All 94 Best Picture Winners, Ranked

Every year, after the fracas of awards season and studio campaigning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out the ultimate prize in cinema, the explicit recommendation that if you’re only going to watch one movie, make it the one we picked. We’re talking the Oscar for Best Picture. Less than 100 of these have been handed out through the centuries. But ever wonder how the movies of this exclusive golden club would fare against each other?

Welcome to our countdown of every Best Picture winner ever, from the Certified Fresh (Casablanca, Schindler’s List, Argo, Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King…most of them, fortunately), the kinda Fresh (Out of Africa, Forrest Gump), to the ‘HUH? HOW?’ Rottens (The Broadway Melody, Cimarron). We took ’em all and then ranked by Adjusted Tomatometer, which takes into account factors like year of release and number of reviews.

And now we’ve added Nomadland as the 94th Best Picture Oscar winner. See where all the films place in our guide to Best Picture Winners, Ranked by Tomatometer!

#94
#94
Adjusted Score: 39972%
Critics Consensus: The Broadway Melody is interesting as an example of an early Hollywood musical, but otherwise, it's essentially bereft of appeal for modern audiences.
Synopsis: Vaudeville sisters "Hank" (Bessie Love) and Queenie Mahoney (Anita Page) take their act to the Broadway stage in New York... [More]
Directed By: Harry Beaumont

#93
Adjusted Score: 55737%
Critics Consensus: The Greatest Show on Earth is melodramatic, short on plot, excessively lengthy and bogged down with clichés, but not without a certain innocent charm.
Synopsis: "The Greatest Show on Earth" is a dazzling spectacle of life behind the scenes with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus,... [More]
Directed By: Cecil B. DeMille

#92

Cimarron (1931)
52%

#92
Adjusted Score: 54281%
Critics Consensus: Cimarron is supported by a strong performance from Irene Dunne, but uneven in basically every other regard, and riddled with potentially offensive stereotypes.
Synopsis: In 1889, adventurous lawyer and newspaper editor Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) convinces his genteel wife, Sabra (Irene Dunne), to join... [More]
Directed By: Wesley Ruggles

#91

Out of Africa (1985)
62%

#91
Adjusted Score: 69483%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#90

Cavalcade (1933)
64%

#90
Adjusted Score: 67593%
Critics Consensus: Though solidly acted and pleasant to look at, Cavalcade lacks cohesion, and sacrifices true emotion for mawkishness.
Synopsis: Upper-crust Londoners Robert and Jane Marryot (Clive Brook, Diana Wynyard) and their working-class counterparts, Alfred and Ellen Bridges, experience life's... [More]
Directed By: Frank Lloyd

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 81236%
Critics Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.
Synopsis: This lively biopic depicts the rise of Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell), a theater producer who became renowned during the 1920s... [More]
Directed By: Robert Z. Leonard

#88
Adjusted Score: 72853%
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably shallow, but its cheerful lack of pretense -- as well as its grand scale and star-stuffed cast -- help make Around the World in 80 Days charmingly light-hearted entertainment.
Synopsis: Victorian-era Englishman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) proclaims before his fellow members of a London gentleman's club that he can circumnavigate... [More]
Directed By: Michael Anderson

#87

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#87
Adjusted Score: 78315%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#86

Crash (2004)
74%

#86
Adjusted Score: 82812%
Critics Consensus: A raw and unsettling morality piece on modern angst and urban disconnect, Crash examines the dangers of bigotry and xenophobia in the lives of interconnected Angelenos.
Synopsis: Writer-director Paul Haggis interweaves several connected stories about race, class, family and gender in Los Angeles in the aftermath of... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#85

A Beautiful Mind (2001)
74%

#85
Adjusted Score: 82551%
Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.
Synopsis: A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 81719%
Critics Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.
Synopsis: Widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), have a strong bond, but Emma marries teacher Flap... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#83

Braveheart (1995)
79%

#83
Adjusted Score: 83525%
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Synopsis: Tells the story of the legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero named William Wallace (Mel Gibson). Wallace rallies the Scottish against... [More]
Directed By: Mel Gibson

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 81343%
Critics Consensus: It occasionally fails to live up to its subject matter -- and is perhaps an 'important' film more than a 'great' one -- but the performances from Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire are superb.
Synopsis: When journalist Phil Green (Gregory Peck) moves to New York City, he takes on a high-profile magazine assignment about anti-Semitism.... [More]
Directed By: Elia Kazan

#81

Gladiator (2000)
77%

#81
Adjusted Score: 84954%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Synopsis: Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes power and strips rank from Maximus (Russell Crowe), one of the favored generals of his predecessor... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#80

Oliver! (1968)
83%

#80
Adjusted Score: 85623%
Critics Consensus: It has aged somewhat awkwardly, but the performances are inspired, the songs are memorable, and the film is undeniably influential.
Synopsis: In this award-winning adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the Charles Dickens novel, 9-year-old orphan Oliver Twist (Mark Lester)... [More]
Directed By: Carol Reed

#79

Going My Way (1944)
81%

#79
Adjusted Score: 83875%
Critics Consensus: Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald are eminently likable, and film is pleasantly sentimental, but Going My Way suffers from a surplus of sweetness.
Synopsis: Father Charles O'Malley (Bing Crosby) is an easy-going, golf-playing young priest whose entry into a tough neighborhood parish in midtown... [More]
Directed By: Leo McCarey

#78

Gigi (1958)
82%

#78
Adjusted Score: 85208%
Critics Consensus: It may not be one of Vincente Minnelli's best, but the charming and flawlessly acted Gigi still offers enough visual and musical treats to satisfy.
Synopsis: Gaston (Louis Jourdan) is a restless Parisian playboy who moves from one mistress to another, while also spending time with... [More]
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli

#77

Tom Jones (1963)
82%

#77
Adjusted Score: 85612%
Critics Consensus: A frantic, irreverent adaptation of the novel, bolstered by Albert Finney's courageous performance and arresting visuals.
Synopsis: Tom Jones (Albert Finney), a bastard foundling raised by the kindly Squire Allworthy (George Devine), loves the beautiful Sophie Western... [More]
Directed By: Tony Richardson

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 86306%
Critics Consensus: While it's fueled in part by outdated stereotypes, Driving Miss Daisy takes audiences on a heartwarming journey with a pair of outstanding actors.
Synopsis: Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta, is determined to maintain her independence. However, when she... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford

#75

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#75
Adjusted Score: 87981%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 88084%
Critics Consensus: Solid cinematography and enjoyable performances from Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw add a spark to this deliberately paced adaptation of the Robert Bolt play.
Synopsis: When the highly respected British statesman Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) refuses to pressure the Pope into annulling the marriage... [More]
Directed By: Fred Zinnemann

#73
#73
Adjusted Score: 87614%
Critics Consensus: Dances with Wolves suffers from a simplistic view of the culture it attempts to honor, but the end result remains a stirring western whose noble intentions are often matched by its epic grandeur.
Synopsis: A Civil War soldier develops a relationship with a band of Lakota Indians. Attracted by the simplicity of their lifestyle,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Costner

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 88693%
Critics Consensus: Well-written, well-meaning and solidly acted, The Life of Emile Zola film may ultimately be more earnest than dramatically engaging.
Synopsis: After struggling to establish himself, author Emile Zola (Paul Muni) wins success writing about the unsavory side of Paris and... [More]
Directed By: William Dieterle

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 90372%
Critics Consensus: Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving.
Synopsis: The sweeping expanses of the Sahara are the setting for a passionate love affair in this adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella

#70

Gandhi (1982)
85%

#70
Adjusted Score: 90291%
Critics Consensus: Director Richard Attenborough is typically sympathetic and sure-handed, but it's Ben Kingsley's magnetic performance that acts as the linchpin for this sprawling, lengthy biopic.
Synopsis: This acclaimed biographical drama presents major events in the life of Mohandas Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), the beloved Indian leader who... [More]
Directed By: Richard Attenborough

