Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1981

dtgirbp-1981Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Atlantic City
Chariots of Fire
On Golden Pond
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Biggest Snub:

Prince of the City

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where no one really knew what film would win the final award because different films kept winning at different awards shows during the course of the season.

Most everyone was surprised at the eventual winner especially once the other awards of the night were distributed relatively equally between some of the other films (OGP won both Actor and Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, Reds won Director, Supporting Actress and Cinematography, CoF won Best Original screenplay, Costumes and Original Score and Raiders picked up 4 Technical Awards plus a Special achievement award.

I didn’t watch this awards show (I was 7), but it sounds like it was a real nail-biter at the very end.

My Rankings:


  • 5. – Atlantic City – Sarandon and Lancaster are quite good here, but the story is extremely dark and not as powerful as a BP nominee should probably be.
  • 4. – Reds – Biopic of American writer John Reed who traveled to Russia during the time of the October Revolution.  Beatty’s lifelong project isn’t as powerful as it could have been and runs a bit too long.
  • 3. – Chariots of Fire – Biopic of two of the fastest men who participated in the 1924 Olympics.  Is a bit dry in it’s storytelling methods but still has left us all with an inspirational melody to remember it by.
  • 2. – On Golden Pond – Fonda and Hepburn are both superb in this film that leaves you with such a great feeling after watching it because the characters and story are quite uplifting.
  • 1. – Raiders of the Lost Ark – Amazing adventure that still remains one of the best movies ever.  Ford is perfect as the lead and became one of the most iconic movie characters to this day.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not at all!  Raiders or On Golden Pond are both better choices because they leave you feeling uplifted.  Chariots is too bland in the way it tries to tell the story and despite an inspirational melody, the story itself is somewhat lacking.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

11 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1981

  1. I had never heard of Eric Liddell until Chariots of Fire, and Ian Charleson’s performance as Liddell was truly inspiring. I enjoyed the story myself, but like most everyone else felt Raiders should have won—even, though, the Academy seldom surrenders to a fan favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly think Chariots of Fire was worthy, even if I enjoy Raiders more. It’s popcorn vs. inspirational drama, and I guess I’m not surprised the latter won out. The historical aspect probably helped it edge out On Golden Pond too.


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