Academy Awards: Every Best Picture Oscar Winner Ever
Take A Walk Through Oscar History! As we gear up for the awards season, we thought it’d be a great chance to revisit all the “Best Picture” Academy Award winners ever, dating back to the time when the Academy debuted the award ceremony in 1929!
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This award goes to the producers of the film and is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible to submit a nomination and vote on the final ballot. Nonetheless, Best Picture Award, which is the final award of the night, is also considered the most prestigious honor of the ceremony.
So without further ado, let’s roll out the red carpet and brush up on your best pretentious hot takes, it’s time that we talk about the Oscars. All of them.
1928/1929 – Wings
1929/1930 – The Broadway Melody
1930/1931 – All Quiet on the Western Front
“All Quiet on the Western Front was the first major anti-war film in America, and the likes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Dunkirk’ have borrowed the film’s ideological integrity in displaying the ill-effects of war on humans that fight on the lines. Both Spielberg and Nolan have lauded director Lewis Milestone for creating a hellish environment of confusion that plagues every soldier, demolishing the nobility and honor associated with war, and splashing morbidity all over the screen.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Greatest Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1931/1932 – Cimarron
1932/1933 – Grand Hotel
“Decadence, deceit, and drama are at every turn of this magnificent ensemble film from MGM, the first of its kind attracting such star power. Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery among others played complicated characters whose lives intersect at this luxurious hotel in Berlin. The film has marked the feat of still being the only film to win Best Picture and not be nominated for any other Academy Award. In addition to the extraordinary acting, the art and production design capture Art Deco at its finest. The black and white cinematography also add to the glamour yet crumbling fragility of some of the characters’ lives in this setting. With all of this in mind, the legacy of “Grand Hotel” will continue as the original hallmark of ensemble directing and filmmaking.” – Charlene Winsor.
1933/1934 – Cavalcade
1935 – It Happened One Night
“Hailed as the first screwball comedy, this road movie about the two opposites falling in love seemed doomed from the start. Multiple actors passed on the script before Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert reluctantly agreed to participate in the film. However, audiences quickly saw the charm comedy, and the chemistry between the two leads with the film becoming a sleeper hit. It surprisingly won the top 5 Academy Awards that evening – Best Director (Frank Capra), Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Riskin), and of course, the Best Picture. Only two other films have since won this quintet of awards – “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). The awards and the admiration for “It Happened One Night” will help ensure that generations continue to see and love this film.” – Charlene Winsor.
1936 – Mutiny on the Bounty
1937 – The Great Ziegfeld
1938 – The Life of Emile Zola
1939 – You Can’t Take It with You
1940 – Gone with the Wind
1941 – Rebecca
“‘Rebecca’ was Alfred Hitchcock’s first venture into Hollywood, and is the only film directed by the Master of Suspense to have won the Best Picture Oscar. Adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, Rebecca’s defining quality was its gothic ambience, and Hitchcock masterfully translates it on the big screen, with Rebecca’s invisible spectral presence chained to our minds. Hitchcock’s actualization of suspense as a paranormal entity, was first successfully developed here, and he started exploring obsession and frivolousness in rich aristocratic households.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Criminally Underrated Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1942 – How Green Was My Valley
1943 – Mrs. Miniver
1944 – Casablanca
“Arguably the most romantic movie of all time, Casablanca is a timeless classic that captured much of our feelings of uncertainty during World War II and concern about the Nazi regime, even though it was made during the earlier days of American involvement. Victor Laszlo’s comment to Major Strasser that “even Nazis can’t kill that fast,” makes perfect sense in the 21st century, but for its time, was an amazing observation. It’s no wonder that Americans so readily got behind the war effort.” – John Menninger, 10 Most Iconic American Movies.
