By Matt Neglia
Our Patreon Podcast series for “Last Best Picture” continues with a new month and a new poll of 10 randomly selected Best Picture Winners/Nominees for you to choose from. The winner of which will be reviewed on the podcast in September 2018. Stay tuned for August’s winner (“The Silence Of The Lambs”) which will go up later this month and you can now listen to July’s winner “Casablanca.”
Head on over to the polls page to vote and take a look at the new films below. Voting ends August 31st 2018.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946)
THE STORY: In this Dickens adaptation, orphan Pip (John Mills) discovers through lawyer Mr. Jaggers (Francis L. Sullivan) that a mysterious benefactor wishes to ensure that he becomes a gentleman. Reunited with his childhood patron, Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt), and his first love, the beautiful but emotionally cold Estella (Valerie Hobson), he discovers that the elderly spinster has gone mad from having been left at the altar as a young woman, and has made her charge into a warped, unfeeling heartbreaker.
THE CAST: John Mills, Anthony Wager, Jean Simmons, Valerie Hobson, Alec Guinness, Martita Hunt & Finlay Currie
THE TEAM: David Lean (Director/Writer), Anthony Havelock-Allan, Cecil McGivern, Ronald Neame & Kay Walsh (Writers)
ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
THE STORY: Dockworker Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) had been an up-and-coming boxer until powerful local mob boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) persuaded him to throw a fight. When a longshoreman is murdered before he can testify about Friendly’s control of the Hoboken waterfront, Terry teams up with the dead man’s sister Edie (Eva Marie Saint) and the streetwise priest Father Barry (Karl Malden) to testify himself, against the advice of Friendly’s lawyer, Terry’s older brother Charley (Rod Steiger).
THE CAST: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning & Eva Marie Saint
THE TEAM: Elia Kazan (Director) & Budd Schulberg (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 108 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography & Best Film Editing (Won), Best Supporting Actor (3x) & Best Original Score (Nominated)
THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961)
THE STORY: In 1943, a small commando team is sent to destroy huge German guns on the Greek Island of Navarone in order to rescue Allied troops trapped on Kheros. Led by British Major Franklin (Anthony Quayle), the team includes American Mallory (Gregory Peck), Greek resistance fighter Stavros (Anthony Quinn) and reluctant explosives expert Miller. Facing impossible odds, the men battle stormy seas and daunting cliffs. When Franklin is injured, Mallory takes command, and personal enmities spill over.
THE CAST: Gregory Peck, David Niven & Anthony Quinn
THE TEAM: J. Lee Thompson (Director) & Carl Foreman (Writer)
THE GRADUATE (1967)
THE STORY: Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just finished college and, back at his parents’ house, he’s trying to avoid the one question everyone keeps asking: What does he want to do with his life? An unexpected diversion crops up when he is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), a bored housewife and friend of his parents. But what begins as a fun tryst turns complicated when Benjamin falls for the one woman Mrs. Robinson demanded he stay away from, her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).
THE CAST: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman & Katharine Ross
THE TEAM: Mike Nichols (Director), Calder Willingham & Buck Henry (Writers)
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA (1971)
THE STORY: When Tsar Nicholas weds the German princess Alexandra, the marriage proves unpopular with the Russian people, a situation not improved when she has four daughters. When she finally bears a son, the infant’s acute haemophilia can only be controlled by the powers of the fanatical monk Rasputin.
THE CAST: Laurence Olivier, Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman & Tom Baker
THE TEAM: Franklin J. Schaffner (Director) & James Goldman (Writer)
THE CONVERSATION (1974)
THE STORY: Surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is hired by a mysterious client’s brusque aide (Harrison Ford) to tail a young couple, Mark (Frederic Forrest) and Ann (Cindy Williams). Tracking the pair through San Francisco’s Union Square, Caul and his associate Stan (John Cazale) manage to record a cryptic conversation between them. Tormented by memories of a previous case that ended badly, Caul becomes obsessed with the resulting tape, trying to determine if the couple are in danger.
THE CAST: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams & Frederic Forrest
THE TEAM: Francis Ford Coppola (Director/Writer)
THE RIGHT STUFF (1983)
THE STORY: This adaptation of the non-fiction novel by Tom Wolfe chronicles the first 15 years of America’s space program. By focusing on the lives of the Mercury astronauts, including John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn), the film recounts the dangers and frustrations experienced by those involved with NASA’s earliest achievements. It also depicts their family lives and the personal crises they endured during an era of great political turmoil and technological innovation.
THE CAST: Fred Ward, Charles Frank, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Lance Henriksen, Scott Paulin, Dennis Quaid, Sam Shepard, Kim Stanley, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright & Pamela Reed
THE TEAM: Philip Kaufman (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 192 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing & Best Sound Mixing (Won), Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction & Best Cinematography (Nominated)
THE PIANO (1993)
THE STORY: After a long voyage from Scotland, pianist Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) and her young daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin), are left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a New Zealand beach. Ada, who has been mute since childhood, has been sold into marriage to a local man named Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill). Making little attempt to warm up to Alisdair, Ada soon becomes intrigued by his Maori-friendly acquaintance, George Baines (Harvey Keitel), leading to tense, life-altering conflicts.
THE CAST: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin, Kerry Walker & Genevieve Lemon
THE TEAM: Jane Campion (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 117 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress & Best Original Screenplay (Won) Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing & Best Costume Design (Nominated)
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
THE STORY: In 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer genius Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) begins work on a new concept that eventually turns into the global social network known as Facebook. Six years later, he is one of the youngest billionaires ever, but Zuckerberg finds that his unprecedented success leads to both personal and legal complications when he ends up on the receiving end of two lawsuits, one involving his former friend (Andrew Garfield). Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires.”
THE CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer & Max Minghella
THE TEAM: Philip Kaufman (Director/Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME: 120 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing & Best Original Score (Won), Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography & Best Sound Mixing (Nominated)
LES MISERABLES (2012)
THE STORY: After 19 years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is freed by Javert (Russell Crowe), the officer in charge of the prison workforce. Valjean promptly breaks parole but later uses money from stolen silver to reinvent himself as a mayor and factory owner. Javert vows to bring Valjean back to prison. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother’s (Anne Hathaway) death, but Javert’s relentless pursuit means that peace will be a long time coming.
THE CAST: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Baron Cohen
THE TEAM: Tom Hooper (Director), William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg & Herbert Kretzmer
THE RUNNING TIME: 158 Minutes
THE OSCARS: Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup & Hairstyling & Best Sound Mixing (Won), Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design & Best Original Song (Nominated)
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars & Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture