THE VERDICT – Best Motion Picture: 1990

So, here it is! After viewing, and reviewing the five nominees for best picture that year, here is the verdict, served by yours truly!

You can just click on the titles for their profiles.

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5. Awakenings

Though it was emotionally affecting and doesn’t set itself into a wrong foot, it played safe by just doing the basics and it never really tried to something new or special, therefore giving a well-done yet undeniably forgettable product.

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Best Scene: Leonard, newly awakened, spreads his arms to mother
Best Performance: Robert DeNiro as Leonard Lowe

 

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4. Goodfellas

The film lack in subtlety, but it is overwhelmingly fierce and wild. It’s master Scorsese in his top form. It’s one of those films that tried to dig the roots of a gangster. And it succeeds on all it aimed to be. Maybe hard to fully love, but it’s ferocious filmmaking.

Best Scene: Henry taking Karen inside the Copacabana through the kitchen
Best Performances: Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco

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3. Ghost

It’s Hollywood pop movie done very well. It has the qualities of a very good movie – technically accomplished, heartbraking, entertaining. It never was an Oscar movie, but it’s lovely, and most importantly, watchable.

Best Scene: Sam explaining to Molly through Oda Mae his presence

Best Performance: Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown.

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 2. Dances With Wolves

Filmed on a grand scale but told in such a personal way, Dances With Wolves is a surprisingly majestic journey with high production values. The characters are fully rounded, and the direction is masterful.

Best Scene: The breathtaking buffalo stampede
Best Performance: Mary McDonell

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1. The Godfather Part III

It hits all those notes right. Nostalgia doesn’t get better than this. Although this works better as a real continuation to the series, it’s an epic microcosm of the slow downfall of the family due to violence. And even though it’s lengthy, it doesn’t set its foot on dragging, albeit profoundly entertaining and beautifully made. Flawless.

Best Scene: The opera/massive murder sequence
Best Performance: Al Pacino

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Frankly, I have been quite generous with the top 3. But considering their respective achievements, I didn’t hesitate.

So, here’s my personal picks in my ballot for Best Picture:

Dances With Wolves
Ghost
The Godfather Part III
Goodfellas
Reversal of Fortune

I guess Dances With Wolves winning was a not total landslide. I see it as first, followed very closely by Goodfellas, then The Godfather Part II, then Ghost, due to the popularity, then last is Awakenings. But the real fight’s just between Dances With Wolves and Goodfellas.

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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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Note: The next year is still undergoing studying.

Best Picture Profile: Goodfellas

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Runtime: 146 minutes

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As far as I am aware of, I think this is the most hailed movie of Martin Scorsese, along with Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

The movie is about Henry Hill a man who, from his adolescence to his adult years, was always a gangster. He loved being a gangster, since he gets a lot of benefits from it. In his gangster life, he has been accompanied by two men – Jimmy Conway, a very calm man, and on the other hand, Tommy DeVito, a very hotheaded man. He was also a devoted man of an influential man in the gang – Paul Cicero.

Eventually, in his life, he meets a beautiful but undeniably loud woman, Karen. They get married, but he was never been honest with her, since he introduced himself a a man in the line of construction. But she had a feeling he was not a gangster. And, as usual for a gangster, he had other girlfriends. He started having problems with her family, she finds out that he keeps another girl, and she proclaims that she is a whore.

Problems really build up though when he started selling cocaine. Cocaine gives him and his family bundles of money, but he was never safe. He is always in danger. And the slow fall of the gangster is really coming.

So, I can understand the love for it. And I say it, the film was….. breathtaking.

And it’s everything about the direction of Scorsese.

Scorsese knows how to handle the material. I can say that the film itself is complicated, and to make it seam really flawless is just genius. He knows the boundaries, he knows the limitations, his direction doesn’t overdo the thing nor oversimplifies it. He makes the movie complicated yet understandable. and what’s the best thing about it? He doesn’t make a false move in this. T

hese kinds of films are the ones that can turn the directors on and they want to make it big and, in the process, it comes as messy, unfocused, or even pointless. Scorsese knows the focus – it’s about Henry. And he doesn’t try to get away with it. He understands the character so well that he doesn’t make any false impressions for the character and so, for the other characters.

He also builds up things so well. Right from the adolescent years, Scorsese knows that Henry is demented for doom – the character made very wrong things and he is right there, going to be damned. But he makes him very human that we connect to him. He worships the gang, but aside from that, he wants to make himself one of them. And Scorsese knows that.

