Burger Fiction, the YouTube channel known for superb videos such as "Movie Phone Super Call" and "Every Tom Cruise Run. Ever," has turned its attention to a less serious topic: the Oscars. The 89th Academy Awards are February 26 and in anticipation, Burger Fiction has been releasing special "Every Best _____ Winner. Ever" videos, each focused on a Oscars category. With eighty-eight years of winners, each category has a history filled with excellence. With almost an hour of short clips between the four videos, you'll have plenty of incredible films to micro-watch in the run-up to the big night. Get the La La Land soundtrack unstuck from your head for awhile and dry your eyes after the ending of Lion so you can tour the history of four of the Oscars' biggest categories, a few seconds at a time.
Starting with Charles Rosher & Karl Struss for Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans in 1927, the Best Cinematography category honors the most beautiful and most innovative camera work. From the stunning scenes of Victor Milner's 1934 Cleopatra to the 1940s when there were separate awards for color and black and white films, and finally to American Beauty (1999: according to some, it has the most beautiful shot ever taken) and the mesmerizing camera rigs of Gravity (2013), cinematographers create images from the director's visions. Floyd Crosby's Tabu was the last silent film to win the award, while Schindler's List was the last black and white film (though not completely black and white) to win.
The list is full of novel and Broadway adaptions, war films and sci-fi adventures. The Longest Day (1962) previewed Saving Private Ryan (1998); Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Avatar (2009) and Inception (2010) show off the newest and strangest scenery cameras can produce; the visions of Ben-Hur (1959) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) contribute to their statuses as some of the greatest films of all time.
Often going hand-in-hand with cinematography, a film's VFX help the director create in reality what they see in their head. 1927's Wings started the category with its groundbreaking in-air plane battles. The award was originally for best engineering and didn't take on its current title until 1963, when Cleopatra won. Mary Poppins won the next year and the list went on to include the likes of Jurassic Park (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Life of Pi (2012) and Interstellar (2014). 2001's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring changed the game for large-scale movie battles by using AI to allow thousands of CGI orcs and elves to battle each other without the animators having to script every move. The Matrix (1999) introduced the now-famous slow-motion bullet-dodging sequence. George Lucas had a string of innovative wins with Star Wars (1977), Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983).
Best Animated Feature
The Best Animated Feature category is significantly newer but its winners and nominees have proved just as important to visual storytelling as live-action movies. The award only started in 2001 with Shrek, six years after Toy Story revolutionized the movie industry and started Pixar on a path that would bring it eight Oscar wins in this category. Sadly, an animated film has still never won the Best Picture award, though two incredible Pixar films—Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010)—were deservingly nominated. None shall forget the embarrassing 2014 Oscars, where the LEGO Movie picked up only one (one!) nomination and zero (!!) wins. Animated films have brought us consistently inspiring stories from the minds at Disney and Pixar, but also from smaller competitors. Kubo and the Two Strings, nominated this year, used stop-motion animation to create stunningly detailed characters and environments to tell its beautiful story. Hopefully the distinction between excellence in live-action and animated movies will be so blurred that we will finally see an animated winner.
Finally, explore the grand trophy and the most anticipated award of the year: Best Picture. This category begins with 1927's Best VFX winner, Wings, and travels 88 years to last year's winner, Spotlight. 1934, It Happened One Night. 1939, Gone With the Wind. 1943, Casablanca. 1965, The Sound of Music. 1994, Forrest Gump. 2006, The Departed. These are some of the greatest movies ever made, according to the Academy. To be in their company is to be made a part of the history of cinema. La La Land is hoping to enter this rank by paying tribute to so many of the movies on the list. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won in 2004, tying the record for most Oscar wins by a film (11), set originally by Ben-Hur and matched by Titanic. La La Land, with its fourteen nominations, could beat that.
Is it possible? Who do you think deserves to win in these categories?
The Oscars are this Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. eastern.
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