1945 – Going My Way
1946 – The Lost Weekend
1947 – The Best Years of Our Lives
“The Best Years of Our Lives won 7 Oscars (including Best Director and Best Film) and happened to be highest-grossing film since David O Selznick’s Gone with the Wind (1939). Today, the film might sound like one of those familiar melodramas, put forth to confirm the popular perception of American nationalism. But such assumptions would only be too wrong. William Wyler had worked hard to strip the essentials of the narrative to its basic, making its themes and characters universal in nature. In his review, the late Roger Ebert praised the film in this manner: “As long as we have wars and returning veterans, some of them wounded, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ will not be dated.”” – Arun Kumar, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946): A Poignant Tale About War Veterans Returning Back To Civil Life.
1948 – Gentleman’s Agreement
1949 – Hamlet
1950 – All the Kings Men
1951 – All About Eve
“Bette Davis is known for her iconic Hollywood status, and despite what All About Eve suggests, she manages to steal the show as headstrong theatre actress, Margo. The titular role is played by Anne Baxter, who embodies an intriguing balance of victimhood and subtle villainy. All About Eve follows Eve’s rise to stardom through manipulation and lies. Eve’s love for the theatre is defined through her tragic damsel facade, almost gasping for breath whenever she speaks and using her supposed innocence to draw others in. Contrarily, Margo is brash and thick-skinned, offering comic relief with her cutting yet witty remarks. However, this tough exterior only masks her valid insecurities and fears of being replaced by a younger and fresher model – something she recognizes in Eve. Besides having layered female characters, the film includes elements of suspense as suspicions are confirmed and it is slowly revealed how far people will go to become their idols.” – Lauren Bedford.
1952 – An American in Paris
1953 – The Greatest Show on Earth
“Director Cecil B. DeMille’s films have always been of epic proportions, and “The Greatest Show on Earth” is no exception. The film is set in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, with the 1951 troupe, crew, animals, and equipment captured on screen. This massive project has elements of documentary and drama amongst its ensemble cast. Most impressive is James Stewart as Buttons the Clown, a clown who never removes his makeup. This film won Best Story (now a defunct category) at the Oscars and surprisingly won the Best Picture, some say on the basis of DeMille having directed the film. It has received very mixed reviews over the years, touted as one of the worst Best Picture winners in history. Nevertheless, I feel that it is a over-the-top Technicolor spectacle that deserves to be seen.” – Charlene Winsor.
1954 – From Here to Eternity
1955 – On the Waterfront
“Elia Kazan was one of the most influential figures in the transition from the melodramatic acting that was typical of white bourgeoisie characters to the methodical acting that was necessary to represent the socially underprivileged. Kazan’s characters were devoid of the pitiful representation of the poor, which Hollywood fetishised. Instead, his characters were resolute and possessed characteristics that were grayer than the look of his films.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Criminally Underrated Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1956 – Marty
1957 – Around the World in 80 Days
1958 – The Bridge on the River Kwai
“Lean’s goal was to create something riveting, something that could encapsulate the sheer amount of work and lives involved in constructing a bridge, a task which might seem very commonplace, but with the dynamics of WW2 and POWs included, it was a task that comprised of polygonal relationships. Different people with different agendas, coming together to create a singular structure, whose jagged solid beams were reflective of the POWs’ repression and whose collapse represented their apparently hardened selves crumbling to the actuality of defeat.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Criminally Underrated Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1959 – Gigi
1960 – Ben-Hur
1961 – The Apartment
1962 – West Side Story
1963 – Lawrence of Arabia
“David Lean’s masterpiece, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ is considered by many to be the greatest English language epic. It’s impossible to find a film prior to Lawrence of Arabia that uses the camera as ambitiously and manages to exude a cinematic scale that would be revered for aeons, maybe only Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon’ is on par.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Greatest Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1964 – Tom Jones
1965 – My Fair Lady
“Initially, it may be presumed that My Fair Lady is yet another rags to riches tale. However, with Audrey Hepburn as the lead, it promises something much more special. Throughout, we are treated to extravagant set and costume design, with iconic lines and impressive musical numbers. Alongside the eye-catching visuals, Audrey is unsurprisingly captivating as Eliza, demonstrating down-to-earth humor as well as effortless elegance. Professor Higgins, played by Rex Harrison, bounces off Eliza’s more innocent nature perfectly with his amusingly sarcastic and scathing comments. Although, behind the notable cinematography and dialogue, are themes of classism and social mobility. Eliza represents those attempting to escape their restrictive working class roots, versus her father who is unable and unwilling to assimilate to a largely unaccepting higher society. As Eliza dissociates from her old self by transforming externally, her inner turmoil emerges as she unintentionally becomes an imposter in both her new world – and the world she left behind.” – Lauren Bedford.
