A Century of Film


The Studio

It’s not as well known as the UA story but it’s in a similar vein.  In fact, everything I looked at before writing this piece referenced the founding of United Artists and the way four major players in Hollywood came together to form their own studio.  The big difference was that those were three stars and a director.  Here, it was a director, a man who had been mostly running a studio and a man who hadn’t done so well with films but had made himself a billionaire through music.

The foundation for DreamWorks came in October of 1994 when the three men, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen announced their new studio (and much more, at least according to the plan, but this history only cares about the studio).  But it really had begun back in April when Frank Wells died in a helicopter crash, which should have lead to Katzenberg’s ascendency at Disney but instead put Michael Eisner in a position to push him out (a decision that, compounded by Eisner’s dick refusal to pay Katzenberg, eventually cost Disney $250 million).  So, needing something new to do and always having wanted to run a studio, Katzenberg managed to convince the other two to form a brand new studio, an actual attempt to compete with the majors.

Herein lies the irony.  DreamWorks is often described as the first new studio (or at least the first new major studio) in decades, since the Studio Era.  But it never really competed with the majors.  Disney was never a major studio in the Studio Era; in fact, it didn’t even distribute its own films into well into the 1950’s.  And aside from competing with Disney on the financial front, they would constantly compete with Miramax on the awards front even though Miramax was not a major and was in fact owned by Disney.

It would take until 1997 for the first DW film to reach theaters.  The first moves were made on the animated front with a long pre-production put into The Prince of Egypt before the live action films even began.  Knowing that whatever the first DW film would be, it would be heavily scrutinized, they actually, wisely in my opinion, went with a standard genre film (The Peacemaker) rather than debuting with Spielberg’s Oscar bait for 1997, Amistad.

Then came 1998 and the real push by DW with Saving Private Ryan (the big prestige film that, conveniently, also ended up being the #1 film of the year at the box office) and AntzAntz actually was a big deal, if for no other reason than its marketing: “Disney had long used celebrity voice casts, but its promotion centered on the film, not the actors.  For Antz, the advance publicity hyped the fact that this was the first cartoon to have Woody Allen in a featured role, as well as Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover and Christopher Walken, among others.  The hook of Woody Allen as a cartoon voice was noted; later the Shrek marketing campaign would emphasize its starring voice cast from the start.”  (The Dream Team: The Rise and Fall of DreamWorks: Lessons from the New Hollywood, Daniel M. Kimmel, p 93).

The big thing came in the fall when DreamWorks and Miramax faced off in the Best Picture race at the Oscars and the campaigning began in earnest.  Miramax would win Picture but the following year it would be DreamWorks that would come out on top with American Beauty.  In just their third year, the studio had already won the top Oscar prize.  The following year they would again have a Ryan type Picture with Gladiator being one of the biggest films of the year and also winning Best Picture.  But Almost Famous was a sign of the bigger problems the studio would have: it was the big prestige fall picture and it got great reviews but couldn’t quite make it into the Oscar race and its box office couldn’t even cover the cost of the music.

In one sense, Gladiator had been the peak.  They would never again have a live action film that earned as much as Gladiator and the next DW film to even earn a Best Picture nomination would be distributed by Universal after the studio had been sold (Munich).  There was still the animation, of course, and it would be the most important part of the studio through the length of its time as a distributor with multiple successful franchises, most notably Shrek but also Madagascar and, after the sale, How to Train Your Dragon.

Shrek would also be a hallmark of Katzenberg’s need to succeed against Disney.  The film itself would take shots at the House of Mouse and the DVD would actually be released on the Friday of Monsters Inc release rather than a Tuesday as is normal in the industry.  Katzenberg would achieve victory by winning the first Best Animated Film Oscar but in the entire history of DW the only other Oscar in that category would go to Wallace & Gromit which would only be a DW distribution film, not a production of their animation division.

What you will often read about DW is that it failed as a major studio.  And for the most part, that’s true.  It only lasted as a distributor of its own films for eight years.  In 2005, it sold the studio, and while it would continue to make films, it would no longer distribute them and that was one of the hallmarks of being a major.

Notable DreamWorks Films

  • The Peacemaker (1997)  –  first DW release
  • Amistad  (1997)  –  first Spielberg DW film
  • Saving Private Ryan  (1998)  –  first big hit, first Best Picture nominee
  • Antz  (1998)  –  first DW Animation film
  • American Beauty  (1999)  –  Best Picture winner
  • Gladiator  (2000)  –  second Best Picture winner
  • Chicken Run  (2000)  –  first Aardman film released through DW
  • Shrek  (2001)  –  Oscar winner for Animated Film; biggest DW film to date, start of DW’s biggest franchise
  • Shrek 2  (2002)  –  biggest DW film; highest grossing Animated Film ever released to date
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  (2005)  –  to date, the last DW film to win Best Animated Film at the Oscars
  • Memoirs of a Geisha  (2005)  –  first DW film distributed by another company (Columbia)
  • Match Point  (2005)  –  last film distributed by DreamWorks SKG
  • She’s the Man  (2006)  –  first DW film distributed by Paramount beginning a long deal

The Directors

Steven Spielberg

  • Films:  6
  • Years:  1997 – 2011
  • Average Film:  88.0
  • Best Film:  Munich
  • Worst Film:  The Terminal

The tricky thing during this period is that Spielberg wasn’t as prolific as he had been in the past complicated by some of his films being produced by DreamWorks but not released domestically by DreamWorks (A.I., Minority Report, War of the Worlds).  But he was still the heart of the non-animated DreamWorks films and while he did have one film that fell way short of his usual critical and commercial success (The Terminal) he still released several films which were among the best the studio made as will be obvious from their consistent placement in the Top 5 lists below.

Sam Mendes

  • Films:  3
  • Years:  1999 – 2008
  • Average Film:  95.0
  • Best Film:  American Beauty
  • Worst Film:  Road to Perdition

Three of the first four films Sam Mendes directed were fantastic and those were the three made for DreamWorks (Jarhead was the other).  While, sadly, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road would fall short at the Oscars, American Beauty is still the biggest Oscar success in the studio’s history.

The Stars

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks’ successful collaboration with Spielberg overlapped perfectly with the start of DreamWorks but Hanks also managed to move over and work with Sam Mendes for one film, giving the most under-appreciated performance of his career.
Essential Viewing:  Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if You Can, Road to Perdition

Eddie Murphy

There was no question that Murphy’s Donkey was a major reason for the success of the Shrek films.  But Murphy also made Dreamgirls for DreamWorks, his biggest critical success and the one that earned him an Oscar nomination (and might have won him the Oscar if not for the badly timed release of Norbit which, ironically, is also a DreamWorks film).
Essential Viewing:  Shrek, Shrek 2, Dreamgirls


As should be evident from the list below, DreamWorks isn’t big on genre films and even when they are, they’re not necessarily all that strong.  They’ve done well with the few Crime, Musical and War films they’ve released but they’ve mostly focused on Comedies and Kids films.

All of the DreamWorks films, ranked

note:  This list consists of all the films I considered for the various categories below.  This is the complete lists of all films released by DreamWorks SKG while it existed as a distributor (1997-2005) and then films produced by DreamWorks but released by other studios after that.  It does not include films in which DreamWorks had a hand in making the film but did not distribute it in the U.S. prior to late 2005 when it stopped being a distributor (A Beautiful Mind and War of the Worlds for example).

  1. American Beauty
  2. Munich
  3. Almost Famous
  4. Revolutionary Road
  5. Saving Private Ryan
  6. Amistad
  7. Road to Perdition
  8. Up in the Air
  9. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  10. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  11. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  12. Match Point
  13. Catch Me If You Can
  14. Chicken Run
  15. Shrek 2
  16. Millennium Actress
  17. Flushed Away
  18. Collateral
  19. How to Train Your Dragon
  20. War Horse
  21. Shrek
  22. The Kite Runner
  23. Dreamgirls
  24. Kung Fu Panda
  25. Letters from Iwo Jima
  26. Flags of our Fathers
  27. Puss in Boots
  28. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  29. Kung Fu Panda 2
  30. Memoirs of a Geisha
  31. Antz
  32. Small Time Crooks
  33. Shrek Forever After
  34. Over the Hedge
  35. The Soloist
  36. Fright Night
  37. Galaxy Quest
  38. Red Eye
  39. Shrek the Third
  40. Tropic Thunder
  41. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
  42. The Road to El Dorado
  43. Anything Else
  44. The Terminal
  45. Gladiator
  46. Ghost Town
  47. The Help
  48. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
  49. Megamind
  50. Hollywood Ending
  51. Madagascar
  52. The Prince of Egypt
  53. Real Steel
  54. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  55. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  56. The Lovely Bones
  57. Just Like Heaven
  58. Bee Movie
  59. An Everlasting Piece
  60. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  61. The Contender
  62. Things We Lost in the Fire
  63. The Time Machine
  64. Dinner for Schmucks
  65. The Ring
  66. Dreamer
  67. The Legend of Bagger Vance
  68. Shark Tale
  69. The Island
  70. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  71. The Peacemaker
  72. Head of State
  73. Monsters vs. Aliens
  74. The Ruins
  75. Mouse Hunt
  76. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!
  77. The Mexican
  78. Small Soldiers
  79. Paulie
  80. In Dreams
  81. I Love You, Man
  82. Cowboys & Aliens
  83. The Last Kiss
  84. Hotel for Dogs
  85. Evolution
  86. House of Sand and Fog
  87. What Lies Beneath
  88. The Last Castle
  89. The Love Letter
  90. The Uninvited
  91. Old School
  92. Disturbia
  93. She’s Out of My League
  94. Biker Boyz
  95. Forces of Nature
  96. The Ring Two
  97. Envy
  98. She’s the Man
  99. Road Trip
  100. Eagle Eye
  101. Blades of Glory
  102. The Tuxedo
  103. The Heartbreak Kid
  104. No Strings Attached
  105. Transformers
  106. The Haunting
  107. Little Fockers
  108. I Am Number Four
  109. EuroTrip
  110. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  111. Surviving Christmas
  112. Norbit

Notes on Films

note:  These are just tidbits on some of the films.  The films are listed in alphabetical order.  Unless I have something specific to say, I don’t mention films that have full reviews elsewhere or films that I saw in the theater from 1989 to 2005 (they are all mentioned in those Nighthawk Awards).