#69

Ben-Hur (1959)
86%

#69
Adjusted Score: 90734%
Critics Consensus: Uneven, but in terms of epic scope and grand spectacle, Ben-Hur still ranks among Hollywood's finest examples of pure entertainment.
Synopsis: Charlton Heston plays a Palestinian Jew who is battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send... [More]
Directed By: William Wyler

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 92295%
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Synopsis: On the same day Manhattan advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) lands the biggest account of his career, he learns... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 93267%
Critics Consensus: Unapologetically sweet and maybe even a little corny, The Sound of Music will win over all but the most cynical filmgoers with its classic songs and irresistible warmth.
Synopsis: A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wise

#66

Platoon (1986)
87%

#66
Adjusted Score: 93591%
Critics Consensus: Informed by director Oliver Stone's personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) leaves his university studies to enlist in combat duty in Vietnam in 1967. Once he's on... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#65

Grand Hotel (1932)
86%

#65
Adjusted Score: 91043%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less a true film than a series of star-studded vignettes, Grand Hotel still remains an entertaining look back at a bygone Hollywood era.
Synopsis: At a luxurious Berlin hotel between the wars, the once-wealthy Baron Felix von Gaigern (John Barrymore) supports himself as a... [More]
Directed By: Edmund Goulding

#64

Green Book (2018)
77%

#64
Adjusted Score: 99130%
Critics Consensus: Green Book takes audiences on an excessively smooth ride through bumpy subject matter, although Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen's performances add necessary depth.
Synopsis: Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist who's about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South... [More]
Directed By: Peter Farrelly

#63

Chicago (2002)
86%

#63
Adjusted Score: 93820%
Critics Consensus: A rousing and energetic adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago succeeds on the level of pure spectacle, but provides a surprising level of depth and humor as well.
Synopsis: Nightclub sensation Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) murders her philandering husband, and Chicago's slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is set to... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#62

Ordinary People (1980)
89%

#62
Adjusted Score: 93886%
Critics Consensus: Though shot through with bitterness and sorrow, Robert Redford's directorial debut is absorbing and well-acted.
Synopsis: Tormented by guilt following the death of his older brother, Buck, in a sailing accident, alienated teenager Conrad Jarrett (Timothy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#61

The Last Emperor (1987)
89%

#61
Adjusted Score: 93916%
Critics Consensus: While decidedly imperfect, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic is still a feast for the eyes.
Synopsis: This sweeping account of the life of Pu Yi (John Lone), the last emperor of China, follows the leader's tumultuous... [More]
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci

#60

Rain Man (1988)
89%

#60
Adjusted Score: 94161%
Critics Consensus: This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson's direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.
Synopsis: When car dealer Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) learns that his estranged father has died, he returns home to Cincinnati, where... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#59

American Beauty (1999)
87%

#59
Adjusted Score: 94772%
Critics Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.
Synopsis: Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a gainfully employed suburban husband and father. Fed up with his boring, stagnant existence, he... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 94857%
Critics Consensus: Though it perhaps strays into overly maudlin territory, this working-class drama is saved by a solid cast and director John Ford's unmistakeable style.
Synopsis: Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), the academically inclined youngest son in a proud family of Welsh coal miners, witnesses the tumultuous... [More]
Directed By: John Ford

#57

Wings (1927)
93%

#57
Adjusted Score: 98321%
Critics Consensus: Subsequent war epics may have borrowed heavily from the original Best Picture winner, but they've all lacked Clara Bow's luminous screen presence and William Wellman's deft direction.
Synopsis: With World War I afoot, David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) and Jack Powell (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) join the military with an... [More]
Directed By: William A. Wellman

#56

Midnight Cowboy (1969)
87%

#56
Adjusted Score: 97464%
Critics Consensus: John Schlesinger's gritty, unrelentingly bleak look at the seedy underbelly of urban American life is undeniably disturbing, but Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight's performances make it difficult to turn away.
Synopsis: Convinced of his irresistible appeal to women, Texas dishwasher Joe Buck (Jon Voight) quits his job and heads for New... [More]
Directed By: John Schlesinger

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 100203%
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.
Synopsis: Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer who keeps almost everyone at arm's length, except his... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#54

Rocky (1976)
91%

#54
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#53

Patton (1970)
94%

#53
Adjusted Score: 97907%
Critics Consensus: George C. Scott's sympathetic, unflinching portrayal of the titular general in this sprawling epic is as definitive as any performance in the history of American biopics.
Synopsis: Biography of controversial World War II hero General George S. Patton. The film covers his wartime activities and accomplishments, beginning... [More]
Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner

#52

The Departed (2006)
90%

#52
Adjusted Score: 102528%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 100119%
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: "Shakespeare in Love" is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s. It imaginatively unfolds the witty, sexy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#50

The Sting (1973)
94%

#50
Adjusted Score: 99104%
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill prove that charm, humor, and a few slick twists can add up to a great film.
Synopsis: Following the murder of a mutual friend, aspiring con man Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) teams up with old pro Henry... [More]
Directed By: George Roy Hill

#49

The Deer Hunter (1978)
91%

#49
Adjusted Score: 99256%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 96765%
Critics Consensus: It has perhaps aged poorly, but this languidly paced WWII romance remains an iconic, well-acted film, featuring particularly strong performances from Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift.
Synopsis: At an Army barracks in Hawaii in the days preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, lone-wolf soldier and boxing champion... [More]
Directed By: Fred Zinnemann

#47

My Fair Lady (1964)
95%

#47
Adjusted Score: 100590%
Critics Consensus: George Cukor's elegant, colorful adaptation of the beloved stage play is elevated to new heights thanks to winning performances by Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.
Synopsis: In this beloved musical, pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is so sure of his abilities that he takes... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#46

West Side Story (1961)
93%

#46
Adjusted Score: 103980%
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by Robert Wise's dazzling direction, Leonard Bernstein's score, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, West Side Story remains perhaps the most iconic of all the Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen.
Synopsis: A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh... [More]

#45

Hamlet (1948)
95%

#45
Adjusted Score: 99908%
Critics Consensus: A well-executed labor of love from star and director Laurence Olivier, Hamlet not only proved that Shakespeare could be successfully adapted to the big screen, it paved the way for further cinematic interpretations.
Synopsis: Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" continues to be the most... [More]
Directed By: Laurence Olivier

#44

Mrs. Miniver (1942)
95%

#44
Adjusted Score: 102055%
Critics Consensus: An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.
Synopsis: A moving drama about a middle-class English family learning to cope with war, told in a series of dramatic vignettes.... [More]
Directed By: William Wyler

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 99268%
Critics Consensus: Tense, funny, and thought-provoking all at once, and lifted by strong performances from Sydney Poitier and Rod Steiger, director Norman Jewison's look at murder and racism in small-town America continues to resonate today.
Synopsis: African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 108297%
Critics Consensus: Broderick Crawford is spellbinding as politician Willie Stark in director Robert Rossen's adaptation of the Robert Penn Warren novel about the corrosive effects of power on the human soul.
Synopsis: Drama about the rise and fall of a corrupt southern governor who promises his way to power. Broderick Crawford portrays... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rossen

#41

Amadeus (1984)
93%

#41
Adjusted Score: 101453%
Critics Consensus: A lavish, entertaining, powerful film about the life and influence, both positive and negative, of one of Western culture's great artists.
Synopsis: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#40
Adjusted Score: 102799%
Critics Consensus: Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.
Synopsis: The culmination of nearly 10 years' work and conclusion to Peter Jackson's epic trilogy based on the timeless J.R.R. Tolkien... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 98957%
Critics Consensus: The historical inaccuracies in this high-seas adventure are more than offset by its timeless themes, larger-than-life performances from Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, and Frank Lloyd's superb direction.
Synopsis: As the cruel captain of the HMS Bounty, a ship bound for Tahiti, William Bligh (Charles Laughton) wins few friends.... [More]
Directed By: Frank Lloyd

