If Only Oscar-Winning Movies Had An MVP Like the Super Bowl
February has four big events happening: Black History Month, Valentine's Day, the Oscars and the Super Bowl. Now, with the Super Bowl and the Oscars behind us. Tom Brady was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX last month. It was his third Super Bowl MVP in his 4 Super Bowl wins. "Birdman" just took home the Academy Award for Best Picture at last week's Oscars. Several years ago, my friend and I had this discussion after "The Departed" surprisingly won for Best Picture at the Oscars, we asked each other, "If the Oscars were like the Super Bowl who would be the movie's MVP?" Would it have been Leonardo DiCaprio? Matt Damon? Mark Wahlberg or even Jack Nicholson as a wild card? That was a tough call for us because there were so great performances in that movie. It was the first Martin Scorsese film to win an for Best Picture. Also, it was the first time in his long legendary career that he won an Oscar for Best Director.
This thought came back into my mind within the last few weeks of the announcement of the nominees for this year's Academy Awards. As one of Hollywood's biggest nights just, unbelievably, six days away, there were some performances in these movies that would've deserved the MVP award because all of these actors and actresses didn't win the Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars at the time of nominations, and some of them weren't even nominated for the awards. So, let's look back on those actors and actresses who were the MVP of these Oscar winners for the past 40-plus years. Some were no-brainers while others were too close to call.
This 1970 classic biopic of Major General George Patton won 7 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Art Direction. But, most of all, George C. Scott won Best Actor for his performance. But, he refused to accept his Oscar because he didn't like the idea of actors competing for awards. He was the first actor to do so. But, he still deserved the accolades for his performance because no one could've pulled that role off any better.
MVP: George C. Scott
The French Connection (1971)
William Friedkin's 1971 crime-drama adaption of Robin Moore's book by the same title that tells the story of a detective who goes above and way beyond the law even break the rules to take down a huge heroin syndicate in New York. Plus, it has one of the most famous car chases in cinematic history. This film was well-shot with its gritty documentary style cinematography. Gene Hackman built his legendary career on his Oscar-winning performance as hard-boiled, honest with no-filter NYPD Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle. His performance is one of the main reasons why this film remains a cinematic classic. Besides, winning Best Picture and Best Actor, the movie also won three other Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
MVP: Gene Hackman
The Godfather (1972)
The godfather (no pun intended) of all gangster movies. Francis Ford Coppola's epic gangster classic that spans into a decade in the lives of a powerful New York mafia family. This classic film has all the ingredients of a great movie: great story, great directing, great acting and great cinematography. It seems like that Coppola caught lighting in a bottle to make this masterpiece. Besides winning the Oscar for Best Picture, the film won two more Academy Awards: Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay. But, it's tough to call an MVP for this movie because you had two standout performances from Brando as Don Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as his son Michael Corleone. In the end, you have to go with the guy who has one of the most classic lines in film, "I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse."
MVP: Marlon Brando
The Sting (1973)
The classic, cool 1973 caper flick starring Robert Redford and Paul Newan, aka Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, reuniting this time as two grifters in 1930s Chicago trying to run a con on a mob boss. The film also reunited them with "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" director George Roy Hill. This is one of the rare comedies to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The movie won 6 other Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Music Score. It is so hard to pick between Redford (who was nominated for Best Actor) and Newman for MVP because they turned in great performances in this movie, so I'll have to make an exception and give it both to them.
MVPs: Robert Redford and Paul Newman
The Godfather Part II (1974)
This had never been done before prior to the 47th Academy Awards: a predecessor (original) film and its successor (sequel) film winning an Oscar for Best Picture. In fact, it hasn't been done since "The Godfather Part II" won the Oscar for Best Picture. But, this movie killed two birds with one stone: this movie was not the sequel to "The Godfather", it was also the prequel to "The Godfather." With Don Vito Corleone gone, it's now young Michael Corleone's turn to take over the family business as the new Don. It also goes back to the early days of his father Vito from his Sicilian childhood to his ultimate rise of power in New York. The movie only won five other Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Robert DeNiro winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Best Dramatic Score and Best Art Direction. It was tough deciding between Pacino and DeNiro, who both gave classic performances in this sequel. But, slightly have to go with DeNiro as he was just as good playing the character that built Marlon Brando's career and it ultimately did the same thing for him.
