• Laura Johnson

    Laura Johnson

    Senior Admissions Counselor
    Duluth, MN
    Communication’06; MBA ’11, St. Scholastica

    Laura's Bio:
    Hi everyone, welcome to my Follow Me page! My full name is Laurajae Johnson, but you can call me Laura. I have been a part of the Saints community for nearly ten years, as a CSS student (twice over), as an active member of our Alumni Board of Directors, and as a counselor on our fantastic Admissions team—I am St. Scholastica through and through! Hopefully this website will allow you to explore our College, meet fellow Saints, and see exactly what makes our campus truly unique. Looking forward to connecting with you all soon!

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    Associate Professor of History & Politics
    Taipei, Taiwan
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    Grand Rapids, MN

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Oscar favorites

Alright, remember when I promised you a list of some of my favorite Oscar winning Best Pictures earlier this week? Well, that proved to be a much harder task than I had thought it would be. I loved so many of these films, my initial list could have easily featured about 40 titles. Then, I got to thinking about having to briefly summarize 40 movie storylines and the end result was my head pretty much exploding all over my desk. Very messy. So instead, I decided to narrow down my favorites by decade (which was still a little challenging, but much more doable).

Also, a couple disclaimers: 1) these are my favorites so obviously they’re subjective. In other words, don’t get mad at me for not including Schindler’s List. 2) As I mentioned before, the 80’s were gross (maybe this is why?haha). The 70’s were awesome, though, so I picked two from that decade.

Here we go.

1930-1939. You Can’t Take it With You (1939) tells the tale of a wackadoodle family and two somewhat star-crossed lovers. It epitomizes the feel-good, sappy, funny love story we all crave from time to time. And, it has much of the same heart and sentiment as It’s a Wonderful Life, which was also directed by Frank Capra and starred Jimmy Stewart. I don’t think I stopped smiling once during this movie. It’s darling.

1940-1949: Call me clichéd, but I had to go with Casablanca (1943). Would you believe that I had NEVER seen it before we began our Oscar journey? I guess I had been living under a rock or something. In a nutshell, Casablanca is the classic story of love-and-loss (and then love, and then loss again) with haunting performances by Bogart and Bergman. I’m sighing out loud just thinking about it.

1950-1959: All About Eve (1950). Ambition! Deceit! Bette Davis! I loved everything about this one. Eve is an aspiring actress who pulls out all the stops to finagle her way into the show biz scene. She’s ruthless and calculating;  a-wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing-baddie you love to hate. The dialogue, the performances (including a small cameo from Marilyn Monroe!), and the ending are simply delicious.

1960-1969: The Apartment (1961). Jack Lemmon, quite the looker in his days, stars as CC “Bud” Baxter, a lonely, hard-working clerk in NYC who allows the executives at his company to use his apartment for their…um, extramarital affairs. Meanwhile, he secretly pines for Shirley MacLaine’s character Fran, who just so happens to be canoodling with his boss. In his apartment. It may sound kind of lewd, but trust me when I say this movie is a sweet little biscuit (and my absolute favorite Oscar winner).

1970-1979: 2-way tie: The Sting (1973) and Rocky (1976). Paul Newman and Robert Redford pair up in The Sting as two con men who are looking to avenge a mutual friend’s death by going after the mob boss who killed him. There’s plotting and planning, followed by a complicated scheme that seems to go completely awry. And then, the movie concludes with one of the greatest “a-ha” moments ever. I’m pretty sure I squealed in delight at that point (I don’t have a lot of foresight and can rarely predict movie endings). My other pick Rocky stars the well-known Sly Stallone, definitely not my cup of tea, but he’s such a goofy doofus in this movie, he’s almost endearing. It’s a David v. Goliath story, and even though David doesn’t exactly win, it’s still an inspiring, uplifting tale. Also, I loved referring to Keith and Olive as “a couple of coconuts” for several weeks after watching it.

1980-1989: {Boos & throws tomatoes at all the movies from this decade}

1990-1999: This was a toughie. The 90’s were solid (honorable mentions include Unforgiven and Silence of the Lambs), but I had to go with a tried-and-true favorite Forrest, Forrest Gump (1994). I bet I’ve see this movie at least 3 dozen times and it never gets old. It’s a saga, yes. It’s a look back at our nation’s history, yes. But above all else, it’s the story of one man’s selfless, unconditional love for a woman, and that really makes me swoon. (Feel free to throw tomatoes at me now.)

2000-2009: Another humdinger of a decade. I loved The Departed and I’ve also been known to make statements like, “the Lord of the Rings trilogy changed my life!” Even still, my pick goes to Chicago (2003). I adore this musical! I love channeling my inner Roxie when I watch it and I love trying to imagine which merry mistress I would have been. The movie has an amazing energy, plus it showcases one of my favorite times in American history: the roaring 20’s (did you know I was a flapper in a previous life?)

2010-present: In the battle between the decade’s only two winners thus far, my pick is for The King’s Speech (2011); The Hurt Locker was the 2010 Best Picture winner. The film is fantastic, and Colin Firth rightly deserved his Oscar win for Best Actor (he is my one and only celebrity crush, BTW). I also developed a slight fascination, ok, obsession with the Royal Family during Will and Kate’s nuptials, so this film was up my alley for several reasons. Also, how wonderful is Helena Bonham Carter?

There you have it, nine of my favorite Oscar winners. Thanks for sticking with me to the end; hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of 1929’s Wings when it arrives in the mail.


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