So Green Book finally became available on Netflix and April and I watched it over the weekend, both in a similar state of annoyance and almost embarrassment that this silly, formulaic, insulting movie had won Best Picture. It was about as bad as predicted, save for a handful of entertaining and redeeming moments from Mahershala Ali. I can see why the family of Dr. Donald Shirley would be so angered by the obvious false scenes inserted into a narrative based on a true story.

Roma should have won. Black Panther was good enough to deserve to win too. (Blockbusters in the past such as Avatar being nominated and the third Lord of the Rings winning so I think Black Panther as the winner would have been legitimate.) BlackkKlansman is much better than Greenbook and one of Spike Lee’s rare upper tier films. It’s still fairly B-level, mediocre, though (and totally unworthy of a best picture nomination or the screenwriting award Lee won). But that’s such an improvement over his usual C or D-level offerings.

My ranking of Academy Award winners from best to worst:

  1. Schindler’s List (The first 17 films on here are all justifiable best picture winners, IMHO.)
  2. Casablanca
  3. The Silence of the Lambs (Yes, I am ranking Silence of The Lambs above The Godfather 1 and 2. Want to fight about it?)
  4. The Godfather Part II
  5. The Godfather
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  7. No Country for Old Men (Happy with that choice. Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood are also awesome.)
  8. Rebecca (I prefer this period of late ’30s, early ’40s Hitchcock films to his later, more well-known work, which to me is too much darker in comparison. The Criterion Collection’s “Wrong Men and Notorious Women” boxset – now out of print – is one of my DVD collection gems.)
  9. Unforgiven
  10. West Side Story
  11. Gandhi
  12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  13. Amadeus
  14. Slumdog Millionaire (my preferred choice that year. Danny Boyle is one of my favorite filmmakers.)
  15. Forrest Gump (I still have a soft spot for it. A guilty pleasure.)
  16. Moonlight (my preferred choice that year)
  17. The Shape of Water (I was happy with Shape of Water winning, would also have approved of Phantom Thread. I’m a fan of both P.T. Anderson and Guillermo Del Toro.)
  18. The Deer Hunter (It’s about here we get many so-called classics that I don’t think have aged all that well, and/or were overrated at the time of their release anyway. All are heads above Green Book)
  19. Annie Hall (I’ve had enough Woody Allen at this point.)
  20. Braveheart (I’ve also had enough Mel Gibson.)
  21. American Beauty (I think we’ve all had enough Kevin Spacey. Is the film even still watchable without death by wincing?)
  22. The Departed (It always seemed strange to me the extent that this Scorsese film was praised. It was fine, but holding it up as an A-level, Best Picture masterpiece seemed more like compensation for not awarding his better previous films.)
  23. Midnight Cowboy
  24. Gladiator (I don’t like Russell Crowe. Didn’t then and still don’t.)
  25. The Apartment
  26. Million Dollar Baby
  27. Crash (With Crash, Million Dollar Baby, and American Beauty in particular these are three films that while I embraced them at the time I no longer do as my political, cultural, and moral views have evolved.)
  28. Shakespeare in Love
  29. Chicago
  30. Driving Miss Daisy
  31. A Beautiful Mind
  32. Green Book

A few comments on some of my unseen Best Picture films:

  • I’ll start with the 1990s, as my ’80s-’30s best picture consumption is spottier. Ones that I have seen have been included in the list above. Dances with Wolves[my choice for 1990: Goodfellas, of course!]
  • The English Patient [my choice for 1996: Fargo ]
  • Titanic [my choice for 1997: Good Will Hunting Yes, I still have not seen Titanic, after all these years. Around about this year or the next year I started high school, and began a film watching and reviewing passion that lasted for about a decade. First I wrote reviews for my high school newspaper, then the college newspaper, and then freelancing for years for Indianapolis’s NBC-affiliate’s website. So I developed a steady habit of seeing most prominent films and educating myself on the classics. I also worked at an art house movie theatre during high school and college, and for a summer also at a normal theatre.]
  • The Hurt Locker[my choice for 2009: Up, A Serious Man, Up In the Air would all have been good choices. A 7-year period of not seeing the films that ended up winning best picture coincided with when I ceased reviewing films weekly on a freelance basis and instead began editing online political publications full time.]
  • The King’s Speech[my choice for 2010: I would have preferred Black Swan, True Grit, The Social Network, or, I suppose, 127 Hours.]
  • The Artist[my choice for 2011: the final Harry Potter]
  • Argo[my choice for 2012:Avengers]
  • 12 Years a Slave [my choice for 2013: I saw Her and Wolf of Wall Street and didn’t regard either as Best Picture worthy. The second Hobbit film is probably my favorite of the year.]
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)[my choice for 2014: While I do need to see Birdman to know for sure, American Sniper is of course an A-level masterpiece worthy of Best Picture. It also happened to be #1 at the box office that year. While not best picture material, one of my favorites from that year is Lucy, which I now have on 4K. I’m a big fan of that style of Luc Besson-directed or produced action-sci-fi.]
  • Spotlight[my choice for 2015: Of the nominees I saw The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road, neither of which are best picture-worthy, but both effective entertainments. My favorite from that year: Inside Out, one of my top Pixar films.]

So what about you? What does your ranking of Best Picture movies look like and where does Green Book stand within it?