MVP: Robert DeNiro
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Milos Forman's classic 1975 drama based on Ken Kesey's novel of the same in a story of a new patient at a mental facility, who leads a group of his fellow patients to rebel against the cruel, oppressive nurse and orderlies to gain independence. Besides winning the Oscar for Best Picture, the movie won 4 other Oscars including a Best Actor Oscar for Jack Nicholson, a Best Actress Oscar for Louise Fletcher, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Now, this one too close to call, you can easily go with Jack for his performance as Randle McMurphy, but Fletcher steals the show as Nurse Ratched, one of the most cruelest movie villains in cinema.
MVP: Louise Fletcher
The poster for "Rocky" says, "His life was a million-to-one shot." This movie was art imitating life as the movie being made was a million-to-one shot with Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote the screenplay, being cast as the now-iconic boxing underdog that gets a huge shot to take on reigning Heavyweight champ Apollo Creed for a shot at the title on New Year's Eve. The movie had a small budget, a 28-day shooting schedule, a star sick (Talia Shire caught the flu during filming as she was shooting the kissing scene between her and Stallone) and new camera invention was being used for the first time that would eventually go on to change film (Garrett Brown's Steadicam). Besides winning the Oscars for Best Picture, "Rocky" also won two Oscars for Best Director and Best Film Editing. This one is no-brainer because Sylvester Stallone created and played one of the most classic characters in cinema, It also spawned five sequels, and currently working on a spinoff film.
MVP: Sylvester Stallone
Annie Hall (1977)
This is the romantic comedy of all romantic comedies. Woody Allen's classic 1977 Oscar-winning masterpiece, where he plays a comedian, who reflects on the relationship and ultimate break-up with his ex-girlfriend. It is one of the few comedies to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. Allen does a great job of capturing the vibe and essence of an eclectic 1970s New York. But, Diane Keaton steals the show in the title role. Her Oscar-winning performance in this film kicked her legendary career into high-gear.
MVP: Diane Keaton
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Director Michael Cimino's (which he also won the Oscar for Best Director) 1978 critically-acclaimed war drama that told the story of the impact of the Vietnam War affecting a small group of residents in a small Pennsylvania town. Some parts of the movie were filmed in my hometown Cleveland (i.e. St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the Tremont area for the wedding scene and Tremont's Lemko Hall for the wedding reception scene) and all around the state of Ohio. This Academy Award-winning movie has three great performances by three legendary actors: Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken. If this were a Super Bowl championship team, they would be the 1980s San Francisco 49ers. But, as the same with the Super Bowl, there can only be one MVP.
MVP: Christopher Walken
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
The mother and father of all divorce and child custody movies. Robert Benton's 1979 Oscar-winning drama based on the book of the same name by Avery Corman tells the story of a newly-divorced man that has to learn how to care for his young son after his ex-wife leaves, and has to fight in court to keep custody. The movie also won Oscars for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. "Kramer vs. Kramer" has great performances from Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep, who both won Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. It's hard to decide on the MVP between these two great actors but there can only be one.
MVP: Dustin Hoffman
Ordinary People (1980)
Iconic actor Robert Redford's 1980 Oscar-winning directorial debut started off with a bang. The film, which is based on the book of the same name by Judith Guest, not only won Best Picture, but it won Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton). The film tells the story of an upper-middle class family who come together and as they're grieving the death of one their sons. There are great performances in this film, but Hutton, who made his feature film debut in this movie at the age of 20, steals the show. He truly earned his Oscar for his role as the surviving son.
MVP: Timothy Hutton
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Even if you never seen the movie, you've heard Vangelis' classic Oscar-winning score many times in various TV shows, commercials and even the Olympics. The Oscar-winning 1981 biopic of runners Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who run for their own religious and social purposes as they go for the Gold in the 1924 Olympics. This is a rare for a sports movie to have social commentary, but it gives a great balance. Also, Ben Cross and Ian Charleson give great performances as the two legendary Olympic runners.
