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Editor's Blog

Oscar night: At the movies, we all get a vote

Best film? Best actor? There are dozens of ways of ranking films besides the Academy Awards. But the most important way is how you rank them.

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Is it any wonder that there are a dozen different ways of measuring the best movies of all time? Besides the impressively named Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, there’s the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Cannes, and many more contests that combine serious judging with the opportunity to showcase celebrities on red carpets.

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Best movie of all time? Critics have their considered opinions. You can also check IMDb, the big Internet site, where visitors have voted the 1997 prison film “The Shawshank Redemption” No. 1.

Go to Metacritic.com and you’ll learn that the way-serious art film “Balthazar” (1966) heads the list.

Citizen Kane” (1941) is at the pinnacle for the American Film Institute.

Rottentomatoes.com likes “Toy Story 2” (1999).

Blockbuster, Netflix, and Redbox also rank top movies, as do cable companies like Comcast and Time-Warner.

It doesn’t stop there. All of us have movies we are fond of. Richard Nixon famously watched “Patton” over and over while embattled in the White House. Howard Hughes loved “Ice Station Zebra” for some reason.

I need to watch “Groundhog Day” at least once a year. I have friends who never miss a chance to see “The Big Lebowski,” “Shakespeare in Love,” or the first and second (never the third) “Godfather.” And on any list of favorites, most people would say “The Wizard of Oz” is one because, well, because of the wonderful things it does.

We all get a vote. Drop me a line and tell me what your all-time favorite is. I’ll tally them and publish the Academy of Monitor People’s Screen Guild list in a future issue.

John Yemma is the editor of The Christian Science Monitor.

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