  • The Contender  –  Nothing about the film itself but about people trying to be too clever.  One of the first times I contributed something to the IMDb was to correct two “goofs” in this film that were listed, one about Slater’s age and one about the Clinton trial, with both cases the person who entered them not paying attention to the details (whether the character was a senator or a congressman).
  • Galaxy Quest  –  This film has gotten some interest this past year because of its 20th anniversary.  It’s a good film with a hilarious concept but the concept (and the performances) only goes so far.
  • The Island  –  The movie that helped sink the studio though I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the reviews it got.  I mostly remember it for an anecdote.  It was the summer of 2005 (actually, the day Katrina was going to hit New Orleans) and we were in a truck stop outside of Chicago on our way moving to Boston and I read a piece by Ebert in The Chicago Sun-Times about how Scarlett Johansson in escaping paparazzi called 911 and identified herself as “Scarlett Johansson, I’m an actor”.  Ebert noted it for using actor to encompass both genders but the punchline of the piece was that supposedly the 911 responder replied “I dispute that.  I just paid $10 to see The Island.”  An ironic anecdote given that she might earn two Oscar nominations this year (written pre-Oscar noms of course but she did in fact get the noms).
  • The Kite Runner  –  The book that everyone had to read, even Tom Brady, who bought it in our store and our cashier carded him because his credit card wasn’t signed and she didn’t know who he was even though we were in the Boston area, he was coming off his third Super Bowl win and he was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated less than a foot from her.  But I really disliked the book.  The film is pretty good though.
  • The Lovely Bones  –  I guess DreamWorks had a specialty in books everyone had to read that repulsed me.  This was especially creepy because this book was a big hit when two girls from Oregon were found after having been raped and murdered (I remember learning that they were found while in New Mexico on my honeymoon).  Well acted but the concept just was too creepy and didn’t work that well on film.
  • Madagascar  –  A perfect example of a studio wasting money.  Why bother to put all that money into the name actors when the best voice in the film, by a mile, is the director.
  • Over the Hedge  –  I loved the comic strip from early on (when a strip had one of my all-time favorite punch lines from any strip, after a squirrel was run over and they asked how he looked: “His third dimension done been REVOKED!”).  It was bizarre that it took almost a decade from when the comic strip announced the film (in the forward to the third collection) to it finally making it to theaters.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen  –  I remember seeing back-to-back trailers for this and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2009 (probably before Star Trek since all three were Paramount films) and turning to Veronica and saying “I feel like my childhood has been raped.”
  • Tropic Thunder  –  A good example of the trickiness between when a role is a cameo or a supporting one worthy of awards attention.  Tom Cruise is barely in the film but he’s so brilliantly funny when he is I do give him awards points.  But it’s a fine line and not always easy to see.

The Best DreamWorks Films by Decade

  • 1990’s:  American Beauty
  • 2000’s:  Munich
  • 2010’s:  War Horse

The Worst DreamWorks Films by Decade

  • 1990’s:  The Haunting
  • 2000’s:  Norbit
  • 2010’s:  I Am Number Four

The Best DreamWorks Films by Genre

  • Action:  n/a
  • Adventure:  none
  • Comedy:  Up in the Air
  • Crime:  Road to Perdition
  • Drama:  American Beauty
  • Fantasy:  none
  • Horror:  n/a
  • Kids:  Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Musical:  Almost Famous
  • Mystery:  none
  • Sci-Fi:  Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  • Suspense:  n/a
  • War:  Saving Private Ryan
  • Western:  none

note:  Films listed with n/a mean that no DreamWorks film in that genre met my threshold (***.5).  Films listed with none means that DreamWorks has not made a film in that genre.

The Worst DreamWorks Films by Genre

  • Action:  The Tuxedo
  • Adventure:  none
  • Comedy:  Norbit
  • Crime:  The Mexican
  • Drama:  House of Sand and Fog
  • Fantasy:  none
  • Horror:  The Haunting
  • Kids:  Hotel for Dogs
  • Musical:  n/a
  • Mystery:  none
  • Sci-Fi:  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Suspense:  Eagle Eye
  • War:  Saving Private Ryan
  • Western:  none

note:  Films listed with n/a mean that no DreamWorks film in that genre met my threshold (** or below).  Films listed with none means that DreamWorks has not made a film in that genre.

The Most Under-Rated DreamWorks Film

Just because I don’t think certain DreamWorks films have been as appreciated as they should have been (like Amistad, Almost Famous and Revolutionary Road failing to get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars) doesn’t mean they aren’t highly thought of.  Looking at the 21st Century list for the TSPDT and award nominations, there is just one film made by DreamWorks that I really think got missed for its proper due so it has a full review down at the bottom.

The Most Over-Rated DreamWorks Films

  1. Gladiator
    Not a bad film by any means and anchored by a really good Russell Crowe performance.  But Joaquin Phoenix is quite bad (in spite of the bizarre awards attention) and the film is quite a mess at times and certainly didn’t deserve to sweep the five awards groups over far, far better competition.  Read the full review here.
  2. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
    There are some funny moments (namely the anchor gang war) but the massive popularity of this film and the way it gets quoted all the time like it’s some sort of comedy classic just perplexes me.  I find it even more annoying now since I live in San Diego and there’s a giant ad for his stupid podcast on the side of the trolley some mornings when I go to work.
  3. House of Sand and Fog
    Really strong acting (well, from three of the four – the fourth is awful) can’t save this film that’s all about people acting stupidly.
  4. The Ring
    Ringu is a Horror classic.  That’s a genuinely frightening movie.  This is a movie that tries to frighten you.
  5. Transformers
    Not that people think this film is good but it made a lot of money and came close to winning the Oscar for Visual Effects and it kick-started a franchise of really, really bad films.

The Statistics

Total Films 1912-2011: 112  (18th – sort of)

note:  The reason that it’s only sort of in 18th place is because I only actually count the DreamWorks films that were distributed by the studio itself on my giant spreadsheet, which is only 62 (which is 26th) but 112 films would be in 18th.  The numbers down below go with the 112 total films made by DW.

Total Percentage of All Films 1912-2011:  0.59%

Total Percentage of All Films 1997-2011:  2.23%

  • 1990-1999:  14  (0.48%)  (24th)
  • 2000-2009:  83  (2.40%)  (11th)
  • 2010-2011:  15  (2.40%)  (11th)

Biggest Years:

  • 11:  2005
  • 10:  2000, 2004, 2007

Best Year:

  • 2005:  3 Top 20 films

Average Film By Decade:

  • 1990-1999:  59.00
  • 2000-2009:  59.95
  • 2010-2011:  57.60
  • TOTAL:  59.52

Best Year for Average Film:

  • DW SKG:  2005  (69.45)
  • post-sale:  2006  (70.50)

Worst Year for Average Film:

  • DW SKG:  1999  (50.83)
  • post-sale:  2007  (48.00)

Best Box Office Year per Film:

  • DW SKG:  1998  ($98,053,955)
  • post-sale:  2010:  ($143,034,945)

Worst Box Office Year per Film:

  • DW SKG:  2003  ($25,652,437)
  • post-sale:  2006  ($52,248,530)

note:  2006 is the only post-sale year that has a lower figure than the highest SKG year.

Star Rating:

note:  The percentage breakdown for all DW films by star rating.

  • ****:  13.39%
  • ***.5:  12.50%
  • ***:  25.89%
  • **.5:  16.07%
  • **:  15.18%
  • *.5:  7.14%
  • *:  6.25%
  • .5:  3.57%
  • 0:  0.00%

Nighthawk Awards

  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  28
  • Number of Films That Have Won Nighthawks:  12
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  16
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  5
  • Best Picture Nominations:  5
  • Total Number of Nominations:  93
  • Total Number of Wins:  25
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Animated Film  (10)
  • Director with Most Nighthawk Nominated Films:  Steven Spielberg  (5)
  • Best Film with No Nighthawks:  Road to Perdition
  • Best Film with No Nighthawk Nominations:  Collateral
  • Number of Films That Have Earned Drama Nominations:  12
  • Number of Films That Have Earned Comedy Nominations:  12
  • Number of Films That Have Won Drama Awards:  5
  • Number of Films That Have Won Comedy Awards:  4
  • Drama Picture Nominations:  5
  • Comedy Picture Nominations:  6
  • Total Number of Drama Nominations:  34
  • Total Number of Comedy Nominations:  35
  • Total Number of Drama Wins:  10
  • Total Number of Comedy Wins:  10
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Picture  (5 – Drama  /  6 – Comedy)
  • Best Drama Film With No Nominations:  Millennium Actress
  • Best Comedy Film With No Nominations:  Kung Fu Panda
  • Most 2nd Place Finishes:  Munich  (3)
  • Most 6th Place Finishes:  Amistad  (3)
  • Most Top 10 Finishes:  Amistad  /  Revolutionary Road  (12)
  • Most Top 20 Finishes:  Road to Perdition  (15)
  • Films With at Least One Top 10 Finish:  44
  • Best Film Without a Top 10 Finish:  Antz
  • Films With at Least One Top 20 Finish:  50
  • Best Film Without a Top 20 Finish:  Shrek Forever After