1966 – The Sound of Music
“Who doesn’t remember Julie Andrews singing, “The hills are alive…with the sound of music!” In the gorgeous alpines of Austria with her arms wide open, as if from another world altogether? There was also the magnetic Captain Von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer with unforgettable charm. Even so, Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music is one of those rare musicals to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. During its initial release it had even surpassed Gone With the Wind to emerge as the highest-grossing film of all time. The Sound of Music is also one of those feel-good, too-good-to-be-true premises that predictably provides a satisfying denouement. Here it is a planned escape from the hands of Nazis. Julie Andrews’ effortless performance captures the soul of the film even though the banality of the larger operation that the narrative devices is not hard to locate.” – Santanu Das.
1967 – A Man for All Seasons
1968 – In the Heat of the Night
1969 – Oliver!
1970 – Midnight Cowboy
“Midnight Cowboy was released in 1969 the same year as Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider. The American New Wave was in its infancy. Midnight Cowboy won three Academy awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It remains the only X rated film to win best picture. The film has its roots in classic American literature, with its prevalent theme of strong and close male relationships. There is a correlation to be witnessed between Midnight Cowboy and John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men.” – Tom Crawley, Midnight Cowboy (1969): Castaways On Streets.
1971 – Patton
“General Patton’s opening monologue, albeit with heavily filtered down language, against the gigantic US national flag is cinematic legacy. Patton’s address to the audience is fierce and motivational, potent enough to put the dead rocks into action. It sets the tone for his journey ahead – one of glory, inescapably intertwined with spite and humiliation. Writers Francis Ford Coppola and Edmond North without actively engaging a singular character study deflect Patton’s menacing personality and rare courage through his actions in the battlefield. Rarely does ‘Patton’ delve into the protagonist’s psyche, instead choosing to gauge how those around the General viewed him as a person and in his official capacity. The sprawling cinematography and abundant wide shots highlight the epic production scale and subjugate the viewer into the shoes of soldiers on war-torn grounds. George C. Scott’s haunting proximity to the real Patton is unwavering. There is not a minute during significant screen time that you would not admire and loath him as the most decorated army man in US military history. His spectacular performance sets a bar so high, it is unlikely to be ever attempted or repeated.” – Arnav Srivastav
1972 – The French Connection
“The early 70s continued the bleak realist style that had developed in American cinema during the late 60s, as a result of the Vietnam War. Friedkin realized how neglected the American underbelly was, even though America was lying flat on its back. Enter ‘The French Connection’ and the American noir is turned into an exploration of time and the people bound to circumstances given birth by that period.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Criminally Underrated Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1973 – The Godfather
“An unforgettable saga on organized crime, The Godfather is the prime representation of the gangster genre, which manifests “a new mythology of crime” (Cawelti 326). The 1970’s symbol of the ‘gangster’ proved to be a catalyst in the alteration of the notion of the Italian-American male – a figure, according to Fred L.Gardaphe, who embodies traits otherwise stifled by dominant culture. This transformation helps to proffer an insight into “the past, present, and future of U.S culture, providing a road map for the directions taken by variants of masculinity in America””. – Debopriyaa Dutta, The Godfather Paradox: Diasporic Dialectics, Gender Trouble and Issues of Identity.