#38

Titanic (1997)
89%

#38
Adjusted Score: 101430%
Critics Consensus: A mostly unqualified triumph for James Cameron, who offers a dizzying blend of spectacular visuals and old-fashioned melodrama.
Synopsis: James Cameron's "Titanic" is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#37

The Apartment (1960)
93%

#37
Adjusted Score: 100887%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 102958%
Critics Consensus: Visually dazzling and emotionally resonant, Slumdog Millionaire is a film that's both entertaining and powerful.
Synopsis: As 18-year-old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) answers questions on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," flashbacks... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#35
Adjusted Score: 101591%
Critics Consensus: It's predictably uplifting fare from Frank Capra, perhaps the most consciously uplifting of all great American directors -- but thanks to immensely appealing performances and a nimble script, You Can't Take It With You is hard not to love.
Synopsis: Sweet-natured Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) falls for banker's son Tony Kirby (James Stewart). But when she invites her snooty prospective... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#34

Sunrise (1927)
98%

#34
Adjusted Score: 103643%
Critics Consensus: Boasting masterful cinematography to match its well-acted, wonderfully romantic storyline, Sunrise is perhaps the final -- and arguably definitive -- statement of the silent era.
Synopsis: Bored with his wife (Janet Gaynor), their baby and the dull routine of farm life, a farmer (George O'Brien) falls... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#33
Adjusted Score: 101002%
Critics Consensus: The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s -- and testament to the director's vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later.
Synopsis: When Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) gets transferred for evaluation from a prison farm to a mental institution, he assumes... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 105781%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by powerful lead performances from Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men finds the Coen brothers spinning cinematic gold out of Cormac McCarthy's grim, darkly funny novel.
Synopsis: While out hunting, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds the grisly aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#31

Marty (1955)
99%

#31
Adjusted Score: 105395%
Critics Consensus: Scriptwriter Paddy Chayefsky's solid dialogue is bolstered by strong performances from Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair in this appealingly low-key character study.
Synopsis: This acclaimed romantic drama follows the life of Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine), a stout bachelor butcher who lives with his... [More]
Directed By: Delbert Mann

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 105881%
Critics Consensus: Colin Firth gives a masterful performance in The King's Speech, a predictable but stylishly produced and rousing period drama.
Synopsis: England's Prince Albert (Colin Firth) must ascend the throne as King George VI, but he has a speech impediment. Knowing... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#29
Adjusted Score: 106644%
Critics Consensus: This complex war epic asks hard questions, resists easy answers, and boasts career-defining work from star Alec Guinness and director David Lean.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the Pierre Bouelle novel about POWs in Burma forced to build a bridge to aid the war effort... [More]
Directed By: David Lean

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 104322%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#27

Unforgiven (1992)
96%

#27
Adjusted Score: 105273%
Critics Consensus: As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Synopsis: When prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson) is disfigured by a pair of cowboys in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, her fellow brothel... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#26

The Lost Weekend (1945)
98%

#26
Adjusted Score: 102039%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's unflinchingly honest look at the effects of alcoholism may have had some of its impact blunted by time, but it remains a powerful and remarkably prescient film.
Synopsis: Writer Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is on the wagon. Sober for only a few days, Don is supposed to be... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#25

Annie Hall (1977)
96%

#25
Adjusted Score: 104351%
Critics Consensus: Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
Synopsis: Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) examines the rise and fall of his relationship with struggling nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 100591%
Critics Consensus: Gone with the Wind's epic grandeur and romantic allure encapsulate an era of Hollywood filmmaking -- but that can't excuse a blinkered perspective that stands on the wrong side of history.
Synopsis: Presented as originally released in 1939. Includes themes and character depictions which may be offensive and problematic to contemporary audiences.... [More]
Directed By: Victor Fleming

#23

The Artist (2011)
95%

#23
Adjusted Score: 109149%
Critics Consensus: A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.
Synopsis: In the 1920s, actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a bona fide matinee idol with many adoring fans. While working... [More]
Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius

#22
Adjusted Score: 105954%
Critics Consensus: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Synopsis: Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life... [More]

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 105717%
Critics Consensus: The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean's status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.
Synopsis: Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is sent to Arabia to... [More]
Directed By: David Lean

#20

The Hurt Locker (2008)
97%

#20
Adjusted Score: 108132%
Critics Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.
Synopsis: Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) are members of... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 105062%
Critics Consensus: Realistic, fast-paced and uncommonly smart, The French Connection is bolstered by stellar performances by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, not to mention William Friedkin's thrilling production.
Synopsis: New York Detective "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner (Roy Scheider) chase a French heroin smuggler.... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#18

Schindler's List (1993)
98%

#18
Adjusted Score: 108406%
Critics Consensus: Schindler's List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg's signature tender humanism to create the director's dramatic masterpiece.
Synopsis: Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 107296%
Critics Consensus: Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of Mario Puzo's Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.
Synopsis: The compelling sequel to "The Godfather," contrasting the life of Corleone father and son. Traces the problems of Michael Corleone... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#16

Argo (2012)
96%

#16
Adjusted Score: 110942%
Critics Consensus: Tense, exciting, and often darkly comic, Argo recreates a historical event with vivid attention to detail and finely wrought characters.
Synopsis: On Nov. 4, 1979, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, taking 66 American hostages. Amid the chaos, six... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck

#15

12 Years a Slave (2013)
95%

#15
Adjusted Score: 110575%
Critics Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.
Synopsis: In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#14
Adjusted Score: 107888%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing look at the triumphs and travails of war veterans, The Best Years of Our Lives is concerned specifically with the aftermath of World War II, but its messages speak to the overall American experience.
Synopsis: Fred, Al and Homer are three World War II veterans facing difficulties as they re-enter civilian life. Fred (Dana Andrews)... [More]
Directed By: William Wyler

#13

Nomadland (2020)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 116810%
Critics Consensus: A poetic character study on the forgotten and downtrodden, Nomadland beautifully captures the restlessness left in the wake of the Great Recession.
Synopsis: A woman embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession.... [More]
Directed By: Chloé Zhao

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 110647%
Critics Consensus: With his electrifying performance in Elia Kazan's thought-provoking, expertly constructed melodrama, Marlon Brando redefined the possibilities of acting for film and helped permanently alter the cinematic landscape.
Synopsis: Dockworker Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) had been an up-and-coming boxer until powerful local mob boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb)... [More]
Directed By: Elia Kazan

#11
Adjusted Score: 109166%
Critics Consensus: Director Lewis Milestone's brilliant anti-war polemic, headlined by an unforgettable performance from Lew Ayres, lays bare the tragic foolishness at the heart of war.
Synopsis: The film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War I by their... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Milestone

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 108930%
Critics Consensus: The plot may be problematic, but such concerns are rendered superfluous by Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron's star power, the Gershwins' classic songs, and Vincente Minnelli's colorful, sympathetic direction.
Synopsis: Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American ex-GI who stays in post-war Paris to become a painter, and falls for... [More]
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli

#9

Spotlight (2015)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 111833%
Critics Consensus: Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects.
Synopsis: In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan,... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 127149%
Critics Consensus: The Shape of Water finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best -- and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance.
Synopsis: Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#7

Rebecca (1940)
100%

#7
Adjusted Score: 111173%
Critics Consensus: Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.
Synopsis: Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#6

Moonlight (2016)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 123134%
Critics Consensus: Moonlight uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
Synopsis: A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins

#5

All About Eve (1950)
99%

#5
Adjusted Score: 109909%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sophisticated, and devastatingly funny, All About Eve is a Hollywood classic that only improves with age.
Synopsis: Backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington. Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway... [More]
Directed By: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

#4

The Godfather (1972)
97%

#4
Adjusted Score: 112639%
Critics Consensus: One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema.
Synopsis: Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo's novel of... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#3

Casablanca (1942)
99%

#3
Adjusted Score: 114647%
Critics Consensus: An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Synopsis: Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz

#2

Parasite (2019)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 127431%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 116297%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: In Frank Capra's acclaimed romantic comedy, spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) impetuously marries the scheming King Westley, leading her... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

This week on home video, we’ve got quite a few great films to choose from. Four of the new releases are Certified Fresh, and this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner is among them. The others are comprised of a hard-hitting drama that earned Nicole Kidman an Oscar nod of her own, an epic journey through the Siberian wilderness, and Sofia Coppola’s latest melancholic tale of relationships. Then, we’ve got Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen’s sequel to his recent martial arts hit and a Jack Black misfire based on a classic novel, as well as the week’s new Criterion Collection releases. Check out what’s new this week below.



