Saturday, February 23, 2013

The 50 Best "Best Picture" Winners

It's Oscar weekend! We'll be celebrating all weekend long here at The Essential Films. And since we like countdown lists so much we present to you a list of the Best "Best Picture" Winners.  There have been 84 Best Picture winners since 1927, and we are listing the Top 50.  Did your favorite movie make the list?  Who got left out?  Here is the list, in alphabetical order. Spoiler: Crash did not make the list.

ALL ABOUT EVE
1950 • Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: George Sanders
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Costume Design, Black & White
Best Sound, Recording

If nothing else, there's applause... like waves of love pouring over the footlights. 

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
1930 • Lewis Milestone

Also Won:
Best Director

You still think it's beautiful to die for your country. The first bombardment taught us better. When it comes to dying for country, it's better not to die at all. 



AMADEUS
1984 • Milos Forman

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: F. Murray Abraham
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup
Best Sound

I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink strokes - at an absolute beauty. 


AMERICAN BEAUTY
1999 • Sam Mendes

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Kevin Spacey
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Best Cinematography

You don't get to tell me what to do ever again. 





AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
1951 • Vincente Minnelli

Also Won:
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Best Costume Design, Color
Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Back home everyone said I didn't have any talent. They might be saying the same thing over here but it sounds better in French. 


ANNIE HALL
1977 • Woody Allen

Also Won:
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Diane Keaton
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Don't you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here. 

THE APARTMENT
1960 • Billy Wilder

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Story & Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Black & White

Be a mensch!
THE ARTIST
2011 • Michel Hazanavicius

Also Won:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

I won't talk! I won't say a word!


A BEAUTIFUL MIND
2001 • Ron Howard

Also Won:
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jennifer Connelly
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity. 


BEN-HUR
1959 • William Wyler

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Charlton Heston
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: High Griffith
Best Director
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Film Editing
Best Effects, Special Effects
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Best Costume Design, Color
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
Best Sound

There is no law in the arena; many are killed... I hope to see you again, Judah Ben-Hur. 

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
1947 • William Wyler

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Frederic March
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Harold Russell
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
Honorary Award: Harold Russell

"We never had any trouble." How many times have I told you I hated you and believed it in my heart? How many times have you said you were sick and tired of me; that we were all washed up? How many times have we had to fall in love all over again?


BRAVEHEART
1995 • Mel Gibson

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Cinematography
Best Makeup
Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing

Slaves are made in such ways. The last time Longshanks spoke of peace I was a boy. And many Scottish nobles, who would not be slaves, were lured by him under a flag of truce to a barn, where he had them hanged. I was very young, but I remember Longshanks' notion of peace. 


THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
1957 • David Lean

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Alec Guinness
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Music, Scoring

Do not speak to me of rules. This is war! This is not a game of cricket! 


CASABLANCA
1943 • Michael Curtiz

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay

If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. 




DANCES WITH WOLVES
1990 • Kevin Costner

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Another Medium
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Music, Original Scoring
Best Sound

The strangeness of this life cannot be measured: in trying to produce my own death, I was elevated to the status of a living hero. 

THE DEER HUNTER
1978 • Michael Cimino

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Walken
Best Director
Best Film Editing
Best Sound

You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it's all about. A deer's gotta be taken with one shot. 

THE DEPARTED
2006 • Martin Scorsese

Also Won:
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Best Achievement in Film Editing

When you decide to be something, you can be it. That's what they don't tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?


FORREST GUMP
1994 • Robert Zemeckis

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Tom Hanks
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Best Effects, Visual Effects
Best Film Editing

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." 

THE FRENCH CONNECTION
1971 • William Friedkin

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Gene Hackman
Best Director
Best Film Editing
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium

All right, Popeye's here! get your hands on your heads, get off the bar, and get on the wall! 

GANDHI
1982 • Richard Attenborough

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Ben Kingsley
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Costume Design

Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always. 

GLADIATOR
2000 • Ridley Scott

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Russell Crowe
Best Effects, Visual Effects
Best Costume Design
Best Sound

Brothers, what we do in life... echoes in eternity. 

1972 • Francis Ford Coppola

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Marlon Brando
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium

Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.

1974 • Francis Ford Coppola

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Robert Deniro
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Music, Original Dramatic Score

It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that's unholy and evil. I didn't want your son, Michael! I wouldn't bring another one of you sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end! 

GONE WITH THE WIND
1939 • Victor Fleming

Also Won:
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Vivian Leigh
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Hattie McDaniel
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction
Honorary Award: William Cameron Menzies
Technical Achievement Award: R.D. Musgrave

No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how. 

THE HURT LOCKER
2009 • Kathryn Bigelow

Also Won:
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Best Achievement in Film Editing
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

There's enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I'm gonna die, I want to die comfortable. 

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
1967 • Norman Jewison

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Rod Steiger
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Best Film Editing
Best Sound

Last Chief we had... he'd have shot Tibbs one second after he slapped Endicott, claim self-defense. 

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
1934 • Frank Capra

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Clark Gable
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Claudette Colbert
Best Director
Best Writing, Adaptation

Now, you're just my type. Believe me, sister, I could go for you in a big way. 'Fun-on-the-side' Shapeley they call me, with accent on the fun, believe you me. 

