411 Movies Top 5 2.21.14: Top 5 Honorary All-Time Oscars
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 02.21.2014
From The Godfather Part II as best film and Beauty and the Beast as best animated film to Christian Bale as best actor and more, the 411 staff counts down their top five choices for all-time Honorary Oscars!
Welcome to Week 414 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: It is Part 1 of our Oscars coverage. This week present your own Honorary Oscars to anyone you think deserves it. They don't have to have received one before, but they can if you want to list them. This is your Oscar worthy best of the best. Choose one from each of the following 5 categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Animated Movie:
5. Best Animated Film of All Time: Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is still a thing of exquisite beauty twenty-three years later. From the excellent voice work to the hand drawn animation (with computer enhancements here and there), it is clearly one of the best looking and best sounding cartoons ever made. The story, too, is something to still be in awe off. It still works, it still makes you laugh, it still thrills, and it makes you angry at times (Gaston is still one of the biggest douchebags in movie history. I can't stand that bragging jagoff). Disney, at least in terms of hand drawn animation, hasn't made anything as good since Beauty and the Beast stormed the world and picked up a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Great, great stuff.
4. Best Director of All Time: John Carpenter
John Carpenter is one of the most consistent directors in the history of Hollywood. Regardless of the genre he works in (horror, sci-fi, action, comedy) Carpenter manages to create a movie that is clearly his. You can just tell by watching it. However, because he tends to work in genre movies Carpenter isn't afforded the kind of respect Hollywood and the "people who get to decide what art is" give to directors like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. To me, that just makes no sense. Carpenter directs, writes, composes the music for his movies. He often creates a singular movie watching experience that is his and his alone (again, you can tell when you're watching a Carpenter movie). Where's the love? And where the hell is the audience? For whatever reason, Carpenter's movies, outside of Halloween and Escape from New York, don't seem to make an impact until several years after they're released. His remake of The Thing is considered by many to be his best movie, yet when it came out it nearly cost him his spot in Hollywood because no one liked it. He doesn't deserve that kind of thing anymore. He deserves a spot in the top echelon of movie directors. He's earned it.
3. Best Actress of All Time: Debbie Rochon
Outside of the low budget B-movie watching world, I doubt most people have any idea who Debbie Rochon is. Despite making hundreds of movies in various genres, odds are the general movie going public is unaware that she exists. Much like with the world's general lack of respect for director John Carpenter, lack of awareness of Rochon just makes no sense. She should be a bigger deal than she is. Regardless of the movie she appears in she always manages to class it up, and, when given the right material, can make true movie magic. Her 2002 effort American Nightmare is nothing short of amazing. Please, track that movie down and check it out. It will amaze you.
2. Best Actor of All Time: (tie) Kurt Russell/Tim Thomerson
Both Kurt Russell and Tim Thomerson have the same ability to act in any kind of movie and not seem out of place. Yes, both Russell and Thomerson are probably best known for their genre roles (Snake Plissken in Escape from New York and Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China for Russell, and Jack Deth in the Trancers franchise for Thomerson), but they're both adept at straight drama and comedy. Both actors can be silly and both can be deadly serious. And they both always seem to be up for anything, as long as the part seems good (both actors have made bad movies, but even in those instances they're usually the best thing in those movies). And when they both star in a movie it seems like an event (at least that's what happens with me). I think it's high goddamn time both actors get the recognition they deserve.
1. Best Movie of All Time: Starship Troopers (1997)
Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers is, without question, the greatest movie ever made. It's a big budget sci-fi action flick chock full of gory, nasty battle scenes and subversive commentary on fascism, militarism, and humanity in general. You can watch it as mere spectacle and you can watch it as a parody of propaganda movies meant to get the public ginned up about war. It isn't a perfect movie (Denise Richards gives her best performance, sure, but I still don't like her. I'll always be a Dina Meyer man), but it gets so much right that its few deficiencies are just not that important in the long run. Verhoeven will probably never top this masterpiece, and I seriously doubt anyone working today will match Starship Troopers ability to both entertain the audience and make it think. I am still in awe of this movie. Humans fighting giant bugs in outer space. It's just so goddamn awesome.
"Come on you apes, you want to live forever?" Indeed.
5. Up - Best Animated Film Of All Time
Having grown up on Disney and come to appreciate tonnes of anime in my teens, I've always had an appreciation for animated films of various influences. But I'm going to have to go with Up. It's fairly recent but with that emotional kick to the downstairs opening setting up a brilliant character arc, prompting the miserable and depressive old man Carl Fredricksen to turn his life around and go see Paradise Falls in his house carried by balloons with annoying Wilderness Explorer lad Russell in tow. Amid talking dogs, crazy animals and kickass plots as part of the usual genius tap as part of Pixar Studios, Up cleaned up numerous Best Animated Feature categories in awards season and was even up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. No other animated film of any kind can hit both the emotional heights and sheer lunacy animation can and should provide in this wonderfully entertaining and beautiful film.
4. John Carpenter - Best Director Of All Time
I'll have to echo Bryan here and honour simply one of the best directors ever, who really never was appreciated at the peak of his powers. John Carpenter puts himself on top of a list of the best horror and science fiction genre directors ever. Coming up with new and original film ideas, he's most famous for his remake of The Thing amongst and also, need I remind you that this is a man who over time gave us two iconic cinematic screen icons in Snake Pliskin and Michael Myers? Where I fawn over Carpenter is his use of practical effects to create numerous creatures and scenarios which fit into his cinema style like a glove. He's one of those directors who contributes everywhere from cinematography all the way down to music, which are a key part of his films. He wrote the haunting theme to Halloween which encapsulates everything about that film and reflects back when it's used in the film itself. Creating feeling and moods no matter the genre he turns his hand to was second nature to him. If anyone is deserving of an honorary award for creating originality in Hollywood whose influence is still felt today, it's this man. Thanks Mr. Carpenter.