The King’s Speech

94%

Let’s be honest here: Colin Firth was sort of a “that guy” for a long time, until he showed up opposite Renee Zellwegger in Bridget Jones’s Diary. But there was always a certain charisma to his personality, and people witnessed his potential in full blossom when he starred as a troubled gay man on the verge of suicide in last year’s A Single Man. Fast forward to November of the same year, and we have the culmination of more than two decades of acting in Firth’s rousing Best Actor win for portraying King George VI. But let’s not sell the movie short; The King’s Speech was nominated for a whopping 12 Oscars, and it took home four of the five major awards, including Firth’s award, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. For those who have spent the better part of the last six months avoiding mass media, the story revolves around the newly crowned King George VI, who suffers from a speech impediment, and the deep friendship he develops with his Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Critics stamped their approval on the film in the form of a Certified Fresh 95% on the Tomatometer, and though some have complained about some of the historical inaccuracies in the film, it remains an entertaining, superbly acted, and stylishly produced film, and it arrives on home video this week.



Rabbit Hole

87%

Our second pick this week is another Certified Fresh film, one that earned its lead actress, Nicole Kidman, an Oscar nod back in February. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Rabbit Hole centers on grieving couple Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, respectively) who have just lost their only son in a tragic car accident. While Becca tries desperately to move on with life, confiding in her mother (Dianne Wiest) and connecting with the young man (Miles Teller) responsible for her son’s death in an attempt to make sense of things, Howie instead chooses to dwell in the past, finding it difficult to cope and entertaining the temptation to find comfort in the arms of another woman. The film is certainly not a joyful romp, and it’s often painful to watch, but critics praised Rabbit Hole‘s finely written script and standout performances to the tune of 87% on the Tomatometer. This is powerful, evocative drama, and those looking for a deep exploration of grief will find a lot to like here.



Gulliver’s Travels

20%

Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels is a cleverly written satirical look at human nature, a classic piece of literature taught at the highest levels of education to this day. But when you’ve got Jack Black headlining a film adaptation of the work, you can be sure the term “loosely based” applies in spades. In this particular iteration, Black plays Lemuel Gulliver, an aspiring travel writer looking for his first big break who is sent to the Bermuda Triangle to draft an article debunking its myths. Naturally, Gulliver ends up shipwrecked on Liliput, whose inhabitants lock him up as a threat to their safety until he helps rescue both the Liliputian Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) and King (Billy Connolly). Jack Black is, well, Jack Black, and there’s no one else quite like him, but critics overall had some problems with the movie’s reliance on juvenile humor and special effects at the expense of the source material’s brilliant commentary. If your fondness for classic lit isn’t compromised by giant wedgies, pee jokes, and Liliputians utilized in a giant foosball table, then hey, this is right up your alley.



Somewhere

70%

Looking at the films that Sofia Coppola has directed over the years, one gets the sense that the auteur, whose work is infused with meditative ennui, could do with a trip to Disneyland or a girls’ night out with her BFFs. But whatever deep seated melancholy Coppola may be tapping into, her films are largely well-received, and this is no different for her latest effort, Somewhere, starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood star coasting through celebrity on a steady diet of pills and easy women, feeling precious little and socializing only occasionally. When his pre-teen daughter Cleo (Fanning) suddenly shows up on his doorstep to announce she’ll be staying with him full-time, the two of them begin to bond, and Cleo lends meaning to Johnny’s otherwise meaningless life. Somewhere is Coppola’s third Certified Fresh film at 72%, and critics felt that while the movie touches on familiar territory for the director, it’s nevertheless a seductively pensive meditation on the nature of celebrity and features charming performances from its two leads. Fans of Coppola and her storytelling style will undoubtedly enjoy it.



Kes – Criterion Collection

100%

One of the most celebrated of all British films, Kes is an achingly poignant and honest coming-of-age tale. Made at the tail end of the British “kitchen sink” era of cinematic realism, Ken Loach’s first theatrical feature is the tale of a bullied, mischievous boy who finds solace by caring for a falcon. Loach’s leftist sensibilities are evident here, and he’s aided by remarkably naturalistic performances from nonprofessional actors. The result is a devastating portrait of blue-collar malaise. A swanky new Criterion disc features a new transfer of the film supervised by Loach, as well as several interviews with the director and Cathy Come Home, Loach’s 1966 made-for-television docudrama.



The Way Back

74%

Our last Certified Fresh pick this week is another well-received, based-on-true-events story, inspired by a memoir written by Sławomir Rawicz, a polish POW who allegedly escaped from a Siberian gulag. Starring an impressive cast that includes Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong, and Saoirse Ronan, the film follows roughly the same plot, as seven inmates together break free from the gulag in the midst of a blizzard and make way towards Mongolia. The ensuing story depicts the group’s struggle for survival as they battle not only the harsh wilderness that surrounds them on their journey, but also the sense of impending doom that threatens to swallow them whole and destroy their morale. Directed by Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), the film impressed critics, who felt that its sweeping ambition, strong performances, and grand visual spectacle deserved a Certified Fresh 75% on the Tomatometer, even if the film wasn’t as emotionally involving as it could have been. A good choice for those who enjoy epic journeys in distant lands and themes of man vs. nature, and it’s available this week.



Sweetie – Criterion Collection

89%

After a successful career making TV movies, Jane Campion burst onto the international cinema scene with Sweetie in 1989. The auteur who would go on to make such arthouse hits as The Piano and Bright Star displayed stylistic panache and an observant eye in this portrait of a dysfunctional family that is often blind to its own internal problems. Sisters Kay and Sweetie are polar opposites in many ways ? the former is a mousy factory worker, the latter a wild child with unrealistic showbiz aspirations. This quirky character study is both sweet and sour ? and offers proof of Campion’s nascent skill. The new director-approved Criterion disc offers a commentary track from Campion, some of her early shorts, interviews, and behind-the scenes images.



Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster

97%

In recent years, as old kung fu favorites Jackie Chan and Jet Li have started to wind down their careers a bit, Donnie Yen has stepped into the spotlight as a true force to be reckoned with. There are a few of us here in the RT office who are big martial arts fans, and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Yen’s Ip Man, released Stateside in 2010 in all its speed-punching, face-flattening glory. Just a few months later, Yen reprised his role as the titular master of Wing Chun in Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, but few saw it, and this week it arrives on home video. The sequel focuses on Ip Man’s struggle to teach Wing Chun in the face of corrupt Hong Kong martial artists and an oppressive British colonial regime, culminating in visceral fight sequences between Yen and Jackie Chan contemporary Sammo Hung, as well as an East vs. West duel in a boxing ring. Now, these themes are fairly common in Hong Kong martial arts flicks, but Yen has proven himself to be capable of standing with the best in the business, and by most accounts, the action in Ip Man 2 goes a long way towards making up for any dramatic inadequacies the film may have. Fans of Donnie Yen, or high octane martial arts films in general, should get a proper kick out of this one.

Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a golden statue to the film representing cinema’s best.

Every year, the Academy’s selection take the place of office gossip, internet status updates, and conversations with strangers in public places.

And every year, Rotten Tomatoes revisits every Best Picture winner of Oscars past, sorting them by the strict and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science.



Where does this years’s winner The King’s Speech place in this list of undisputed classics (Casablanca, The Godfather), dubious selections (The Greatest Show on Earth), and all in-between? How many have you seen? Where do your favorites rank? Start the Best of the Best Pictures countdown and find out!

Oscar

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday, and amid the frenzy of films and fashion everybody’s got their opinion about who will be taking home that coveted little golden boy (no, we’re not talking about Justin Bieber). Naturally, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to add our voices to the noisy din. For seven hours, we locked ourselves in a climate-controlled, airtight bomb shelter, where we hammered out our picks in every category based upon Oscar precedent, current buzz, and a complex algebraic formula involving runes and ostrich feet. But hey, nobody’s perfect — what do you think of our choices? Who do you think will win big on Oscar night?


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Best Motion Picture of the Year: The King’s Speech

If you’d asked us six weeks ago for our predictions, we’d have told you that The Social Network would win Best Picture. And although The Social Network won the Golden Globe for Best Drama, the momentum seems to have shifted to The King’s Speech. In the last couple of weeks The King’s Speech has been honored by both the Director’s Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. Since the DGA award is a excellent barometer for the Best Picture award, and the acting branch is the biggest part of the Academy, we’re betting that The King’s Speech will take the crown on Sunday night.


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Best Achievement in Directing: David Fincher, The Social Network

With the Best Picture race shaping up to be a close call, we think this might be one of those years that the Picture and Directing Oscars get split — in this case between The King’s Speech and The Social Network. You have to go back to Ang Lee winning for Brokeback Mountain while Crash took Best Picture in 2006 to see a precedent, but it’s happened before (Soderbergh for Traffic vs. Best Pic winner Gladiator, for example). David Fincher (who got nommed for Benjamin Button) has more than paid his dues — plus, turning a Facebook movie into an engaging thriller is kind of miraculous next to sticking your camera in front of a bunch of superlative actors, right?


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Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Is there any question that this is going to Firth? He put in a terrific performance, and this is the perfect opportunity for the Academy to honor someone that’s been nominated, but hasn’t won, before (he missed out just last year for A Single Man). We think that this is one of the easiest predictions of the year.


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Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Among RT editors, this was the most heavily debated category. For months, Natalie Portman seemed like the odds-on favorite, but recently, buzz has swung back toward Annette Bening, a four-time nominee who’s never won an Oscar. Bening earned deserved praise for The Kids Are All Right, but the movie was released in the middle of the summer, and Black Swan remains fresh in the mind. So we’re going with Ms. Portman.


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Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale, The Fighter

It would be tempting to think that Geoffrey Rush, who’s already won this year’s BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, might benefit from the massive love that The King’s Speech is reaping right now. But after a turn in The Fighter that had everyone whispering “Oscar” from the get-go, as well as a Golden Globe, a SAG award, and a Critics’ Choice Award already tucked away, Christian Bale is poised to close the deal on Sunday night.


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Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Most people will say that this award will go to Melissa Leo, for her performance in The Fighter, but they’re wrong. Steinfeld’s going to get it, and here are five reasons why:

1. According to Time Magazine’s Richard Corliss, in the last 10 years there have been six instances in which two actresses have been nominated for the same film, and in five of those cases, neither nominee won an award. The only winner from that group was Catherine Zeta-Jones, who won for Chicago. Melissa Leo is a great actress, but she doesn’t have the glam factor that Zeta-Jones had (and still has).

2. We think Leo is going to lose votes not only to her Fighter co-star Amy Adams, but also to Jackie Weaver, who played a very similar role in Animal Kingdom.

3. Hailee Steinfeld has a better shot that a lot of people realize. Performers get nominated in the category for which they received the most nominations, so even though Steinfeld plays what seems like a lead role in True Grit, more Academy members nominated her for Best Supporting Actress than Best Actress. But we think that she probably got a lot of nominations for Best Actress too, except that she can’t be nominated in both categories. Anyone that nominated Steinfeld for Best Actress will likely cast their vote for her in the Best Supporting Actress Category, and that will put her in front of Melissa Leo.

4.Melissa Leo undoubtedly lost votes for the “for your consideration” ads in the trades that she paid for herself. The Academy likes humility (or at least the appearance of it) and although Leo says the ads are more about Hollywood’s ageism, we think that voters ultimately won’t appreciate her self-financed campaign.

5. Hailee Steinfeld’s uncle is bodybuilder Jake Steinfeld, of “Body by Jake” fame. There’s no way Melissa Leo can compete with that.


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Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

The highest-grossing animated movie ever is up for a Best Picture award it won’t win, so those votes will cascade down towards Animated Feature Film. Obvious. And, sure, How to Train Your Dragon was a sleeper hit with long legs that swept the Annies, but that didn’t help Kung-Fu Panda (also a sweeper) in its bid against WALL-E in 2009.


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Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Inception

Inception was the year’s most fervently-discussed head trip, with audiences and critics ceaselessly debating its labyrinthine dreamscape. Whether you’ve “figured it out” is beside the point; Inception‘s complexity and originality likely impressed Academy voters. It’s already picked up the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay, and we think it’s a safe bet in the equivalent Oscar category as well.


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Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

How do you make a startup seem exciting to non-coders? Ask Aaron Sorkin, whose rapid-fire script for The Social Network was praised nearly as much as David Fincher’s direction. Plus, it already picked up the Writer’s Guild Award in this category, so this seems like a safe bet.


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Best Documentary Feature: Inside Job

Exit Through the Gift Shop was probably the most buzzed-about doc this year, but given Banksy’s elusive nature and the questions that have been raised about some elements of its veracity, we think Oscar voters are going to go with a safer choice. Namely, the timely, angry Inside Job, which adeptly chronicles the financial crisis and won’t come back to bite the Academy. What we’d give to see Banksy prank the ceremony, though…


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Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful

We’ll make this easy: there are only two movies in this category that a large majority had ever heard of before the Oscar noms came out, and they are Biutiful and Dogtooth. For one, we don’t think the Academy is likely to honor a film as bizarre and controversial as Dogtooth. But more significantly, Biutiful is the only foreign language film with a horse in the Best Actor race (Javier Bardem), and that says a lot.


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Best Art Direction: Eve Stewart, Judy Farr; The King’s Speech

Where many of the nominees achieved their distinct looks through production design by way of CGI — and Inception‘s digital vistas make it a tough contender to rule out, especially as Avatar clinched the prize last year — we’re going with the period-drama reliability (and likely Academy affection) for The King’s Speech, which should collect at least a couple of production awards en route to its Best Picture win. True Grit‘s strong here, too, but Royal Palaces will win over the dusty west.


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Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, True Grit

Panoramic views. Sweeping vistas. Swathes of color. Only one nomination has it all: True Grit. Roger Deakins is in peak form and working with the Coen brothers in their favorite location — the open American landscape.


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Best Costume Design: Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland

Say what you will about the much maligned Alice in Wonderland — its costume design was undeniably something else. Plus, this is the kind of category where odd films out can win on the specifics of costume, irrespective of the film’s critical standing. The King’s Speech might seem a popular pick, but we’re going for two-time winner Colleen Atwood, who’s a costume design icon — and oddly, despite her longtime collaboration (and two noms) with Tim Burton, has never won for her work with the director.


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Best Make Up: Adrien Morot, Barney’s Version

Paul Giamatti as an old guy equals hardware. And really, how much work did Rick Baker have to do on the already quite hirsute Benicio Del Toro anyway?


