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The 10 Best & 10 Worst Follow-Ups To Best Picture Oscar Winners

The 10 Best & 10 Worst Follow-Ups To Best Picture Oscar Winners

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has a chance to make history in about ten days. The Mexican filmmaker is nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the 88th Academy Awards for “The Revenant,” just twelve months after he won both prizes for “Birdman.” While both races remain wide open, with “The Big Short” and “Spotlight” providing a strong challenge, and George Miller proving to be more than a dark horse in the directing category, there’s a strong possibility that Inarritu could take both for the second year in a row.

No director has won an Oscar for Best Director two years in a row since John Ford (for “The Grapes Of Wrath” in 1940 and “How Green Was My Valley” in 1941). No director’s successive films have won Best Picture since David Lean (“The Bridge On The River Kwai” in 1957 and “Lawrence Of Arabia” in 1962). And no filmmaker has pulled off both feats just a year apart.

Which is to say that Inarritu dodged a bullet in terms of following up his Oscar-winning movie by picking absolutely the right project, something that plenty of filmmakers have failed to do. And it got us thinking about follow-ups to Best Picture winners in general, so we’ve compiled a list of ten of the worst and ten of the best. Take a look below and let us know your thoughts.

The 10 Worst

Billy Wilder – “The Emperor Waltz” (1948)

One of the few two-time Best Picture-winning directors on this list, Billy Wilder got it right the second time he had to follow up winning the big prize, with witty Cold War satire “One, Two, Three” following the sublime “The Apartment.” But the first time didn’t turn out as well. Powerful alcoholism drama “The Lost Weekend” took Best Picture at the 18th Academy Awards, and once WWII ended, Wilder intended to make a movie about the American presence in Europe in the aftermath of the conflict (the idea would eventually turn into “A Foreign Affair”). But after witnessing the concentration camps, he decided to make something lighter, namely a musical comedy for Bing Crosby. The result was “The Emperor Waltz,” about a traveling salesman in Austria whose dog falls for the poodle who’s been intended for the emperor’s pet. The film isn’t entirely terrible —this is Billy Wilder, after all— but it’s a tone-deaf, overly convoluted, rather empty trifle, lacking memorable music, jokes, and just about anything worthwhile (both Crosby and Joan Fontaine are hopelessly miscast). One can hardly blame Wilder for being distracted, but it’s sad that this sticks out like such a sore thumb among a mostly impeccable filmography.

Robert Wise – “Two For The Seesaw” (1962)
Robert Wise is another two-time winner, taking Best Picture first for “West Side Story” and then for “The Sound Of Music” a few years later. The latter was followed up by the left-turn war drama “The Sand Pebbles” and was well-received, but Wise unfortunately made the mostly-forgotten “Two For The Seesaw” after the former. Like “West Side Story,” the film is based on a Broadway hit, in this case a play by William Gibson (the “Miracle Worker” author, not the cyberpunk guy) which had starred Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft onstage. Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine stepped into their roles, respectively as a divorcé lawyer recently moved from Nebraska to New York and a free-spirited dancer he falls for —therein lies the rub. Though the two stars began a secret relationship while filming, they don’t share much chemistry, and Mitchum seems somewhat miscast in a role like this, while MacLaine is almost too perfectly cast, insofar as she’s essentially reprising her role from “The Apartment.” It all feels a bit minor, and Wise never finds a way to make it particularly cinematic: again, it’s no train wreck, but it’s a historical footnote at best, despite a pair of Oscar nods for its cinematography and André Previn’s theme song.

John G. Avildsen – “Slow Dancing In The Big City” (1978)

After an underdog win for an underdog story, you could forgive director John G. Avildsen for following the extraordinary success of “Rocky” with another movie from a similar mold. Unfortunately, what he made instead was “Slow Dancing In The Big City,” a sickly musical romance that disappeared without much of a trace. Following aging columnist Lou (Paul Sorvino) as he falls for youthful, facing-disability ballerina Sarah (Anne Ditchburn, a dancer in her first acting role), the film aims for the same mix of grit (Lou befriends a drug-addicted Puerto Rican kid who wants to be a drummer!) and fairy tale magic that proved so successful with “Rocky.” But lightning didn’t really strike twice. Sorvino and Ditchburn aren’t wildly convincing as a couple, ad Ditchburn unfortunately isn’t all that swell as an actress, her wooden line readings unfortunately outweighing her dancing prowess. But mainly it’s the script that lets the whole affair down: it’s a clunky, cliched thing trying to recapture the magic of classic Hollywood but which ends up feeling cheesy. Avildsen would bounce back a few years later with the mega-success of “The Karate Kid,” but this film proved to be a major bump in the road.