Most Nighthawk Nominations:

  1. Saving Private Ryan  –  10
  2. Revolutionary Road  –  10
  3. American Beauty  –  9
  4. Almost Famous  –  9
  5. Amistad  /  Munich  –  6

Most Nighthawks:

  1. American Beauty  –  7
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  4
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  3
  4. Sweeney Todd  –  2
  5. Revolutionary Road  –  2

Most Nighthawk Points:

  1. American Beauty  –  585
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  385
  3. Revolutionary Road  –  370
  4. Almost Famous  –  320
  5. Munich  –  250
  6. Up in the Air  –  180
  7. Amistad  –  160
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  140
  9. Road to Perdition  –  135
  10. Sweeney Todd  –  105

Most Drama Nominations:

  1. American Beauty  –  7
  2. Revolutionary Road  –  5
  3. Amistad  –  4
  4. Saving Private Ryan  –  4
  5. Road to Perdition  /  Munich  /  The Help  –  3

Most Comedy Nominations:

  1. Almost Famous  –  6
  2. Sweeney Todd  –  6
  3. Up in the Air  –  6
  4. Catch Me If You Can  –  4
  5. Dreamgirls  –  3

Most Drama Wins:

  1. American Beauty  –  5
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  2
  3. Munich  –  1
  4. Revolutionary Road  –  1
  5. The Help  –  1

Most Comedy Wins:

  1. Almost Famous  –  4
  2. Up in the Air  –  3
  3. Dreamgirls  –  2
  4. Sweeney Todd  –  1

Most Drama Points:

  1. American Beauty  –  470
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  265
  3. Revolutionary Road  –  240
  4. Munich  –  180
  5. Amistad  –  165

Most Comedy Points:

  1. Almost Famous  –  375
  2. Up in the Air  –  335
  3. Sweeney Todd  –  270
  4. Catch Me If You Can  –  165
  5. Dreamgirls  –  165

All-Time Nighthawk Awards

  • Best Picture
  1. American Beauty
  2. Munich
  3. Almost Famous
  4. Revolutionary Road
  5. Saving Private Ryan

Analysis:  American Beauty wins the Nighthawk while the other four all receive nominations.  Amistad is the only other film in the Top 10 (#6 in 1997).  Beauty and Ryan win the Drama award with noms for Munich, Road and AmistadAlmost Famous wins the Comedy award with a number of nominees (Catch Me if You Can, Shrek 2, Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Sweeney Todd, Up in the Air).
In the late 90’s, DreamWorks and Miramax contended for Best Picture with DreamWorks losing in 98 (Ryan) and winning in 99 (Beauty) and 00 (Gladiator) while A Beautiful Mind (DreamWorks for international release) won in 01.  After that, DreamWorks fell off, receiving nominations for Munich, Letters from Iwo Jima, Up in the Air, The Help and War Horse.
DreamWorks did very well at the Globes for a stretch, winning Drama in 98 (Ryan) and 99 (Beauty) and both in 00 (Gladiator, Almost Famous).  After that, it would win Comedy in 06 (Dreamgirls) and 07 (Sweeney Todd) but would not win Drama again.  Comedy noms would be earned by Chicken Run and Shrek while Drama noms by Amistad, Match Point, Revolutionary Road, Up in the Air, The Help and War Horse.
American Beauty and Gladiator win the BAFTA with noms for Ryan, Almost Famous, Shrek, Up in the Air and The Help while Wallace and Gromit wins British Film with a nomination for Chicken Run.
Ryan, Beauty and Gladiator would all win the PGA with noms for Amistad, Almost Famous, Wallace and Gromit, Dreamgirls, Road to Perdition, Up in the Air and a number of Animated films after that category was added.
Ryan, Beauty and Gladiator win the BFCA with noms for a whopping 15 other films.
Ryan wins three critics awards (NYFC, LAFC, CFC), American Beauty and Almost Famous win two each and Up in the Air wins one.

  • Best Director
  1. Steven Spielberg  (Saving Private Ryan)
  2. Steven Spielberg  (Munich)
  3. Sam Mendes  (American Beauty)
  4. Sam Mendes  (Road to Perdition)
  5. Sam Mendes  (Revolutionary Road)

Analysis:  The #6 spot goes to Spielberg again, for Amistad.  These two directors really dominated the best of DreamWorks.  The first three all win the Nighthawk while Mendes (Revolutionary), Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) earn noms.  The three winners all win in Drama though there are no Comedy winners while there are a total of 10 nominees (including winners) evenly split.
Spielberg and Mendes won Oscars with nominations for Ridley Scott (Gladiator), Spielberg again (Munich), Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Jason Reitman.
Spielberg and Mendes also won the Globes with a total of nine other nominees, two of those being Eastwood (his two WWII films) with Spielberg (two more) and Mendes (one more) adding noms as well.
Surprisingly, there have been no BAFTA winners with Spielberg (Ryan), Mendes (Beauty), Scott and Michael Mann (Collateral) the only nominees.  Ryan and Mendes did win the DGA with noms for Spielberg (Amistad, Munich), Scott, Crowe, Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and Reitman.  Spielberg (Ryan, Catch Me if You Can) has won the BFCA twice while Mendes also won while Spielberg (Munich, War Horse), Condon, Eastwood, Tim Burton (Sweeney) and Reitman have earned noms.
Mendes won two critics awards, Spielberg won one as did Crowe, Mann and Depp.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Revolutionary Road
  2. Up in the Air
  3. Munich
  4. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  5. Road to Perdition

Analysis:  There have been just four Nighthawk nominees (the first four).  Up in the Air does win the Comedy award while several Animated films have earned Comedy noms.
Shrek, Munich and Up in the Air earned Oscar noms with the latter failing to win a huge surprise given its massive Consensus win.  Up in the Air won the Globe with a nom for MunichShrek and Up in the Air won the BAFTA with noms for Catch Me if You Can, Kite Runner, Revolutionary Road and The HelpUp in the Air won the WGA with a nom for The Help and the same went for the BFCA.  Up in the Air won the LAFC, CFC and NBR.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. American Beauty
  2. Almost Famous
  3. Match Point
  4. Chicken Run
  5. Amistad

Analysis:  American Beauty and Almost Famous win the Nighthawk with Match Point earning a nom.  Amistad and Ryan earned Drama noms while Chicken Run and Flushed Away earned Comedy noms.
Beauty and Famous won the Oscar with noms for Ryan, Gladiator, Match Point and Letters from Iwo JimaBeauty won the Globe with noms for Ryan, Famous and Match PointFamous won the BAFTA with noms for Beauty, Gladiator and CollateralBeauty won the WGA with a nom for Ryan and FamousBeauty and Famous won the BFCA.  Almost Famous won the BSFC and CFC.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Kevin Spacey  (American Beauty)
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio  (Revolutionary Road)
  3. Tom Hanks  (Saving Private Ryan)
  4. George Clooney  (Up in the Air)
  5. Johnny Depp  (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)

Analysis:  As it’s a performance I often feels is under-appreciated, I feel I should point out that Tom Hanks is #6 on my list for Road to Perdition.  Spacey wins the Nighthawk with noms for Hanks (both times), Depp, Leo and Clooney.  Depp and Clooney both win the Comedy awards while Spacey wins Drama and Hanks (twice) and Leo earn Drama noms.
Spacey and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) win the Oscar with noms for Hanks (Ryan), Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog), Depp and Clooney.
Depp is the only Globe nominee in Comedy and he won the award.  In Drama, there have been no winners but nominations for Djimon Hounsou (Amistad) Hanks (Ryan), Spacey, Crowe, Leo (Catch Me If You Can, Revolutionary Road), Kingsley and Clooney.
Spacey won the BAFTA with noms for Hanks (Ryan), Crowe and Clooney.
Spacey won SAG with noms for Hanks (Ryan), Crowe, Kingsley and Clooney.  Crowe won the BFCA with noms for Kingsley, Depp and Clooney.  Clooney won the NYFC and NBR while Spacey won the CFC.

