Best Picture: 1964

Actual Nominations: 1964 saw the musical come back to prominence; a tragedy for all sane movie going fans. On one hand we have the good- My Fair Lady, with one of Hepburn’s best and most iconic performances. On the other hand we have Mary Poppins– undoubtedly influential, but undoubtedly twee, annoying, and with some of the most irritating songs ever put onto screen. All eyes and ears were on these two, particularly because of the studio rivalry, and the controversy surrounding the way the two stars were picked for each film. Suffice to say, neither of these get my vote. Becket is a typical watered down version of both an important play and part of history, with all the usual Shakespeareanesque stage school delivery while Zorba The Greek portrays a middle-class Englishman discovering and embracing his exotic Greek heritage. Both of these are engaging enough, neither are worthy of the win. That leaves me with one pick, and it is an obvious one. Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is a classic in many ways, featuring groundbreaking satire, a wonderful script, top-notch acting, and the strict, fearless direction of a master. It is also the only film here which does not seem dated and has still great relevance today. Its humour was shocking at the time, and will still raise the eyebrows of any newcomers today, while the jokes are as sharp now as they ever were.

My Winner: Dr. Strangelove.

My Nominations: Dr. Strangelove. My Fair Lady. A Fistful Of Dollars. Goldfinger. Onibaba. Zulu.

My nominations feature several new additions, a few of which were overlooked by the Academy completely this year. We were introduced to The Man With No Name in the first part of the Dollars trilogy with Leone’s genre bursting A Fistful Of Dollars. Instantly and immensely successful the film made household names of at least 3 legends of the business- Clint Eastwood, Sergio Leone, and Ennio Morricone. It is a violent, meticulous, gangster Western which shocked audiences at the time but which the trio would later better. Featuring more violence is the flawed British classic Zulu, one of a small fistful of British films which has stood the test of time and gives massive insight into our personality, history, and culture. Another British hit from this year is the definitive Bond film Goldfinger. Many decades later this is still the one critics and fans point to as the high point of the series with all the expected staples present and perfected. Flying over the seas to Japan brings my final choice- Onibaba is now rightly regarded as the peak of Japanese thrillers, Kaneto Shindo’s allegory on Japan’s Post nuclear trauma. It is both beautiful, chilling, and resonates with any audience thanks to brilliant performances, off-putting angles, an earthy soundtrack, and it’s powerful and provocative story.

My Winner: A Fistful Of Dollars.

Don’t agree with my nominees or winners? Let us know in the comments section.

 

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