1974 – The Sting
1975 – The Godfather Part II
“Both the Godfather films are inseparable and yet individual masterpieces, thus for the list of greatest best picture Oscar winners, it was impossible and irrational to pick only one. ‘The Godfather’ duology is arguably the most seminal story in American film-making history. Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia epic cemented an approach to American cinema that had been lost due to the Hays Code and the monopoly on artistry enforced by the production houses.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Greatest Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1976 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
“Nicholson’s vivacity is a huge part of why Miloš Forman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel soars; even when the book’s psychedelic trappings are eschewed, even when the hospital’s lonely souls are filmed through a dreary, low-lit documentary texture, it remains a rousing and reinvigorating work of cinema. Today, it feels neither like a work of counter-cultural modishness or a study of outmoded psychiatric methods, but a film which affirms the undying need for individual expression within institutional confines.” – Charlie Bennett, 10 Best Jack Nicholson Movie Performances.
1977 – Rocky
1978 – Annie Hall
“A comedian reeling on the verge of despair, a scatterbrained dreamer wanting everything from nothing and a romance of a lifetime. That’s all there is to say about Annie Hall. A movie which is so much in love with itself that it becomes infectious, so much in awe with its themes that they resonate almost equivocally. Through tightly edited screenplay and poignant direction, Woody Allen has crafted a wisdom tooth for all ages.” – Kalpit Tandon, Annie Hall (1977): A Wisdom Tooth For All Ages.
1979 – The Deer Hunter
1980 – Kramer vs. Kramer
“In a single monologue, Streep destroys the reservations made against her character’s initially apathetic decision, and breaks your heart by revealing the self-isolation she had to endure in order to contribute to her family. Her character speaks for the sacrifices women are expected to oblige to in marriages, and the domestication of their spirit for a conservative idea of maternity.” – Shariq Ansari, 25 Best Oscar Winning Performances (Female).
1981 – Ordinary People
“People do not always have an answer to things that happen in the world. At times, the best one can do is to suffer in silence and internalize their pain. Robert Redford’s three protagonists suffer from a similar feeling. The loss of Buck, the elder son in the family, marks the onset of a turbulent, and seemingly irredeemable, period in the lives of Calvin, Beth, and Conrad. The latter’s suicide attempt further complicates, and perils attempts by the family to go back to normalcy. Their navigation of grief and strained relationships is the main arc in the film’s thematic structure. Without much exposition and without using stylistic techniques, Redford’s deliberations are subtle, meticulous, and almost intentionally understated, to hand his sublime cast the reins. His masterful and sparing use of flashbacks, especially in scenes where Calvin and Beth sit in an airplane and when Conrad hears about Karen, has been abundantly used by modern filmmakers. Actually, much of what Redford does in his directorial debut acts as blueprint to narrative techniques today. Shades of ‘Ordinary People’ can be seen in ‘Manchester By The Sea’, ‘ Goodwill Hunting’, among many others. ‘Ordinary People’ speaks a rare cinematic language that is so often lost on films about grief and dysfunctional individuals that tend to neglect the uniqueness of emotion.” – Arnav Srivastav
1982 – Chariots of Fire
1983 – Gandhi
“One of the best biopics of all time, “Gandhi” masterfully portrays one of the most important stories of 20th century – India’s struggle of independence from the British rule, spearheaded by one of the most extraordinary man of all time, Mahatma Gandhi. Playing the pacifist Indian lawyer-turned-leader, Ben Kingsley delivers one of the best performances of his lifetime in the titular role.” – Manisha Singh.
