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Before supersizing itself to its current format, the Best Picture category was home to five good films and true. Each vied for the ultimate movie accolade, and while many fell at the final hurdle, some, like Raging Bull, Network and Apocalypse Now, found greatness anyway. But others have fared less well, fading away like groundfall in Hollywood’s cruel and capricious orchard. When was the last time you curled up with a copy of The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming? Or Picnic? Here are the some of the more surprising Best Pictures nominee, subsequently consigned to the dustier end of cinema’s DVD shelf…

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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WILSON (1944)

Wilson (1944)

Director: Henry King

For all his many achievements, President Woodrow Wilson is not the obvious candidate for a biopic. It’s been a while since audiences gleefully threw their popcorn in the air after an action-packed bout of antitrust legislation. Still, he got one in 1944 and, sure enough, it was pretty boring. Darryl F. Zanuck’s usually sure touch deserted him – some argue that he was blinded by his admiration for the 14-Point-making prez – and it flopped big, both at the box office and on Oscar night. While Leo McCarey’s musical romp Going My Way was Bing Crosbying its way to Oscar night glory, we imagine Zanuck was off painting an angry face on the nearest volleyball. Rumour has it he was so upset at the film’s failure that he forbade mention of it in his company.

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Your Comments

1 Natural selection?
It appears to be the nature of the current film culture to ignore most films that have outgrown their commercial usefulness, but this list struck me as somewhat arbitrary. ("A Thousand Clowns" still has a strong cult following, while "Wilson" and "Nicholas and Alexandra" are the kind of Oscar-fodder that grab a few nominations but rarely retain much popularity). You could probably come up with a list of equally forgotten or forgettable award winners - from "Cimmaron" and "The Life of Emile Zola" to "Ordinary People" . (Check back in ten years to see if anyone is still particularly fond of "The King's Speech"... More

Posted by RGHunt57 on Monday February 24, 2014, 12:29

2 Watchable.
I'd class most of these as 'watchable'. In that, you'd watch them if they were on TV, but you'd not go out of your way to seek them out. They're not bad, they're just not 'OMG, I've burnt out the disc rewatching them' good. More

Posted by GrizBe on Saturday February 22, 2014, 09:52

3 Apparently, you would not know a good movie if it bit you in the ass!
Most of theses movies(I've seen 8) are rather decent and I thought Picnic was rather sensuous More

Posted by harrybeme on Saturday February 22, 2014, 04:32

4 picnic
i saw picnic last summer and found it quite bittersweet, I would recommend it. More

Posted by sean mac on Saturday February 22, 2014, 00:22

5 Il Postino
...wasn't forgotten, was it? Maybe it was, I dunno, I rarely do surveys of viewing habits. I've heard of In The Bedroom and The Cider House Rules but never felt inclined to watch them. Worth it? More

Posted by FoxDhoj on Friday February 21, 2014, 23:17

6 :)
I watched only 4.:/ More

Posted by bassbariton88 on Friday February 21, 2014, 21:22

7 Nicholas & Alexandra
I watched Nicholas and Alexandra solely to see a pre-Doctor Who Tom Baker as Rasputin. Michael Jayston (also now known mostly for being in Doctor Who) was good as Tsar Nicholas II. It is a bit of a bum-number but then so is David Lean's Dr Zhivago. In the Bedroom is actually rather good, but it's best gone into with no idea of what's going to happen. The Cider House Rules is only notable as the greatest examples of a "How the hell did they win?" Oscar where a pretty average Michael Caine performance (his Yank accent is hopeless) beat four career-best performances from Haley Joel Osment, Tom Cruise, Michael Clarke Duncan and Jude Law. More

Posted by G MAN on Friday February 21, 2014, 20:43

8
Loved In The Bedroom and the Cider House Rules too! More

Posted by Myles Mac on Friday February 21, 2014, 13:00

9
Loved In The Bedroom and the Cider House Rules too! More

Posted by Myles Mac on Friday February 21, 2014, 13:00

10
Il Postino is one of my all time favourites! More

Posted by Myles Mac on Friday February 21, 2014, 12:59

11
You're right; I haven't seen any of them. More

Posted by Whistler on Friday February 21, 2014, 12:13

12 RE:
L: Osric Where's Grizbe moaning that he's seen all of these twice? Where's Osric being a smartarse? eriously though, while I've heard of all of these, only ones I've seen were The Russians are coming and Cider House... and honestly, its no wonder they've been forgotten. Oscar nominated maybe... good? Not really. More

Posted by GrizBe on Friday February 21, 2014, 11:03

13
I've seen a total of one of these. Namely In The Bedroom. Tom Wilkinson superb in that. It's amazing how many of these trailers seem to have steam trains in them. And how often William Holden seemed to take his shirt off in the 50s. More

Posted by Schnorbitz on Friday February 21, 2014, 00:16

14
Where's Grizbe moaning that he's seen all of these twice? More

Posted by Osric on Thursday February 20, 2014, 23:40

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