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Best Music (Original Score): Hans Zimmer, Inception

BRRAAAAWWWRWRRMRMMM


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Best Music (Original Song): Alan Menken and Glenn Slater — “I See the Light”, Tangled

In lacking a standout tune (where’s “Pimps Don’t Cry,” huh, Academy?), we’re inclined to go for the tried-and-trusted Disney-Menken combo for Tangled. It’s also a film that was a hit with critics and audiences but isn’t nominated elsewhere. Nobody saw Country Song, Randy Newman’s Toy Story 3 tune wasn’t as memorable as his compositions for the previous films, and does anyone remember the 127 Hours track? (That said, we look forward to the interpretive pop-locking ballet performed by Oscar’s amputee troupe.)


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Best Film Editing: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

Wait, what, Scott Pilgrim wasn’t nominated? Then we gotta go with The Social Network. It keeps the audience informed and interested across two very different eras (the deposition, the rise of Mark Zuckerberg) as the drama builds and builds. The film ultimately achieves fluid, delicate grace.


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Best Sound Editing: Richard King, Inception

Imagine having to edit dialogue and sound effects while competing with the stentorian rumble of Hans Zimmer’s deafening score — now that’s a Herculean task that only the steeliest sound editor could accomplish without having his senses bludgeoned to a pulp. Cutting the drone of light cycles to Daft Punk is dreamy kid’s play in comparison.


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Best Sound Mixing: Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick, Inception

Oftentimes, the technical awards are given to films that are a little too left-of-center to take home Best Picture. Given that Inception was undoubtedly an achievement of filmic technique, and given that it’s the only film nominated for both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, we think it will pick up another Oscar in the latter category.


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Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb, Inception

Dude, they folded the city.

Also: BRRAAAAWWWRWRRMRMMM


Best Live Action Short: God of Love

The shorts are always something of a crapshoot, since few people have actually seen any of the nominees, and the live action category is no exception. Our money is on God of Love, the whimsical tale of a young hipster who gets pricked by Cupid’s arrow.


Best Documentary Short: Strangers No More

Chronicling three children adjusting to a new school in Tel Aviv, Strangers No More seems like the perfect choice in this category: it’s got cute kids, political topicality, ethnic diversity, and a feel-good message.


Best Animated Short: Day and Night

Yeah, we know — seems like an obvious choice. For one thing, it’s from Pixar, and for another, it’s one of the few shorts in any category that the moviegoing public even saw, since it preceded Toy Story 3. Still, this is an infectious, dazzling little movie, and we think it’s going to get the nod over its lesser-known co-nominees (though there’s some buzz for the The Gruffalo out there).


For our full Oscar coverage on the day, including live tweets, chat and updated images from the event, go to RT’s Awards Tour page


Founded in 1947 by such cinematic legends as David Lean, Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, and Charles Laughton, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is tasked with promoting cinema and education the public about film through screenings, lectures, and other events. However, it’s best known on these shores for the British Academy Film Awards – better known as the BAFTAs — which have honored the UK’s finest cinematic achievements since 1948 and are one of the most important pre-Oscar honors. Here now is the full list of winners.


Best Film

Black Swan

Black Swan


88%


Inception

86%


The King’s
Speech


96%

The Social
Network

97%

True Grit


95%


Outstanding British Film

127 Hours

127 Hours

93%

Another Year

Another Year

91%

Four Lions

Four Lions

81%


The King’s
Speech


96%


Made in Dagenham


80%


Director

Danny Boyle

127 Hours

127 Hours

93%

Darren Aronofsky

Black Swan

Black Swan


86%



Christopher Nolan

Inception

87%

Tom Hooper


The King’s
Speech


93%

David
Fincher

The Social
Network

96%


Leading Actor

Javier Bardem


Biutiful


63%

Jeff
Bridges

Jeff Bridges

True Grit

100%

Jesse
Eisenberg

The Social
Network

96%

Colin Firth


The King’s
Speech


93%

James Franco

James Franco

127 Hours

93%


Leading Actress

Annette Bening

Annette Bening

The Kids Are All Right

95%

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore

The Kids Are All Right


94%

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Black Swan


86%

Noomi
Rapace


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


86%


Hailee Steinfeld


True Grit

95%


Supporting Actor

Christian
Bale

The Fighter


86%

Andrew
Garfield


The Social
Network

96%

Pete Postlethwaite


The Town


94%

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

The Kids Are All Right

95%

Geoffrey
Rush


The
King’s Speech

93%


Supporting Actress

Amy Adams

The Fighter


78%


Helena Bonham Carter


The
King’s Speech

93%

Barbara Hershey

Barbara Hershey

Black Swan


89%

Lesley Manville


Another Year


89%


Miranda Richardson


Made in Dagenham

100%


Animated Film


Despicable Me

82%



How to Train Your Dragon

98%

Toy Story 3

99%


Original Screenplay Adapted Screenplay

Black Swan

127 Hours


The Fighter

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Inception

The Social Network

The Kids Are All Right

Toy Story 3

The King’s Speech

True Grit

Cinematography Editing

127 Hours

127 Hours

Black Swan

Black Swan

Inception

Inception

The King’s
Speech

The King’s
Speech

True Grit

The Social Network

Production Design Costume Design

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Black Swan

Black Swan

Inception

The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech

Made In Dagenham

True Grit

True Grit

Special Visual Effects Make Up & Hair


Alice in Wonderland


Alice in Wonderland

Black Swan

Black Swan



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Inception

The King’s Speech

Toy Story 3

Made in Dagenham

Sound Original Music

127 Hours

127 Hours

Black Swan


Alice in Wonderland

Inception

How to Train Your Dragon

The King’s Speech


Inception

True Grit

The King’s Speech

Film Not In the English Language Short Film


Biutiful

Connect

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lin


I Am Love

Rite


Of Gods and Men

Turning

The Secret in Their Eyes

Until the River Runs Red

Orange Rising Star Award Short Animation


Gemma Arterton

The Eagleman Stag

Andrew Garfield

Matter Fisher


Tom Hardy

Thursday


Aaron Johnson


Emma Stone


For all of RT’s awards season coverage, check out Awards Tour here.

Strengthening its position as the new favorite for Best Picture Oscar after its DGA win for director Tom Hooper yesterday, The King’s Speech took home both the Outstanding Ensemble Cast Award and Best Actor (for Colin Firth) at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guilds Awards this evening. Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo were the other big winners.


Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Black Swan

Black Swan


88%

The Fighter


87%

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right

95%


The King’s
Speech


93%

The Social
Network

96%


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff
Bridges

Ronald Bronstein

True Grit

100%

Robert
Duvall


Get Low


85%

Jesse
Eisenberg

The Social
Network

96%

Colin Firth


The King’s
Speech


93%

James Franco

James Franco

127 Hours

93%


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Annette Bening

Annette Bening

The Kids Are All Right

95%

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Rabbit Hole


89%

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Winter’s
Bone

94%

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Black Swan


88%

Hilary Swank

Conviction


66%


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian
Bale

The Fighter


86%


John Hawkes

John Hawkes

Winter’s Bone

94%

Jeremy Renner


The Town


94%

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

The Kids Are All Right

95%

Geoffrey
Rush


The
King’s Speech

93%


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams

The Fighter


78%


Helena Bonham Carter


The King’s
Speech

93%

Mila Kunis

Black Swan


88%

Melissa Leo


The Fighter


87%

Hailee Steinfeld


True Grit

100%


For all of RT’s awards season coverage, check out Awards Tour here.

With studios dropping lumps of coal into North American multiplexes, many moviegoers stayed away over the Christmas holiday weekend as the box office fell sharply from recent years. Christmas Eve fell on a Friday helping to disrupt business, but a lack of exciting product prevented any one film from becoming a sensation.

