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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

New Year, New Classic Films

Braveheart received the Academy Award as Best Picture of 1995, but has it stood the test of time? Is Apollo 13 better remembered today as a timeless example of superb filmmaking? This is a question open for debate for fans and scholars.

With every New Year there are hundreds of films newly eligible to be considered classics. Now that it is 2015, we can reflect upon the films of 1995 and see what has stood the test of time. What has surpassed the whims of popular culture and trends to be a true classic? Then again, maybe 20 years isn’t enough time for some evaluations to be made. Sometimes it takes a great deal of time and distance to properly reflect upon the merits of any creative endeavor. Even then, the continuing march of time brings with it changes that effect our collective perspective. But we have to start somewhere, and according to the dictionary twenty years is the minimal amount of time that must pass before tagging anything a “classic”, so here goes.

Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino and Sense and Sensibility were the films in contention for the Best Picture Oscar in 1995. A long with the previously mentioned Il Postino, Babe, Apollo 13, and Sense and Sensibility, Leaving Las Vegas, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Nixon, Dead Man Walking, Casino, The Bridges of Madison County, The Usual Suspects, Rob Roy, Twelve Monkeys, Mighty Aphrodite, and Georgia all had actors vying for acting awards. And nine of all of these films were also nominated for a writing award. That’s pretty impressive considering the many films produced that year that received no recognition from the Academy at all. Of course, consideration from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not equate to a film automatically being a classic. Nominations aren’t the end all be all, but it sure helps you remember a film, especially if the film goes on to win in what’s considered one of the more prestigious categories (Acting, Supporting Acting, Directing and Picture). It’s just a place from which to start.

So, starting with the previously mentioned nominees which ones among them could possibly be considered classic films? I know I’m going to alienate some die-hard fans, but I submit that the only obvious contenders are Apollo 13, Il Postino and Sense and Sensibility. Apollo and Sense have proven there merit AND popularity with many testimonials, awards, and repeat viewings on TV. They have become beloved films, reflective of the standards of the era in which they were produced. The one foreign film, Il Postino, may not be as memorable to the average film watcher, but I believe there is a timelessness to this story that will capture the heart of anyone who views it. If you don’t know it, I urge you to add it to your must see list right away. Tell me if I’m wrong.

Are there other films from 1995 that make the cut for me? Absolutely. However, I’ll need a little more time to come up with that list as I seek a complete chronicle of what was made and released during that particular year. No doubt you’ll have your own favorites and opinions, but ultimately it is a decision that will be made long after we’re all long gone. Time is the only true assayer when it comes to the classics. To bad I won’t be around to find out.

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