Which movies have won the Oscar for Best Picture each year?
Hollywood anxiously awaits one of its biggest nights after a strange year for cinema. Ahead of the 93rd Academy Awards, we reflect on past winners.
When global lockdowns began in Mach of 2020, many films had to postpone filming and production. In June 2020, leaders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ acknowledged the toll the pandemic had taken on filmmakers and described their decision to extend the eligibility deadline for films saying that the extension provides the flexibility “filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control.”
Before any winners have been announced, this year’s Academy Awards are slated to be historical, as event organizers have postponed the ceremony and make adjustments to ensure the safety of those who make the event possible, as well as, attendees.
The Night’s Biggest Prize
Although the award for Best Picture has undergone various name changes over the years, the sentiment that it is “the night’s biggest prize” has not. After a rather strange year for cinema that left movie theaters empty and many streaming films at home, the nominees for Best Picture this year are “The Father,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Mank,” “Minari,” “Nomadland,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Sound of Metal,” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
A brief history of the Best Picture award
The ninety-two years of Academy Awards ceremonies have been marked by historical achievements, major upsets, gaffs, and other memorable events that explain why more than 20 million people tune in each year.
The first film to receive the award was the silent war epic “Wings,” created by Famous Player-Lasky film studios.
Last year viewers witnessed Oscar history as “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to take home the award for Best Picture. Before “Parasite,” 11 non-English films had been nominated, but none had ever taken home the prize. This year, another Koran language film, “Minari,” has been nominated, and like Parasite, the film was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1973, during the 46th Academy Awards, Julia Phillips became the first female producer to accept the award for Best Picture for The Sting, which she shared with fellow producers Tony Bill and Michael Phillips. Since Phillips’ win, only ten films with female producers have won. This year, seven female producers, Ceán Chaffin for “Mank,” Christina Oh for “Minari,” Frances McDormand, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland,” and Ashley Fox and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Women,” have had their films nominated for Best Picture.
Oscar fans have also seen their fair share of upsets over the years, including the 1941 win of How Green Was my Valley over Citizen Kane or the 1985 win of Out of Africa over Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. While both of these films did not take home the award for Best Picture, their legacy within cinematic history is unchallenged.
Finally, who could forget a recent gaff at the 89th Oscar ceremony wherein Faye Dunaway Warren Beatty were handed the wrong envelope leading them to announce La La Land as the winner of Best Picture incorrectly. After a bit of awkward confusion, Moonlight was correctly announced, making Oscar history as the first film featuring an all-black cast to win the award.
More than 90 films have won the award for Best Picture since 1929
The Broadway Melody (1929)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Grand Hotel (1932)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Going My Way (1944)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
All the King's Men (1949)
All About Eve (1950)
An American in Paris (1951)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Apartment (1960)
West Side Story (1961)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Tom Jones (1963)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Sound of Music (1965)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
The French Connection (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Sting (1973)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Ordinary People (1980)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Out of Africa (1985)
The Last Emperor (1987)
Rain Man (1988)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Schindler's List (1993)
Forrest Gump (1994)
The English Patient (1996)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
American Beauty (1999)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The Departed (2006)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The Hurt Locker (2009)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Artist (2011)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Shape of Water (2017)
Green Book (2018)
Tune into the Academy Awards this Sunday 25 April to see who take will take home the award for Best Picture and others.
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