1984 – Terms of Endearment
1985 – Amadeus
“Although introduced as a musical, it was far beyond one. I had just heard the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the genius whose music was no less than a revolution in itself and perhaps I had heard one or two of his most famous symphonies but nothing beyond that. Amadeus paved a way to his character and most importantly, to his rivalry with Antonio Salieri, his contemporary. It had so much more that one could pick up subjects to speak on from it.” – Asra Mamnoon, Amadeus: For the Artist in You
1986 – Out of Africa
“Breathtaking visuals, incredible music and stellar performances sum up “Out of Africa”. Meryl Streep star in this inspiring story of a courageous woman, woven into incredible visuals that make you want to shed a happy tear solely for the beauty of the courage and the grit she embodies in the glorious Africa set in all its empty and vastness.” – Manisha Singh
1987 – Platoon
1988 – The Last Emperor
“‘The Last Emperor’ is a ravishing biographical epic. Having been granted the permission to shoot in China’s Forbidden City, the first Western film to claim that feat, Bertolucci along with longtime collaborator Vittorio Storaro recreate the past with utmost flair and vigor, creating a cinematic syntax for Puyi’s world inside 20th Century China.” – Shariq Ansari, 10 Criminally Underrated Best Picture Oscar Winners.
1989 – Rain Man
“For his role as Raymond Babbit, Dustin Hoffman won his second Academy Award (his first win was for his turn in Kramer vs Kramer). He played an autistic man and throughout the film, there isn’t even a single second where it seems as though he is faking it as though he isn’t autistic. Hoffman prepared for the role by watching hours of videotapes about savants and people on the autism spectrum, pored over scientific papers and talked to numerous psychologists and autism experts and it surely paid off.” – Reubyn Coutinho, 25 Best Oscar Winning Performances (Male).
1990 – Driving Miss Daisy
“The adaptation of Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize winning play is based on a 25-year relationship between an elderly Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur. Jessica Tandy is Miss Daisy, a stubborn and wealthy Jewish Resident of 1948 Atlanta and Morgan Freeman is Hoke, a tactful and quiet, philosophical chauffeur. It is a touching exploration of 25 years of change in Southern race relations filled with warmth and compassion.” – Manisha Singh
1991 – Dances With Wolves
1992 – The Silence of the Lambs
“At the 1992 Oscars, “The Silence of the Lambs” swept the five biggest awards — a feat that had only previously been achieved by It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) — including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hopkins and Best Actress for Foster (her second Academy Award for acting after 1989’s The Accused). And Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter became cultural touchstones, two frequently mimicked characters (though never matched), as prototype for what it took to lift the genre of the psychological thriller into art.” – Manisha Singh, 7 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Iconic Film
1993 – Unforgiven
1994 – Schindler’s List
“Historically, the Holocaust has always been a woeful tale of a struggle by the Jew. Schindler’s List very conveniently avoids any central Jewish characters, making it a very emotional tale about a sympathetic Nazi. After seeing the film, one might easily interpret that the Schutzstaffel was the only cause of evil and the sole cause of the Holocaust, and that there were only a select few Germans who believed themselves superior to the Jews.” – Steven Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List’ and Alan Resnais ‘Night And Fog’: A Comparative Analysis.
1995 – Forrest Gump
“Forrest Gump is the man who helps us to realize that life must go on, efforts must be continued and one must not stop trying. This perfect blend of comedy and tragedy in the film (One may call it the life lessons) only could be pulled off by the versatile actor Tom Hanks. His unexcelled performance, Eric Roth’s impressive screenplay and Robert Zemeckis’s brilliant direction made this film as something we have never seen. We are sort of enslaved to the emotions that this film makes us go through. Forrest Gump will be re-watched for the years to come and it is never going to get old.” – Lakshmi Muthiah, 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Forrest Gump.
1996 – Braveheart
“Winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture & Best Director, Braveheart is an astounding piece of epic filmmaking that’s powered by outstanding work from Mel Gibson, both in front & behind the camera, and features some of the greatest battle sequences ever filmed in cinema history. In his sophomore directorial effort, the film presents him in complete control of his craft and is an impressive exhibition of his cinematic eye for spectacle. Finding the right balance between its action & drama, Gibson directs the entire film with the assured confidence of an auteur.” – cinemaclown, Braveheart (1995): An Impressive Exhibition of Mel Gibson’s Cinematic Eye For Spectacle.
