Did you know that the Academy Awards has been around for a long time - first handing out the award for “Best Picture” in 1929? (Here is a list of all the winners of “Best Picture” over the years!) The Academy is actually The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and at this first awards ceremony in 1929, there were only 250 people in attendance and it was held as a more intimate dinner party in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. The winners of the first Oscars were all announced before the awards ceremony, unlike today. Interestingly, this nickname of “Oscar” for the awards came about in 1939 (supposedly) when Academy executive director Margaret Herrick exclaimed that the award, or statue, resembled her Uncle Oscar.
Today, the Academy has the duty to dole out awards in all 24 Oscars categories. Perhaps the most coveted Oscars award, however, is the Oscar for "Best Picture" awarded each year to the Academy's favorite motion picture film.
Just as the Academy has a responsibility to pick the “Best Motion Picture of the Year” on February 26, 2017, we at The Front Porch People we would like to follow suit. While there are countless other awards ceremonies for movies, including the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, there are none that carry with them quite the weight and prestige of The Academy Awards.
And so, without further ado, our prediction for the Oscar winner of the Best Picture of 2016 is…
La La Land!
Musicals are magical. At least they used to be, and thank goodness Hollywood has decided to “make musicals great again.” Because La La Land is just the movie we all needed to see this year. It’s heartwarming, fun, deep, and simply unforgettable. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play their parts to perfection; Emma Stone, in particular, gives one amazing, heartbreaking, enchanting performance. While we certainly do not stand alone in believing that this film deserves to take home the Oscar for "Best Picture," there are many other viable and wonderful contenders this year as well, including Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, and Hell or High Water.
Check out what our movie reviewers had to say about these movies!
And now, we are sharing a few of our favorite fun facts from past winners of the “Best Picture” award at the Oscars!
This was the first movies ever to win "Best Picture." And, for over 80 years, it was the only silent movie to win "Best Picture" (until The Artist in 2011).
Gone with the Wind (1939)
The longest movie (234 min) to ever win "Best Picture," it received a whopping 10 Oscars awards. It was, thus, one of the first films to really “sweep” the Oscars!
This is one of the most beloved and most-quoted films of all time. Surprisingly, Humphrey Bogart lost the Oscar award for "Best Actor," and Ingrid Bergman wasn’t even nominated!
Ben Hur (1959)
Ben Hur won an extraordinary 11 Oscars, tied with The Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) for the greatest number of Oscars ever won by a film. (Of course, we are curious, though: Will La La Land break that number this year??)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The highest grossing film in history until that point, it is also the last Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ever. The last song that the famous Hammerstein ever wrote was “Edelweiss.”
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
This was the first sequel to ever win "Best Picture," following on the heels of the original The Godfather, which won "Best Picture" just two years earlier in 1972.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
It not only won "Best Picture," but also "Best Actor" and "Best Actress." It’s the third film ever to win all of the “Big Five” Oscars, that is, Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This movie almost was not released in the U.S. Approximately 20% of the movie’s dialogue is in Hindi. In addition, it had no A-listers. (Fun fact: Dev Patel only won the lead after the original actor was considered “too good looking” for the part.) It was the eleventh and, as of 2016, the last movie to win the Academy Award for "Best Picture" without receiving a single acting nomination.
Listen to our review of Slumdog Millionaire here:
The Hurt Locker (2009)
Kathryn Bigelow defied all odds and became the first woman in history to win "Best Director" at the Oscars with this film.
Listen to our review of The Hurt Locker here:
The Artist (2011)
Jean Dujardin became the first ever French actor to win a "Best Actor" Academy Award when he won an Oscar for this film. In fact, this movie is considered to be the most ever awarded French film in film history. This film is only the second ever silent film to win the Academy Award for "Best Picture" (The first was Wings in 1927).
Listen to our review of The Artist here:
12 Years a Slave (2013)
12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture, even though no one had expected it to win! Most people had placed their bets on the movies The Wolf of Wall Street and Captain Phillips. Looks like the Academy is not always as predictable as we think!
Listen to our review of 12 Years a Slave here:
A surprise win for many, it is based on a series of stories by the real Spotlight team that earned the Boston Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
Listen to our review of Spotlight here:
Whether La La Land wins the Oscar for "Best Picture" this year or not, we are guaranteed to get another wonderful awards ceremony put on by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year! And for more Oscars fun, you can listen to our GREENLIGHT movie reviewers, Ann and Les, give their Oscar predictions in our special podcast!