3. Rocky II – Best Movie of All Time
Yeah not quite the Rocky you were expecting right? I wouldn't say it's technically a better film than the first outing of the Italian Stallion but I feel the first sequel to the Rocky Balboa actually hits more of an emotional high. Rocky II features Philadelphia's favourite son dealing with retirement, new found wealth, a quiet married life with Adrian, physical health, the constant nagging and insults of rival Apollo Creed, fatherhood and Adrian's illness. Sure you can argue it's fairly cheap, but just seeing a man go through all that, before beating his arch rival to life the World Boxing Championship just puts me in overload. Sylvester Stallone actually directed this sequel and was given a bigger budget to work with, making it a nicer film to look at compared to the grimey vision of the first (which isn't a bad thing). The boxing scenes look alot better as a whole and there's an actual crowd for them all to play off. The cast excels from the first, especially Burgess Meredith's Mickey and Carl Weather's Apollo Creed. As much as I enjoy them, the rest of the series descends into a popcorn flick series of varying quality. Rocky II manages to find a very healthy balance of capturing the same spirit of the 'Million to one shot' of the original and the entertainment angle of the rest of the series. Endlessly rewatchable and kicked on possibly the greatest sports film franchise ever after the repeat success of the first. Timeless.
2. Christian Bale - Best Actor Of All Time
What draws me back to Christian Bale constantly is that he always gives it socks, even if he's not too bothered about the role. Take recent vehicle Out Of The Furnace for example. Not a massively notable film, but he really does put in his all and raises up a film's reputation. Ever since he broke out as 80's delusional serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, he's become THE MAN, scoring big time in performance driven and award winning roles and unabashed popcorn flicks too. Not afraid to do whatever it takes for a role, I simply love his commitment to starve himself for four months to slim down for The Machinist before training himself into a mastodon to take up the mantle of Bats in Batman Begins. A fiery personality too and respected the world over. Oh and he was born in Wales. And who doesn't love a Welshman?
1. Sandra Bullock - Best Actress Of All Time
To me, if you're going to put someone on a pedestal as your Best Actress Of All-Time, they'd have to be able to do it all - serious drama, comedy, emotion. If you want someone with all that range, you really can't look further than Sandra Bullock. A multiple award winning actress, Bullock is probably more known for her rom-com work overall but least I remind you for her comedy skills in The Heat as well as reasonable turns in outings like Demolition Man and her coming out part in Speed. Never really seen as a diva in comparison to other leading women who have crashed and burned massively in Hollywood's spotlight, she just seems a warm, likable person and in the movie industry, you can never have enough of those.
Shawn S. Lealos
5. Toy Story 3 - Best Animated Movie of All Time
Pixar is the master of animated movies and they really took off big time with their first movie, Toy Story. While I agree completely with Terry that Up might be one of the best animated movies of all time, I have to say that Toy Story 3 ranks at the top of my list. It is a rare case where each movie in the series was actually better than the one that came before it, and that is high praise since the first was so great. The first movie was about a child's relationship with his toys, as well as about moving on through stages of life. Toy Story 3 is about the moment where childhood is left behind and is also about moving on in life. It was a brilliant end of Andy's story.
4. Katharine Hepburn - Best Actress Of All Time
She is – in my mind without any doubt – the best actress of all time. After breaking her teeth in theater work, she broke into Hollywood in the early 30s and was fantastic from the start. She turned in great roles opposite Cary Grant and became one of cinema's best romantic comedy actress. I would have to say that Bringing Up Baby might still be the best romantic screwball comedy of all time. After that, she reached her biggest seccess in movies like The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen, the latter of which earned her co-star Humphrey Bogart his only Oscar win. Hepburn ranks only second to Meryl Streep in Oscar nominations, picking up 12 while winning four.
3. Paul Newman - Best Actor Of All Time
Honestly, Paul Newman is my favorite actor of all time, and not only that, but he is also one of the best respected actors to ever work. Look at his output in some of the best movies of all time – The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Slap Shot, The Verdict and The Color of Money. Even movies that are not known just for Paul Newman like Road to Perdition, Cars, The Hudsucker Proxy and Message in a Bottle all benefited from his appearance. The guy was just gold in everything he did. He received an actual Honorary Academy Award in 1986 but the fact that he only won one actual Oscar despite being nominated nine times is ridiculous.
2. Steven Spielberg - Best Director Of All Time
I know he is a "popular" director and some may prefer names like Alfred Hitchcock or Martin Scorsese, but I have more movies that I love that Steven Spielberg made than anyone else. Look at his career. His very first movie was the TV movie Duel, which was just fantastic. His first theatrical movie Sugarland Express was a great start. Then came the one-two punch of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. People felt that 1941 was a misstep, but I like the movie as goofy fun. He then made the greatest action movie of all time in Raiders of the Lost Ark and one of the best alien movies of all time in E.T.. Then look at his later output – The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, Munich, Lincoln – can anyone outside of Hitchcock boast the quality of movies that Steven Spielberg has directed? The guy is a master of filmmaking, regardless of genre.
1. The Godfather Part II – Best Movie of All Time
A lot of people like to call The Godfather one of the best movies of all time, but honestly, The Godfather Part II is better in every way than the first movie in the franchise. I will be honest here. The direction and acting in the first Godfather movie was brilliant, but I felt the story was overlong and left me wanting a little. However, The Godfather, Part II was damn near perfect. Switching back and forth from Al Pacino's Michael as he was reluctantly becoming the evil figure that he fought against to the past where Robert De Niro's Vito was building the family empire was just riveting action. This movie was, is and will always be a perfect piece of cinema.