1997 – The English Patient
“Early in the 69th Academy Awards ceremony, when The English Patient star Juliette Binoche won for Best Supporting Actress over to Lauren Bacall for The Mirror Has Two Faces, it indicated the poise of The English Patient, backed by Miramax. Remarkably adapted from the widely revered literary masterwork of the same name by Michael Ondaantje, this Anthony Minghella feature revolved around a burnt victim’s traumatic recollections of his misdeeds in the time of war predominantly took to classic Hollywood filmmaking to stylize into a doomed romantic fable. Ably supported by a spectacular cast led by Ralph Fieness and Kristen Scott Thomas, The English Patient ultimately took home 9 oscars, including Best Picture. But considering that there was Fargo, the darkly comic little gem of a film considered by many as the best film by the Coen Brothers, in that same year, did The English Patient deserve that many wins? Miramax won’t tell.” – Santanu Das.
1998 – Titanic
“Nevertheless, it is one of the most revered romance epics of our times, telling the story about how two people from different classes, unlikely to meet, fall in love. It was the biggest movie at the launch of its time, quickly turning into the highest-grossing movie. Titanic launched Leonardo DiCaprio to stardom and also gave instant recognition to Kate Winslet, who was relatively unknown at that time.” – Aman Saxena, 10 Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movie Performances.
1999 – Shakespeare in Love
2000 – American Beauty
Sam Mendes feature-length directorial debut “American Beauty” is a relentlessly dark picture of America and its values at the turn of the 21st century. The film takes a hard, often bleakly comic look at the life of the protagonist, Lester (Kevin Spacey) a middle-aged white family-man, in its most meaningful and symbolic way through sex, drugs, bigotry and hypocrisy surrounding him. – Manisha Singh
2001 – Gladiator
“Adored by cinephiles and fervently analyzed by film students, Gladiator won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Directed by Ridley Scott, Gladiator is set in 180 AD and stars Russel Crowe as Maximus—the demoted general made to fight to the death as a gladiator. The antagonist of the movie is Emperor Commodus—a power-hungry murderer, played by Phoenix.”- Georgia May, 10 Best Joaquin Phoenix Movie Performances.
2002 – A Beautiful Mind
“”A Beautiful Mind” is a complex movie on mental illness as well as the power of love and dedication. Directed by Ron Howard, it is a biopic based on the life of the American mathematician John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics that also serves an important role for awareness to people that might not understand how deeply debilitating mental issues can be, and also gets the message across that not all should be marginalized.” – Manisha Singh
2003 – Chicago
“Originally a popular stage show, this adaptation is a dazzling ode to the sins and frivolity of the Jazz age. The female-dominated cast is led by Renée Zellweger as the fame-hungry Roxie and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the charmingly wicked Velma Kelly. We see Roxie’s desperation for fame land her behind bars where she meets the infamous Velma and successful lawyer Billy Flynn, played by Richard Gere. Unlike other stage adaptations, Chicago succeeds in maintaining the magic of theatre through Roxie’s fantasy scenes which often use theatrical lighting, racy costumes and grand set designs to create a visual spectacle mimicking the bright lights of Broadway. In contrast to the flamboyant musical numbers, we also see elements of corruption and crime. The film also cleverly highlights the media’s ability to manipulate the narrative and sway public opinion. Overall, Chicago offers a feast for the eyes, mixing sex and sparkle with a heavy dose of scandal.” – Lauren Bedford.
2004 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
“Whether it is from the books or the films, multiple interpretations have been drawn from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings” Trilogy. Although there are hundreds of points to analyze in Tolkien’s meticulously detailed Middle Earth, the most potent symbol is that of the ‘One Ring.’ Over the years there have been widespread debates on what the One Ring could represent, with its dark, possessive abilities enslaving all those that pursue it. Rather than trailing through the internet in the research of what it could mean, we’ve compiled a handy list exploring the symbolism of the One Ring from all different perspectives.” – Georgia May, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Symbol of The Ring.