  • Best Actress
  1. Annette Bening  (American Beauty)
  2. Kate Winslet  (Revolutionary Road)
  3. Viola Davis  (The Help)
  4. Helena Bonham Carter  (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
  5. Joan Allen  (The Contender)

Analysis:  Bening and Winslet both win the Nighthawk while Davis is nominated.  Allen earns a Drama nom while Bonham Carter and Tracey Ullman (Small Time Crooks) earns a Comedy nom.
Bening didn’t win the Oscar (though she should have) and Winslet wasn’t nominated because of The Reader being considered lead (even though she is better in Road) but Allen and Davis were nominated.
Winslet won the Globe with Bening, Allen, Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha) and Davis earning Drama noms and Ullman, Beyonce (Dreamgirls) and Bonham Carter earning Comedy noms.
Bening won the BAFTA with noms for Kate Hudson (as a lead in Almost Famous), Ziyi, Winslet, Saoirse Ronan (Lovely Bones) and Davis.  Bening and Davis won SAG with noms for Allen, Ziyi and Winslet.  Davis won the BFCA with noms for Jennifer Connelly (House of Sand and Fog) and Ronan.  There have been, surprisingly, no critics winners.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman  (Almost Famous)
  2. Christopher Walken  (Catch Me If You Can)
  3. Anthony Hopkins  (Amistad)
  4. Chris Cooper  (American Beauty)
  5. Eddie Murphy  (Dreamgirls)

Analysis:  There have been no Nighthawk winners and Cooper isn’t even a nominee (though Jude Law is for Road to Perdition).  Hoffman and Murphy win the Comedy award while there are two nominations for Tropic Thunder (Downey, Cruise) and one for Sweeney Todd (Alan Rickman).  There are also Drama noms for Stanley Tucci (Lovely Bones) and Paul Newman (Road to Perdition).
This has been in a sense the best acting category for DreamWorks at the Oscars (10 nominations or more than Actor and Actress put together) but there has also never been a winner.  The nominations are for Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix (for Gladiator which is ridiculous), Jeff Bridges (The Contender), Newman, Walken, Jamie Foxx (Collateral), Murphy, Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Downey and Tucci.
Murphy won the Globe while Hopkins, Bridges, Phoenix, Law, Foxx, Downey, Cruise and Tucci earned noms.  Phoenix and Walken won the BAFTA while Cooper, Eddie Murphy (for Shrek), Law, Foxx, Downey and Tucci earned noms.
Walken and Murpy won SAG while there were noms for Bridges, Gary Oldman (also The Contender), Hopkins, Cooper, Phoenix, Foxx, Downey and Tucci.  Hopkins, Phoenix and Murphy won the BFCA with noms for Law, Foxx, Adam Arkin (Flags of Our Fathers), Downey and Tucci.  Phoenix (with other films) and Walken each one won critics award.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Frances McDormand  (Almost Famous)
  2. Octavia Spencer  (The Help)
  3. Anna Kendrick  (Up in the Air)
  4. Jennifer Hudson  (Dreamgirls)
  5. Vera Farmiga  (Up in the Air)

Analysis:  Spencer wins the Nighthawk while McDormand, Kendrick, Hudson, Farmiga and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) earn noms.  McDormand, Jennifer Hudson and Kendrick win the Comedy award while Drama noms are added for Jessica Chastain (The Help), Thora Birch (American Beauty) and Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog).  The category is dominated by films with multiple really strong nominations and that’s reflected in the other nominations as well.
Of the five films nominated at the Oscars, three of them (Almost Famous, Up in the Air, The Help) earn multiple noms with Jennifer Hudson and Spencer winning the Oscar.  Only House of Sand and Fog earns the mere 30 points for a nom.  Almost Famous and The Help also win the Globe (Kate Hudson, Spencer) with a second nom while Dreamgirls wins, Up in the Air has two noms and there is a nom for Scarlett Johansson in Match Point.  Spencer and Jennifer Hudson win the BAFTA with multiple noms for American Beauty (Thora Birch, Mena Suvari), Up in the Air and The Help and a single one for Almost Famous (just McDormand because Hudson was nominated as a lead).  Spencer and Jennifer Hudson win SAG and BFCA with double noms for Almost Famous, Up in the Air and The Help at both groups.
This category is quite strong at the critics.  McDormand and Spencer win three critics awards each.  Aghdashloo wins two awards.  There are also awards for Elaine May (Small Time Crooks), Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha), Jennifer Hudson and a split award for Farmiga and Kendrick.

  • Best Ensemble
  1. American Beauty
  2. Road to Perdition
  3. Almost Famous
  4. Revolutionary Road
  5. Up in the Air

Analysis:  This is based on the total points for acting for all members of the cast.  American Beauty actually wins this by a considerable margin as it is, surprisingly, the only DreamWorks films to earn points in all four acting categories.
American Beauty and The Help both won the SAG Ensemble category while Saving Private Ryan, Almost Famous and Dreamgirls earned noms.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Munich
  3. American Beauty
  4. Almost Famous
  5. Up in the Air

Analysis:  American Beauty wins the Nighthawk with noms for Ryan, Almost Famous, Munich and Revolutionary Road.
Ryan wins the Oscar with noms for Beauty, Gladiator, Almost Famous, Collateral and MunichBeauty and Gladiator win the BAFTA with noms for Ryan, Collateral and Up in the Air.  There are five ACE winners, two in Drama (Ryan, Gladiator) and three in Comedy (Almost Famous, Dreamgirls, Sweeney Todd) as well as nine other nominees.  Up in the Air and War Horse are the only BFCA noms.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Road to Perdition
  3. Munich
  4. American Beauty
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha

Analysis:  Amistad and Revolutionary Road easily could have been in the Top 5 as well.  It’s a very tough top group.  Ryan and Beauty both win the Nighthawk with noms for the other five mentioned as well as War Horse.  That gives Spielberg’s films a win and three noms.
The strongest Tech category at the Oscars in that four films have won (Ryan, Beauty, Perdition, Memoirs) with additional noms for Amistad, Gladiator and War Horse.  Also very strong at the BAFTAs with five wins in seven years (Beauty, Gladiator, Perdition, Collateral, Memoirs) and two other noms (Ryan, War Horse).  It’s surprising then that only three films win the ASC (Beauty, Perdition, Geisha) though five others earn noms and just two win the BFCA (Gladiator, War Horse) with a nom for Lovely BonesRyan won the LAFC and BSFC, Beauty won the NSFC and Collateral won the LAFC.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. Amistad
  2. American Beauty
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha
  4. Catch Me If You Can
  5. Road to Perdition

Analysis:  No points for realizing that three of the top four are John Williams scores.  Amistad wins the Nighthawk while the other four (as well as Saving Private Ryan and Revolutionary Road) earn noms.
Like Supporting Actor, a category where the studio is strong but not great.  DW has managed 13 noms at the Oscars but not a win with five noms for Williams scoring Spielberg films (and another Williams nom for a non-Spielberg film).
Gladiator and Memoirs win the Globe with noms for five other films.  Beauty and Memoirs win the BAFTA with noms for nine other films.  And most impressive is five wins at the BFCA (Ryan, Gladiator, Road to El Dorado, Catch Me If You Can, Memoirs) with a nom for War Horse.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Munich
  3. Road to Perdition
  4. War Horse
  5. Amistad

Analysis:  No surprise, if you’ve seen the Best Sound post, that Spielberg dominates here.  Ryan wins the Nighthawk with noms for the other four and Almost Famous.
Ryan, Gladiator and Dreamgirls win the Oscar with noms for Road to Perdition, Memoirs of a Geisha, Flags of Our Fathers, Transformers, the second Transformers and War Horse.  Ryan and Almost Famous win the BAFTA with noms for American Beauty, Gladiator, Shrek, Collateral and War Horse.  DreamWorks dominated the CAS for a stretch, winning four awards in less than a decade (Ryan, Gladiator, Road to Perdition, Dreamgirls) and six more noms in that same decade (and one more after).  War Horse earned a BFCA nom.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Revolutionary Road
  3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  4. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  5. American Beauty

Analysis:  Memoirs and Road win the Nighthawk with noms for the other three and Amistad (which was #6 on my list).
Memoirs and Sweeney won the Oscar with noms for Ryan, Gladiator, Road to Perdition, Dreamgirls, Revolutionary Road and War HorseGladiator and Road to Perdition win the BAFTA while Ryan, American Beauty, Memoirs, Road and War Horse earn noms.  DreamWorks does well at the ADG (with its multiple categories) with wins for Gladiator, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Memoirs and another 14 films earning nominations.  Gladiator won the BFCA with noms for Lovely Bones and War HorseGladiator won the NBR.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  2. Saving Private Ryan
  3. Transformers
  4. The Lovely Bones
  5. Gladiator

Analysis:  Only Ryan and Galaxy Quest even earn Nighthawk noms with no winners.  This just isn’t a very strong category for the studio.
Gladiator wins the Oscar while Transformers and Real Steel earn noms.  Ryan wins the BAFTA with noms for Antz, Gladiator, Chicken Run, Shrek and War Horse.  A first glance at the VES makes it look better than it is.  A whopping 22 DreamWorks films have earned a nomination but in a guild with multiple categories and lot of nominees, 13 of those film earned just one nom and 7 of those were in the Animated category.  Three more Animated films earned two noms but without a win and two more earned three Animated noms but with no wins.  Flags of Our Fathers and Wallace and Gromit each won one award while Transformers and How to Train Your Dragon each won multiple awards.  Lovely Bones earned a BFCA nom.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Munich
  3. War Horse
  4. Gladiator
  5. Flags of Our Fathers

Analysis:  Ryan wins the Nighthawk while Gladiator and War Horse earns noms.
Ryan and Letters from Iwo Jima win the Oscar with noms for Road to Perdition, Memoirs of a Geisha, Flags of Our Fathers, Transformers and War Horse.  This is the big category at the guilds, partially because the arrival of DreamWorks coincided with the expansion of the MPSE categories.  Of the 55 films to earn guild noms, 43 of them have earned an MPSE nomination.  Of those, 10 won awards and earned multiple noms (sometimes winning multiple awards), 4 won the award and 7 more earned multiple noms without a win.  The Animated category has helped with all but one of the films that earned Annie noms also earning an MPSE nom (all but Ghost in the Shell 2).

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  4. Amistad
  5. Revolutionary Road

Analysis:  Memoirs and Sweeney win the Nighthawk while Amistad, Gladiator, Perfume and Revolutionary Road earn noms.
Gladiator and Memoirs win the Oscar with nominations for Amistad, Dreamgirls, Sweeney and Revolutionary RoadMemoirs wins the BAFTA while Gladiator, Catch Me If You Can, Sweeney and Revolutionary Road earn noms.  American Beauty, Memoirs and Sweeney win the CDG with noms for Almost Famous, Road to Perdition, Dreamgirls, Revolutionary Road, Up in the Air and The HelpThe Help also earns a BFCA nom (which didn’t begin until 2009).