Miloš Forman – “Hair” (1979) and “Valmont” (1989)

At least Wilder and Wise followed one of their Oscar winners with good films: the great Czech helmer Miloš Forman also has two great Best Picture victors on his CV, with 1975’s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and 1984’s “Amadeus,” yet he followed them up with two disappointments. Four years after Forman’s Ken Kesey adaptation came another counter-culture pic —his expansive adaptation of hippie-musical fave “Hair.” But by the turn of the decade, the already creaky material felt even more dated, and while Forman clearly has an eye for how to shoot a movie musical, it’s too bad he didn’t venture into the genre with a better source —imagine what he might have done with a “Chicago” or a Stephen Sondheim piece. He soon bounced back with another stage adaptation, Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” and returned to world-class form, but his next picture after that, 1989’s “Valmont,” proved disappointing. Co-written by Jean-Claude Carrière and based on the same source material as “Dangerous Liaisons,” which hit theaters a year earlier, it’s a rather stodgy, passion-free take on the material in which the cast, with the exception of Annette Bening, are mostly ill-chosen —Colin Firth, Fairuza Balk, Meg Tilly and Henry Thomas just aren’t quite what the story required.

Sydney Pollack – “Havana” (1990)

We’ll say this for “Havana” —it features less of a drop-off in quality than most of the films on this half of the list. But that’s only because Pollack’s Oscar-winner, “Out Of Africa,” isn’t very good. It’s an over-acted, over-cooked romance that sums the Academy up perfectly, being an Africa-set movie that won Best Picture, despite not being about Africans. His followup three years later was less politically suspect for the most part, but was far more turgid and boring. Set in the late 1950s on the eve of the Cuban Revolution, the film reunites Pollack with Robert Redford, as an American gambler who’s enlisted by Lena’s Olin’s beautiful revolutionary to help smuggle in radios, and falls for her despite her husband (Raúl Julia, who took his name off in a dispute over credits). With lavish production values that never quite feel authentic (obviously the film wasn’t able to shoot in Cuba, so a vast set was built and there was some scenes shot in the Dominican Republican), it was a financial disaster, failing to get much awards buzz or much of an audience. And you can understand why: Pollack can’t decide if he’s making “Casablanca” or a lavish period romance, and it ends up between two stools. And both of the stools are badly written.

Steven Spielberg – “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997)

It’s almost impossible to imagine a filmmaker having a better year than Steven Spielberg had in 1993. In the summer, he made “Jurassic Park,” a blockbuster that proved to be the top-grossing movie in history up to that point, while in the fall, he released “Schindler’s List,” maybe the best-reviewed film of his career, proving once and for all that he could tackle serious subjects and which finally won him a Best Picture and Best Director Oscar. So you could forgive him for taking a little while to pick his next project, and Spielberg was gone for nearly four years, the longest gap without a movie in his career up to that point. When he returned, it was with “The Lost World,” which wasn’t just a sequel to “Jurassic Park,” but was also one of the biggest disappointments of his career. The film has a few cracking sequences (the trailer/cliff scene is a keeper) and has lots of good actors, but mostly feels like a retread of the original, delivering mostly on more dinosaurs and bigger dinosaurs without having anything close to the heart of the original film. It’s sour in the manner of “Temple Of Doom” and is dark for dark’s sake in a way that has never suited him.

John Madden – “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (2001)

Some think that “Shakespeare In Love” beating out “Saving Private Ryan” is one of the most profound tragedies in Oscar history. This ignores that 1.) “The Thin Red Line” was better than either, and 2.) that while it’s not the greatest film ever, “Shakespeare In Love” is a smart, witty and well-put-together romantic comedy. We have no such defenses for ‘Shakespeare’ director John Madden’s followup, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” Originally to be directed by “Notting Hill” helmer Roger Michell, who had to drop out due to ill health, this adaptation of Louis de Bernières’ bestseller was clearly designed to be a prestige player, with a heavyweight team of Working Title Films and Miramax backing the film. But the story about a Greek woman who falls for an occupying Italian soldier feels tin-eared and misjudged when given the kind of bland, picture-postcard, inoffensive treatment that Madden does here. And while Cruz does her best (she’s more engaged than Christian Bale, who plays her dour fiancé), the film’s finally sunk by Nicolas Cage, who plays the title character like a bad improv comic doing an impression of Robert Benigni accepting his Oscar.

