The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


The HISTIES, 2014

Forget about the Oscars. We’re all about the HISTIES here at BackStory! The HISTIE is our newly-minted award for the movie which does the best job of dealing with a historical subject. The guy’s made the case for their Histie-nominees on this week’s show, and now we want your VOTES!

Along with the guy’s shortlist of 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and Her, we’ve expanded the field to all the movies nominated for a Best Picture Oscar this year. Vote in the poll and leave us a comment explaining WHY THIS MOVIE DESERVES THE HISTIE – we’ll read out the best ones on next week’s show.

If you have a case for an Oscar-nominated movie in another category, or one that wasn’t nominated at all, then weigh in anyway! You can make your nomination, and why it deserves the HISTIE, in the comments field below.

3/14/2014: The results are in – the winner of the 2014 HISTIE award – for the movie dealing best with a historical subject is – “12 Years a Slave.”

This raw look at slavery in the antebellum South gained 72% of the vote in our poll. Second place went to “Dallas Buyers Club” with 11.5% of the vote, and “Captain Phillips” just made it into third place with 5% of the vote. “American Hustle” led the remainder of the field with 4%, while “Her,” “Philomena,” and the catch-all “None of the Above” each received 2.5%. “Gravity,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” came away without any votes.

Thanks to everyone who voted and offered your perspective on this year’s nominees.


Voting closed at 12 noon on Wednesday, March 12th.

As we explained on the show, here are the criteria we’re using to evaluate movies:

  1. The movie must look right, but also approach history with respect. The characters must be fully embedded in their time and place. It’s got to be more than just a costume drama.
  2. The movie must successfully compress historical complexity into a story that seems truthful – a story that could be true, according to everything we know about the time period.
  3. The film must engage a big question that still matters today, and help viewers rethink what they thought the answers to that question was.


(And if you’re feeling especially creative this week, why not weigh in with a suggested design for our new award? We’d welcome any and all aesthetic contributions at [email protected]).

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!