  • Best Makeup
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha
  2. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  3. Saving Private Ryan
  4. The Time Machine
  5. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer

Analysis:  Memoirs and Sweeney both win the Nighthawk.  Ryan and Perfume both earn nominations.
Ryan, Time Machine and Norbit earned Oscar noms.  How Norbit earned one while Memoirs and Sweeney Todd didn’t is beyond me and appalling.  Five films have earned BAFTA noms (Ryan, American Beauty, Gladiator, Memoirs, Sweeney) but none have won the award.  Almost Famous earned two MUAHSG noms while American Beauty, Legend of Bagger Vance and Road to Perdition earned one each.

  • Best Technical Aspects
  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Munich
  3. Amistad
  4. Memoirs of a Geisha
  5. Road to Perdition

Analysis:  This just adds up the totals in the Tech categories.  Dominated by Spielberg, of course.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “Someday Out of the Blue”  (The Road to El Dorado)
  2. “Accidentally in Love”  (Shrek 2)
  3. “Listen”  (Dreamgirls)
  4. “Family of Me”  (Over the Hedge)
  5. “Heist”  (Over the Hedge)

Analysis:  “Someday Out of the Blue” and “Fever Dog” (Almost Famous) both earn nominations in a weak year.
Prince of Egypt won the Oscar with a weak song.  Dreamgirls earned three nominations but failed to win.  “Accidentally in Love” earned an Oscar nom.  The Globe nominees (no winners) include Prince of Egypt, Spirit, Shrek 2, Dreamgirls and The HelpPrince of Egypt and Dreamgirls won the BFCA while Shrek 2 and The Help earned noms.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  2. Chicken Run
  3. Shrek 2
  4. Millennium Actress
  5. How to Train Your Dragon

Analysis:  Of course, animation has been a key part of DreamWorks since its inception.  Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit and Flushed Away all win the Nighthawk while the list of nominees is long (Shrek, Millennium Actress, Shrek 2, Ghost in the Shell 2, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Puss in Boots).
The Oscar results are similar but the same with two winners (Shrek, Wallace) and seven nominees (Spirit, Shark Tale and Panda 2 get in instead of Millennium Actress and Ghost 2).  Bee Movie, Panda, Dragon and Puss earned Globe noms while Chicken Run and Shrek earned Picture – Comedy noms before this category existed at the Globes.  Flushed Away, Shrek the Third and Dragon earned BAFTA noms.  In the years before the category existed at the BAFTAs, Chicken Run earned a Best British Film nom and Wallace and Gromit actually won the award.
Shrek, Wallace and Gromit, Panda and Dragon all won the Annie although Panda caused a bit of a scandal, winning over Wall-E when DreamWorks bought voting memberships for all of their employees (also a bit of that with Dragon winning over Toy Story 3).  Another 12 films have earned nominations.  That means 16 of the 25 Animated films that DreamWorks released through 2011 earned noms though, most notably, Shark Tale (which earned an Oscar nom) and Flushed Away (see below) didn’t.  Of those 25, 15 of them have earned BFCA noms with Prince of Egypt, Chicken Run, Shrek and Wallace winning.
Chicken Run won three critics awards, Shrek won two and Wallace and Gromit won one.

  • Best Foreign Film:
  1. Millennium Actress
  2. The Kite Runner
  3. Letters from Iwo Jima
  4. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Analysis:  DreamWorks has done very little with Foreign films although, ironically, all four of them are listed here because they are all ***.5.  Millennium Actress is the only one to actually earn a Nighthawk nomination.
Letters won the Globe and the BFCA while Kite Runner earned Globe and BAFTA noms.

  • Best Film (by my points system):
  1. American Beauty
  2. Road to Perdition
  3. Munich
  4. Saving Private Ryan
  5. Revolutionary Road

Analysis:  Adding up all of my points.  American Beauty and Road to Perdition actually tie and Munich is just one point lower.  Amistad is just one point behind Revolutionary Road but there’s a nine point drop-off after that.

  • Best Film  (weighted points system)
  1. West Side Story
  2. Tom Jones
  3. Rebecca
  4. Some Like It Hot
  5. Raging Bull

Analysis:  West Side Story pulls just ahead with more points in key categories (Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography).  Some Like It Hot leapfrogs in because of the acting and writing.  Raging Bull finishes just a single point ahead of The Apartment and High Noon.

Best Films With No Top 5 Finishers:

  • Collateral
  • Flushed Away
  • Shrek

Worst Film with a Top 5 Finish:

  • Transformers

Nighthawk Notables

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Almost Famous
  • Best Line (dramatic):  “The only true currency in this world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”  (Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous)
  • Best Line (comedic):  “Of course I’m home.  I’m always home.  I’m uncool.”  (Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous)
  • Worst Line:   “It vexes me.  I am terribly vexed.”  (Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator)
  • Best Opening:  American Beauty
  • Best Ending:  American Beauty
  • Best Scene:  “I am a golden god!” in Almost Famous
  • Best Kiss:  Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers  (Match Point)
  • Best Death Scene:  Tom Hanks  (Saving Private Ryan)
  • Most Gut-Wrenching Scene:  the opening of Saving Private Ryan
  • Most Heart-Wrenching Scene:  April’s death in Revolutionary Road
  • Best Use of a Song (dramatic):  “Tiny Dancer”  (Almost Famous)
  • Best Use of a Song (comedic):  “I’m Holding Out for a Hero”  (Shrek 2)
  • Best Soundtrack:  Almost Famous
  • Funniest Film:  Shrek 2
  • Worst Film by a Top 100 Director:  In Dreams  (Neil Jordan)
  • Best Sequel:  Shrek 2
  • Worst Sequel:  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Worst Remake:  The Haunting
  • Watch the Film, SKIP the Book:  The Kite Runner
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
  • Sexiest Performance:  Scarlett Johansson in Match Point
  • Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio:  Scarlett Johansson in The Island
  • Coolest Performance:  Billy Crudup in Almost Famous
  • Best Tagline:  “Looking good never looked so good”  (Puss in Boots)
  • Best Teaser:  Chicken Run
  • Best Trailer:  Almost Famous
  • Best Animated Performance:  Antonio Banderas in Shrek 2
  • Best Cameo:  Terry Chen in Almost Famous
  • Best Reaction to a Film:  John Ramirez coming out of Almost Famous:  “Can you imagine being the Rolling Stone fact check girl?  ‘Hunter, what is this shit?’ “

note:  As usual, several categories that are normally here (Best Ensemble, Most Over-Rated) are given a fuller treatment above and so aren’t listed here.

note:  The Chicken Run teaser is even funnier when you realize that Gladiator, whose trailer it is parodying, is also a DreamWorks film.

note:  Soundtracks I Own from DW Films (chronological):  Almost Famous, Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich, Over the Hedge.  I feel I should point out that I only paid for Almost Famous while getting the other three free as promos when I worked at Borders.  I also have the scores for Amistad and Catch Me If You Can but not the whole soundtrack.

At the Theater:  By the end of 2011, I had probably seen over 1000 films in the theater at some point or another and had definitely been to the movies over 1000 times.  Because of when DW came out, I did well with seeing their films: Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Antz, American Beauty, Gladiator, Chicken Run, Almost Famous (twice), Shrek, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Road to Perdition, Catch Me if You Can, Shrek 2, The Terminal, Dreamgirls, Shrek the Third, Sweeney Todd, Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2.


Academy Awards

  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  39
  • Number of Films That Have Won Oscars:  13
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  25
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  5
  • Best Picture Nominations:  8
  • Total Number of Nominations:  126
  • Total Number of Wins:  28
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Score  (13)
  • Directors with Most Oscar Nominated Films:  Steven Spielberg  (5)
  • Best Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  • Year with Most DW Nominated Films:  2011  (5)
  • Year with Most DW Nominations:  2000  (18)
  • Year with Most DW Oscars:  1998  /  2000  (6)

Oscar Oddities:

  • Spielberg’s 5 films earned 28 nominations including three for Picture and five for Score.
  • DW had an amazing Oscar track record.  Of the 62 DW SKG films, 18 of them earned Oscar nominations which is 29%.  Even Miramax didn’t manage 25% and in the same stretch (97-05) Miramax had twice as many films nominated but almost three times as many submitted films.  And DW managed 65 nominations which is just over one nomination per film while Miramax was at just .8 nominations per film over that same stretch.  DW lead all studios in 2000 with 18 nominations

Most Oscar Nominations

  1. Gladiator  –  12
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  11
  3. American Beauty  –  8
  4. Dreamgirls  –  8
  5. Road to Perdition  –  6
  6. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  6
  7. Up in the Air  –  6
  8. War Horse  –  6
  9. Munich  –  5
  10. four films  –  4

Most Oscar Wins:

  1. Saving Private Ryan  –  5
  2. American Beauty  –  5
  3. Gladiator  –  5
  4. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  3
  5. Dreamgirls  –  2

Most Oscar Points:

  1. Gladiator  –  490
  2. American Beauty  –  475
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  450
  4. Up in the Air  –  230
  5. Dreamgirls  –  195
  6. Munich  –  185
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  185
  8. Letters from Iwo Jima  –  175
  9. The Help  –  175
  10. Almost Famous  /  Road to Perdition  –  165

Critics Awards

  • Number of Films That Have Won Critics Awards:  16
  • Number of Films With Multiple Awards:  10
  • Best Picture Wins:  8
  • Total Number of Awards:  46
  • Category With the Most Awards:  Supporting Actress  (12)

Most Awards:

  1. Almost Famous  –  7
  2. Up in the Air  –  7
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  6
  4. American Beauty  –  6
  5. Chicken Run  /  The Help  –  3

Most Points:

  1. Almost Famous  –  573
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  475
  3. Up in the Air  –  470
  4. American Beauty  –  449
  5. The Help  –  174

Most Points by Critics Group:

  • NYFC:  Saving Private Ryan  –  100
  • LAFC:  Saving Private Ryan  –  240
  • NSFC:  Small Time Crooks  /  Catch Me If You Can  /  The Help  –  60
  • BSFC:  Almost Famous  –  330
  • CFC:  American Beauty  –  260
  • NBR:  Up in the Air  –  310

Golden Globes

  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  34
  • Number of Films That Have Won Globes:  11
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  19
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  6
  • Best Picture Nominations:  14
  • Total Number of Nominations:  83
  • Total Number of Wins:  19
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Picture  (14 – 9 Drama, 5 Comedy)
  • Best Film with No Globe Nominations:  Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Globe Oddities:

  • DreamWorks has as many Picture wins (6) as Screenplay nominations.