Mel Gibson – “The Passion Of The Christ” (2004)

Mel Gibson followed up his directorial debut “The Man Without A Face” in just two years, and did so with enormous success: Scottish epic “Braveheart” won him Best Picture and Best Director, and was a big hit in the process. A much bigger gap followed before his next movie though, with nearly nine years passing before his third film. And even excluding the very public disgrace that came after, we wish he’d waited longer. It’s not that we have issue with Gibson expressing his faith with a movie like “The Passion Of The Christ” — from Dreyer’s “The Passion Of Joan of Arc” to Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation Of Christ,” plenty of great filmmakers have made top-class religious art. But Gibson’s film was a torture-porn wallow in the bloody suffering of its title character, beautiful-looking (thanks to DoP Caleb Deschanel) and with the occasional moment of cinematic inspiration, but a grubby, ugly film at heart, one with little real spiritual value. Also, it features a scene where Jesus invents the table, which is hilarious. Though mostly negatively reviewed, the film was marketed directly to religious audiences, who ate it up, and the film became the biggest film not in the English language, taking over $600 million worldwide. The much better “Apocalypto” followed two years later, and Gibson returns to directing this year with pacifism drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” starring Andrew Garfield.

Ridley Scott – “Hannibal” (2001)

In fairness, Ridley Scott may not have realized “Hannibal” would be his follow-up to an Oscar winner when he signed up: the film was released just nine months after his Roman epic “Gladiator,” and was actually in theaters a few weeks before that movie took Best Picture (though Scott missed out on Best Director, perhaps having Norbit-ed himself out of the trophy). But Scott gets double black marks for not just following up his own triumph with a dud, but by doing it with a sequel to a beloved Oscar winner, Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence Of The Lambs.” Based on Thomas Harris’ novel, the film sees Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore, after Jodie Foster turned down the chance to reprise the role, rightly disappointed in where the story took the character) drawn into the hunt for the escaped Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who’s now hiding out in Italy, by the machinations of grotesquely deformed Lecter victim Mason Verger (an uncredited Gary Oldman as a character who literally drinks orphan’s tears, in case you were worried he might be too nuanced). It’s a default with Scott’s film that they’ll look beautiful, and it certainly does, with Scott bringing a feel of operatic giallo to proceedings. And in fairness, Harris’ novel is an overblown mess. But the TV translation proved that you could use some of its elements effectively with the right approach, and unfortunately the film is just campy and boring. Somehow, Scott followed his Oscar triumph by making a Hannibal Lecter movie that would prove to be worse than Brett Ratner’s .

Michel Hazanavicus – “The Search” (2014)

Like the film or not, there was something irresistible about “The Artist”’s fairytale story, going from a little-known silent-movie homage from a director best known for comedy, to winning top prize from the Oscars. But not all fairy tales end happily ever after, and so three years on we got “The Search,” which did for Hazanavicius and "The Artist” what “Pinocchio” did for Roberto Benigni and “Life Is Beautiful.” A loose remake of Fred Zinnemann’s 1948 film of the same name, it’s set in the Chechen war in 1999, tracking a young Russian army draftee, a young mute Chechen boy and a French NGO worker (Berenice Bejo). You can’t fault it as well-meaning, at least, with Hazanavicius shedding light on a conflict that stretched on for a decade but didn’t get much press in the Western world, and with an ambitious scope that suggests he truly wanted to grow as a filmmaker. But he didn’t have all that much to say with it, the finished film coming across mostly as a trite ‘war is bad’ sort of way, derivative of countless other better movies, and strung together with sloppy plotting and a sanitized, PG-13 ish take on conflict. The film was poorly received at Cannes, and to this date, hasn’t yet received a U.S. release.