Universal saved itself from ending the year with only one number one hit with the comedy sequel Little Fockers which topped the yuletide frame with an estimated $34M from Friday-to-Sunday. The critically panned pic grabbed $48.3M since its Wednesday debut and joined Despicable Me as the studio’s only releases in 2010 to open in the top spot. Fockers averaged $9,620 from 3,536 theaters over the weekend period.

Though claiming the box office crown, the Robert De Niro-Ben Stiller threequel attracted the worst reviews of the series and opened 32% below the $70.5M five-day Christmas launch of 2004’s Meet the Fockers during the exact same days. Factor in rising ticket prices and a whopping 45% fewer people turned out for the latest installment.

With a $100M budget — hefty for a non-effects comedy — the new Fockers succeeded in funneling large paychecks to its principal cast members. Studio research showed that the audience was 57% female and 53% over 30. A poor B- CinemaScore grade indicates bad buzz in the days ahead from those who bought tickets already.

The Coen brothers gave Paramount a Christmas gift with the better-than-expected showing for True Grit which opened to an estimated $25.6M over the weekend and $36.8M across the five days since its Wednesday launch. Loved by critics, the PG-13 Western remake starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon averaged a sturdy $8,402 from 3,047 locations over the weekend which was especially impressive given the Friday hit all films took on Christmas Eve when many theaters close early. The lucrative holiday week ahead could help it make a run for the $100M club. Produced for only $38M, Grit should become a moneymaker despite how it fares overseas in the new year.

Bridges showed up in the number three position as well. Disney’s pricey action film Tron Legacy ranked third for the holiday frame with an estimated $20.1M falling a steep 54% from its top spot debut. The PG-rated effects pic has grossed $88.3M in ten days and will break nine digits before the end of the year on its way to possibly breaking $150M from North America as well.

Enjoying the smallest drop of any film in wide release, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader collected an estimated $10.8M representing a slim 13% dip. But Fox’s 17-day cume for the big-budget 3D adventure rose to just $63.9M which was still below the $65.6M opening weekend of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from December 2005.

Family audiences rejected the 3D kidpic Yogi Bear which was hoping for a strong Christmas hold but instead suffered a 46% fall to an estimated $8.8M. With just $36.8M in ten days, the PG-rated pic will struggle to break even given the production cost and marketing expenses. Like so many others this holiday season, audiences are finding this to be a subpar 3D entry not worth paying extra money for.

Paramount’s boxing drama The Fighter held up reasonably well in a crowded marketplace for adult dramas by dipping 30% to an estimated $8.5M. With $27.6M so far, the Mark Wahlberg-Christian Bale pic aims to use good word-of-mouth and awards buzz to keep it in the top ten over the weeks to come as the holiday turkeys fizzle away.

Setting sail with a lackluster debut was Jack Black’s 3D kidpic Gulliver’s Travels which opened on Christmas Day Saturday to an estimated weekend take of $7.2M over two days instead of the usual three. Fox hopes to play well through this holiday week and into New Year’s weekend, but this PG-rated film is just the latest in a string of subpar family offerings in 3D to be rejected by parents not interested in paying so much money for mediocre quality. While Disney’s TRON and Tangled have worked, underwhelming numbers have been seen for Gulliver, Yogi Bear, Narnia, Legend of the Guardians, Alpha and Omega, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and others. Studios are slowly learning that there are simply too many 3D movies these days.

Fox Searchlight’s awards darling Black Swan dipped 21% to an estimated $6.6M for a sturdy cume to date of $29M. Expanding from 900 to 1,466 locations in its fourth weekend, the Natalie Portman starrer is on its way to becoming one of the distributor’s top-grossing titles ever.

Disney’s hit toon Tangled was close behind with an estimated $6.5M, off 26%, for a $143.8M tally thus far. The Rapunzel film is now the second highest-grossing film of the holiday season trailing only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 which raised its total to $272.8M for the number 49 spot on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. Rounding out the top ten was the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie dud The Tourist which dropped 33% to an estimated $5.7M and a $41.2M cume to date.

The Weinstein Co. enjoyed a good expansion for its awards contender The King’s Speech which went nationwide on Saturday into 700 locations and banked an estimated $4.6M over the weekend. Averaging a healthy $6,511, the Colin Firth pic has taken in $8.4M overall.

More specialty films got their platform debuts in before the upcoming Oscar deadline. Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere bowed to an estimated $142,000 from seven sites for a solid $20,322 average over three days for Focus. Sony released its Gwenyth Paltrow pic Country Strong in two theaters with $34,642 over the weekend and a $17,321 average. Totals since their mid-week launches are $196,000 and $47,000 respectively.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $133.8M which was down a sharp 48% from last year when Avatar stayed in the top spot with $75.6M; and down 21% from 2008 when Marley & Me opened at number one with $36.4M. Christmas Eve did not fall on the weekend during either of those two years.


Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

Geoffrey Rush

A revered stage performer who became an Oscar-winning acting fixture in Hollywood, Geoffrey Rush parlayed his breakout in 1996’s Shine into a succession of roles in films as varied as Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Finding Nemo and Munich, while turning in a memorable performance as the nefarious Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. This week, Rush returns to the screen opposite Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, Tom Hooper’s period drama that has already started to gather Awards-season buzz. In it, Rush plays Lionel Logue, an unorthodox speech therapist assigned to help the stammering King George (Firth) as he prepares to address the nation on the brink of World War II.

We spoke to the always charming Rush, who recently wrapped shooting on the fourth Pirates movie, On Stranger Tides, to talk about his character in The King’s Speech. And, of course, we asked him to name his five favorite films. “It’s a tricky one,” the actor says, “because you think, ‘Ah God, I can never get it down to five,’ but off the top of my head, these are favorites… ”

City Lights (1931, 100% Tomatometer)



City Lights

I think they’re all fairly artful pieces of work, but I think my all-time favorite is Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, which was one of the… well, it’s like now, somebody still making a film in 2D, three years later: he still made it as a silent film [after the advent of sound], with inter-titling, and it had a recorded score. It’s one of those films that I’ve shown to many, various groups of people socially. I remember going to a DVD night in Silverlake, with a lot of very groovy LA people, and we all had to bring a film. And they were bringing along, you know, Sin City and stuff, and I did a pitch on that film, without saying it was a Charlie Chaplin film — saying it’s about an alcoholic and this young, impoverished guy, and they’re best friends when the guy is drunk and then when he sobers up he doesn’t know who he is; and the young guy is wanting to help this girl who sells flowers on the street, and she’s blind. And they were all going, “Oh my God, this sounds amazing,” and then I said it’s in black and white and it’s silent and it’s a Charlie Chaplin film — and they all watched it and were just entranced; and this is sort of like the Tarantino crowd. I’ve always loved that film.

Amarcord (1973, 92% Tomatometer)



Amarcord

The next one I would say would be Amarcord by Fellini. In fact everything by Fellini, but Amarcord, particularly, I just happened to see it — I think most of the films I’m going to mention I probably saw in my early 20s, either in Queensland or when I first went to Europe, and they were the films that just stuck with me and I felt when I saw them they kind of blew me away.

Persona (1966,
93% Tomatometer)



Persona

What else did I have in there? I’d probably have to have Persona, by Bergman.

Zelig (1983,
100% Tomatometer)



Zelig

Zelig, by Woody Allen, just because I think it’s one of the most ingenious pieces of faux filmmaking and yet it’s hilarious and it has a sort of brilliant sense of history and a touch of absurdity and madness to it.