Most Globe Nominations:

  1. American Beauty  –  6
  2. Up in the Air  –  6
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  5
  4. Gladiator  –  5
  5. Dreamgirls  /  The Help  –  5

Most Globes:

  1. American Beauty  –  3
  2. Dreamgirls  –  3
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  2
  4. Gladiator  –  2
  5. Almost Famous  /  Sweeney Todd  –  2

Most Globe Points:

  1. American Beauty  –  365
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  290
  3. Up in the Air  –  270
  4. Dreamgirls  –  265
  5. Gladiator  –  260
  6. Sweeney Todd  –  250
  7. Almost Famous  –  230
  8. Revolutionary Road  –  200
  9. The Help  –  185
  10. Match Point  –  165

Guild Awards

  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  55
  • Number of Films That Have Won Guild Awards:  22
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  48
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  15
  • Best Picture Nominations:  11
  • Total Number of Nominations:  246
  • Total Number of Wins:  66
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Sound Editing  (43)
  • Best Film with No Guild Nominations:  Perfume – The Story of a Murderer

Most Guild Nominations:

  1. American Beauty  –  15
  2. Almost Famous  –  13
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  12
  4. Gladiator  –  12
  5. Dreamgirls  –  10
  6. Road to Perdition  –  9
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  9
  8. Up in the Air  –  9
  9. The Help  –  9
  10. Transformers  –  8

Most Guild Wins:

  1. American Beauty  –  10
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  6
  3. Gladiator  –  5
  4. Dreamgirls  –  5
  5. How to Train Your Dragon  –  5
  6. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  4
  7. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  –  4
  8. Transformers  –  4
  9. Road to Perdition  –  3
  10. The Help  –  3

Most Guild Points:

  1. American Beauty  –  775
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  550
  3. Gladiator  –  495
  4. Dreamgirls  –  430
  5. Almost Famous  –  410
  6. The Help  –  405
  7. Up in the Air  –  330
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  275
  9. How to Train Your Dragon  –  275
  10. Road to Perdition  –  265


  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  24
  • Number of Films That Have Won BAFTAs:  13
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  19
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  6
  • Best Picture Nominations:  7
  • Total Number of Nominations:  107
  • Total Number of Wins:  26
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Score  (11)
  • Best Film with No BAFTA Nominations:  Munich

Most BAFTA Noms:

  1. American Beauty  –  14
  2. Gladiator  –  14
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  10
  4. Almost Famous  –  6
  5. Shrek  –  6
  6. Collateral  –  6
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  6
  8. Up in the Air –  6
  9. War Horse  –  5
  10. The Help  –  5

Most BAFTA Wins:

  1. American Beauty  –  6
  2. Gladiator  –  4
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  3
  4. Saving Private Ryan  –  2
  5. Almost Famous  /  Road to Perdition  –  2

Most BAFTA Points:

  1. American Beauty  –  615
  2. Gladiator  –  510
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  315
  4. Almost Famous  –  260
  5. Up in the Air  –  250
  6. Shrek  –  225
  7. The Help  –  215
  8. Collateral  –  210
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  195
  10. Catch Me If You Can  –  140

Broadcast Film Critics Awards  (Critic’s Choice Awards)

  • Number of Films That Have Earned Nominations:  37
  • Number of Films That Have Won BFCA Awards:  17
  • Number of Films With Multiple Nominations:  21
  • Number of Films With Multiple Wins:  8
  • Best Picture Nominations:  18
  • Total Number of Nominations:  89
  • Total Number of Wins:  32
  • Category With the Most Nominations:  Picture  (18)
  • Best Film with No BFCA Nominations:  Revolutionary Road


  • Of the 15 DreamWorks films to earn only one BFCA nom, all but 4 were nominated for Animated Film.
  • Of the 21 DreamWorks films to earn more than one BFCA nom, all but 4 were nominated for Picture.

Most BFCA Noms:

  1. Up in the Air  –  7
  2. The Help  –  7
  3. War Horse  –  7
  4. Gladiator  –  6
  5. Dreamgirls  /  Lovely Bones  –  6

Most BFCA Wins:

  1. Gladiator  –  6
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  3
  3. American Beauty  –  3
  4. Dreamgirls  –  3
  5. The Prince of Egypt  /  Almost Famous  /  Catch Me If You Can  /  The Help  –  2

Most BFCA Points:

  1. Gladiator  –  370
  2. Up in the Air  –  295
  3. The Help  –  275
  4. American Beauty  –  270
  5. Saving Private Ryan  –  240

All Awards

Most Nominations:

  1. American Beauty  –  51
  2. Gladiator  –  51
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  47
  4. Dreamgirls  –  42
  5. Up in the Air  –  41
  6. Almost Famous  –  38
  7. The Help  –  33
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  26
  9. War Horse  –  25
  10. Road to Perdition  –  21

Most Awards:

  1. American Beauty  –  34
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  24
  3. Gladiator  –  24
  4. Almost Famous  –  17
  5. Dreamgirls  –  14
  6. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  13
  7. Up in the Air  –  11
  8. The Help  –  11
  9. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit  –  8
  10. Letters from Iwo Jima  –  8

Total Awards Points

  1. American Beauty  –  2745
  2. Saving Private Ryan  –  2159
  3. Gladiator  –  2030
  4. Almost Famous  –  1703
  5. Up in the Air  –  1699
  6. The Help  –  1297
  7. Dreamgirls  –  1127
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha  –  824
  9. Shrek  –  665
  10. War Horse  –  658


Lists for studios are harder because I have to come up with them myself.  There are no books that rank the best films by studio and no way to sort through them on the IMDb or TSPDT.

The TSPDT Top 10 DreamWorks Films

  1. Saving Private Ryan  (#722)
  2. American Beauty  (#808)
  3. Letters from Iwo Jima  (#152)
  4. Gladiator  (#164)
  5. Almost Famous  (#188)
  6. Munich  (#217)
  7. Match Point  (#245)
  8. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit  (#252)
  9. Shrek  (#288)
  10. Chicken Run  (#351)

note:  The numbers in parenthesis are the position on the most recent (2019) TSPDT list.  The first two films are from their Top 1000 list.  The other eight are from the 21st Century list.  The two lists don’t match at all.  Munich has only made one appearance in the Top 2000 list (and is no longer on it) while Match Point has been consistently on the list, the last three years around #1500 yet Munich has always been higher on the 21st Century list.  I don’t know why their lists don’t match up.
note:  This is the explanation for that last sentence and why it is crossed out, courtesy of Bill Georgaris at TSPDT who politely answered my question: “The answer is simple. The two lists are compiled separately to each other.  The 1,000 Greatest Films is compiled by using best-of-all time lists and miscellaneous lists (e.g. best sci-fi films, best films of the 90s). However, it does not include best-of-year lists (e.g. best films of 2018, etc.)  The 21st Century list, on the other hand, does incorporate best-of-year lists + the same best-of-all time lists & miscellaneous lists used by the 1,000 Greatest FilmsSo, essentially…  1,000 Greatest Films = Best-of-all time lists + Miscellaneous lists.  21st Century = Best-of-all time lists + Miscellaneous lists + Best-of-Year lists.  This is why there are differences in where you expect to see 21st-Century films ranked between the two lists.”

The IMDb Top 5 DreamWorks Films

  1. Saving Private Ryan
  2. Gladiator
  3. American Beauty
  4. The Help
  5. Catch Me If You Can

note:  Apparently IMDb voters are as sucked in an Oscar voters on The Help, rating it considerably higher than Munich or Almost Famous.

Top 10 U.S. Domestic Box Office – DreamWorks distribution only

  1. Shrek 2  –  $441.22 mil
  2. Shrek  –  $267.66 mil
  3. Saving Private Ryan  –  $216.54 mil
  4. Madagascar  –  $193.59 mil
  5. Gladiator  –  $187.70 mil
  6. Catch Me If You Can  –  $164.61 mil
  7. Shark Tale  –  $160.86 mil
  8. What Lies Beneath  –  $155.46 mil
  9. American Beauty  –  $130.09 mil
  10. The Ring  –  $129.12 mil

Top 10 U.S. Domestic Box Office – distributed by other studios

  1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen  –  $402.11 mil
  2. Shrek the Third  –  $322.71 mil
  3. Transformers  –  $319.24 mil
  4. Shrek Forever After  –  $238.73 mil
  5. How to Train Your Dragon  –  $217.58 mil
  6. Kung Fu Panda  –  $215.43 mil
  7. Monsters vs. Aliens  –  $198.35 mil
  8. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa  –  $180.01 mil
  9. The Help  –  $169.70 mil
  10. Kung Fu Panda 2  –  $165.24 mil

note:  All of these except The Help (Disney) were distributed in theaters by Paramount.


