The Academy Awards have been choosing the best movies of the year for almost a century. Here are the 90 movies that have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.
The 91st Academy Awards are around the corner, and a new movie will be crowned the best of 2018. That means that, in almost a century, the Academy has selected ninety movies as the very best of the best. Most of the time, we’ve agreed with their decision, while other times, we’ve questioned these people’s judgment because there have clearly been better choices.
Still, we can say that, all in all, their choices are pretty much the best of Hollywood and, thus, a great list to understand how the industry works and how cinema has evolved (at least in the US). So, grab some snacks and prepare to embark on a long, 90-year journey of film and Oscar history, with all the winners of the Best Picture category.
Wings (1927) Dir. William A. Wellman
The Broadway Melody (1929) Dir. Harry Beaumont
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Dir. Lewis Milestone
Cimarron (1931) Dir. Wesley Ruggles
Grand Hotel (1932) Dir. Edmund Goulding
Calvacade (1933) Dir. Frank Lloyd
It Happened One Night (1934) Dir. Frank Capra
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Dir. Frank Lloyd
The Great Ziegfeld (1936) Dir. Robert Z. Leonard
The Life of Emile Zola (1937) Dir. William Dieterle
Set in the 19th century, the biopic follows the unique friendship between acclaimed author Émile Zola and post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. It also shows Zola’s rise to fame after the publication of his iconic novel, Nana, in which he shows the underground life of the early days of bohemian Paris.
You Can’t Take It with You (1938) Dir. Frank Capra
Gone with the Wind (1939) Dir. Victor Fleming
Rebecca (1940) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
How Green Was My Valley (1941) Dir. John Ford
Mrs. Miniver (1942) Dir. William Wyler
Casablanca (1942) Dir. Michael Curtiz
Going My Way (1944) Dir. Leo McCarey
The Lost Weekend (1945) Dir. Billy Wilder
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Dir. William Wyler
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) Dir. Elia Kazan
Winning three out of eight nominations (including, of course, Best Picture) just two years after the end of WWII, the movie tells the story of a journalist who pretends to be Jewish to expose the growing distrust and hatred against Jewish people in the US.
Hamlet (1948) Dir. Laurence Olivier
All the King’s Men (1949) Dir. Robert Rossen
All About Eve (1950) Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
An American in Paris (1951) Dir. Vincente Minnelli
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) Dir. Cecil B. DeMille
From Here to Eternity (1953) Dir. Fred Zinnemann
On the Waterfront (1954) Dir. Elia Kazan
Marty (1955) Dir. Delbert Mann
Around the World in 80 Days (1956) Dir. Michael Anderson
With top Mexican comedian Cantinflas accompanying legend David Niven, the movie takes us into Jules Verne’s epic adventure around the world. The movie was a total success, taking home five out of eight Oscars, and giving Cantinflas his only Golden Globe Award.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Dir. David Lean
Gigi (1958) Dir. Vincente Minnelli
Ben-Hur (1959) Dir. William Wyler
The Apartment (1960) Dir. Billy Wilder
West Side Story (1961) Dir. Robert Wise and Jerome Robins
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Dir. David Lean
Tom Jones (1963) Dir. Tony Richardson
My Fair Lady (1964) Dir. George Cukor
The Sound of Music (1965) Dir. Robert Wise
A Mall for All Seasons (1966) Dir. Fred Zinnemann
In the Heat of the Night (1967) Dir. Norman Jewison
Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier (the first African-American ever to win an Oscar in a leading role) plays a policeman from Philadelphia who is arrested after visiting his mother in Mississippi and has to deal with racism while helping the sheriff solve a murder case.
Oliver! (1968) Dir. Carol Reed
Midnight Cowboy (1969) Dir. John Schlesinger
Patton (1970) Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner
The French Connection (1971) Dir. William Friedkin
The Godfather (1972) Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
The Sting (1973) Dir. George Roy Hill
The Godfather Part II (1974) Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Dir. Miloš Forman
Rocky (1976) Dir. John G. Avildsen
Annie Hall (1977) Dir. Woody Allen
This heartbreaking story about a very intense couple of New Yorkers gave Allen his first Oscars when the movie got four out of five nominations. The story is said to be inspired by his own relationship with Keaton, who also got a statuette for her performance.
The Deer Hunter (1978) Dir. Michael Cimino
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Dir. Robert Benton
Ordinary People (1980) Dir. Robert Redford
Chariots of Fire (1981) Dir. Hugh Hudson
Gandhi (1982) Dir. Richard Attenborough
Terms of Endearment (1983) Dir. James L. Brooks
Amadeus (1984) Dir. Miloš Forman
Out of Africa (1985) Dir. Sydney Pollack
Platoon (1986) Dir. Oliver Stone
The Last Emperor (1987) Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci
Winner of nine Oscars, this biopic tells the story of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. From the moment he ascended to the throne when he was just a young boy, to the moment of his imprisonment, the movie shows the transition from monarchy to communism in China.
Rain Man (1988) Dir. Barry Levinson
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Dir. Bruce Beresford
Dances with Wolves (1990) Dir. Kevin Kostner
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Dir. Jonathan Demme
Unforgiven (1992) Dir. Clint Eastwood
Schindler’s List (1993) Dir. Steven Spielberg
Forrest Gump (1994) Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Braveheart (1995) Dir. Mel Gibson
The English Patient (1996) Dir. Anthony Minghella
Titanic (1997) Dir. James Cameron
I don’t think there’s a single human being who hasn’t seen Titanic at least once in their lives. This movie, which broke all box-office and Oscar records in its time, has become an iconic part of popular culture.
Shakespeare in Love (1998) Dir. John Madden
American Beauty (1999) Dir. Sam Mendes
Gladiator (2000) Dir. Ridley Scott
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Dir. Ron Howard
Chicago (2002) Dir. Rob Marshall
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Dir. Peter Jackson
Million Dollar Baby (2004) Dir. Clint Eastwood
Crash (2005) Dir. Paul Haggis
The Departed (2006) Dir. Martin Scorsese
No Country for Old Men (2007) Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, the movie tells the story of a man who, after finding a fortune that clearly doesn't belong to him, finds himself on the road two other men with not the best intentions exactly. The movie got four out of eight nominations at the Oscars, making Javier Bardem the very first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Dir. Danny Boyle
The Hurt Locker (2009) Dir. Kathryn Bigelow
The King’s Speech (2010) Dir. Tom Hopper
The Artist (2011) Dir. Michel Hazanavicius
Argo (2012) Dir. Ben Affleck
12 Years a Slave (2013) Dir. Steve McQueen
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Spotlight (2015) Dir. Tom McCarthy
Moonlight (2016) Dir. Barry Jenkins
The Shape of Water (2017) Dir. Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro’s love story between a mute cleaner and a recently-captured amphibian creature stole everybody’s hearts, including those of the members of the Academy. Not only did the movie surprise everybody with its gorgeous cinematography and great performances, but it also confirmed that Mexican directors are here to stay.
Having said that, we must say that this year’s Oscars could change film history if fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón manages to win Best Picture for his movie Roma, making it the first film in a foreign language to win the category (you can read more about that here).
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