The Oscars are nigh, which means, once again, I’m eschewing recommending a show for you to stream to recommend a couple Oscar-winning movies to watch instead. I’ve got an older one, and a newer one, but even the movies I feel are newer ones are now fading into the distance. Time waits for no movie, as the saying doesn’t go.
Once upon a time The Sting was quite popular, in addition to being an Oscar winner for Best Picture. However, I feel like it has been lost to time a bit. Part of that is because it may feel too “old timey” for many. The movie itself was made in the ‘70s, 1975 to be more specific, but it’s about the Depression Era. The soundtrack is filled with ragtime music. Ragtime! Also The Sting won Best Picture between two films you may have heard of. It’s sandwiched between The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. As such, The Sting gets forgotten along those two all-time classics.
However, The Sting is a fun caper film. It stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, two great actors who worked great together. The villain is also played by another excellent actor, Robert Shaw. The Sting is a comedy, but it’s also something of a heist film. Newman and Redford play two conmen who put together a massively elaborate con to take down a local gangster. I don’t know if it all holds together perfectly, in terms of the plot and their scheme, but The Sting is really good and worth checking out, especially if you’ve never seen Newman and Redford work together, or have only even seen Shaw in Jaws.
On the newer front, I feel like people also have been unfair to the legacy of Argo. It was a bit of a surprise winner. Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. It didn’t win acting awards. However, it won Best Picture, beating out movies like Life of Pi and Lincoln.
Was it the best film of 2012? I’m not sure, but it’s really good. Granted, I tend to love movies about filmmaking and the film industry. Also, the TV industry. There’s a bit of that in Argo. The movie tells the true story of the government’s covert operation to get American hostages out of Iran. They used the guise of being the crew of a Canadian movie production to make it work. They got Hollywood involved, including the legendary makeup artist John Chambers. Also, Halt and Catch Fire fans can get a look at Gordon and Donna Clark, aka Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishe, before that show.
So I guess these two movies are thematically linked in a way. They are both about elaborate schemes that involve a ton of planning and perfect execution. That makes them a perfect pair to watch together on a Saturday afternoon. Or a Sunday before the Super Bowl.