By Matt Neglia
Our Patreon podcast series for “Last Best Picture” continues with a new month and we are surely in the heat of the Oscar race now.
Like last month, we have selected films which were either nominated or won Best Picture, which are somehow related (In some cases, the loosest way possible) to six films being released in the month of November. Those six films are “Boy Erased,” “The Favourite,” “The Front Runner,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Green Book” and “Widows.” The winner will be announced on October 28th Episode 114 of the podcast and then reviewed some time in the month of November. Stay tuned for October’s winner (The original 1937 version of “A Star Is Born”) which will go up later this month and you can now listen to September’s winner “The Social Network” here.
THE STORY: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the disciplined and determined Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). Resenting Mozart for both his hedonistic lifestyle and his undeniable talent, the highly religious Salieri is gradually consumed by his jealousy and becomes obsessed with Mozart’s downfall, leading to a devious scheme that has dire consequences for both men.
THE CAST: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones & Charles Kay
THE TEAM: Miloš Forman (Director) & Peter Shaffer (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 161 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup & Best Sound (Won), Best Actor, Best Cinematography & Best Film Editing (Nominated)
DRIVING MISS DAISY (1989)
THE STORY: Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta, is determined to maintain her independence. However, when she crashes her car, her son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), arranges for her to have a chauffeur, an African-American driver named Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman). Daisy and Hoke‘s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but they gradually form a close friendship over the years, one that transcends racial prejudices and social conventions.
THE CAST: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone & Esther Rolle
THE TEAM: Bruce Beresford (Director) & Alfred Uhry (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 100 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay & Best Makeup (Won), Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design & Best Film Editing (Nominated)
THE STORY: In 1977, three years after the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) selects British TV personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) to conduct a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Though Nixon believes it will be easy to mislead Frost, and the latter’s own team doubts that he can stand up to the former president, what actually unfolds is an unexpectedly candid and revealing interview before the court of public opinion.
THE CAST: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt & Sam Rockwell
THE TEAM: Ron Howard (Director) & Peter Morgan (Writer)
THE STORY: Pregnant by her own father for the second time, 16-year-old Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) can neither read nor write and suffers constant abuse at the hands of her vicious mother (Mo’Nique). Precious instinctively sees a chance to turn her life around when she is offered the opportunity to transfer to an alternative school. Under the patient, firm guidance of her new teacher, Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins the journey from oppression to self-determination.
THE CAST: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd & Lenny Kravitz
THE TEAM: Lee Daniels (Director) & Geoffrey S. Fletcher (Writer)
12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013)
THE STORY: In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. Then in the 12th year of the disheartening ordeal, a chance meeting with an abolitionist from Canada changes Solomon’s life forever.
THE CAST: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt & Alfre Woodard
THE TEAM: Steve McQueen (Director) & John Ridley (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 134 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress & Best Adapted Screenplay (Won), Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design & Best Production Design (Nominated)
THE IMITATION GAME (2014)
THE STORY: In 1939, newly created British intelligence agency MI6 recruits Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma — which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. Turing and team finally succeed and become heroes, but in 1952, the quiet genius encounters disgrace when authorities reveal he is gay and send him to prison.
THE CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance & Mark Strong
THE TEAM: Morton Tyldum (Director) & Graham Moore (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 114 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Adapted Screenplay (Won), Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design & Best Original Score (Nominated)
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars & Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture