was the Academy’s cup of tea. The other four were either too fantastic (LOTR), minimalistic (In the Bedroom), energetic (Moulin Rouge!), or simply… foreign (Gosford Park).

Choosing between the #5 and #4 was so hard, that I changed my mind at least thrice. # 3 was easy. I had a little issue with # 2 and # 1, but my choice finally won me over.

You can just click on the titles for their profiles.

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5. Gosford Park

It’s a very smart film filmed with such precision and expertise. Every line, every move, every scene is crafted with such intelligence. The actors are also doing some great acting. So why this spot? Emotional connection became my rule here. And this movie simply made me feel cold, distant, and indifferent. It’s too bad when you have such greatness.

Best Performance: Helen Mirren as Mrs. Wilson
Best Scene: The slow build-up of tension before the murder

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4. A Beautiful Mind

A potentially greater story is reduced to lesser degree of accomplishment, but that does not mean that this is bad. There are a lot of misgivings – the weak screenplay, the uninteresting first hour, the damaged performances – but you easily lose that with the second half with such breathtaking emotional power. It could have been better, but emotional connection ruled me over this one.

Best Performance: Russell Crowe as John Nash
Best Scene: Alicia seeing Nash’s madness returning, then runs to the house

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3. In the Bedroom

It’s a very quiet story by only looking at the surface, but what’s deep inside is the horrifying and disturbing reality of normal American life. Filmed with such powerful subtlety and sharp naturalism, it captures the devastating effects of death with an enormous amount of care. Not to mention the intensely passive performances around.

Best Performance: Sissy Spacek as Ruth Fowler
Best Scene: The shocking and troubling surprise visit of the ex-husband

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2. Moulin Rouge!

An explosive and bizarre musical extravaganza with a colossal amount of imagination and surprising harmony. Every scene mattered. The technical achievements are undoubtedly one of the best. I felt for the characters. The actors shined. It power that it leaves with the audience after the very last scene is completely stunning.

Best Performance: Nicole Kidman as Satine
Best Scene: The El Tango del Roxanne musical sequence

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1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The biggest surprise of the line-up. I have avoided this movie (and this film series) for years, thinking that it is only a commercial fare immortalized by over-praising critics and audiences. I was wrong. It is one of the best fantasy films ever made. It is one of the best epics ever made. It is the best fantasy epic movie ever made. Enough said.

Best Performance: Ian McKellen as  Gandalf the Grey
Best Scene: I can’t think of one specific scene that stands out from the rest.

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So this is the year. 🙂 All of them are deserving to win, even some of them in a lesser degree. All of these film should be remembered for their greatness.

About the speculated ranking? Seriously, who could compare a very small independent movie to a big-budgeted fantasy epic? But let me guess.

A Beautiful Mind (#1) and LOTR (#2) were close, only defined by the people who actually prefer biopics and the people who thinks fantasy movies are not to be taken seriously in the Oscars as the actual Best Picture winner.

Gosford Park was # 3 for the Robert Altman fans’ club and from the people in the movie industry who respects this film made by a lot of moviemakers.

# 4 is Moulin Rouge! for having crazy ass supporters and for being a commercial success. Added to the reasons is the ‘important feeling’ of the movie for reviving the almost-dead musical genre.

In the Bedroom was # 5 because it is a restrained, quiet, small-budgeted, independent movie whose noise primarily comes from the actors.

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So, what’s the next year? Clue:

“It’s my turn!”

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What’s you pick? Do you agree with the Academy, or with me, or you have a different choice?

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6 thoughts on “THE VERDICT – Best Motion Picture: 2001

  1. This is a fantastic line-up, that should’ve had Mulholland Drive in it too…

    I agree: LOTR would also be my no. 1, with Gosford Park very close (I love it!). Can’t believe you waited so long for Lord of the Rings!… 🙂

    I agree LOTR was 2nd based on chance of winning (it did get BAFTA), but not that much of a threat to A Beautiful Mind. I actually believe Moulin Rouge! was 3rd, with Gosford Park 4th and In the Bedroom 5th.

    Hmmm… I can’t figure out the clue without cheating…
    it could be anything from revenge to a gangbang :)) no idea.

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  2. Very glad to see Lord of the Rings get the win here. It’s my favorite of the franchise, and just so damn epic. I’m not as high on Moulin Rouge! or Gosford Park as many others seem to be, but they are quite good in their own ways.

    I also love A Beautiful Mind more than most, and haven’t seen In the Bedroom still (but really want to =/). I’m thinking the next year might be…2002? Maybe?

    Either way, I’m very excited to see this continue on, GREAT work. =)

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  3. I really love this line up even if it means no Mulholland Drive in it since I did not expect AMPAS to respond to it in any way (thus that David Lynch nod was delicious to say the least! :D)

    My rankings:

    1. Moulin Rouge! (I actually love that it’s a divisive film.)
    2. In the Bedroom (I miss small dramas like this that pack big emotional punches).
    3. Gosford Park (There’s something criminally pleasurable about this one that I just can’t get enough of)
    4. LOTR: FOTR (my favorite in the series, but I just love the other three films above more so it’s a bit disservice that I ranked i in fourth)
    5. A Beautiful Mind (it was alright. It had its moments, but of course it’s the most Academy friendly so to spit vitriol on it is really a waste of saliva).

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    • It’s embarrassing, but I haven’t seen Mulholland Drive yet :/

      Gosford Park and A Beautiful Mind still confuses me. Gosford Park is really consistently good, but it didn’t just warm up with me. Meanwhile, the flaws and cliches of A Beautiful Mind are more obvious, but there are scenes and elements in it that coul simply knock out the rest of the nominees (Russell Crowe, the score, the scene with the baby in the tub, etc).

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