MVP: Ben Cross
The late Sir Richard Attenborough's dream project biopic about the life of activist Mohandas Gandhi paid off in more ways than one. It was a critical and financial hit, and won the Oscar for Best Picture. The film also won six more Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Sir Ben Kingsley), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Sir Ben puts on one of those once-in-a-lifetime performances as the great activist, so the MVP is no-brainier at all.
MVP: Sir Ben Kingsley
Terms of Endearment (1983)
James L. Brooks' Academy Award-winning 1983 dramedy tearjerker based on the book of the same name by Larry McMurty. The movie tells the story of a relationship between a mother and daughter through the good times and the bad times throughout a 30-year period. The movie won four other Oscars for Best Director, Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Adapted Screenplay. This movie had some great performances by these actors, but MacLaine's legend shines through in this role.
MVP: Shirley MacLaine
Director Milos Forman's 1984 Academy Award-winning biopic that tells the story of Mozart as told by his rival Antonio Salieri as he is confined in an insane asylum. The film won seven other Oscars for Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director (Forman), Best Sound Mixing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Best Art Direction. It hard to pick between Abraham and Tom Hulce, who plays Mozart, because they both give dynamic performance in this period piece, but I would have to give the slight edge to Hulce.
MVP: Tom Hulce
Out of Africa (1985)
The late Sydney Pollack's 1985 epic romantic drama, which starred Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Set in the early 20th century, this tells the story of a passionate love affair between a baroness and a free-spirited big-game hunter. The movie won six other Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing. It is hard to decide a MVP between these two legendary actors but one does have a slight edge over the other.
MVP: Meryl Streep
Oliver Stone's 1986 classic bittersweet semi-autobiographical, Academy Award-winning war drama masterpiece told through the eyes of a young recruit with a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war. This was the first film about the Vietnam war to be done by a former Vietnam vet. Stone, who also won the Oscar for Best Director, served as an infantryman during his tour of duty in Vietnam. This film would take Stone over a decade to get made as Hollywood wasn't down with making a film about Vietnam. But, he perceived and "Platoon" got made, it was a hit with critics and audiences alike. The film would win two other Oscars for Best Sound and Best Film Editing. This film has so many great performances, and spawned the careers of so many actors, including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker. But, the standout performances of the film is Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger, it was hard to pick an MVP.
MVP: Tom Berenger
The Last Emperor (1987)
Acclaimed director Bernardo Bertolucci's 1987 Oscar-winning biopic about Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last emperor of China was the little independent film that could. Bertolucci proposed "The Last Emperor" and another film to the Chinese government to make and they preferred "The Last Emperor." The film's producer raised $25 million independently to make the movie. They were given full access to shoot in The Forbidden City, which was the first time a Western movie was allowed to film there. This is one of the most least financially successful films to win an Oscar. The film won seven more Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score. The film is beautifully shot and has great performances.
MVP: John Lone
Rain Man (1988)
Barry Levinson's 1988 Oscar-winning drama that was a huge hit with audiences and critics. "Rain Man" was one of the highest grossing movies of 1988, which told the story of a hotshot yuppie, who finds out his late father leaves fortune to his savant brother that he's never met. He meets his brother for the first time and travel across the country. The movie was inspired the late Kim Peek. This is one of my favorite Oscar-winning movies, it won three other Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and a Best Actor Oscar for Dustin Hoffman, who is the bar none MVP.
MVP: Dustin Hoffman
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
The 1989 comedy/drama from director Bruce Beresford, which was based on the Alfred Uhry's stage play by the same name. Uhry also wrote the screenplay. The movie spans over a 25-year period of a love/hate friendship between an elderly Jewish woman and her African American chauffeur in Atlanta. The movie won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Makeup. Tandy may have won the Oscar for her performance but Morgan Freeman stole the movie.
MVP: Morgan Freeman
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Actor Kevin Costner's 1990 Academy Award-winning directorial debut, which is based on the book by Michael Blake of the same name. Blake also wrote the screenplay. This film tells the story of a union Army Lieutenant traveling the American Frontier, and during his journey he befriends the Lakota Indians and wolves. This film was a labor of love/pet project for Costner, which took him five years to get to the big screen. He even used some of his own money to help the movie be completed. The movie won six more Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Cinematography. Costner can't be the MVP because he was the film's director, but there is a performance in the movie that's underrated and that's the MVP.