The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys and Sells the New Hollywood, Tom King, 2000

Yes, this book is awfully early in the history of DreamWorks, because of course, it’s not about the studio specifically, but a biography of Geffen.  And because it came so early the subtitle isn’t as accurate as King hoped.  But it has a lot of good inside information about the founding of DW and its early years even if King’s goal (like so many biographies of such celebrities) is to show what an unpleasant person Geffen is.

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film, Peter Biskind, 2004

It’s really a book about Miramax but it covers the Oscar wars from 1998 to 2001 when DreamWorks was the biggest competitor against Miramax every year.  The book is fascinating to read but it has the caveat that most of the people written about dispute what Biskind wrote (the same was very true for his previous book as well).

Disneywar, James B. Stewart, 2006

DreamWorks is only involved in the book tangentially, either in competing with Disney in the marketplace or because of all the turmoil caused by Katzenberg being ousted and his lawsuit against the studio.  Still, an important book when looking at the state of Hollywood at the time that DW was founded.

The Dream Team: The Rise and Fall of DreamWorks: Lessons from the New Hollywood, Daniel M. Kimmel, 2006

I don’t know what lessons Kimmel thinks are in the book unless it’s that even important people shouldn’t think they can succeed in building a new studio.  Though he mentions he had to put off publication when DW was sold in 2005, it seems clear that Kimmel’s book was designed to be a takedown of the three men who founded DW.  It’s got all the important facts but it’s small and slight and you the next book is a much better choice if you want to read about the studio.

The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies and a Company Called DreamWorks, Nicole LaPorte, 2010

A much more thorough book than Kimmel’s book, not just because it came later but because LaPorte already knew a lot of the story (she had been a writer for Variety during the time period covered), it’s longer, more in-depth and from a more important publisher (Houghton Mifflin).  Still, it’s also more interested in the lurid under-pinings of what went wrong than about how they made the movies they made.


The Best DreamWorks Film I Haven’t Yet Reviewed

Amistad  (1997, dir. Steven Spielberg)

In 1982, Steven Spielberg was a major contender to win his first Oscar for E.T. but Gandhi won over the Academy voters and the prize went to Richard Attenborough instead, the third year in a row that an actor turned director had won the award following Robert Redford and Warren Beatty.  Attenborough had made a film about real events and given it an epic scale if not really an epic scope.  Yet, 15 years later when Spielberg made a far better film, also about real events, it somehow didn’t make it into the final five at the Oscars in the same year that a bloated schmaltzy epic dominated the awards.  It was the first attempt by DreamWorks to break into the Oscar race and it wouldn’t quite make it (though it did earn several nominations) but things would go better the following two years.

Amistad has a fascinating human story at its core, an important historical moment on the road to the Civil War (even if the film makes it seem like a bigger deal historically than it was), one that wasn’t unknown in 1997 but certainly became far better known because of this film.  We start with kind of a bang (an insurrection aboard a slave ship by slaves who have been illegally captured in Africa and are being brought to the Americas to be sold) and then slowly move into the more intricate story: the legality of what has happened.  Several key points were arising and several different claimants wanted to take possession of the slaves.  What would happen to them?  Would truth prevail?  Would righteousness prevail?

This is a film much more like Schindler’s List than any other film Spielberg had made before this.  It is not a film with flashy moments, in spite of the insurrection or the finale of the film with the fantastic destruction of the slave fortress on the African coast.  That final moment though, brings up the most under-appreciated part of this film – the absolutely brilliant score that stirs your emotions and you remember long after the film is over, far more than the James Horner score that is really more of a song score to go along with the Celine Dion song that killed so many brain cells.  It’s an interesting move from John Williams, far more emotionally stirring than most of his works, calling to how you feel about the people not about the action.

But the heart of the film is in the performances.  While the film had several big names like Matthew McConaughey and Morgan Freeman, those weren’t the performances that really carry the film.  It was the mostly unknown Djimon Hounsou as the leader of the slaves, Cinque, who really took over the film, at least until the final scene when Anthony Hopkins gives a speech so powerful that it not only wins over the Supreme Court in the film but also won over the Academy enough to earn him a nomination in a very tough year for Supporting Actor.

Amistad does what the best films of this kind do.  It gives us a fascinating historical story, gives it to us relatively accurately and does it with fantastic technical work and brilliant performances.  It makes history come alive, telling a great story while also opening a bit of the past that had been allowed to slip away from most people.

The Worst DreamWorks Film I Haven’t Yet Reviewed

Norbit  (2007, dir. Matthew Robbins)

By 1996, Eddie Murphy was in decline.  He had been one of the biggest box office stars of the 80’s but he hadn’t had a real hit since 1988 and his Razzie nominations were more recent than his Golden Globe nominations.  Then, he suddenly hit paydirt with The Nutty Professor, his first genuine hit in eight years and a film that restored his critical reputation, earning him a Globe nom and even winning him the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor (which, in 1996, given the performances that year, is ridiculous).  But Murphy seemed to take the wrong lesson from the film.  The idea was that Murphy could still genuinely be funny if he was heart-felt about it.  Instead, he seemed to take on the idea that fat suits and multiple performances in the same film were the way to go.  Flash forward to a decade later, when his career had been very up and down (his live action films had been disasters but he was a major reason the Shrek films were so massively popular).  He then made Dreamgirls, giving the best performance of his career (until 2019) but quickly followed that with Norbit, a film that went back to the multiple performances with fat-suits.  Murphy didn’t seem to realize that he didn’t need that to be good, that if he just gave a genuine performance like he did in Dreamgirls he could succeed.

Dreamgirls earned him plaudits, including his first Oscar nomination and SAG and Globe wins.  But it’s entirely possible that the release of the crass, desperately unfunny Norbit, with him back in the fat suit cost him the Oscar.  Certainly he was on track to win the Oscar (he had, after all, already won the Globe, BFCA and SAG and eventual Oscar winner, Alan Arkin, had yet to win an award (he would win the BAFTA after the Oscar) and he is the only Supporting Actor to win both SAG and the Globe and not win the Oscar) until the release of Norbit.

Norbit proceeds from the flawed idea that fat suits and multiple performances automatically make a film funny.  Murphy seems to have learned the same bad lesson that Tyler Perry has and this film features him as an overweight woman who is just awful to have to behold on screen.  That’s Rasputia, the horrible abusive wife of Norbit, the shy guy who just wants to get with Thandie Newton (and who can blame him?).  It’s the total combination that Perry also goes for and that just doesn’t work.  You don’t laugh because the character is fat or awful or being played by a man because none of that is funny.  The whole film is proof of what Roger Ebert says – people trying to be funny aren’t funny.

I suppose I could say more about this film but why bother?  It’s one of the worst films ever to earn an Oscar nomination and I can’t fathom how they decided the fat-suits in this film were worthy of a Makeup nomination when short-listed films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Sweeney Todd were passed over.  I can’t fathom how almost as many people thought this piece of shit was worthy of seeing in the theater as thought Dreamgirls were as it made almost as much money at the box office.  It comes down to this – if you thought the fat-suits in The Nutty Professor were the funny thing, if you think Tyler Perry is hilarious when he dresses up as Madea, then maybe you are one of the people this film was made for.  I prefer my films to be good.

Bonus Review

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion  (2001, dir. Woody Allen)

In Stardust Memories, perhaps the most under-appreciated film Woody Allen ever made, the main character played by Allen (and somewhat derived from him) is constantly told that people love his movies, “especially the early, funny ones.”  That was in 1980 and by the early 00’s when he started working with DreamWorks (one of the hallmarks of Allen’s career is moving from studio to studio, often going with a new studio like Orion, Miramax and DreamWorks) he had been making the more serious films (or, at least the more awards-bait films even if they are Comedies) for over two decades.  So what an interesting move to go back and make a film much more similar in style to Sleeper or Love and Death.

Now, that’s not to actually compare The Curse of the Jade Scorpion to Sleeper or Love and Death.  Those are really good, hilarious films whereas this film, similar in style (in that it both embraces and mocks conventions of a particular genre, in this case, a noir Mystery) is at best a mid level *** film and probably most people would rate it considerably lower than I do.  But it was the very fact that Allen was making a film like that again that was interesting.  It works less that Allen himself played the lead and if the film hadn’t cost as much as it did (because it was a period film it cost more than most Allen films) he couldn’t do what he had done at least once before (with September) and just abandon what he had shot and start over with a different cast.  But in some ways, Allen works perfectly for the part because he’s old, because he’s short, because he was never really a good looking guy.

As well as being a Mystery, this is also kind of a Screwball Comedy.  Allen plays C.W. Briggs, an insurance investigator who is at the top of his profession, finding the crooks who commit insurance fraud or theft.  He’s facing off against Fitzgerald, the new efficiency expert (did they even have that in 1940?) played by Helen Hunt, who can’t stand Briggs, doesn’t like his outdated methods and is in a hard position for Briggs to argue with since she’s sleeping with the boss (played by Dan Aykroyd).  What throws everything off is that Briggs and Fitzgerald are both put under hypnosis at an office party, but the hypnotist actually wants to use Briggs to defeat his own anti-theft precautions and steal him a large number of jewels.

It’s far from a great film but it’s memorable to me if for no other reason than that it is one of only two Woody Allen films that Veronica and I have seen in the theater (Midnight in Paris is the other one).  Some of the lines don’t work so well and many might find it nauseating to see Allen hitting on Elizabeth Berkeley or, even more bizarre, Charlize Theron climbing into Allen’s bed.  But the plot makes the film work and it’s fun to watch Allen and Hunt snipe at each other and it’s always nice to see Wallace Shawn in a film even if is role is small.

