29 February 2016

Academy Awards – Best Picture Cars

We ‘Spotlight’ past Best Picture winners that score with car lovers

If half the reason you to go to the movies is to see some great cars on the big screen, then Sunday night’s Academy Awards certainly left you empty handed.

Let’s face it, this year’s Best Picture winner didn’t exactly put the “Spotlight” on super cool cars. The good news is, the last two decades of Best Picture winners have given us plenty to talk about. We especially like these seven films that, since 1997, have claimed Hollywood’s top prize (beginning with the most recent):

Argo (2012) – The movie focuses on the true story of the CIA’s daring rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970s and early ’80s, so every car on screen is considered a classic today, including (to name a few) a 1973 Volkswagen bus, 1979 Pontiac Firebird and 1966 Plymouth Satellite.

The Artist (2011) – A silent movie? In black and white? It works. The cars are spectacular too, even if the filmmakers missed the mark a few times. For example, a 1931 Lincoln Model K appears in a scene that is set in 1928, and a 1935 Cadillac shows up in 1932. Details, details.

The King’s Speech (2010) – In this story about Britain’s King George VI and his struggle to overcome a speech impediment, British automobiles also play royal roles. Among the eye-catchers: a 1934 Bentley 3.5L, 1936 Humber Pullman Mk I, 1937 Austin and 1938 Daimler New Fifteen.

No Country For Old Men (2007) – See what happens when you stumble upon a murder scene and swipe the truck and loot in it instead of calling the police? You get trouble with a capital T. Now, if the truck was a classic International Harvester, for example, then maybe … never mind. This flick is chock-full of fun cars and trucks, from a 1966 Buick Wildcat to a ’69 Chevy C-Series pickup to a ’71 Ford F-100.

Chicago (2002) – Showbiz and murder in Chicago in the 1920s. Good grief, how could there NOT be great cars in this film? Frankly, we would have loved to see more of them, but we liked what we saw. There were Model A Fords and Model T Fords and Chevy trucks and a Rolls Royce and more – if you have the patience to hit the pause button to pick them out while watching the DVD.

A Beautiful Mind (2001) – The movie begins in 1947, and as the story unfolds it’s also a fun ride through decades of automotive history. It’s jam packed with automotive eye candy like a 1942 Willys; 1949 Plymouth; 1950 Pontiac; 1951 Buick, Hudson, Cadillac and Chevy; 1953 Chrysler; 1954 Pontiac; 1955 Buick and Oldsmobile … you get the picture.

Titanic (1997) – In this story about an ill-fated ocean liner, we’re treated to several early 1900s cars, including one – a 1912 Renault 35CV – that overheats at sea without cranking the engine. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, you’ve never taken a date to a Drive-In.

Editor’s note: Special thanks to the Internet Movie Cars Database (IMCDb.org) for help identifying the cars that we couldn’t.

9 Reader Comments

  • 1
    William McHale Stockton, CA March 2, 2016 at 14:14
    Jeff, take a peek at the movie, "American Graffiti." Great collection of 50's cars, including an Edsel. Love the Ford Coupe.
  • 2
    Lenny Delvecchio Indiana March 2, 2016 at 14:54
    Wiliam - The Sting won best picture in 1974, not American Graffiti.
  • 3
    Gregory Black Wisconsin March 2, 2016 at 16:42
    Could have mentioned the BMW 2002's in parking lot in Argo, too.
  • 4
    Stan Cohen Palm Springs, CA March 2, 2016 at 19:27
    Check out Barry Levinson's Tin Men from 1987. It sports lots of Caddy's from '58 through '63 as well as several other great period Detroit Iron.
  • 5
    Jamie Graham Victoria, Canada March 2, 2016 at 20:04
    It was only nominated but how about that beautiful P1800 Volvo the lawyer was driving Tom Hanks' character to the border crossing. Even on a dark muddy street the clean white Volvo earned its reputation as the "poor man's Ferrari."
  • 6
    Jim Martin Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada March 2, 2016 at 22:33
    Contrary to American revisionist history, as demonstrated in Argo, the rescue of the six embassy personnel was primarily a Canadian operation. They were sheltered in the homes of Canadian embassy workers and smuggled out of Iran under the guidance of Canadian diplomat Ken Taylor. Taylor himself was quoted as saying the CIA played only a minor role in the operation.
  • 7
    Grumpy1946 Wheaton,Il. March 3, 2016 at 17:42
    What about "Rain Man".That '49 (?) Buick convert. was magnificent !
  • 8
    Phil Gaffney Augusta GA March 3, 2016 at 18:32
    How about "Jersey Boys" and the Olds 98 4 door sedan!! I own a close clone to the movie vehicle that I purchased in '65 as my first automobile with factory air. It underwent full restoration finally completed in late 2014.....a movie type jewel...!!
  • 9
    jim Chicago March 3, 2016 at 11:25
    Slightly off topic, but it's awesome to see the dawn and evolution of cars in Downton Abbey. In fact cars are an important thread throughout the series.

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