MVP: Graham Greene
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Oscar-winning 1991 classic thriller directed by Johnathan Demme, who also won the Oscar for Best Director. The movie is based on the Hannibal Lecter book series by Thomas Harris. This adaptation of the series finds FBI Agent Clarice Starling enlisting the expertise of the demented Dr. Hannibal Lecter to help her capture sadistic, psychopathic serial killer Buffalo Bill. This movie is one of the best thrillers of all time. It spawned two more sequels, "Hannibal" in 2001 and "Red Dragon" in 2002, but this wasn't the first Hannibal Lecter movie. That honor belongs to 1986's "Manhunter", (which was based on "Red Dragon"), starring former "CSI" star William Petersen. The movie won four more Oscars for Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Both actors give amazing performances in this movie; it's hard to decide an MVP, but you have to give the slight edge to the man that's played one of the most twisted iconic characters in cinema.
MVP: Sir Anthony Hopkins
Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winning swan song to the genre that helped made him famous: Western. And, this movie went out with guns blazing (literally and figuratively) with all rounds. It seems art was imitating life as the movie tells the story of an aging outlaw and killer who gets back into the game for one more bounty after spend years of living a quiet life farming. This is another one of my favorite Academy Award-winning movies, it had everything rolled into one: action, guns, revenge, girls and heart. The movie won three more Oscars for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman) and Best Film Editing. There is some great acting by Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman. It's very tough to choose between these three legendary actors.
MVP: Gene Hackman
Schindler's List (1993)
Steven Spielberg's 1993 acclaimed Oscar-winning biopic of Oskar Schindler, who decides to fight for his Jewish workers in Poland during the Holocaust after witnessing their persecution at the cold-blooded hands of the Nazis. This film is one Spielberg's best works in long, legendary career, he also won an Oscar for Best Director. The film won five more Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. The film has some fine performances especially from Liam Neeson, Ralpn Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. Neeson and Fiennes were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively but there's only one MVP.
MVP: Ralph Fiennes
Forrest Gump (1994)
Robert Zemeckis' 1994 Oscar-winning hit dramedy, which is based on the book by Winston Groom of the same, tells the story of a slow-witted and naïve but good-hearted man who witnesses, and even influences, some of America's cultural events of the 20th century. The movie ended up winning five more Oscars for Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. This is another one of my favorite Oscar-winning movies because it a charming, funny story and it has a lot of heart. Plus, it's a character that you love and root for, and nobody couldn't have done that any better than Tom Hanks.
MVP: Tom Hanks
Mel Gibson's 1995 Oscar-winning medieval hit that tells the story of William Wallace, who leads an army of Scottish warriors in a revolt against a cruel English tyrant after a secret bride is killed for defending herself against the guard that tried to rape her. The movie won four other Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Editing. Mel Gibson does a great job as an actor and director, but Patrick McGoohan steals the show as the villainous King Edward I.
MVP: Patrick McGoohan
The English Patient (1996)
The late Anthony Minghella's acclaimed 1996 Oscar-winning romantic drama, which is based on the book of the same by Michael Ondaatje, tells the story of a severely-injured plane crash victim tells a young nurse his story of being in a fateful love affair on his deathbed at end of WWII. The film won eight more Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Bionche), Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing. This is a very good classic period love story and Bionche shines in her Oscar-winning role.
MVP: Juliette Bionche
"I'm the king of the world!", Leonardo DiCaprio screamed out the famous line in James Cameron's 1997 Oscar-winning smash hit that tells the story of a poor artist and a rich aristocrat falling in love aboard the luxurious, ill-fated Titanic. The movie won 10 more Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects. The movie is well-shot and tells a good story with amazing special effects. DiCaprio didn't get nominated for his performance in this movie, but Kate Winslet, who was nominated for Best Actress, gave a better performance in this movie.
