Do you really want to take away 'Schindler's List' Best Picture Oscar?

12241__sl_lOver the past few months, we’ve been revisiting all the major Academy Awards from 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years ago in our Recall the Gold survey, asking the entertainment industry and EW.com readers to decide whether the winners in the top categories are still Oscar worthy after several years of percolating within popular culture. With just three more categories to go, we’ve finally reached the winner whose Oscar would seem by far the safest: The 1993 Best Picture, Schindler’s List. Director Steven Spielberg’s haunting and harrowing portrait of the Holocaust often felt as if it was a document rather than a narrative; it feels just as alive and terribly vital today as it did 15 years ago. Asking whether it still deserves its Oscar feels somehow a little wrong and a lot beside the point.

And yet there are those who contend, now and in 1993, that Schindler’s List is a flawed film, that Spielberg indulged in some overly sentimental tropes — the girl in the red coat; Oskar Schindler’s "I could have done more" speech — as if he couldn’t bear to fully face such an uncompromisingly brutal period in history. The other four Best Picture nominees from that year, meanwhile, were worthy films in their own right. The Fugitive may seem now like the One That Doesn’t Quite Belong, but in truth, it was really just a dying breed: A contemporary, audience-pleasing, near-perfectly executed Hollywood thriller that also happened to earn a Best Picture nod. In the Name of the Father was a blistering look at the true story of a group of working class Irishmen falsely imprisoned for an IRA bombing. The Piano, a tale about a mute Scotswoman (Holly Hunter) and her young daughter (Anna Paquin) who move to New Zealand for an arranged marriage, felt like a living novel, winning raves, and Oscars, for Hunter, Paquin, and writer-director Jane Campion. (Only the second-ever female Best Director nominee, Campion won for her original screenplay.) And The Remains of the Day, about the life of a buttoned-up butler (Anthony Hopkins) in post-WWI Britain, was yet another impeccable Merchant Ivory literary adaptation (Howards End, A Room With a View) that have since fallen out of favor with the Academy.

These four films lost for one reason: They weren’t Schindler’s List. The quibbles over Spielberg’s softer side were not nearly enough to keep the film from taking home seven Oscars (including Spielberg’s first as a director), including, of course, Best Picture. And now, PopWatchers, it’s your turn to decide whether, with the benefit of time, that Oscar is still as deserved today as it was in 1993, or should go instead to one of the other nominees. Vote in our poll below; if you need a reminder of the films, check out the clips after the jump. (Some are NSFW.) While you’re at it, if you haven’t already, vote in all the other polls from our ongoing walk down Oscar’s memory lane. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the 1988 Best Actress race; also, check out coverage of this year’s awards contenders in Dave Karger’s Oscar Watch blog.

 

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The Fugitive

In the Name of the Father (language NSFW)

The Piano

The Remains of the Day

Schindler’s List

 

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • omg

    You have got to be kidding. Every movie has flaws, just as life does. These columns get dumber and dumber. The academy award is a made up award to boost ticket sales. Best is subjective, unlike say a batting average.

  • Yippee537

    Um, how could you even think of redoing this category? Of course, Schindler’s List deserves it. If it came out today, it’d still deserve it over anything else that’s out. The end.

  • paige

    didnt we do this one already???

  • Snarf

    Yes I really want to take it away.
    No I’m not anti-semetic.

  • rgv

    I have never enjoyed this movie. I felt that it was trying to manipulate my feelings when it didn’t have too! I saw all the others when they first came out and was shocked that SL was considered superior to any other one of these movies. I just thought it was the academy once again “redeeming itself” for over looking Steven Spielberg in previous years.

  • Otis Jefferson

    It appears that Chanukah came twice this year. Not only does this over-developed sob story emanating from a money-and-power hungry, biased Jew (SpielBERG) deserve to lose its Oscars, it shouldn’t have been greenlit in the first place. I assure you that if back in 1992, an unknown indie filmmaker named Mark Rosenblatt approached a studio to say that he wants to make a 3-hour, black and white, mind-numbing juxtaposition about something that may have never happened, he would have been tossed out on his jarmukle. SpielBERG was able to make this “passion project” simply because he’s worth $2 billion, has the studio heads in back pocket, and thinks the Jews may have had it tough over the years (they haven’t). I find it abhorrent that such broadly drawn characters following a patchwork storyline, with barely any cohesive elements, would ever contribute to a Best Picture winning film. This is garbage, just like SpielBERG’s soul. This is a comedy, so it shouldn’t have been nominated at all.

  • Eric

    “and thinks the Jews may have had it tough over the years (they haven’t).”
    dude, you need to calm down sometimes. what the hell do you have against jews anyways?
    it isn’t the BEST FILM EVER MADE OMG!!!11′, but have some respect once in a while. the holocaust is one of the darkest periods of human history (and certainly the darkest of the modern age) and doesn’t deserved to be torn apart and disrespected from a-holes like you.

  • To Otis Jefferson

    To Otis Jefferson: I assume you were rooting for the Nazis. I hope your post is taken down asap.

  • Goy

    No contest here. One of the best films of the last half-century.

  • Please Remove the Otis Jefferson Comment

    Please remove the Otis Jefferson Comment

  • Marko

    I found it an emotionally moving and intelligent film. However, the girl in the red dress was an unnecessary cue from the director.

  • Rahul

    This one’s a no contest -‘Schindler’s List’ is one of the best films of the 90’s and one of the best American films ever. It’s a shame it didn’t win any acting awards.

  • Kim

    Could everyone back off of EW for the specifics? They’re doing ALL of the major awards from 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years ago. They are in no way suggesting that ANY of them should be taken away! Schindler’s List happens to be the Best Picture winner from one of those years.
    Also, please ignore the Holocaust-denier down there, he’s just trying to get people riled up.

  • Lloyd

    SL is excellent, but The Piano is a masterpiece of such stunning originality that I feel it should have won Best Picture. I respect the importance of Schindler’s, but I only felt the need to see it once, while I’ve seen the Piano about five times and was mesmerized each time.

  • CJ

    I love all of those films, but c’mon. There is NO WAY that Schindler’s List doesn’t deserve to win that award. One of the best movies of the past 20 years, even if one wants to quibble with a few choices.

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