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You’d better love the songs, because that’s pretty much all there is to is its movie poster.
This story of a yuppie car dealer (Tom Cruise) who goes on a road trip with his autistic savant brother (Dustin Hoffman) set a dangerous precedent when it won Best Picture at the 61st Academy Awards: if a film makes you feel good, and its message is moral and positive, then it deserves to win. Russell Crowe was on top of the world, Ron Howard was a capable director-for-hire, and honestly, it’s a lot of fun watching really smart people do really smart things.
This French throwback to American silent cinema was never supposed to be huge—its director, Michel Hazanavicius, and stars, Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, all previously collaborated on two modest spy film parodies in France. De Mille the night’s biggest prize simply because they felt bad he hadn’t won any Academy Awards up to that point? Is stars Diana Wynyard and Clive Brook as an upper-class couple who, along with their children and servants, live through several Earth-shattering events in the first quarter of the 20th century.
The film’s thesis—everyone is capable of racism—is solid enough; it’s just too bad the message is delivered through a series of laughably contrived scenarios. What Should Have Won Best Picture: is widely credited with increasing American support for World War II.