You tell yourself the Academy Awards don’t matter, but then something appalling happens, like Goodfellas losing the Best Picture Oscar to Dances With Wolves. As your rage-induced mini-stroke subsides, you realize the Oscars exist solely to torment movie lovers. If you’ve ever felt like the Academy Awards are a poor measure of American cinematic legacy, the BBC is here to help you out. Deadline reports BBC Culture released the results of its 100 Greatest American Films poll, and only 12 Best Picture winners are included. In fact, only 40 percent of the films on the list were even nominated.
When analyzing the list, contextual differences should be taken into consideration. Perhaps most importantly, the BBC’s list spans a century—all the way back to 1915’s critically acclaimed Ku Klux Klan recruiting flick, The Birth Of A Nation (number 39)—whereas the Academy votes annually on what they perceive to be the best movie over the previous year. Also, even the Academy knows that they’re a cabal of wizened crones, so they‘re bound to crown winners like Driving Miss Daisy (which arguably had more racial diversity than any of the other Best Picture nominees that year). And the BBC is replacing a series of subjective lists with their own subjective list, so there’s always something to pick apart. Sure, it’s nice to see Pulp Fiction come in at number 28, but Forrest Gump is still on the list at number 74. And seeing The Lion King as the lone animated entry suggests the BBC hasn’t seen any Pixar films, or even many Disney films. If nothing else, the BBC’s list of best American films gives us yet another catalog for which we can bemoan the inclusion of Meet Me In St. Louis at the expense of Ghostbusters.