The 10 Best

Frank Capra – “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” (1939)

The second director to win two Best Picture Oscars (Frank Lloyd, of “Cavalcade” and “Mutiny On The Bounty,” was the first, though Capra was also a producer on his films, unlike Lloyd), Frank Capra could have been forgiven for believing his career had peaked when “You Can’t Take It With You” won Best Picture and Best Director, just four years after “It Happened One Night” did the same. But Capra was far from done, and just a year later returned with one of his very finest achievements (in our mind, the finest), “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” A decidedly Capra-esque fable with a tougher edge than some of what came before, the film sees Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith, the head of a Boy Ranger troop who’s picked by political plotters to replaced a deceased Senator, in the expectation that he’ll be easy to manipulate. Smith is taken under the wing of corrupt Senator Joseph Paine (the phenomenal Claude Rains), but soon finds both his new friend and the machinery that put him in power plotting to destroy him. A fiercely political film even among the aw-shucks quality that Capra and Stewart bring, it’s both a crowd-pleaser and, in a precursor to “It’s A Wonderful Life,” which the director and star would reunite for after the war, a desperately sad film that pushes its hero right to the edge. Quite rightly, it won Capra further Picture and Director nominations.

Vincente Minnelli – “The Bad & The Beautiful” (1952)

After his slight, but intermittently glorious musical “An American In Paris” won the Oscar, it was a bold move for Vincente Minnelli to bite the hand that fed with him with his Hollywood melodrama “The Bad & The Beautiful.” But the film’s as much a celebration of amoral behavior in the biz as it is a condemnation of it, and the film was immediately and rightly enshrined as a classic (and won five of the six Oscars it was up for, though it failed to be nominated for Best Director or Picture). Using a “Citizen Kane”-aping, deceptively ingenious flashback structure, it tells the story of the wrongs that second-generation mogul Jonathan Shields (a delicious Kirk Douglas) has done to director Barry Sullivan, screenwriter Dick Powell and star Lana Turner over the course of their careers, as he tries to sell them on a new project. Noirish and wryly funny in the same breath, and as beautiful to look at as anything Minnelli made, it’s a great portrait of the Faustian bargain people make in chasing stardom. Shields might be a devil who went to any lengths to get movies made, and while he might have ruined their personal lives, his targets owe their careers and greatest successes to him. No wonder Hollywood didn’t take it too personally, with Minnelli’s “Gigi” winning Best Picture a few years later too.

Elia Kazan – “East Of Eden” (1955)

Pinky,” the follow-up to Elia Kazan’s first Best Picture winner, isn’t really one for the ages, but that’s perhaps fitting, because the one that actually won the Oscar, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” is a lesser Kazan picture. The second time he took the top prize, with the intensely personal “On The Waterfront,” Kazan had something far superior to come after, his adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “East Of Eden.” James Dean’s first starring role (and the only one released during his lifetime), it’s a family drama set in California in the first two decades of the 20th century, with Dean’s Cal and Richard Davalos caught in an Cain and Abel-like struggle. It’s a rich and novelistic attempt to wrangle the novel into cinematic shape, with an exposed-nerve intensity, and a lyricism fitting of the writer’s prose. The whole cast is excellent — Davalos, who didn’t get the career he deserved (though he was on the cover of The Smiths’ “Strangeways, Here We Come” at least), Julie Harris as the woman who comes between the brothers, Raymond Massey as their father. But it’s Dean’s film, a performance of Brando-like toughness and sensitivity, his need for approval so desperately sad, and it won him his first Oscar nomination. Sadly, he’d already died by then.

John Schlesinger – “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1971)

Long before his boundary-breaking U.S. debut “Midnight Cowboy,” which became the first X-rated film to win Best Picture in the early days of 1970, John Schlesinger had established himself as one of the brightest lights of the British New Wave thanks to films including “Billy Liar” and “Darling.” So it was perhaps fitting that after his success across the pond, Schlesinger returned home for “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which was almost as well-received, and tackled similarly sexually innovative waters as his previous picture. Written by Penelope Gilliatt (who’d gone on to be the New Yorker’s film critic, alternating with Pauline Kael), the film’s essentially a love triangle, with artist Bob (Murray Head) dating both divorcée Alex (Glenda Jackson) and Jewish doctor Daniel (Peter Finch). Looking at, for the time, sexually unconventional lives in a rather more middle-class way than ‘Cowboy’ had, and with a very British kind of repression of emotion involved — neither Jackson or Finch explicitly talk about their unhappiness at sharing a love — it’s nevertheless a finely honed a drama. Schlesinger doesn’t glamorize the London location, the people or the acts, and his three performers all do exemplary work, building utterly real people with every move. It’s as unsensationalized and moving as the best of Schlesinger’s work, and though it might have risked seeming minor to some, played well with the Academy, with the director, Gilliatt, Finch and Jackson all winning nominations. Also keep your eyes peeled for a brief appearance of a 14-year-old Daniel Day-Lewis.

