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When the Oscars Got It Right

By Cecilia Cygnar

I do tend to knock the Oscars a lot for not always picking what I think they should pick (the HORROR!). Here are times from 1990-2018 where I actually agreed with The Academy.

  • The Shape of Water

    2018

    The Creature of the Black Lagoon meets Splash! But, this movie is so much more than that. It's a tender story of all sorts of acceptance. It's about friendship, passion, and overcoming odds and obstacles that prevent our true happiness. Won for Best Picture and Best Director, among others.

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  • La La Land

    2017

    One heck of a good time--this film takes you back to the days when love was all about singing to each other, staring into wide eyes filled with hope and enchantment. Best Director winner Damien Chazelle earned every ounce of his award for bringing the magic back to Hollywood. Emma Stone also won for Best Actress, deservedly.

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  • Spotlight

    2016

    Winning the Best Picture trophy was 2015's best film of the year....go figure! Part thriller, part investigative report, this tour-de-force harkens back to the time of All the President's Men, which was nominated for Best Picture, but did not win.

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  • Monster

    2004

    When I saw Monster, I felt like I had seen a movie where the actor (in this case, Charlize Theron) embodied the persona of a real-life person. She won an Oscar for this transformative role...one of the most spot-on Academy wins ever, in my opinion.

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  • La vie en rose

    2007

    In La Vie en Rose, Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard takes what Charlize did in Monster one step forward…she embodies the persona and the SOUL of Edith Piaf. Watching this, I became immersed with Piaf and this movie. I was in a trance…mesmerized in the performance.

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  • Chicago

    2003

    A riotous, toe-tapping adaptation of the Kander-Ebb Broadway musical that will keep you dancing and singing along from start to finish. If you’re not still humming the songs of this Best Picture winner a day later, there’s something wrong with you!

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  • Shakespeare in Love

    1998

    This is a film that honestly brings Shakespeare to life…literally and figuratively. A brilliant movie that uses many of the Bard's plays for dialogue and antidotes, but most notably Romeo and Juliet, the ever-tragic saga of Italian star-crossed lovers. A very worthy Best Picture winner, and an even more worthy Best Original Screenplay winner.

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  • Fargo

    2003

    Frances McDormand won an Oscar for playing very pregnant Marge Gunderson…a fabulous character who is most definitely the sharpest person in the film (though that is not really much of a compliment). The script, also winning for Best Original Screenplay, is sharp and hilarious…and the performances are all right on target.

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  • Philadelphia

    2000

    Tom Hanks truly deserved his first of two consecutive Best Actor Oscars (second was for Forrest Gump) for this daring, riveting, and soulful performance as an attorney diagnosed with AIDS, back in the 1990s when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence.

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  • The Fugitive

    2001

    I just think this is one of the best action/suspense films in years. It's sharp, fast, well structured, well acted, has just enough humor, and is riveting when it needs to be and laid back when it needs to be. And Best Supporting Actor winner Tommy Lee Jones has never been better.

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  • Unforgiven

    2010

    Clint Eastwood directs and stars as a former violent cowboy who turns over a new leaf. Called a “psychological” Western, this film won Eastwood his first Oscar for Best Director, in addition to snagging Best Picture and a Supporting Actor Oscar for Gene Hackman.

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