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A look at some past Oscar winners

In honor of the Academy Awards, which will air at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC, here's a look back at some past Best Picture winners to see how they measure up today.


"Wings" was the first movie to win the Academy Award for best picture. It was also the first and only silent movie to win the award.

Considering this is a silent movie, I really was not expecting much, but "Wings" was surprisingly good. The movie tells the story of two rivals who become friends during World War I while serving as pilots together.

"Wings" is a very different movie, but its interesting story makes it entertaining.



"Casablanca" is probably one of the most iconic movies of all time. With lines that everyone seems to know and an ending that can't be beat, "Casablanca" completes almost any greatest movies list.

I recently watched this movie for the first time, and after hearing so much about it, I was excited to finally see it. However, the movie does not quite live up to all the hype.

"Casablanca" is entertaining, but it seems to end as soon as the action starts.


"Driving Miss Daisy"

Based on the play of the same name, "Driving Miss Daisy" also won an Academy Award for best actress for Jessica Tandy.

"Driving Miss Daisy" tells the story of Miss Daisy, a feisty older Southern woman who is no longer able to drive. Her son hires her a driver, played by Morgan Freeman. At first, Miss Daisy is hostile toward her driver. Over time, though, the two develop a friendship that will last the rest of their lives.

I absolutely loved this movie. The relationship between Miss Daisy and her driver is sweet and genuine.


"West Side Story"

"West Side Story" is the movie version of the wildly popular musical. The movie and musical are based on "Romeo and Juliet."

The film tells the story of Maria, played by Natalie Wood, and Tony, played by Richard Beymer, who are members of opposing gangs. Maria is the little sister of the leader of the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. Rita Moreno won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role as Anita, Maria's friend and confidant, and George Chakiris won best supporting actor for his portrayal of Maria's older brother Bernardo. Tony is part of the Jets, another gang in the same area of the city. Maria and Tony fall in love, but can never be together.

Although I enjoy the musical, I did not really enjoy the film.


"An American in Paris"

"An American in Paris" stars Gene Kelly as Jerry Mulligan, an American soldier living in Paris after World War II. Jerry, an aspiring painter, lives in a tiny apartment and sells his paintings on the street. When a wealthy woman discovers Jerry and wants to make him famous, Jerry's life drastically changes. At the same time, Jerry and his friend fall in love with the same woman. Jerry must compete with his friend to win the affection of the woman, but neither is aware that the other is in love with the same woman.

"An American in Paris" is a nice diversion. There are plenty of musical numbers, and, of course, Kelly dances quite a bit.


"A Beautiful Mind"

"A Beautiful Mind" is based on the life of John Nash, an influential mathematician.

Nash is a student at Princeton University who does not fit in. He is a mathematical genius, but he says that people do not like him and he does not like people. Nash eventually starts teaching, and falls in love with one of his students, Alicia. At the same time, he starts to crack codes for the U.S. government. Eventually, Nash is treated for schizophrenia.

The film is excellent. Russell Crowe disappears into his role as Nash. It is a touching story.


"Out of Africa"

"Out of Africa" is based on the autobiographical book of the same name. Starring Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, the movie loosely tells the story of Karen's adventures on a coffee farm in Africa.

Karen, a wealthy unmarried woman living in Denmark, agrees to marry her friend simply for convenience. The two move to Africa to start a coffee farm.

The film has a beautiful setting, and the plot is interesting. Sometimes, though, the movie can be a little hard to believe.


"The King's Speech"

"The King's Speech" is based on the true story of England's King George VI of Britain.

King George has a speech impediment and struggles to deliver speeches, a crucial part of his job. His wife encourages him to see a speech therapist to help him overcome the problem. The king meets Lionel Logue, who helps the king to speak without his stammer.

"The King's Speech is an excellent movie. Colin Firth, as King George, won an Academy Award for his performance.

Hannah Zakrzewski is a freshman at Nardin Academy.