Best Picture Winners by Year – Part One

It was just two weeks ago that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the 2017 films, film stars, and filmmakers that were nominated for Academy Awards. There weren’t many surprises, certainly not among the nine films nominated for Best Picture, among them “The Shape of Water,” which leads the race with a not-quite-record-setting 13 nominations, followed by “Dunkirk” with eight and “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” with seven.

You can watch for my predicting-the-winners post closer to Oscar night, which this year isn’t until Sunday, March 4th. I will wax poetic at that time about who I think will win, as well as who I think should win. For now, I’m still trying to catch up on some of the nominees, particularly in the categories of Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Film.

In the meantime, I’ve had a chance to write up a summary review of the previous 89 winners of the Best Picture Oscar. If this seems like a lot of work, know that I first had the idea last year, but it literally took me 12 months to gather my thoughts, and to re-watch some of the winners in question.

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Top Ten Bond Theme Songs

As a movie buff, travel-holic, and music lover, the James Bond films hold a special place in my heart. They feature scenery-chewing villains, exotic locales, and memorable opening credit sequences (not to mention cool cars, hair-raising action scenes, and gorgeous female co-stars).

“Spectre,” the 24th Bond film not counting the one-hour TV movie “Casino Royale” from 1954 nor the 1983 “Sean Connery returns” vehicle “Never Say Never Again,” opened last week. I was fortunate to catch it during its Thursday, 11/5 sneak preview. While not the best in the franchise, it is a solid follow-up to 2012’s “Skyfall” and, if the rumors are true, a nice swan song for Daniel Craig’s James Bond. The song that plays over the opening credits, “The Writing’s on the Wall” by Britain’s Sam Smith, is worthy of inclusion among the pantheon of great Bond songs. I don’t know if Smith’s falsetto was the right touch for what is supposed to be a somber tune, but you can decide for yourself here.

Smith’s song, like so many others, opens with a full orchestra. Oscar-winning film composer John Barry scored most 1960’s – 80’s Bond films and wrote many of the title tracks as well. The strings and horns are commonplace in many (though not all) 007 songs, and Smith pays heed to the tradition. But there are better Bond songs out there. Below, with YouTube links to the opening title sequences from each film, are my picks for the Top Ten Bond Theme Songs:

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