THE KING'S SPEECH
2010 • Tom Hooper

Also Won:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Writing, Screenplay

If I'm King, where's my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can't speak. 

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
1962 • David Lean

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Best Music, Score - Substantially Original
Best Sound

So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people - greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are. 

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
2003 • Peter Jackson

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Visual Effects
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Costume Design
Best Makeup
Best Music, Original Score
Best Music, Original Song
Best Sound Mixing

Then let us be rid of it... once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you! 

MIDNIGHT COWBOY
1969 • John Schlesinger

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium

He was even dumber than you. He couldn't even write his whole name. "X," that's what it ought to say on that goddamn headstone, just like our apartment. One big lousy "X"... condemned by order of City Hall. 

MILLION DOLLAR BABY
2004 • Clint Eastwood

Also Won:
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Hilary Swank
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Morgan Freeman
Best Achievement in Directing

If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you. 

MRS. MINIVER
1942 • William Wyler

Also Won:
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Greer Garson
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Teresa Wright
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black & White

This is the People's War. It is our war. We are the fighters. Fight it then. Fight it with all that is in us and may God defend the Right. 


MY FAIR LADY
1964 • George Cukor

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Rex Harrison
Best Director
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Best Costume Design, Color
Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment
Best Sound
She's so deliciously low. So horribly dirty. 


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
2007 • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Also Won:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Javier Bardem
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss. 


ON THE WATERFRONT
1954 • Elia Kazan

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Marlon Brando
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Eva Marie Saint
Best Director
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography, Black & White
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Black & White

You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.


ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
1975 • Milos Forman

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jack Nicholson
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Louise Fletcher
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material

I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this. 

PATTON
1970 • Franklin J. Schaffner

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: George C. Scott
Best Director
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Sound

The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman legions. The Carthaginians were proud and brave but they couldn't hold. They were massacred. Arab women stripped them of their tunics and their swords and lances. The soldiers lay naked in the sun. Two thousand years ago. I was here.


PLATOON
1986 • Oliver Stone

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Film Editing
Best Sound

Y'all love Elias. Oh, you wanna kick ass. Yeah. Well, here I am, all by my lonesome, and ain't nobody gonna know. Six of you boys against me. Kill me. Huh. I shit on all of you. 


RAIN MAN
1988 • Barry Levinson

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Dustin Hoffman
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

I just realized I'm not pissed off anymore. My father cut me out of his will. You probably knew he tried to contact me over the years. I never called him back. I was a prick. If he was my son and didn't return my calls, I'd have written him out. But it's not about the money anymore. You know, I just don't understand. Why didn't he tell me I had a brother? Why didn't anyone ever tell me that I had a brother? Because it'd have been nice to know him for more than just the past six days. 


REBECCA
1940 • Alfred Hitchcock

Also Won:
Best Cinematography, Black & White

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.








ROCKY
1976 • John G. Avildsen

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Film Editing

Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood. 


SCHINDLER'S LIST
1993 • Steven Spielberg

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Music, Original Score

This list... is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf. 

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
1991 • Jonathan Demme

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Anthony Hopkins
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jodie Foster
Best Director

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want? 


SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
2008 • Danny Boyle

Also Won:
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Best Achievement in Film Editing
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

A few hours ago, you were giving chai for the phone walahs. And now you're richer than they will ever be. What a player! Ladies and gentlemen, what a player! 


THE SOUND OF MUSIC
1966 • Robert Wise

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Film Editing
Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment
Best Sound

Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun. Auf Wiedersehen, darling. 


THE STING
1973 • George Roy Hill

Also Won:
Best Director
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
Best Costume Design
Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation

You have to keep this con even after you take his money. He can't know you took him.


UNFORGIVEN
1992 • Clint Eastwood

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Gene Hackman
Best Director
Best Film Editing

I ain't like that no more. I ain't the same, Ned. Claudia, she straightened me up, cleared me of drinkin' whiskey and all. Just 'cause we're goin' on this killing, that don't mean I'm gonna go back to bein' the way I was. I just need the money, get a new start for them youngsters. Ned, you remember that drover I shot through the mouth and his teeth came out the back of his head? I think about him now and again. He didn't do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin' I could remember when I sobered up.


WEST SIDE STORY
1961 • Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins

Also Won:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: George Chakiris
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Rita Moreno
Best Director
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Best Costume Design, Color
Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
Best Sound

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way! from you first cigarette your last dyin' days. 


WINGS
1927 • William A. Wellman

Also Won:
Best Effects, Engineering Effects

- D'you know what you can do when you see a shooting star?
- No, what?
- You can kiss the girl you love.



For reference, here are the remaining Best Picture winners that did not make the list:


The Broadway Melody (1929)
Cimarron (1931)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Cavalcade (1933)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
You Can't Take it With You (1938)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Going My Way (1944)
Then Lost Weekend (1945)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Hamlet (1948)
All The King's Men (1949)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Marty (1955)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
Gigi (1958)
Tom Jones (1963)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Oliver! (1968)
Kramer VS Kramer (1979)
Ordinary People (1980)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Out of Africa (1985)
The Last Emperor (1987)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
The English Patient (1996)
Titanic (1997)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Chicago (2002)
Crash (2005)