Oscar Winners

[6] George Pal brings H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi story to the big screen, casting Rod Taylor as the British inventor who travels from 1899 centuries into the future to discover humanity has devolved into two primitive races — the monstrous Morlocks and the innocent Eloi. When Taylor discovers the Morlocks are breeding the Eloi as food, he decides to help them launch a rebellion, even …

[7] Joan Crawford won her Oscar for playing the title character in this noir-melodrama from director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). Based on the book by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce is told largely in flashback, with Crawford spilling the beans to police after her second husband is found murdered in their beach house. She tells them how she divorced her adulterous first husband and pulled herself …

[8] Writer/director Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt) takes us on a trip through California wine country with two middle-aged college buddies in Sideways, based on a novel by Rex Pickett. Paul Giamatti plays a divorced junior high school teacher suffering from depression and anxiety whose dream of becoming a published author is about the only thing keeping him going. Thomas Haden Church is a somewhat …

[5] An aspiring writer decides to tell the stories of African-American maids during the turbulent ’60s, risking community scorn to publish the truth. The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett, weaves the stories of several black and white women in Jackson, Mississippi. Emma Stone plays the writer, with Viola Davis playing her first interview subject, a woman who recently buried her young adult …

[5] Benicio Del Toro plays the cursed title character in this remake of Universal Pictures’ famous 1941 monster movie. After his brother is discovered mutilated, Del Toro returns home to his father’s estate to find out who killed him. Anthony Hopkins brings gravitas as the father, and Emily Blunt pours her heart out in the role of the dead brother’s fiancée. In searching for the …

[5] Katharine Hepburn won the first of her record four Oscars for this film about a naïve, aspiring actress who ingratiates herself into the Broadway social circle. She isn’t taken seriously at first. In fact, she’s pitied. But a childish sense of self-confidence helps her endure until the opportunity arises to show the theater world what she’s got. The story of Morning Glory is a …

[8] Julie Andrews stars as a magical nanny who swoops into a turn-of-the-century London family’s home to help two neglected children (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) reconnect with their busy-body parents. Mary Poppins is often regarded the best of Walt Disney’s live-action efforts, thanks to an effervescent combination of music and fantasy, and charismatic performances from Andrews and co-star Dick Van Dyke, who plays a …

[6] George Cukor directs Katharine Hepburn as Jo March in one of the earliest screen adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a chronicle of the lives and loves of four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War. There’s intrinsic nostalgia and sentimentality to the storytelling, but Cukor never lets the film become maudlin. That’s largely owed to Hepburn’s contribution. The then-controversial …

[8.0] Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) directs an impressive roster of talent in this dramatization of four Nazi judges on trial for war crimes in occupied Germany. Spencer Tracy leads the cast as the American judge summoned to preside over the case. While considering passionate arguments from the prosecution (Richard Widmark) and defense (Maximilian Schell), he spends his evenings developing …

[7.0] Director Tim Burton puts his stamp on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, casting his Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands star Johnny Depp in the role of Ichabod Crane. In this retelling, Crane is a 1799 New York forensic investigator sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a string of murders. The townspeople tell him the victims are decapitated and their heads haven’t been …

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