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Lou Costello died on March 3, 1959, at the age of 52.

March 3, 2018

I’ve got a huge story coming out next week that I’ve literally been working on for about 16 months, and this week has been filled with travel, constant meetings and, worse than all of that, my annual plunge into sickness, which you can hear if you listen to my struggle to make it through the Grierson & Leitch podcast this week. I am completely drained right now: I am your computer that hits 5 percent and warns you to plug it in before it goes into sleep mode. I desperately need to go into sleep mode.

As longtime subscribers to this here newsletter know, when I have my yearly bouts with illness and barely have the energy to lift my head off the desk, let alone pour my soul into an in-depth newsletter, I fall back on the last refuge of the writing scoundrel: The list! Lists are useful because they’re easy, they’re definitionally debatable and they are simple and straightforward reads. It just gives the eye and the brain a break, for both writer and reader. (It’s why my movie reviews are 1-5. It’s a normal movie review, but numbering the paragraphs makes it read more smoothly for a lot of people.) It would be lazy (and a bit of a nightmare) to do lists all the time, but sometimes they’re a break that comes in handy. Today is one of those days.

So, today’s list: The last 30 Best Picture Oscar winners, ranked.

30. Crash, directed by Paul Haggis
29. The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius
28. American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes
27. Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle
26. Driving Miss Daisy, directed by Bruce Beresford
25. The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
24. Dances With Wolves, directed by Kevin Costner
23. The King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper
22. Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall
21. A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard
20. Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis
19. Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott
18. The English Patient, directed by Anthony Minghella
17. Argo, directed by Ben Affleck
16. Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson
15. Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood
14. Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson
13. Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy
12. Shakespeare in Love, directed by John Madden
11. Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
10. The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow
9. Titanic, directed by James Cameron
8. No Country For Old Men, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
7. Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood
6. The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson
4. The Silence of the Lambs, directed by Jonathan Demme
3. 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen
2. Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins
1. Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg


There are three movies most likely to win Best Picture on Sunday. (It’s the most wide open Best Picture I can remember.) Here’s where each of those movies would land on the above list:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: 23.
The Shape of Water: 25.
Get Out: 12.

Also, Grierson and I ranked Oscar hosts a few years ago. I’d put Jimmy Kimmel around where Whoopi Goldberg is on that list. With the chance to sneak up a little higher.

Thank you for tolerating my little rest week with a list.

Here is a numerical breakdown of all the things I wrote this week, in order of what I believe to be their quality. (This is an attempt to have an objective look at the value of my work in a way that I suspect will be difficult to sustain.)

1. Your Big NL West Preview, MLB.com. It was an extremely busy week, even if it doesn’t necessarily show in this list. Next week, though.

2. Jennifer Lawrence Movies, Ranked, Vulture. It is always easier to do these lists when the actor or actress is younger.

3. The Phillies Should Think Big This Month, MLB.com. Arrieta makes a ton of sense for them, right?

4. Lucas Duda, and Other Postseason Goats Who Later Joined the Teams That Once Benefited From Their Missteps, MLB.com. This was a goofy idea, but I think it turned out well.

5. Debate Club: Oscar’s Genre Snubs, SYFY. I can’t believe The Shining wasn’t nominated for a single Oscar.

THE WILL LEITCH SHOW

We taped two shows back-to-back on Monday, but neither of them are up yet. They’re coming, though.

PODCASTS!

Grierson & Leitch, “Annihilation,” “Mute” and “Game Night.”

Seeing Red, Bernie Miklasz and I look at the 2018 Cardinals lineup.

Waitin’ Since Last Saturday, no show this week.

Our children are too big to still be pushed in a stroller but when we’re trying to win a race, get in.

They look like they are having a blast.

Have a great weekend, and be safe out there.


Best,
Will