2005 – Million Dollar Baby
“Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” is a masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true. It tells the story of Frankie (Clint Eastwood) an aging fight trainer and Margaret aka Maggie (Hillary Swank) a hillbilly girl who thinks she can be a boxer. It is narrated by Scrap (Morgan Freeman), a former boxer who is also the trainer’s best friend. He talks about how Maggie walked into gym, how she wouldn’t leave, how Frankie finally agreed to train her and what happened then. Simply put, “Million Dollar Baby” is about a woman determined to make something of herself, and a man who doesn’t want to do anything for this woman, and will finally do everything.” – Manisha Singh.
2006 – Crash
2007 – The Departed
“The most ‘Scorsese-esque’ movie to come out of the collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, it was quite a head-turner at the Oscars, winning “Best Director”, “Best Picture”, as well as a well deserved “Best Actor” nomination for DiCaprio. Based on a riveting story of two moles: one in the Massachusetts State Police, and the other in the gang of an Irish Mob boss, this cat-mouse chase epic was received very well by the critics.” – Aman Saxena, 10 Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies.
2008 – No Country for Old Men
“The Coens took this contemporary mood and applied it to the already dour McCarthy tale of a normal man, Llewelyn Moss, caught in a whirlwind of trouble when he takes a suitcase of money from a violently botched drug deal, which leads to him being hunted down by the grueling hit-man, Anton Chigurh. As a tremendous and ponderous study on the unexplainable nature of the forces of the world, as well as a highly gripping and perfected crafted thriller experience, No Country for Old Men has been praised as one of the best films of this millennium and rightfully so.” – David Morgan Brown, A Decade On: No Country For Old Men.
2009 – Slumdog Millionaire
“Danny Boyle’s Dickensian tale of an orphan from the slums of Mumbai whose world changes when he participates in “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” won big at the Academy Awards, with eight wins including Best Picture. Based on the novel by Q & A by Vikas Swarup, it starred a host of Indian actors, notably Irrfan and Anil Kapoor. Gorgeously shot by Anthony Dod Mantle and breathtakingly scored by A. R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire presented two distinctive Indias- the one where poverty is a reality and the other where millionaires held on to their own. The rags-to-riches was an unusual winner at all counts, with a non-white cast and set in the backdrop of another country completely. But in the same year when there were films like The Dark Knight and WALL-E that the Academy failed to recognize, did Slumdog Millionaire deserve its groundbreaking win? Many (majority of those from India) will tell you otherwise.” – Santanu Das.
2010 – The Hurt Locker
“An unflinching and brutal take of an Explosive Defusal Squad in midst of horrid Middle Eastern War, Katheryn Bigelow was virtually shot from dust to skies with The Hurt Locker. Overhead sniper hawks, rubble of cities lying in the wake of war and silence of death hanging over every road-side bomb, Bigelow grabs us from our collars and pushes us headfirst into chaotic warfare. It’s nail biting buildups, the de-politicized execution and knack of sending icy shivers down the viewers spine ensured that Katheryn Bigelow’s disquieting vision cements. This Best Picture Winner is one of the best war movies of the past decade.” – Kalpit Tandon, 10 Films To Watch If You Love Dunkirk.
2011 – The King’s Speech
2012 – The Artist
“The wordless piece – or almost wordless piece of anachronistic interspersed with an immaculate score curated transfers you to a pre-talkie era. To quote American Writer Susan Sontag, “So far as he is serious, the artist is continually tempted to sever the dialogue he has with an audience. Silence is the furthest extension of that reluctance to communicate, that ambivalence about making contact with the audience… Silence is the artist’s ultimate other-worldly gesture: by silence, he frees himself from servile bondage to the world, which appears as a patron, client, consumer, antagonist, arbiter, and distorter of his work.” And the movie quixotically seems to agree with George by being silent, with inter titles for dialogue until the very end.” – Aadya Baoni, 10 Great Black and White Movies of the 21st Century.
