In a fool-triumphant victory worthy of its triumphant fool protagonist, Forrest Gump bumbled its way through the history of the Oscars to be named the greatest Best Picture winner of the last 64 years by readers of ABCNews.com. Conducted in bracket form, March Madness-style, the competition found Robert Zemeckis’ feel-good 1994 dramedy failing upwards through five rounds, voters deeming it a better movie than (in this order) Schindler’s List, Braveheart, Silence Of The Lambs, The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, and The Godfather.
Perhaps those who weighed in found the ballot confusing, or thought they were voting for the Best Picture winner of the last 64 years that most exemplifies Ronald Reagan’s worldview. Maybe they were being cheeky and thought they’d use the tournament as a demonstration that life really is like a box of chocolate, in that you don’t know what you’re going to get from it. Or maybe Bubba Gump Shrimp offered a free Kentucky Bourbon Skewer to anyone who voted accordingly. All of these have to be more likely scenarios than someone—anyone—believing that Forrest Gump is a better movie than The Godfather, right?
In truth, the real head-scratchers happened in the earlier rounds, such as when Slumdog Millionaire somehow trounced No Country For Old Men, The King’s Speech inexplicably vanquished The Hurt Locker, and The Deer Hunter pushed past the superior Annie Hall. Rather than properly seeding the bracket, so that comparably excellent or at least likeminded films were matched up, the ABC News team simply organized it chronologically. As Mama Gump would put it, sometimes we all do things that, well, just don't make no sense.