FBC Oscar Coverage, Part IV: A Review Of The Last 20 Best Picture Winners

As we prepare to enter the third decade of the 2000’s, I thought I would take a look back at the previous 20 Best Picture winners, rank them against one another, and ask a very important question: Was the film truly the Best Picture of all the nominated films?

Here are those results. Come get ya some:

(all years listed are the years when the Oscars ceremony took place)

20. Green Book (2019)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Fuck, no. On another, now defunct site, I wrote that without Mahershala Ali’s performance, Green Book is basically a Hallmark movie on racism. Every other film that was nominated deserved to win more… well, maybe not Bohemian Rhapsody.

19. Crash (2006)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Nope. Nope. No no no no no. Again, this was another year where the winner was so surprising because it was the worst of the nominated films. Here is what else was nominated that year: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night And Good Luck, and Munich. Crash is a middle finger to all of those movies, and it’s gross that it has the Oscar.

18. Million Dollar Baby (2005)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Nope. Sorry. To Million Dollar Baby‘s credit, it’s better than some of the other nominated films, but this was the year that also gave us The Aviator and Sideways, so someone punch this film in the mouth.

17. American Beauty (2000)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Let’s just ignore that 1999 was one of the best years ever for film, and that the 2000 Oscars chose to ignore some truly amazing films (The Matrix, Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Toy Story, and Being John Malkovich come to mind IMMEDIATELY), but for some reason, the Academy thought this film was better than The Insider and The Sixth Sense. Get the shit out of here.

16. Argo (2013)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: I really didn’t understand how bummed out I was going to get when writing this. But Django Unchained, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook… fucking sigh, man. To Argo‘s credit, this may be the first film that I actually enjoy and would rewatch.

15. A Beautiful Mind (2002)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Another year, another time the Best Picture was the worst film nominated. Against Gosford Park, The Lord Of The Ring: The Fellowship Of The Ring, In The Bedroom, and Moulin Rouge!, Ron Howard’s film just seems small and insignificant.

(I will tell this story really quickly: I saw this movie in the theater with my friend Hanns, and we liked to tell jokes and be snide throughout any movie we saw. There’s a moment where Russell Crowe’s character is being told he is going to win a Nobel, and he asks someone, “You think I’m crazy?”

I responded, “Crazy… FOR MATH!” and the theater was a mixture of laughter and responses for me to shut up. We all need moments like this.)

14. The King’s Speech (2011)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated?: The King’s Speech lies somewhere in the middle. It’s a fine film, but this was also the year which gave us True Grit, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, 127 Hours, Inception, and The Social Network, all of which are better. I’m starting to think that none of the Best Pictures were, indeed, the Best Picture and I’m starting to think this was a bad idea. But, let’s carry on…

13. Slumdog Millionaire (2009)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Boy, this one is the closest. The closest contenders are Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. But honestly, I’m just looking for a little ray of sunshine as I write this morning, so I’m going to say that while this wasn’t the best film of the year, that yes, IT WAS THE BEST PICTURE NOMINATED! And the fact that twelve Best Picture winners are better tells you what kind of crap year this was for movies.

12. The Artist (2012)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Much like The King’s Speech, this nominee falls somewhere in the upper-middle. It is definitely behind films like The Tree Of Life and Moneyball.

11. 12 Years A Slave (2014)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Another close one, but Her was the film that deserved to win the award, mostly because Inside Llewyn Davis received one of the worst snubs in the history of the Oscars.

10. Chicago (2003)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: It’s right in the middle of the pack, which means that it falls behind The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers and Gangs Of New York.

9. Gladiator (2001)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Once again, another Best Picture that falls short. This was the year of the 1-2 punch of Soderbergh with Erin Brockovich and Traffic, plus the absolutely amazing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Thumbs down to this one.

8. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2014)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Man, this was a good year for movies, because as good as this film is, it’s near the bottom of the pack with films like Boyhood, Whiplash, and The Grand Budapest Hotel among the nominees.

7. The Hurt Locker (2010)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: The race this year was between this film and Avatar. And, yes, The Hurt Locker is a wildly superior film to James Cameron’s blue man group, but it’s still not as good as films like Up, Up In The Air, A Serious Man, and Inglorious Basterds.

6. Spotlight (2017)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Man, this one is close, but films like The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road are just better films.

5. The Shape Of Water (2018)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Again, this year in film was just too good, because there were more deserving nominees than Dunkirk, Lady Bird, and the two best films of that year, Get Out and Phantom Thread.

4. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2004)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: Ok… well, this is where things get a little tricky. Return Of The King is a great film, but I also consider it the weakest film in the trilogy. It was it’s Oscar as a representation of the entire trilogy, so I’m not sure what to do with that when looking at it in those terms. Because, as the trilogy, there’s not a lot that can take this film on. Just looking at this film, however, I might give the edge to Lost In Translation.

3. The Departed (2007)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: The closest is probably Little Miss Sunshine, but I stand here confidently and can proclaim: YES! THIS WAS THE BEST FILM NOMINATED! Still, The Irishman is too fucking long.

2. Moonlight (2017)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: It’s definitely better than La La Land, which Warren Beatty misread (remember that shit), and even with excellent films like Arrival, Hell Or High Water, and Manchester By The Sea, I can declare with clear conscience: YES! THIS WAS THE BEST PICTURE NOMINATED!

1. No Country For Old Men (2008)

Was this the Best Picture of the films nominated: This is gonna sound crazy, because we’ve had two films in a row where the best film nominated was the one that won. But, I think this year, even though this film is absolutely amazing and is the best film of all of the winners, it should have lost to There Will Be Blood. Sorry, Llewyn Moss… you got unlucky again.

What is your favorite Best Picture? Leave your comments below.

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