2013 – Argo
“With ‘Gone Baby Gone’s and ‘The Town’s acclaim, everyone had pinned a lot of hopes on Affleck’s third film, which was adapted from Tony Mendez’s novel Master of Disguise. The film recreates the Iran Hostage Crisis during 1979, and the attention to detail, with Affleck’s decision to not juice drama out of a critical historic situation, while maintaining tension and unnerving humor, truly brings out his potential as a remarkable American filmmaker.” – Shariq Ansari, Every Ben Affleck Movie Ranked.
2014 – 12 Years a Slave
“McQueen’s ’12 Years A Slave’ was one of the most important introductions of the revised black consciousness in American cinema, in the last decade. It paved way for films like Moonlight and Black Panther, in the sense that African American films were not indie fare anymore. And much of that credit goes to Ejiofor and Nyong’o, the latter winning an Oscar in her feature film debut.” – Shariq Ansari, 25 Best Oscar Winning Performances (Female).
2015 – Birdman
“Birdman pits love against admiration, happiness against fame, death against existence and like a scornful paradox, touches the skies while being extremely grounded in realities. An endearingly towering technical marvel, a modern classic and probably one of the most weightless existential take of the decade, it is profoundly mesmerizing.” – Kalpit Tandon, Birdman: What is it that You Want in Life.
2016 – Spotlight
“Tom McCarthy’s stupendous drama “Spotlight” opens and ends on the confined spaces of two different institutions – police and press. One silenced a crime, while the other stood alone to shine down its ‘spotlight’. Contemporary movies about journalists have often taken a cynical and audacious look at the profession. Tom McCarthy’s film offers a counter-argument for the worthiness of the investigative journalism; about how it could stand up against an entity that deems itself as ‘untouchable’. “Spotlight” reminds of us why effective journalism is a significant part of a healthy democracy.” – Arun Kumar, Spotlight: The People Who Took On A Blighted System.
2017 – Moonlight
“Moonlight is a subtle investigation of a character’s motivation to find love. It’s about the constant struggle to find oneself while trying to fit right into the body we are supposed to be in. It’s about not succumbing to being a product of the environment but rather being a product of yourself. It’s about going past all the heartbreaks, questions, and complexities that bring you down and finally being able to find the voice you need and the listener who listens.” – Shikhar Verma, Moonlight: Even Boys Get The Blues.
2018 – The Shape of Water
“Despite its fantastical elements, The Shape of Water attempts to stay grounded in reality. It works because it gives us something to yearn for. The best love stories aren’t about the grand gestures, so much, as they are about the subtleties of falling in love with someone. On one hand, we see this seemingly ordinary woman fall in love with the amphibian man, stuff that’s right out of storybooks. But at the same time, the plot of TSOW doesn’t hinge on some meet-cute or some major love declaration. It is a story of two creatures who find solace in each other, it’s a love that doesn’t need to be put into words, it just needs to be felt.” – Pallavi Dandamudi, The Shape of Water Analysis.
2019 – Green Book
“The film has a simple enough premise, but its true winners are its complex characters and the phenomenal lead performances that drive them. Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortenson are flawless as they slip into their characters and don’t miss a beat. The film coasts along at a breezy pace, with smooth transitions and fine editing. Even if the narrative is slow to progress at times, you can’t help but enjoy the time you spend with the characters. Green Book is also a good-looking film that captures southern American locales with plenty of wide shots and truly makes you feel like you’re on this road trip along with the characters.” – Avneesh Mehta, Green Book: An Irrestibly Charming Film.
2020 – Parasite
“Parasite doesn’t just make us sympathize with the poor. It’s a film that makes us reflect and pose questions like – Is it fine to leech on a capitalist class that comfortably sleeps in its huge mansion while the Poor have to sleep in community halls? Is it fine to cheat the resourceful to make ends meet? But more than anything, Parasite is a film that poses a moral dilemma for the working class – Is it justified to cheat on others from the same class to reach your goals?” – Zafar Rizvi, Parasite (2019): A Blood Sucking Drama on Class Divide.