Quentin Tarantino is the most influential American filmmaker of the past quarter century. A passionate lover of so many classic genres, Tarantino has spent 30 years re-inventing and combining those genres into modern films for modern audiences all while infusing a dialogue style never heard before and oft-imitated since. His movies are violent, loud, feature colorful language, and above all else, they’re just plain cool. Technically, his directorial debut was My Best Friend’s Birthday from 1987, but only 36 minutes of that project exists. His first official film was 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, and he wrote gangster True Romance and a draft of Natural Born Killers before hitting the stratosphere with Pulp Fiction in 1994.
With the recent release of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Tarantino officially has 9 feature films he’s both written and directed on his resume (when we count Kill Bill as one movie, which they do on the poster for the Once). And since rankings and lists are always fun, I’m going to countdown Tarantino’s filmography in order from worst to best, along with a mention of each entry’s Best Moment.
By the end of the weekend at this year’s Oscars, one of eight nominated films will be added to an eternal list of Academy Award-winning Best Pictures. This year’s nominees run the gamut of genres. There are two films detailing modern scandals (Spotlight, The Big Short), two “based on true story” historical set pieces (Bridge of Spies, The Revenant), one little international indie film (Brooklyn), a deep emotionally wrenching drama (Room), a film about someone lost in space”¦ again (The Martian), and a kick ass action thrill ride (Mad Max: Fury Road). Are these the actual best films of 2015? Well, that depends on personal preference and opinion. Based on box office, this year’s nominees weren’t close to being the most popular films. Only one — The Martian — finished in the top 10 grossing films of the year, and only three total were in the top 21.
So if the eight nominees aren’t your cup of tea, here are the Top 10 films of 2015 NOT nominated for Best Picture…
The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this morning, and Quentin Tarantino‘s brutal, slow-burn western epic The Hateful Eight scored nods in three categories: Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as the feral, fearsome criminal Daisy Domergue, with Robert Richardson‘s sumptuous widescreen cinematography also received well-deserved recognition.
The film’s third and final Oscar nomination was for the music score composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone – the first original soundtrack for a Tarantino film. This marks the sixth time Morricone has been nominated, but he has yet to win. Morricone did receive an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2007. The award was presented to him by Clint Eastwood, who shot to international movie stardom with Il Maestro’s musical backing.
I’ve embedded Morricone’s Oscar speech, in Italian with Eastwood translating into English best as possible, and you can check it out here below.
Top ten movie lists are purely subjective, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. There really isn’t a definitive list as to the best movies of the year are, because it’s all a matter of personal taste. It’s difficult to argue how Inside Out might be better than The Big Short. Try to compare why Spotlight is better than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It doesn’t do any of us any good trying to rank Room over or below Mad Max Fury Road.
Anyone can put up a ranking, and no one list is the same as any other. But I guess that is what makes the practice of making these lists so appealing. Reading and arguing which films deserve to be in a yearly top ten, or even take the title of the year’s best.
The annual ritual of narrowing down hundreds of titles to just 10 is a cruel but necessary discipline as a film critic. Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen 100 new releases. I spent a combined eight days watching movies this year, and I’m happy to report that 2015 has been a pretty great year for cinema.
We saw new work by visionary filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, Todd Haynes, George Miller, and Denis Villeneuve. We witnessed noteworthy performances by Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Oscar Isaac, Michael B. Jordan, Saoirse Ronan, and Brie Larson. And we were entertained and awe-struck by blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
I saw some truly great movies that renewed my love for cinema and kept my cynicism and negativity buried beneath joy and optimism this year. Here are the ones that did just that: 10 films that moved, inspired, and reinvigorated me.