best films: #91: BABE (1995)
It has a lasting appeal thanks to its genius puppetry and stick-with-you lines (can anyone say “Baa, Ram, Ewe?”), but it was more than just one of the most surprising and satisfying Best Picture nominees of the 1990s. It had arguably James Cromwell’s best and most standout performance, and it gave the Jim Henson Creature Shop something to really sink their teeth into — an entire barnyard full of wisecracking animals. And in a world where CGI movies are a dime a dozen, and a hand-drawn family flick is about as rare as a thoughtfully made action movie, Babe was possibly the first real display of innovation with puppetry since E.T. Though Toy Story overshadowed it later in the year in terms of importance for the family film industry, there’s no denying the contribution it made to one of the best years for movies in film history.