Bonus Bonus Review – The Most Under-Rated DreamWorks film

Flushed Away  (2006, dir. David Bowers / Sam Fell)

As already mentioned in my piece on the 2006 Best Animated Film race, this film was the best of an admittedly weak group of films, but after scoring PGA and BFCA nominations (which had five each while the Oscars would only have three) and a BAFTA nom (three like the Oscars), it would stumble and miss out on an Oscar nomination.  What’s more, because it wasn’t a DreamWorks production and because it wasn’t at all what they were expecting Aardman to hand over to them (very different from the Oscar winning Wallace & Gromit from the year before as well as being Aardman’s first all computer generated film), the studio didn’t give it much of an awards push.  It also performed well below DreamWorks’ box office expectations and prompted DW’s decision to end their partnership with Aardman.  Yet, it was the best of the animated films that year and if not as good as the first two feature length Aardman films, is still at the same level or higher than most of the rest and still stands up as really good entertainment with some great visuals and fun voice casting.

Roddy is a rat.  But he is a pampered rat who lives in a posh Kensington flat and is the beloved house-pet.  When the family is away and an uncouth (and unkempt) rat named Sid shows up, Roddy gets outflanked and flushed down the toilet and ends up in a sewer world that is far more disgusting but also far more interesting than he could have imagined.  Roddy is voiced by Hugh Jackman who does a perfect job of giving us the rich guy who is out of his depths.  Then he meets Rita, the shapely street-smart rat who he’s going to need to get out of the mess.  Of course you know he will fall in love with her in the end and will find a way to stay together with her but it’s not about the destination but the journey.

What Roddy finds beneath London is a world teeming not just with rats but with other animals as well and that’s where the fun comes in.  Rita has been having run-ins with The Toad, played with wonderful bombast by Ian McKellen and McKellen also has to deal with his own idiot minions (Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy) as well as his cousin, Le Frog (Jean Reno) that he brings in to solve the problems.  It’s the world that they all inhabit and the wonderful voice performances that really light up would could have been a mundane story that has been done before (animals living in a quasi-human world).

It’s hard to say what DreamWorks might have been expecting from the next Aardman film.  They definitely weren’t expecting this.  But this is not only better than they gave it credit for, but better than the vast majority of standard animated films that DreamWorks itself has produced over the years.  It creates a fascinating world (because of the size differences, the underground world makes some interesting and original use of a lot of human items) and inhabits it with fascinating and entertaining characters.  What’s more, it does it with some visually fascinating animation, far more so than the three films that actually were nominated for the Oscars (Happy Feet, Cars, Monster House).  With barely any award attention, not a big box office haul and being ignored by critics since its release, Flushed Away will just have to make do with being the most under-appreciated film DreamWorks ever released.


All-Time:  If you thought the Top 5 were dominated by Spielberg and Mendes before they are even more so now.  Lincoln is the best film DreamWorks has made and also wins Adapted Screenplay and Actor while finishing in the Top 5 in Director, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Score, Art Direction, Costume Design and Makeup.  1917 is in the Top 5 for Picture, Director, Score, Sound and Sound Editing and actually wins Cinematography.  First Man lands in the Top 5 for Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Score, Sound, Visual Effects and Sound Editing.  The Post is in the Top 5 in Actor and Actress.  Bridge of Spies lands in the Top 5 for Supporting Actor.  Ghost in the Shell and Welcome to Marwen are in the Top 5 for Visual Effects.  Trolls (“Can’t Stop the Feeling”) and Captain Underpants (the theme song) both land in the Top 5 for Original Song.

Academy Awards:  Green Book became the first DW film to win Picture since 2000.  Supporting Actor has now been cemented as the best acting category for DW as it has now won the award twice since 2011 (Bridge of Spies, Green Book).  Spielberg has had three more films earn Oscar nominations and all of them were nominated for Picture.  DW has had 13 films nominated for Picture and three of those won the award.  Six of those were directed by Spielberg and none won the award.  His films account for over 30% of all DW nominations (48 of 159).  (Actually that last stat is down a little now given the 10 noms for 1917).

Critics:  Lincoln set new highs for points (669) and awards (10) with new highs for the NYFC (210) and NSFC (150).

Globes:  Green Book with 3 wins is the only DreamWorks film to win more than one Globe since 2011 and the first DreamWorks film to win Picture since 2007.  Or it was until 1917 won Picture and Director.  Lincoln did set a new high with 7 noms (and is the first DreamWorks film to win Actor – Drama) followed by The Post with 6.

Guilds:  Several post 2011 films have earned 8 nominations but only First Man (9) and Lincoln (14) have earned more than that.  Lincoln and Green Book with two awards each are the only two films to win more than one guild award.  Lincoln‘s 490 points are the only that make the Top 5.  1917‘s 8 guild noms still aren’t near the top but it did win the PGA and the DGA as well as four guild awards in all.

BAFTA:  DreamWorks has been much less of a factor here since 2011 with no film winning more than one award and only Lincoln (10) and Bridge of Spies (9) racking up nominations.  At least until 1917 hit the BAFTAs.  1917 simply dominated the BAFTA’s.  Seven wins, tied for the 2nd most all-time.  Only the third film under the current British Film system to win both Picture and British Film and the only film in BAFTA history to win both and win Director.

BFCA:  Lincoln set a new high with 12 nominations and 450 points while winning 3 awards.  First Man‘s 10 noms also beat the previous high.  After only managing two films through 2011 with Picture, Director and Screenplay noms, Spielberg himself has had three films do it since 2011.  Since 2011, every film with just one nom was nominated for Animated Film and only one film with more than one nom wasn’t nominated for Picture (it was Trolls – nominated for Animated Film and Song).  DreamWorks now has 18 Picture noms at the BFCA without winning since its three straight wins from 98 to 00.

Box Office:  Madagascar 3 would barely make the Top 10 in box office but is the only post-2011 DreamWorks film to do so as their franchises have generally declined (see below).

The New Full Ranking of All DreamWorks films
note:  Post-2011 films are in bold
note:  Of the Top 12 films, only First Man and Almost Famous are not directed by Spielberg or Mendes.
  1. Lincoln
  2. American Beauty
  3. Munich
  4. 1917
  5. First Man
  6. Almost Famous
  7. Revolutionary Road
  8. The Post
  9. Saving Private Ryan
  10. Bridge of Spies
  11. Amistad
  12. Road to Perdition
  13. Up in the Air
  14. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  15. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  16. Perfume – The Story of a Murderer
  17. Match Point
  18. Catch Me If You Can
  19. Chicken Run
  20. Shrek 2
  21. Millennium Actress
  22. Flushed Away
  23. Collateral
  24. How to Train Your Dragon
  25. War Horse
  26. Shrek
  27. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  28. Abominable
  29. The Kite Runner
  30. Dreamgirls
  31. Kung Fu Panda
  32. Letters from Iwo Jima
  33. Flags of our Fathers
  34. Puss in Boots
  35. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  36. Kung Fu Panda 2
  37. Memoirs of a Geisha
  38. Antz
  39. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  40. Small Time Crooks
  41. Kung Fu Panda 3
  42. Shrek Forever After
  43. Over the Hedge
  44. Thank You for Your Service
  45. The Soloist
  46. Fright Night
  47. Green Book
  48. Galaxy Quest
  49. Red Eye
  50. Shrek the Third
  51. Tropic Thunder
  52. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
  53. The Road to El Dorado
  54. Anything Else
  55. The Terminal
  56. Gladiator
  57. Ghost Town
  58. The Light Between Oceans
  59. The Help
  60. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
  61. Megamind
  62. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  63. Hollywood Ending
  64. Madagascar
  65. The Prince of Egypt
  66. Real Steel
  67. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
  68. The Hundred-Foot Journey
  69. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  70. The Lovely Bones
  71. Ghost in the Shell
  72. Just Like Heaven
  73. Bee Movie
  74. Mr. Peabody and Sherman
  75. Turbo
  76. An Everlasting Piece
  77. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  78. The Contender
  79. Things We Lost in the Fire
  80. The Time Machine
  81. Dinner for Schmucks
  82. The Fifth Estate
  83. The Ring
  84. People Like Us
  85. Dreamer
  86. The Legend of Bagger Vance
  87. Shark Tale
  88. The Island
  89. The Croods
  90. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  91. The Peacemaker
  92. The Girl on the Train
  93. Head of State
  94. Monsters vs. Aliens
  95. The Ruins
  96. Rise of the Guardians
  97. Mouse Hunt
  98. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!
  99. The Mexican
  100. Small Soldiers
  101. Paulie
  102. In Dreams
  103. I Love You, Man
  104. Office Christmas Party
  105. Cowboys & Aliens
  106. The Last Kiss
  107. Hotel for Dogs
  108. Penguins of Madagascar
  109. Delivery Man
  110. Evolution
  111. House of Sand and Fog
  112. Welcome to Marwen
  113. Trolls
  114. What Lies Beneath
  115. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  116. The Last Castle
  117. The Love Letter
  118. The Uninvited
  119. The Boss Baby
  120. Old School
  121. Disturbia
  122. She’s Out of My League
  123. Home
  124. Biker Boyz
  125. Forces of Nature
  126. The Ring Two
  127. Need for Speed
  128. Envy
  129. She’s the Man
  130. Road Trip
  131. Eagle Eye
  132. Blades of Glory
  133. A Thousand Words
  134. The Tuxedo
  135. The Heartbreak Kid
  136. No Strings Attached
  137. Transformers
  138. The Haunting
  139. Little Fockers
  140. I Am Number Four
  141. EuroTrip
  142. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  143. Surviving Christmas
  144. Norbit