War and Peace (1967, 100% Tomatometer)



War and Peace

I’d probably have to throw in the Sergei Bondarchuk War and Peace from the ’60s. I remember seeing that with my step-dad when I was about 15. The scale of it and the kind of dramatic style of old, expressionistic use of the camera, that led me then to look at things like Ivan the Terrible. I just thought they were amazing. No one’s quite touched it since. When you look at it, the only thing that’s dated is probably the font they used for the titles — it sort of says it’s a bit ’60s, but the rest of it you just go, “Wow, this guy played Pierre as well as directing it.” And there’s not one CGI soldier, you know: they’ve literally got 50,000 troops in the back of shot.


Next, Geoffrey Rush discusses his role opposite Colin Firth in this week’s The King’s Speech, and his just-wrapped Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

 

RT: The King’s Speech looks like it was fun to work on — did you enjoy it?

GR: I did, I had a ball. It was something that we had real scheduling difficulties with, because I had committed to a musical in Melbourne and it looked like it was going to clash, but [director] Tom Hooper managed to move things around and I had a window of opportunity for seven weeks. So for a film it was a very intensive period of rehearsal and work shopping; primarily the scenes that Colin and I were doing, because we were going to shoot all of our stuff in a month. And that added a sense of pressure and also of play, which I think was invaluable.

The character you play, Lionel Logue, was an Australian speech therapist — did you know much about him before you took the project on?

I knew nothing about him. At first I read the play that David Seidler had written, a couple of years back I think, and I knew about the bigger historical wheels that were turning around that period in the British monarchy: the abdication, and I knew that the Duke of York, George the Sixth, was a stammerer and over the years I’d seen different news reel footage of that. It was probably the last period where a royal figure was so prominent in terms of the morale of the country. At the time, the Prime Ministers would make all the official speeches about the declaration of war and stuff, but then it was up to the King, against all those odds, and up against the sort of ranting, charismatic rhetoric of Hitler, to make these great broadcasts; because radio, at that stage, was relatively new, I think — the BBC started in the early- to mid-’30s, so it was kind of a new medium.

But Lionel, I knew nothing of him. He was a completely fascinating figure, and that sort of appealed to me; the extremities of the differences between these two men that happened to be thrown together against seemingly great odds. The fact that the Duke of York was very protocol driven, with a great sense of history and rules and regulations, you know; his job description was completely different to Lionel, being the son of brewer and kind of an amateur dilettante, Shakespeare fanatic who loved recitals, taught elocution and then found himself working with shell-shock victims and developing, just through pure experience, techniques that are now regarded as very orthodox. They would have been very avant garde at the time.

Is it true that Lionel wanted — and failed — to be a professional actor, and did you imagine what your life might have been like had you been in the same position?

[Laughs] It’s a little vague that area. He did, because I know we got a hold of his diaries, and all of his papers were given to us not long before we started shooting. I think the production design department located Lionel’s grandson, who said he had all of his grandfather’s papers… and there were letters and photos and diagnostic charts and diaries. Logue, I think, only started diarizing his life once the Duke of York became King, because I think he might have thought, this is worth archiving for posterity in some way. So the contents of the letters, for example, and just the nature of what the chosen information was that went into the daily accounts… there’s even the Duke of York’s first diagnosis card, the jottings that he made on their first meeting. All of that material was invaluable in finding a greater nuance and reality to those meetings, and not imagining the more clichéd versions of it.

You’ve always been an eloquent performer, but were there any “tongue twisters” Logue used that even you had trouble with?

Well I don’t have a natural inclination. I know some actors who can jump around dialects with a great facility, with what we might call a “natural ear”. I’ve always worked very closely with two specific voice and dialect coaches, one of whom happens to have been a former speech therapist who had worked with stammerers and so forth. But the one woman I have worked with, Barbara Berkery, who I met on Shakespeare in Love — she worked with me on The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and The Golden Age and on the Pirates films and so forth — it’s a slight homage to her, because the “thistle sifter” tongue twister that’s in the film is one that she taught me. And I’ve always loved it because when my son was younger I used to give it to him, and he’d just stumble fretfully through the whole thing.

Once your muscle memory is trained on those sort of things, I think they become for me, and for Lionel Logue, kind of party pieces, you know. It’s like learning the scales or something — you’ve just got to hammer away at it until your fingers can run up and down the keyboard and know which black and white notes to hit. Similarly, a good tongue twister always has those difficult sounds. And I always liked the idea because I thought, as a team, Logue is a thistle sifter, as is the Duke of York; we’re all thistle sifters — we’ve got this in our life and we’ve got that in our life. We used to find hilarious variations of that at any given moment on the set; anything that sounded like thistle sifter we would turn into a tongue twister… and most of them were obscene. [laughs]

How’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides coming along?

Oh it’s great. Pirates 4 has a real snappy, interesting quality to it. It’s got almost a completely different tone and tempo to the trilogy.

Are you liking it better than the previous sequels?

Ah, no… look I’ve had a good time on that whole quartet of films. The fact that this one was not just another franchise movie — there was a whole lot of new ingredients and new energy and fresh ideas thrown onto the table — was great.


The King’s Speech is in theaters this week.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a hairy situation (Tangled, with voice work from Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi); cabaret dreams (Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher); a revenge rampage (Faster starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton); and amour pharma (Love and Other Drugs, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal). What do the critics have to say?



[tomatometer]MovieID=770678818[/tomatometer]

Tangled

Disney has always had a knack for taking classic fairy tales and making them fresh. And while the critics say Tangled, a reimagining of Rapunzel, may not have the depth of the studio’s animated classics, it’s a visually stunning, emotionally resonant piece of family entertainment. The charming rogue Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) takes refuge in a tower, where he’s held against his will by Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a spunky gal who’s looking to escape her isolated existence. The pundits say Tangled blends old-school storytelling with state-of-the-art animation, and the result is a film that’s funny, romantic, and exciting.



[tomatometer]MovieID=770857928[/tomatometer]

Burlesque

It’s no sin for a movie musical to have a predictable plot, and Burlesque‘s tale of a small-town girl trying to make it in the big city is as old as the hills. However, critics say the movie doesn’t quite go over-the-top enough to make it all worthwhile. Christina Aguilera stars as Ali, whose showbiz ambitions take her to the Burlesque Lounge. After a few stumbles, she’s taken under the tutelage of the club’s proprietor (Cher). Will she achieve her dreams? The pundits say X-Tina and Cher acquit themselves well, and the musical numbers have their moments, but ultimately Burlesque lacks the grit and plotting of such showbiz classics as Cabaret.



[tomatometer]MovieID=770816173[/tomatometer]

Faster

After a detour into family-friendly territory, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson veers back into action with the revenge thriller Faster. Unfortunately, critics say this is only a decent genre picture, one with some solid thrills that succumbs to skin-deep characters and some pacing issues. Johnson stars as a fresh-out-the-joint ex-con on a mission to avenge the death of his brother, who was murdered during the job that sent him to prison. However, a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) is on his trail, and it turns out there’s more to Johnson’s plot than there appears. The pundits say Faster is more ambitious than your average action flick, but ultimately the characters don’t resound as they should, and the plot twists are a bit too pat.



[tomatometer]MovieID=770856056[/tomatometer]

Love and Other Drugs

It’s a terrific premise for a romantic comedy: can a philandering pharmaceutical rep pitching a male enhancement pill actually find love? Too bad, then, that critics say Love and Other Drugs is something of a misfire, with attractive, charismatic leads but an inconsistent comic tone. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a swingin’ Viagra pitchman who finds himself under the spell of a free-spirited woman (Anne Hathaway); romance and raciness ensue. The problem, pundits say, is that Love and Other Drugs squanders its stars on a script that can’t decide if it wants to be heartfelt or raunchy, and the result is a movie that has its moments but can’t totally cohere.


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in the tale of King George VI’s struggle to overcome a speech impediment during tumultuous times, is at 85 percent.
  • Undertow, a ghost story about a Peruvian fisherman’s forbidden love, is at 85 percent.
  • Nutcracker in 3D, a star-studded, darkly political take on Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, is at zero percent.

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