MVP: Kate Winslet
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
The hit 1998 Oscar-winning romantic comedy-drama tells the story of young, broke William Shakespeare, who's fresh out of ideas until he meets the woman of his dreams, starts a relationship with her and it inspires him to write one of his most classic plays. The movie won six more Oscars for Best Actress (Gwenyth Paltrow), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. Director John Madden, who was nominated for Best Director, does a fine job with this movie and has funny performances but the leading lady stands out.
MVP: Gwenyth Paltrow
American Beauty (1999)
Director Sam Mendes' 1999 hit Academy Award-winning comedy/drama that tells the story of a sexually frustrated suburban father with a mid-crisis sets out to recapture his youth as becomes infatuated with his daughter's best friend. The movie won four more Oscars for Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. This movie has a great funny, bittersweet story and it also has great cinematography, which earned its Oscar, and great performances. But, Kevin Spacey, without any question, is the MVP.
MVP: Kevin Spacey
Director Ridley Scott's 2000 Oscar-winning hit that tells the story of Maximus, a gladiator who's family is murdered and a Roman general is betrayed by the emperor's corrupt son and he decides to become a gladiator seeking revenge. The movie won four more Oscars for Best Actor (Russell Crowe), Best Sound Mixing, Best Costume Design and Best Visual Effects. "Gladiator" has a great story, great acting and great fight/action scenes. But, Russell Crowe in this movie is your MVP.
MVP: Russell Crowe
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ron Howard's acclaimed 2001 Oscar-winning biopic that tells the true story of genius Nobel Memorial Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, who has to battle his biggest challenge: paranoid schizophrenia. The movie won three more Oscars for Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Ron Howard did an amazing job with this movie as he has done that almost every movie he's made. There are also great performances but Russell Crowe gives a dynamic performance.
MVP: Russell Crowe
Rob Marshall's 2002 Academy-Award winning hit musical adaption of the hit Broadway play tells the story of two murderesses in a vaudevillian and a housewife who fight for fame to keep themselves out of the gallows in 1920s Chicago. The movie won five more Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing and Best Sound. This movie has a great story with show-stopping musical numbers, but Catherine Zeta-Jones is the showstopper.
MVP: Catherine Zeta-Jones
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson's hit box office trilogy went out on top in 2003 taking home the Oscar for Best Picture after the first two movies were nominated for Oscars the years before. This time, Frodo and his sidekick Sam and the Hobbits to seek the final ring and destroy it. The movie won 10 more Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin give great performances as the heroes, but Viggo Mortensen steals the show.
MVP: Viggo Mortensen
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Clint Eastwood's 2004 Oscar-winning sports drama, which is based on stories by F.X. Toole, tells the story of a determined young woman that works with a veteran boxing trainer to make it as a professional boxing. Eastwood won Best Director for the movie, which made him the oldest Oscar winner for the award. The movie also won two more Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Best Actress (Hilary Swank). Eastwood showed his magic again in front of the camera and behind the camera as there are great performances in this movie. But, Hilary Swank earned her Oscar in this role.
MVP: Hilary Swank
Paul Haggis' acclaimed 2004 ensemble Academy Award-winning drama examines the lives of various Los Angeles residents' from different walks of life lives crossing paths interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption in a post-9/11 world. The film was the lowest-grossing film to win an Oscar since "The Last Emperor", and it also pulled off the upset in beating out the favorite "Brokeback Mountain" for the award. This film has great story, great directing and honest dialogue dealing with a serious social issue that's barely tackled in film. Also, it has plenty of great performances in this ensemble cast and that's why it's hard to choose an MVP here. But, Don Cheadle's performance stood out the most in this film.
MVP: Don Cheadle
The Departed (2006)
Director Martin Scorsese's 2006 Oscar-winning crime drama based on 2002 foreign film "Internal Affairs" that tells the story of an undercover Boston cop that infiltrates the Irish mob and a mole in the police force. But, when they discover each other's true identities they discover there's a rat and they try to find out who the rat is. The movie won three more Oscars for Best Director (which was the first win for Scorsese in his career), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Scorsese did it again with crafty storytelling and sharp dialogue. Plus, the movie also has a lot of great performances and like "Crash," it's hard to pick an MVP. But, Mark Wahlberg gives the most standout performance of the movie.
