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: The Godfather Part III

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Company: Paraount Pictures / Zoetrope Studios

Runtime: 162 minutes

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Perhaps, it’s one of the most underrated movies ever made.

The movies starts with the series of shots in an old house and the lake that’s near it. And after that, we are introduced to a very different Michael Corleone, much different from the last installment. He is being given the knighthood by the church. Because he wants to change for the good, he sold all of his business that are illegal. He also tried to cut his relationships with the mob, or I should say the businessmen with illegal businesses. Circumstances refuse him to leave the circle of the gang.

First of all, dare I say it, this is the most entertaining and most watchable of the trilogy. It always is a thrilling experience to watch. And I think it got horrendously lambasted is, aside from Sofia Coppola who was not bad nor great, it shifted tone considerably. This more of the family. It’s less gangster here. It’s because Michael himself wants to change. And he goes to a different world, away from the mafia.

Basically, it is Coppola’s massive achievement. The whole film was made in such a way that it calms the audience when there is no violence, but when it’s intense, it’s so in it. It was all his work. Several scenes are so big that it could have been a misfit from the film, but Coppola is a born storyteller. He knows what to do. And his towering glory here is the final thirty minutes of unbearable tension. I mean, who could have done better than that? To interweave several plotlines in those last minutes of the film is a stroke of brilliance from him. The whole sequence could have been just a montage of  murders, but Coppola knows how to build things up, he knows when to place this scene, he knows what’s the right scene to follow the other one. And he knows how to intensify the atmosphere. So, emotionally, it feels like the whole sequence is an explosion. He knows that his movie is an epic. And he knows that he needs to end his movie in an epic way. And he does it so great.

The screenplay, also written by him and Mario Puzo, is also excellent. It doesn’t make a single movie. Sure, it has the most far-fetched ideas for a Godfather movie – Vatican, incest? Those are so far from it but it was so well-made that it actually fit in the movie. Yes, even the incest. And most of the lines are completely justifiable by the characters. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” That is one epic line. It is the declaration of what happens to Michael. He was a long-time suppressed character. In the first two installments, he was never outspoken. He always keeps things to a low. Here, he’s calm, but he’s already able to release his emotions. That was spoken in an angry manner. But he was not just angry. He was desperate.

And that’s what made the acting worth it. Al Pacino knows his character had changed dramatically. He now wants to be a better man. But circumstances would not allow him to. And he knows he is aging. And he knows Michael is in a crisis. And he knows everything is going wrong when he wants to be right. And he plays it so well.

Andy Garcia was also on the top of his game as Vincent Mancini-Corleone. He’s so in the character. His character was like a modern-day Michael. He was semi-rebellious, but he is no-nonsense, he’s smart, and he knows who’s who and what’s where, and things like that. He is dependable, but he knows Vincent isn’t perfect. He knows his character gets stubborn at times. And he knows he is a man of a gentle heart.

Diane Keaton and Talia Shire, though both great here, are unfortunately forgettable. They both get the fair share of scenes, they know the conflicts of their characters, and they know that they need to do because in the world they are moving, they should not be stupid. Talia’s Connie is already a sign of strength and authority, but she’s a woman hiding from a very soft nature. He cares for Michael, but she needs to be strong. She needs to be  outspoken. Keaton’s Kay Adams, on the other hand, is a woman of such keeping that she just shows her real self when Michael does. She was quite unsure of Michael, because he’s changed. But she still doubts him.

The other woman, Sofia Coppola, as Mary, was not bad nor great. She serves her character. She knows her character. And that’s what to root from her character. I know she could have been better, and I know another actress could have given a better performance for Mary, but there’s no denying that Sofia played her character quite well. Not outstanding, but not Razzie-winning. The other members of the cast did well to this massive ensemble of actors.

I can’t say anything more for the technical part. Cinematography was excellent, editing was flawless, sound was clear, music was beautiful, costumes and production design was appropriate.

But I don’t want to overrate it to the fullest. I admit it has its faults: Sofia Coppola, though not necessarily bad, was the weakest link to the head strong cast, the movie being a dependent movie to the first two. The film was beautiful. I have seen it after the first two installments, so I didn’t have problems with it. But to the young viewers, it’s much better if you visit the first two before this because some details are like references from the first two that you might not get the feel of the movie if you haven’t watched the two. It could have been much better if it was made like a movie that can be watched by anyone first before the other two.

Don’t get me wrong: I love this movie, but I tried to get the view from a first-time Godftaher movie goer who wants to see this film first that the other two. It’s certainly entertaining, it is a beautifully made film, but it’s really much better if you watch the first two before this.

This is a wonderfully crafted, totally satisfying ride for  moviegoers, especially for a Godfather trilogy fan, but it’s not with the minor flaws. But those faults are very minimal and they’re all forgivable, and I don’t want to hide the fact that I like it very much and it is a sumptuous movie experience.

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).