2020 Most Picture

In which we award the Most Picture Oscar to the most-rewatched of the 2020 Best Picture nominees, and track down the Letterboxd member who most obsessively rewatched the Most Obsessively Rewatched Film in our 2019 Year in Review—Avengers: Endgame—to ask “Why?”.

Once again, we dive into the data on the Oscar Best Picture nominees to name not the Best Picture (respect to Parasite!), but what is the Most Picture, as in, which of the nine 2020 finalists was rewatched the most by Letterboxd members?

And the 2020 “Most” Picture Award goes to… Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Letterboxd member Movie15 has the distinction of having logged Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood the most—a whopping 26 times since its August release, and though he hasn’t reviewed it on Letterboxd, we’ve enjoyed his quest to see Tarantino’s latest in as many Los Angeles movie theaters as possible, on 35mm as often as he can.

Bong Joon-ho’s multi-Academy-Award-winning masterpiece, Parasite, comes next, just 859 views behind—Khoi is the Letterboxd member who has most obsessively rewatched the film to date, with eleven recorded watches. Third place (and almost 14,000 views behind the two leaders) goes to Joker, watched the most (seventeen times) by Kenai Fleck, a hard-core Batman fan.

In fourth place, Little Women. Micah Simmons has logged the film fourteen times (but may in fact be pushing twenty views). On the thirteenth view, “I have nothing to add, except for mentioning a shot right before the scene where Amy does *the thing* to Jo, and there’s a crazy shot that foreshadows *the thing* so well and fuck this movie is smart.” Then come Marriage Story, The Irishman, 1917, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v. Ferrari in that order.

The official Letterboxd Most Picture list reveals the combined number of watches for all members with two or more entries for these films.

The rewatches we logged along the way

Avengers: Endgame was the Most Obsessively Rewatched Film of 2019 in our Year in Review, which means it had the highest number of Letterboxd members logging it five or more times in their diaries.

Member Max Joseph has the distinction of having logged Avengers: Endgame more times than any other. When we told him we needed to know why, he replied: “I’d be honored to talk about my love for Avengers Endgame!” Spoilers follow in this Q&A with Max (though at this point if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame it’s probably only because Max has watched it for you). This interview was conducted prior to the 2020 Academy Awards.

How many times do you think you have seen Avengers: Endgame?
Max Joseph: Well, I’ve logged it 26 times as of today. But I also think there are a good three or four watches I didn’t log because I occasionally put it on before bed, and just never logged it. So I’d say my final answer is 29, but that honestly may be lowballing it. I have a feeling that by the time the Oscars roll around, it’ll probably be at 30. I always watch every single film, documentary and short nominated for the Oscars, and thankfully, Endgame was nominated!

What’s your reaction to the news that you are the member who has logged it the most?
Kind of shocked! I really didn’t even realize how many times I watched it until you told me! I watch Avengers: Endgame because it brings me happiness, and I love the adventure! When it finally came out on Blu-ray and digital, there were a few times I would watch it multiple times in one day. Then I’d throw something else on, then get upset that I wasn’t watching Avengers. So maybe it isn’t as shocking as I had thought!

What keeps you coming back to it?
I love all genres of film. Take this season for example. I love the more meaty and dramatic films like Parasite, 1917, Waves, Queen & Slim. I love comedies like Jojo Rabbit and Booksmart. Animation like Toy Story 4, Frozen II and Klaus.

But, you give me someone flying, turning invisible, super speed… that’s where I live. Superhero movies are just my favorites, and I think the reason I keep coming back to Avengers: Endgame is because besides being a superhero movie—which I just naturally gravitate towards—in Endgame, I get a little bit of every genre and mood. I also like that it’s split up into three acts, and each act gives me what I want in a superhero movie:

Act one is the slow burn, which we never really got in the MCU up to this point. It’s the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War, and them dealing with the implications and the new normal of the universe. And this gives a chance for the story to build, and our actors to show off, especially Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. It gives something new to the fans of the franchise and is one of the biggest reasons I keep coming back for more.