MVP: Mark Wahlberg
No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Coen Brothers' 2007 Oscar-winner hit western, based on the book of the same name by legendary author Cormac McCarthy, tells the story of a regular that delivers a fortune that isn't his that puts him in the vengeful cross hairs of psycho killer in 1980 West Texas. The movie won three other Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). This movie had a great story and suspense from start to finish and it was well-shot. Also, there are great performances in the movie, but Javier Bardem gave the best performance and he earned that Oscar.
MVP: Javier Bardem
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Danny Boyle's 2008 Oscar-winning surprise hit drama took the world by storm. The movie, based on the book "Q & A" by Vikas Swarup, tells the story of a poor Indian kid that goes on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and wins big. But, he is accused of cheating, and he recounts how he knows the answer to every question by linking them to events in his life. The movie won seven more Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Sound Mixing. This movie had great performances but the lead actor Dev Patel made the lead role his and he should have been nominated.
MVP: Dev Patel
The Hurt Locker (2009)
Kathryn Bigelow's 2009 Oscar-winning war drama tells the story of a three-man Explosive Ordinance Unit (bomb disposal) during the Iraq War. The movie won five more Oscars for Best Director, which Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win the award, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. The movie shows gives a very good commentary on the balance of life on the battlefield, how hard it is to turn it off when they get home and going back to what you know. Jeremy Renner did a great job of pulling off that performance.
MVP: Jeremy Renner
The King's Speech (2010)
Tom Hopper's critically-acclaimed 2010 biopic that tells the story of King George VI, who has a stammer, abdicates his throne to his brother Edward VIII. Now, the new king enlists George's friend speech therapist Lionel Logue to help him deliver his first speech on the radio to announce Britain declaring war on Germany in 1939. The film won three more Oscars for Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. This is a great film with great performances, but Firth's performance stands out the most in this film.
MVP: Colin Firth
The Artist (2011)
Writer-director Michel Hazanavicius' 2011 Oscar-winning black-and-white silent film drama tells the story of a relationship between a silent movie star and a dancer from the late 1920s to the early 1930s as their careers take opposite directions as "talkies" (motion pictures with sound) is introduced. This film took me back to the classic silent films my late mother would watch on TCM or would I sometimes watch with her. The movie won four more Oscars for Best Actor, (Jean Dujardin), Best Director Best Original Score and Best Costume Design. It was the first French film to win Best Picture and the first silent film since 1927 to win Best Picture. Most of you may think, you can't find an MVP in a silent film but there is one.
MVP: Jean Dujardin
Ben Affleck's 2012 Academy Award-winning hit biopic that tells the CIA declassified story of operative Tony Mendez, who enlists Hollywood to set up a fake movie as front to lead a rescue of six U.S. diplomats in Iran that are hiding out at the Canadian diplomat's house during the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis. The film won two more Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Affleck did an amazing job with this film, if his previous efforts "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town" made his scratch as a director; "Argo" made his mark as a director. This film also has some great performances that were overlooked by the Oscars, but one stands out that is the MVP.
MVP: John Goodman
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Steve McQueen's 2013 acclaimed period drama based on Solomon Northup's memoir by the same. The film tells the story Northup, a free-born African American man, who's kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery and spends 12 years as a slave on a Louisiana plantation. The film won two other Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o) and Best Adapted Screenplay. This film has an incredible story with great performances, and McQueen is really coming up as a director. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for Best Actor, and Nyong'o give the most standout performances in the film, but she is the MVP.
MVP: Luptia Nyong'o
Alejandro Iñárritu's 2014 Oscar-winning comedy/drama that tells the story of a washed-up Hollywood actor, who was best known for playing the superhero Birdman decades earlier, is now trying to stage a comeback by writing, directing and starring in his own Broadway play while battling his own insecurities. This movie is a hilarious look in the minds and lives of Hollywood and its actors. The movie took home three more Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. "Birdman" is the first comedy to win an Oscar since "Shakespeare in Love." Michael Keaton, who was nominated for Best Actor, is playing a role where art imitates life as he is known for playing Batman in the "Batman" movie franchise. He takes the role and runs with it from beginning to end.
MVP: Michael Keaton
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