William Friedkin – “The Exorcist” (1973)

These days, we know what to expect from a blockbuster. A portal in the sky, exploding airships, a Chinese star awkwardly inserted for one heavily-pandering scene. We don’t really expect extreme profanity, blasphemic masturbation, rich themes of religious and parenthood, and a total lack of spectacle. And yet, when adjusted for inflation, William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” made nearly a billion dollars in the U.S. alone, making it one of the most financially successful follows-up to a Best Picture winner (though both Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” which followed “The Greatest Show On Earth,” and David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago,” which followed “Lawrence Of Arabia,” just outgross it), as well as one of the best. Coming hot on the heels of Friedkin’s mainstream breakthrough with “The French Connection,” he took on William Peter Blatty’s novel and turned it into something strange, terrifying and iconic, a horror movie concerned with the soul more than the body. Nearly 45 years on, it remains capable of reducing you to a gibbering wreck, but it also moves, thanks to the performances of Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair, even if Friedkin went to some dubious ends to get them out of his cast. Unusually for the genre, it paid off with the Academy too, with ten nominations, though was beaten to most by the more benign “The Sting.”

Francis Ford Coppola – “The Conversation” (1974) and “Apocalypse Now” (1979)

We’ve mentioned a few filmmakers here who have two Best Picture wins behind them, and most had one disappointing follow-up and one good one, to greater or lesser extents. Only Francis Ford Coppola blew it out of the park both times, and that’s because his two Best Picture wins landed in the middle of maybe the greatest run an American filmmaker has ever had. First Coppola made “The Godfather,” the industry-changing mob movie that took Best Picture at the beginning of 1973. That was followed by “The Conversation,” his astonishing, paranoid thriller about a surveillance expert losing his mind, featuring a performance by Gene Hackman that’s close to a career high, and some of the most immaculate filmmaking the director ever pulled off. The same year (the same year!), he released a sequel to “The Godfather,” and like the original, that went on and won Best Picture (with “The Conversation” nominated alongside it). Coppola took a little while to follow it up, thanks to the torturous production of his next movie, but came out alive (just), with “Apocalypse Now,” his defining Vietnam War epic, with Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando re-enacting Conrad. The director’s never matched this run, or anything in it, but then to do so might be impossible.

James L. Brooks – “Broadcast News” (1987)

Terms Of Endearment” was undoubtedly something of an unlikely Best Picture winner — a directorial debut that could be defined as almost like an old-fashioned women’s picture, against something that might be seen as more Academy friendly like “The Right Stuff.” But win it did, and if Brooks risked being criticized as a fluke, he dismissed it four years later with a far superior follow-up, “Broadcast News.” One of the best movies ever made about the media as well as an all-timer of romantic comedy, the film follows TV news producer Jane (a literally perfect Holly Hunter), journalist Aaron (Albert Brooks), who’s in love with her, and handsome, unqualified anchorman Tom (William Hurt), who’s also in love with her. Sharp, sad and often breathlessly funny, this even more than its predecessor saw Brooks more or less patent a genre mined more recently by Judd Apatow, using certain rom-com conventions but playing by the rules of real life, where the guy doesn’t always get the girl, and professional complications can get in the way of romance. The script is killer, the cast couldn’t be better suited to their roles (fascinatingly, Hunter replaced Debra Winger at the last minute), and it even has bonus, uncredited Jack Nicholson. Quite rightly, it was Best Picture nominated again.

Clint Eastwood – “A Perfect World” (1993)

Whatever you think of his most recent movies, whether you believe they’re great works by Hollywood’s last classicist, or whether you believe they’re turgid, half-assed production-line output, you couldn’t disagree that Clint Eastwood has had a most extraordinary career as director, with two Best Picture winners among multiple nominees, the last as recently as last year. Eastwood followed the second of his winners, 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby,” with his ambitious war-from-both-sides double-bill “Flags Of Our Father” and “Letters From Iwo Jiwa” (the superior latter film was also a Best Picture nominee), but Eastwood’s better Oscar-related one-two punch came when the year after “Unforgiven” won, he released the deeply underrated “A Perfect World.” Based on a script by John Lee Hancock (later director of “The Blind Side”), it sees escaped con Kevin Costner taking an 8-year-old child as a hostage in 1960s Texas, while being pursued by Texas Ranger Clint. With a mood falling somewhere between “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Night Of The Hunter,” it’s a beautifully drawn film, one of a complexity that belies the simplicity of its story, and anchored by a performance by Costner that’s by a head and shoulders his best acting performance, making his character sympathetic without ever nullifying the threat he poses. To our mind, it’s not just a great follow-up, it’s better than either of the director’s Best Picture winners.