Maybe I’m using the word know too frequently. But that’s the best thing to say – Scorsese knows how to make this movie great. So it’s a very well-directed movie.

And his moment to shine? The legendary Steadicam shot. This sweeping, one-shot view of the gangster world is the best scene in the movie, invoking the feeling of overwhelming ecstasy one might feel as a gangster’s girl. It’s a stroke of brilliance from the director. He gets the chance to convey what really gangster life is and what are the benefits of being a gangster is that you don’t need to wait in a queue to get a seat in a bar. In this part, we get Karen’s point of view – this woman fascinated of this fact. It’s captivating and it will leave you breathless.

The screenplay knows it all. The guys who wrote movie knows the world of gangsters, knows the characters, knows how to make them really humane, knows that they’re not perfect, knows to make them real and three-dimensional, knows the atmosphere, knows how to move the plot forward. Maybe that’s also the best adjective to describe the screenplay: all-knowing.

The acting was all the way class. Robert DeNiro, having also a great performance in the also-nominated movie Awakenings, is great as Jimmy Conway. The character keeps his emotions inside him as much as possible, but he also has the tendency to become real violent. And he plays it so well. A supporting actor nomination is needed!

Joe Pesci as the hotheaded gangster Tommy DeVito is superb as the character. His character is a ticking time bomb, he just likes to shout the f-word. He’s funny, but we know that when he’s agitated, he’ll just get his gun and shoot. And he makes most of it. But he knows how to make him humane, he may be a psychopathic killer, but he can still hold himself up as a human being. The character is a danger to actors – it could have been the hammy and overdone acting, but Pesci settles for the beautifully-handled acting.

I don’t like Ray Liotta the guy. But I can’t deny that he was great here. He is different from the other guys. And he should be. He is the only gangster that weh know where he came from. He was just once a simple lad who dreamed big. And until his adult years, he still have the attitude even if he already was transformed into a real gangster. He is confident, he is somewhat overconfident at times, but he remains the humbleness with his friends from the gang. And he understand the character. So, even tough I dislike the actor, I like his performance.

Lorraine Bracco was fabulous as Karen Hill. Her early scenes perfectly describe what it really is to be somewhat new in this life. And I didn’t mind her loud voice. Her character is loud, and it fits so well. But her best parts doesn’t kick in until the last half of the movie. When she’s great, well, she amazing. She carries such emotions that she’s like a lost kitten in this world of dogs. And when she’s desperate in flushing the bag of cocaine down the toilet? Or when she debates with her husband about her flushing it away? Or when she doubts Jimmy about going into the dark hallway? All beautifully acted by her.

The other members of the cast are headstrong perfect. The technical part is also awesome. The cinematography was excellent, the editing was flawless, the sound helped a lot, the music set the mood for the film, the costume was appropriate, the art direction brings it to the next level. The music, especially. The way the rock songs mix with this rather harsh world is just so weird yet so great.

The movie is near perfect. But I was looking for one thing: subtlety. I guess that’s really why I can’t love it to the fullest. I wholeheartedly say that the movie is classic and it’s an alltime best, but sumehow, there was either no or very little subtlety.

For this, the movie gets:


What are your thoughts, dear reader?

INTRODUCTION – Best Motion Picture: 1990

So, this is my first year for the Best Picture Project!

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This is not my first choice in this category for my blog-a-thon. But since I accidentally met my long-lost Dances With Wolves, I can now do it.  I haven’t seen it, but let’s see. So, the nominees are:

Awakenings

Dances With Wolves

Ghost

The Godfather Part III

Goodfellas

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Who would be my pick?

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Would it be the hospital drama? Or the western epic? Or the mystery-thriller-drama-romance-comedy-horror? Or the final installment of the epic gangster trilogy? Or the violent gangster drama?

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I’ll start with a random nominee, then the last would be the Best Picture Winner, Dances With Wolves.

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So, dear viewer, would I go with the Academy? Or would I go with an another nominee?

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Because of this project, I decided to go away with the norm of having stars. And because Meryl Streep is my all time favorite actress (I mean it, all time), I decided to use her as my rating system, the MERYLS!

5 MERYLS would be the highest.

1 MERYL would be the lowest.

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I’m quite sure I won’t give zero ratings because that’s impossible. Even if the film itself is not fully deserving of the nomination, I’m sure there’s something that gave the Academy the will to give a movie a nomination (The Blind Side of last year as an example, though I haven’t seen it yet).