Way back when I made my first ever rankings post I started with a Top 5 Oscar Winners. Since then I have seen a lot more of the films that have won Oscars, and so award winners was a topic that I wanted to revisit. However I decided that because we just had the Golden Globes that I would count down my favourite Globes winners. Because the Globes have Best Picture awards for both Drama and Musical or Comedy I am going to pick my 5 favourite winners in each category. As always, these are my personal preferences, and I’d love to hear your picks in the comments below.
- Drama: The Social Network – A film about the creation of Facebook has absolutely no right to be a great film, but somehow David Fincher made one of the best films of the 2010s. Jesse Eisenberg gives what is still the stand out performance of his career as a man who just has this arrogance that makes him know he’s the smartest person in the room, but is also incredibly lonely and isolated. Sure it is not really anything like the actual Mark Zuckerberg, but that’s ok when he turned him into such a layered and interesting character.
- Musical or Comedy: Lady Bird – The winner in 2018 was Greta Gerwig’s brilliant look at a mother and daughter relationship, the coming of age masterpiece Lady Bird, and it instantly became one of my favourite films. The film is driven by two exceptional performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as Christine/Lady Bird and her mother Marion. Both are brilliant individually delivering Oscar worthy performances that sadly missed out, but when they share the screen the chemistry is just breathtaking. This feels like such an authentic mother/daughter relationship, where you know that they love one another, but can feel the frustration and distance that has grown between them. Gerwig’s screenplay and direction just bring all of this together. I knew her as an actor, but she has quickly become one of the most exciting directors working.
- Drama: The Godfather – The Godfather and its sequel are rightly regarded amongst the greatest films of all time. But as the second film lost out to Chinatown its the original that claims a place on this list. Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster epic is still the high bar of the crime genre, but as a character piece about Michael Corleone’s transformation to the head of the Corleone crime family. The cast is spectacular, with so many incredible performances. But I think the biggest compliment I can pay The Godfather is that this is a 3 hour epic, that feels as though it has that kind of scope, but it also feels like an intimate story that is so gripping.
- Musical or Comedy: Beauty and the Beast – Looking back over the winners of the Musical or Comedy award winner there have actually been a good number of animated films that have competed for the award, and my favourite of them has to be the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast. There’s a reason this was the first ever animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, it is just a beautiful masterpiece. It may be a simple story, but its an effective one. And that is backed up by some of the best songs ever written for a Disney movie musical, up there with any Disney film for the number of great songs. There’s a reason that this, like The Lion King wasn’t really touched in the Live Action adaptations, and that’s because you don’t mess with perfection.
- Drama: Lawrence of Arabia – I believe that Lawrence of Arabia may well be the best film ever made, and features the greatest performance in any film. David Lean’s historical epic about the life of T. E. Lawrence might be nearly 4 hours long, but that time just flies by. I know virtually nothing about the time period, so I can’t tell you if this is a fair representation of Lawrence as a man, but as a character study nothing comes close to Lawrence of Arabia in my opinion, not even Citizen Kane. A large part of that is on the genuinely jaw dropping performance of Peter O’Toole. And then when you throw in all the brilliant supporting performances and Maurice Jarre’s score, as well as the technical aspects such as the cinematography, production design, and editing it is hard to ignore the awe inspiring work that is Lawrence of Arabia.
- Musical or Comedy: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson is one of my favourite directors around, and my personal favourite of his work is the beautiful The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m delighted that it won a Golden Globe because it was sadly overlooked at the Oscars in the Birdman vs Boyhood fight for most of the big awards. But Wes Anderson’s humour and charm has never been as brilliantly on display as it is during Grand Budapest Hotel, and a large part of that has to come down to Ralph Fiennes in his career best performance and and Tony Revolori’s breakout role. The two have incredible chemistry, which is perfect for Anderson’s odd style. Surrounded by most of Anderson usual stable of actors, The Grand Budapest Hotel was a worthy award winner, and one I wish had done even better.
- Drama: Gladiator – As a classicist I’m aware there are a lot of historical inaccuracies with Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, but it is such a brilliant epic that I love every second of it. Russell Crowe’s Maximus is easily one of my favourite characters of all time, this is Crowe at his absolute best. His presence and charisma on screen have never been as prevalent as they were in Gladiator he manages to dominate the film, even up against such incredible talent as Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, and Richard Harris. The dialogue is sharp and memorable, and the fight sequences are all superb, and each one brings something new. Gladiator is truly one of the great historical epics in cinematic history.
- Musical or Comedy: Some Like It Hot – A Billy Wilder film took home this award two years in a row, and whilst The Apartment came very close to earning a spot on this list, Some Like It Hot is one of my all time favourite films. Starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two musicians who disguise themselves as women in order to join an all female band to escape mobsters. The film is hilarious. Wilder’s sharp dialogue with the talent of Curtis and Lemmon behind it is a match made in heaven, and then you throw the incredible Marilyn Monroe into the mix. The dynamics between all three of them, and Joe E. Brown, are superb, they all play off one another so well and have electric chemistry. And the closing line that Wilder delivers is one of the greatest in cinema history.
- Drama: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Well I’m sure you’re all shocked. The closing part of the greatest cinematic trilogy of all time is a fantasy epic of magnificent proportions. The scale of the Battle of Pelennor Fields is insane, managing to even eclipse Helm’s Deep. This was an incredible capper to the ending of the saga with some of the best performances. My love for the Lord of the Rings is well represented in these lists, so there’s not much more for me to say.
- Musical or Comedy: La La Land – Yes another great surprise in the Musical or Comedy category. From seeing La La Land from the first time I fell in love with the film, and it is still to this day a big happy place film for me. Chazelle created a film that is not only a technical marvel, but a beautiful look at these two characters, and what they have to sacrifice in order to achieve their dreams. The music is great, the performances from Gosling and Stone are superb, and it is a film that never fails to fill me with a warm lovely glow. I understand those who don’t love La La Land, but for me this is a modern classic that will be held in high regard for a long time.