Anthony Minghella – “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999)

Miramax’s first great Oscar triumph became a byword for a certain kind of stodgy, starry literary adaptation that Harvey Weinstein’s copied many times to varying degrees of awards success. And that’s unfair, because Anthony Minghella’s film is kind of great: big and moving and simply telling a great story. His follow-up, while it didn’t have the same awards impact, is unquestionably better, though. Adapting Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name, it sees Matt Damon play the author’s mercurial sociopath, who heads to Italy under false pretexes to befriend the wealthy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) and his girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow). Different, but just as strong as, Clement’s 1960 adaptation “Purple Noon,” Minghella turns out something quite distinct from his previous picture, making a gripping and absolutely dark thriller with pretty people in picturesque environments, with outstanding work from Damon, Law, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Damon in particular is utterly fearless, gradually showing Ripley’s monstrousness (and, unlike Delon, embracing the bisexuality of the character), while never quite letting your sympathies get away. The film confirmed Minghella as a major talent, and makes it doubly sad that we lost him so early.

Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012)

As the first female director of a Best Picture winner (and, of course, the first female Best Director winner too), Kathryn Bigelow probably and unfairly had higher stakes than most when it came to her follow-up. And as far as we’re concerned, she nailed it — “Zero Dark Thirty” remains divisive to this day on its treatment of certain elements of its subject matter, but we’d call it a superior film to “The Hurt Locker” any day of the week. Reteaming Bigelow with screenwriter Mark Boal, the film was originally intended to tell the story of a failed attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora caves, only for President Obama and Seal Team Six to go and actually kill him just as they were gearing up to shoot. Boal hastily rewrote, and the result is a fascinating procedural look at the war on terror through the eyes of one CIA agent (the spectacular Jessica Chastain). Wilful misreads of the movie called it pro-torture (spoiler: representation doesn’t equal endorsement, and the movie is about the price a nation paid in their soul in a search for vengeance), helping to stop a second win for Bigelow, but the film will last longer: it’s an utterly gripping, textured, and phenomenally directed picture, and still Hollywood’s defining movie about the post 9/11 age.

As always, we couldn’t make room for everything we considered. Would you have included Carol Reed’s “Flap,’ Victor Fleming’s “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” or Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” on the worst list? Or Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent,Norman Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair,Sam Mendes’ “The Road To Perdition” or James Cameron’s “Avatar” on the best? Let us know your thoughts below. (and FYI, we excluded David Lean following Best Picture winner “The Bridge On The River Kwai” with Best Picture winner “Lawrence Of Arabia,” and William Wyler following Best Picture winner “Mrs. Miniver” with Best Picture winner “The Best Years Of Our Lives,” as it felt like cheating.)

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Comments

Harry Caul

I hate to say this Playlist staffers, but for all the love you have for Joel & Ethan Coen, ‘Burn After Reading’ was not exactly their finest hour after ‘No Country For Old Men’. All things considered, "Burn After Reading’ is a hapless mess of a film, and worse for all of the incredible talent involved (Coen Brothers, Carter Burwell, Emmanuel Lubezki, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, George Clooney – where could that go wrong? Well, wrong in a sort of Hollywood ego trip dressed up as off-beat, black comedic cinema light could go wrong way. Actors supposedly playing characters against type in an angry or superficially dumb manner with lines and attributes that wear off as quickly as a plot that isn’t as ingenious as The Coen’s think. It’s easily the worst and most tiresome film ever made by film makers of their calibre coming off an Oscar win – with THAT ensemble. Sorry, Playlist staff – not e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g the Coen brothers can do is quite as fucking brilliant as you think.

DARTAGNAN

"It’s sour in the manner of “Temple Of Doom.”" I would argue that Temple of Doom is the best Indiana Jones sequel (or prequel). It’s the only one that’s not derivative of Raiders, and also, the only one of the series where the villains would have won without Indy’s intervention. Also, I wouldn’t call Lost World or Hannibal, or even Passion of the Christ bad movies.

Scandinavian dude

Nice to see some love for "a Perfect World". On par with "Unforgiven" imho.