Act two is the “time heist” and it is a pure love letter to the fans of the franchise. They revisit some of the best parts of our MCU journey over the last eleven years and mess with it. Is it fan service? Absolutely! But I think they did it right.

Act three is the final battle at the now-destroyed Avengers headquarters. And this was where the slow burn pays off. It is what we’ve all been waiting for since 2008. The grand finale. The culmination of eleven years and 22 films. We are gifted my favorite battle I’ve ever seen, bone-chilling and heartbreaking moments, as well as the most cathartic endings to the most epic story I’ve ever had the privilege to watch, nearly 30 times over.

What have you noticed with each rewatch?
Two things: firstly, how unbelievable the visual effects are. I may be alone in this, but I think Marvel has the best visual effects on the planet. By miles. And rewatching this makes me appreciate how much time and dedication was put into making this. So much happened behind the scenes, that I personally don’t really think about while watching it. But after 26 views, I start to think about green screens, the motion capturing, all of those elements, it’s insane! Go on YouTube and just check out all of that work they did visually. It’s beautiful.

Secondly, how brilliant Robert Downey Jr. is. I’ve been saying it for years, but RDJ was born to play Tony Stark. Has he had many other brilliant performances throughout his career? Absolutely. But I think that if he was not cast as Iron Man, this franchise wouldn’t have turned out the way it did. He is the heart of the MCU. And he has so many brilliant moments throughout the film, meets his dad during the “time heist”, the realization of “the one”, even the way he interacts with his daughter, Morgan. It’s truly exceptional work. I think it’s his best performance as Stark.

What is the single greatest scene in the film?
Oy, well that’s near impossible. A few standouts are Cap wielding Mjölnir, the scene with Tony and his dad, the reveal of Professor Hulk, thicc Thor, Cap vs. Cap, “the snap”. There are so many! But I think the popular answer is also the greatest, and that is when our Avengers return.

As soon as I heard Sam Wilson’s (Falcon) voice, I lost my mind. And they brilliantly added “On your left” right before all the portals open up. “On your left” is a callback to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That’s the first line of the movie, and is repeated again at the end. Both times are between Sam and Steve, and it was the same in Endgame. And then you add Alan Silvestri’s score (the song is titled ‘Portals’) which is building and building with emotion, which leads into Cap finally saying…

“Avengers (music cuts) Assemble”… (enter Avengers theme song)

It. Is. Perfection. I have chills as I type this. It was probably the greatest theater experience I’ve had in my life. I was sobbing. Imagine how I was by the end…

What has the overall Avengers cinematic adventure meant to you?
I remember seeing the first Iron Man in theaters with some friends in 2008. We all dressed up in suits, because we were at a high school awards show kind of thing, and just went straight to the theater, and we had the best time. From the first moment ’til the end, when Tony says, “I am Iron Man”, then Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ starts playing, my jaw was on the floor. I gave a standing ovation. In a suit. From that moment on, I knew that this was made for me.

It has given me the greatest moments in a movie theater, incredible discussions with friends and strangers, and although it may seem cheesy, some much-needed happiness in some of the most difficult times in my life. I watch these stories because I love them. They mean something to me. They are an important part of who I am.

What would you say to people who say that blockbusters like these aren’t ‘real’ cinema?
Hahaha! This is a hilarious question, and I’m thrilled that you asked it. I’ve actually had a good twenty people ask me this, and I always said that I’d write something or make a video about it, so here we go…

Let me start off by saying that Martin Scorsese is arguably one of the greatest directors of all time. I love his work, I respect it, and I encourage everyone to watch his full repertoire, ’cause it’s beautiful.

