If you’ve seen a lot of Academy Award-winning films, then you’ll enjoy Best Picture. If you haven’t, you’ll still have fun even though you definitely won’t get all the references.

3 performers go through all 88 winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture in just under 60 minutes – definitely one of the more contrived premises up for viewing at this year’s Fringe, but impressively they manage to pull it off while getting some great impressions (Rachel Kent’s impression of Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs) and some not so great (the Chinese accent during The Last Emperor is a bit unfortunate). A lot of the Best Picture Winners are pretty obscure today, like Grand Hotel or The Best Years of Our Lives or Gigi (which I am eternally grateful to these guys that they acknowledge how hella creepy that movie is by today’s standards), so many of the obscure ones are glossed over (at one point they straight up ask the audience who’s ever heard of Cimarron) and the relationship between certain non-Oscar-winning franchises is amped up (Sir Alec Guinness may have been in Bridge on the River Kwai, but he was also in Star Wars!*) Things get silly and actors who have appeared in multiple Best Pictures get lampooned in their own way (both male performers simultaneously play a two-headed Clark Gable because it’s fairer that way). The tone of the show is light, irreverent, and very conscious of certain issues, like the explicit “realization” that they have to find a way to satirize 12 Years a Slave without being offensive (which they do in fact manage).

Pictured L-R: Jon Paterson and Kurt Fitzpatrick; Photography by Richard Gilmore
Pictured L-R: Jon Paterson and Kurt Fitzpatrick; Photography by Richard Gilmore

Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one. I enjoyed it immensely, but as someone who actively collects the Best Picture winners I’m unsure how this show comes across to those who may not know or care as much about the Oscars. The performers attack their material the way a speeding train hurtles down the track, and with the sheer amount of films to reference this is hardly surprising. The by-product of this is a high-energy romp through classic and not-so-classic cinema that at the very least is pointlessly educational in the best possible way. If you like cinema, absolutely go see it. If you’re less well-versed in that area, see it with a friend and you just might get mistaken for a Hollywood star during the red carpet preshow.

 

*I am fully aware that the Star Wars franchise has done very well in the technical categories at the Academy Awards as well as Best Score for John Williams at the ceremony for 1977, but none (not even The Empire Strikes Back!) have won Best Picture.

 

Best Picture

A RibbitRePublic production

Written by Kurt Fitzpatrick

Performed by Kurt Fitzpatrick, Jon Patterson, Rachel Kent


Ian Huffam

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