Geoff

The Road To Perdition, a far better film than American Beauty and a fantastic send off for Paul Newman and cinematographer Conrad Hall.

Leo

WORST:
Michael Cimino follows up "The Deer Hunter" with "Heaven’s Gate"
Robert Benton follows up "Kramer vs. Kramer" with "Still of the Night"
Robert Redford: "Ordinary People" and then "The Milagro Beanfield War"
Richard Attenborough: "Gandhi" with "A Chorus Line"
Kevin Costner: "Dances with Wolves" with "The Postman"
Ron Howard: "A Beautiful Mind" with "The Missing"
Rob Marshall: "Chicago" with "Memoirs of a Geisha"

BEST:
Oliver Stone: "Platoon" with "Wall Street"
Barry Levinson: "Rain Man" with "Avalon"
Jonathan Demme: "The Silence of the Lambs" with "Philadelphia"
Robert Zemeckis: "Forrest Gump" with "Contact"
Paul Haggis: "Crash" with "In the Valley of the Elah"
Danny Boyle: "Slumdog Millionaire" with "127 Hours"

Frank

I think Hannibal is a great, highly underrated film, and 10,000x better than Red Dragon. Just my $0.02.

TIMMY O'TOOLE

* Hannibal is no that bad, but…

TIMMY O'TOOLE

Hannibal is not that, but if you don’t like that’s ok, but you guys are dead wrong that Ratner’s Lecter film is better than Hannibal, no way.

FWIW, the Hannibal tv show is better than any of the movies.

Ben Clinkenbeard

You have to put the Emperor Waltz into the context at the time it was made Crosby was voted the most "Admired Person in the World" behind him were the Pope and Jackie Robinson. Crosby was the top box office draw and on a 5 year streak. In 1949, the film received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Music, as well as a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Written American Musical. It was #14 for moneymakers the year it was released.

James

RIPLEY is a masterpiece, but Ripley is hardly bisexual, he has every opportunity for sex with Cate Blanchett’s character and has zero interest in her, no matter how much he dreams of recreating Dickie’s relationship with Marge with her. He’s clearly gay, but also clearly can’t understand that element of himself because he lives in a world where the idea of being gay is inconceivable to him. Fascinatingly, however, Marge sees this and knowingly suggests he meet Peter, the film’s one openly gay character. The fact that he pursues the love of someone who doesn’t want him, to the destruction of the one man who does want hi, is the film’s aching tragedy.

James

Oliver, I love ya, don’t change! The comment above reflects that person’s opinion, and it’s valid, but you clearly know and love film and have agift for expressing your strong opinions, with which I almost always agree.

PhotographicAmnesia

Oliver Lyttleton, (author of this article) I’m beginning to wonder if you actually know what a good film is. Your worldview and what you value in it as it pertains to cinema seems to be aging quickly with a venomous and bitter heart. I’ve started to look for your name on articles posted here on the playlist/indie wire and simply AVOID them. Sad :(

HARIHARAN

Road To Perdition was criminally understated. Conrad Hall left with a bang, as most of the internet puts it. It should’ve had a streak like Mendes’ previous American Beauty.

Cameroon

Jeeze, Indiewire commenters are just the worst. Such an ungrateful readership.

Jimbo

So great to see the superb Anthony Minghella’s best film ‘Ripley’ get its dues here. But – even better – after being incredulously missed off The Playlist’s best 22 films about Hollywood last week – thank you for coming to your senses and praising ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’ here too.

bohmer

One that so tragically didn’t deserve to be left out is Stanley Kubrick who had he won best picture for either of his film, would’ve follow up with masterpieces until death.

Logan

I realize King Kong (2005) wasn’t exactly best picture material, like lord of the rings, but to imply it’s a failed follow up is ridiculous. Les miserables is respectable as well. Indiewire’s gotta write something though, right?

Ted

Daniel- if you mess with Gavin you are messing with me so I’d suggest you watch your mouth and tread lightly.

bohmer

I loved Hannibal! Bryan Fuller said he was greatly influenced by Scott’s version for the tv show…

GC

I will never get this hate for Hannibal. Never, really.

Brad

Actually, Joseph L Mankiewicz won best director in consecutive years, A Letter To Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950). You should probably update the article.

daniel

gavin why not shut up and read the article?

Tony

Whoa, whoa, whoa – Two For The Seesaw is an excellent movie. Shame on you.

Gavin

Hair is a wonderful and woefully underappreciated musical. I stopped reading this article because you included it.

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