In the weeks running up to the Academy Awards, all of Los Angeles – and most of the world – goes a little frantic with hype and speculation. This year, the mad argument is over whether Birdman or Boyhood will win Best Picture and/or Best Director, how the two will split the two categories, etc. etc. etc. My own piece of speculation: Richard Linklater will win Best Director, but Birdman will win Best Picture. No other films are going to come close, not even Selma. But one week after the Oscars, none of this will matter. The Best Picture will be declared, we’ll all move on with our lives, and we’ll cease vaunting one film over the other.
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Indeed, Best Picture winners tend to fade rapidly in the mass memory. Some Best Picture winners remain cultural and cinematic touchstones for the ages (Casablanca, The Silence of the Lambs, Titanic), but you may notice that most Best Picture winners almost immediately fade into historical footnotes. While the tempest of Oscar hype is currently at its most powerful, this will be a good time to bring up some of the Best Picture winners that, well, no one ever talks about anymore. Indeed, some of these films, you have to fight to remember at all.
So let’s jog our memories a bit, and try to recall the Best Picture winners that, had they not won Best Picture, would not be notable at all.