Category Archives: Greatest Oscar winners ever

Who is the best Oscar winning lead actor of all time?

Stewart? Poitier? Scofield? De Niro? Day-Lewis? Our chief critic selects a victor from his nominees – and reveals who you chose as your people’s champion

The best actor Academy award has always had a totemic fascination. Peter O’Toole was tortured throughout his career by getting nominated eight times without winning, and actually considered turning down a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2003 — at the age of 70 — on the grounds that he was “still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright”. (He never did, though was nominated for the last time in 2007.) Holding the Oscar in your hand is something that many actors daydream about. The first ever best actor winner, Emil Jannings, was the German silent movie actor later disgraced for his propaganda associations with the Nazi regime: when Allied troops entered Berlin in 1945, he is said to have stood in the rubble, holding up his statuette and piteously calling out: “I have Oscar!” His successors have been considerably more respectable, providing performances that have thrilled and captivated movie audiences over decades. Here is my fantasy lineup of best actor nominees in my Oscar-of-Oscars ceremony.

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Source: gad

Who is the best Oscar-winning lead actress of all time?

Elizabeth Taylor? Meryl Streep? Frances McDormand? Our chief critic picks a winner from his five nominees – and reveals who you chose as your champion

The Academy award for best actress confers a burdensome glamour on its recipient, in most cases a career-high but sometimes a career-end, a longed-for prize that nothing can top, making its winner a pampered jewel in a very male prestige display. Like almost everything about the Academy Awards, it rewards tragedy rather than comedy, and grandiloquence rather than subtlety, so there is something operatic in lining up a five-part fantasy league of the best actress winners. But these are some of the most glorious and intensely pleasurable performances it is possible to watch.

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Source: gad

Greatest Oscar winners ever: who is the best director of all time?

Capra? Coppola? Bigelow? Our chief film critic crowns one of five nominees the Oscar of Oscars champion – and reveals who you picked as your winner

After announcing the nominees last week, we begin our Oscar of Oscars all-time list with best director. In no other category has this choice been more painful, because, rightly or wrongly, the director is often seen as a film’s all-powerful creator: a film director’s authorial rights are even enshrined in EU law. The director liaises with the casting director and works with the actors, rehearsing them, shaping their performances. The director consults with the cinematographer, framing shots, and decides which take to use. The director makes decisions under pressure on set and on location about the look and feel of what is being shot. And of course the director accumulates prestige and respect — part of what an Oscar is there to offer.

So to the contenders. Frank Capra’s legendary lightness of touch was never more exquisitely judged than in his great early picture It Happened One Night from 1934. In its pre-Hays Code sexual daring and droll repartee, It Happened One Night set a rarely reached gold standard for romantic comedy – with a great script by Robert Riskin. It is not simply the dash and sweep with which Capra takes us from the initial, hilarious yacht escape to the intimate encounters in buses and motels, and then the extraordinary wedding finale; it’s his handling of the actors, too. When Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert fake being quarrelling marrieds in front of the detectives and burst out laughing when they’re gone, you can’t help but laugh with them, as if you have witnessed a real miracle: the icy heiress turns out to be a great actress, gamely going along with the gag. Then there’s the melting of the meet-cute ice and the growing love between them. Capra orchestrates these two alpha-stars with masterly flair.

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Source: gad