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Take Two: We Reveal The Best – And Worst – Best Picture Oscar Winners Of All Time

By Pete Hammond, Todd McCarthy

The best Best Picture Oscar winners

Editor’s note: Deadline presents the 51st episode of its video series Take Two, in which Pete Hammond and Todd McCarthy tackle the artistry of films just opening in theaters every weekend. Each has reviewed and written about the craft for decades and built a remarkable breadth of knowledge of films past and present. What we hoped for when we asked them to do this was a concise, mature and thoughtful conversation comparable to what we saw from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.

Oscar Statuette

Take Two takes on the Oscars for the next month as we look back in Oscar history, suggest that maybe the Academy didn’t always get it right, give our predictions for this year and then offer a wrap-up of how the big show turned out.

This week’s edition is all about Best Picture. That means we look at the ones we believe are the best of the best as well as the ones that might be not-so-kindly referred to as the worst of the worst. It is easy to look at the past as seen in the present and offer a critical view, however it also is important to note that these films were named as Oscar’s best in their own time, not this time.

We explore some of the reasons they may have won. It is a lively conversation as we agree on some evergreens among Oscar’s wisest choices, from Casablanca to The Apartment to Schindler’s List and more. Which was the most recent movie to make Todd’s list of the best, and which made Pete’s, causing Todd to actually name it as one of the worst? And speaking of Oscar’s worst, you might be surprised.

Click above to watch our conversation. And join us next week as we give our alternate choices to Oscar’s picks over the years for Best Actor and Actress.

Hammond has been Deadline’s Awards Columnist for the past decade, covering what now seemingly is the year-round Oscar and Emmy seasons. He is also Deadline’s Chief Film Critic, having previously reviewed films for MovieLine, Boxoffice magazine, Backstage, and Maxim, as well as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, for which he was a contributing editor. In addition to writing, Hammond also hosts KCET Cinema Series and the station’s weekly series Must See Movies.

McCarthy is a veteran trade publication film critic, columnist and reporter who has also written several acclaimed books and documentary films. He served two stints on the staffs of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and extensively covered film festivals internationally for both publications. His film Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography won the best documentary prizes from the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics associations, and he won an Emmy for writing the documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer. He also directed the documentaries Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and Forever Hollywood.




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