That being said… ‘real cinema’ is a matter of opinions. To me, Avengers: Endgame is just as much real cinema, as The Irishman, Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, anything. I don’t care who you are, you can be Martin Scorsese, Kevin Feige, one of my friends, a stranger, I don’t think you have the right to tell me what is ‘real cinema’. You can say something isn’t good, or only being made to earn a profit, but you don’t get to say that movies like this aren’t worthy of being ‘real cinema’. To me, they are. You’re more than entitled to that opinion! I just happen to disagree with you, but you’re not wrong by any means. I’m entitled to my opinion, you’re entitled to yours. And that’s what it comes down to. Opinions.

Thicc Thor—keep or send back to the gym?
I totally don’t care. Taika Waititi figured out how to write that character in Thor: Ragnarok, and thankfully they continued writing him this way in Endgame. So as long as the writers continue on the path that Waititi sent him on, I’m good. Make him thicc, give him an eight-pack, as long as the character has purpose and the lines flow naturally, I’m more than satisfied with whatever he looks like.

How amped are you to learn more about Natasha’s background in this year’s Black Widow?
Finally! We’ve been waiting since Iron Man 2, and it is finally time for the Black Widow movie she deserves! I’m fascinated by the Red Room, which was where she started her training as a Russian spy. They showed us glimpses of her beginnings in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I’ve always been hungry for more information because it looked really interesting.

I also think that we may finally find out what happened in Budapest. It was first mentioned in The Avengers back in 2012, as a bit of banter between Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and has kind of been a mystery ever since. It was actually mentioned again in Endgame. I’m basing this on the San Diego Comic-Con Hall H panel. There was a title card that said “Budapest”, so it would make sense that we’re gonna get what we’ve been asking for!

I’m also thrilled because the cast is awesome. Obviously double Oscar-nominated actor this season, Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and one of my favorite actors, Florence Pugh, who had an unbelievable 2019, with Fighting With My Family, Midsommar (one of my favorite performances of the decade), and she topped it off with an Oscar-nominated performance in Little Women!

What do you think should win best picture at this year’s Oscars?
Parasite. And it’s not even close. I think Parasite is one of the greatest films I’ve seen in my life. I think it deserves that number one slot on your Top 250 Narrative Features list.

It features the best performance from an ensemble, Song Kang-ho should have been nominated for supporting actor (he should be winning). The production design is fabulous. They literally built the Park family’s house for the film! Hong Kyung-pyo’s photography is worthy of being framed. He created a few shots that are permanently engraved in my head (in a good way). And of course, Bong Joon-ho’s direction flows with emotion and his script is original, gripping and electric. He is the definition of a visionary, at the top of his game.

Parasite is the crowning achievement of the decade and should be awarded as such. It would be the perfect way to end the decade with the first foreign-language film (now titled “International Feature Film”) winning Best Picture at the Oscars. #BONGHIVE all the way!

What do you think will win?
My heart says Parasite, but I think it may end up going to something like Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, The Irishman or 1917 (which is in my top ten this year). The easy answer is probably Hollywood because it won the Globe, but that doesn’t always translate into an Oscar.

But if it’s not Parasite, I think it should be 1917. It is a technical work of art from Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning director Sam Mendes. Roger Deakins outdid himself and is pretty much guaranteed to earn his second Oscar [update: he did!]. Thomas Newman’s score is probably my favorite of the year (possibly of his career), followed closely by Emile Mosseri’s for The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Hildur Guðnadóttir’s for Joker. And George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman should be on everyone’s radar. They’re phenomenal. It’s shaping up to be quite a race this year!

What’s your favorite thing about Letterboxd?
I think the reason I love it so much is because it feels like a family. I’ve had such a passion for the cinema for my whole life, and I like to share it wherever I can. But other social platforms (as wonderful as they are), aren’t always the best place to post about every single movie I’ve watched, or a top ten that I make. Letterboxd is the only place where I can let out all of my opinions, all of my thoughts, without feeling embarrassed or like I’m bothering anyone when I say how perfect Avengers: Endgame is. Or if I watch it and spot something new, I can post about it, and have great conversations about what I’ve discovered. It is the place for movie lovers, and it actually helped me love movies more, and to learn more about the crews, studios, and everything behind the film.


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