Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oscar Week: Ranking the Best Picture Winners

This post was originally going to list my Top 10 Best Picture Winners of all time, with reasons as to why… but I pretty much did the reasoning yesterday. So here are a few lists that better breakdown where my head’s at in terms of every film that has won Oscar’s top prize. Enjoy!

Top 10 Winners (best ranked first)
1. The Deer Hunter (1978)
2. The Lost Weekend (1945)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
5. Casablanca (1943)
6. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
7. The Godfather Part II (1974)
8. Platoon (1986)
9. The French Connection (1971)
10. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Jimmy Stewart in The Greatest Show on Earth
Worst 10 Winners (chronologically)
Cavalcade (1932/1933)
The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Braveheart (1995)
Titanic (1997)
Gladiator (2000)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Winners GPA by Decade (best ranked first)
‘70s: 4.03 – A
‘40s: 3.83 – A-
‘80s: 3.40 – B+
‘60s: 3.37 – B+
‘20s (only counting two films): 3.36 – B+
‘30s/‘50s: 3.33 – B+
‘00s: 3.17 – B
‘90s: 3.13 – B
2010s (so far): 3.00 – B

Wings, Best Picture: 1927/1928
Best Winner by Decade
‘20s: Wings (1927/1928)
‘30s: It Happened One Night (1934)
‘40s: The Lost Weekend (1945)
‘50s: On the Waterfront (1954)
‘60s: Midnight Cowboy (1969)
‘70s: The Deer Hunter (1978)
‘80s: Platoon (1986)
‘90s: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
‘00s: Million Dollar Baby (2004)
2010s: The Artist (2011)

Worst (or “weakest”) Winner by Decade
‘20s: The Broadway Melody (1928/1929)
‘30s: Cavalcade (1932/33)
‘40s: Going My Way (1944)
‘50s: Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
‘60s: A Man for All Seasons (1966)
‘70s: Patton (1970)
‘80s: Chariots of Fire (1981)
‘90s: Dances With Wolves (1990)
‘00s: Gladiator (2000)
2010s: The King’s Speech (2010)

More Oscar Posts from And So it Begins...


  1. That's a pretty solid list, I think my top 10 would be:
    1. The Sting
    2. The Godfather
    3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest
    4. Silence of the Lambs
    5. Casablanca
    6. Godfather Part II
    7. Schindler's List
    8. Bridge on the River Kwai
    9. Annie Hall
    10. Midnight Cowboy

    1. Dude, that's awesome, I had no idea you liked The Sting that much. Great, great film there. Love all of your other picks. We're actually pretty in line.

  2. I should do a ranking of the Best Picture winners that I've seen so far. I'll do it on my Letterboxd page later on. The 60s did suck Oscar-wise. Sure, there were some masterpieces but it really represented old Hollywood yet it ended at least with something more daring.

    Hey, remember the dialogue Christian Slater said in True Romance about films that won the Oscars? A lot of them do lack balls.

    1. Bahahaa shit, I completely forgot about that True Romance line. So, so true.

      Yeah, the '60s via Oscar were definitely a bummer, but you're right, at least it ended on a good note. Let me know when you post your rankings on Letterboxd.

    2. Here's the list of what I've seen so far.

    3. Nice. Had no idea you liked My Fair Lady that much. Good stuff.

      Love the bottom portion of your list. Crappy films right there.

  3. Nice! I'd probably pick The Deer Hunter as #1 too.

    I remember liking A Man for All Seasons, but for the life of me, I can't remember anything about it. Was the movie that great, or was it just because of my interest in Tudor England? Who the hell knows? A good memory is a terrible thing to lose. But whatever brain cells survived my misspent youth were destroyed by pregnancy and motherhood.

    1. I swear, you really need to write some sort of book about your life, then and now, because you are so damn funny. Just the way you word things really is amusing. Fading memory is the one thing I fear with age. Everything else - looks, finances, attitude - bring it on, but don't take my memory.

      Oh, and I'm SO glad you chose The Deer Hunter as your top.

    2. That's very kind of you -- you cracked me up, and you made my night. I'm convinced a lot of my memory problems are a direct result of the hormonal deluge of my pregnancies, so at least you'll dodge that bullet.

      The Deer Hunter ... that freaking movie haunted me for over 20 years. Now THAT is a fine tribute to a film.

    3. It was my pleasure!

      Ah, I see what you're saying. Again, very interesting.

      The Deer Hunter: a fine tribute indeed.

  4. Loving these posts. I'm probably going to post my complete rankings #1-85 (including Argo - I'll risk it) in the next day or two. The Deer Hunter, The Godfather, Casablanca, and The French Connection are in my updated top 10 too, and The Deer Hunter is in my top 5. Nice seeing a Billy Wilder film that high as well.

    1. Awesome, really glad you're digging the posts. Love that we agree on so many of those classic films. Can't wait to see your rankings. And man, do I hope you're right about Argo.

      Director and Supporting Actor are the ones that still puzzle me. I honestly have no idea.

  5. For me the worst winner of 00s is definitely Crash. There are plenty of winners from 00s that I rank lower than this one but the fact it won over Brokeback is the most shameful thing Academy did. What a bunch of cowards.

    Great to see Silence of the Lambs on your list - it isn't the kind of movie Academy usually goes for so it's good at least there they didn't drop the ball.

    1. I agree that Crash's win is the most egregious win of the '00s, no question at all. I still cannot believe that. Cowardice indeed.

      I LOVE The Silence of the Lambs. It really is a perfect suspense thriller.

  6. I guest some of your "worsts" goes to my "favs", haha :) But still interesting list. My bottom BP winner would by Rocky

    1. Yeah I've just never really been a fan of those specific epics. Sorry!

      I don't think Rocky is necessarily a bad film, but it in no way deserved to win that year.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!