The Oscar Best Picture challenge

With the summer heat upon us and more time being spent indoors, it might be the ideal time to fill in some gaps in your film viewing. So try the Best Picture challenge.

The idea it to have seen all 89 films that won the Best Picture award at the Oscars, from the first ceremony in the late 1920s to last year’s winner Moonlight.  

Of course, the odds are you’ve probably already seem quite a few of them, but you’ll often be surprised at how many films – deemed the best of that year – are still sitting there waiting to be watched. I’ve seen just 46 of them, (52%) which seem awfully remiss, given that I’ve seen so many films in my lifetime and make the point of watching over 52 films I haven’t seen before (an average of one per week) every year.

It also seems somehow wrong that I have never watched The English Patient, Schindler’s List or Rebecca but I have watched Weekend at Bernie’s on at least four occasions. Two of those occasions occurring in one day.

Many of them you’ll have already seen, after all, who hasn’t seen Rocky or Forest Gump? But when you have a look at the list of winners you’ll see lots you’re still to view.

Or if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require delving way back into the era of black and white films, then the alternative is to do all the films that were nominated for Best Picture, starting from the last academy awards and working your way backwards. If you watch all the films nominated over the last ten years then that’s 77 modern classics right there.

What this does it is “forces” you to engage with films that are outside your typical choices. We tend to find ourselves watching the same type of film over and over – the latest superhero film, another daft comedy, and so on – and not engaging with some of the best film that were ever made.

Of course, the Oscars is a crap shoot. There’s no way that Goodfellas should have lost to Dances with Wolves in 1990 for example, and history will rightly laugh at the fact that How Green Was My Valley beat Citizen Kane in 1941, but if you watch all the films that were nominated then you’re covering a broader spectrum.

And if nothing else, it’s a pop cultural achievement and film education in one. So what’s your Best Picture score? 

 

Winners of Best Picture

2016 - "Moonlight"

2015 - "Spotlight"

2014 - "Birdman"

2013 - "12 Years a Slave"

2012 - "Argo"

2011 - "The Artist"

2010 - "The King's Speech"

2009 - "The Hurt Locker"

2008 - "Slumdog Millionaire"

2007 - "No Country for Old Men"

2006 - "The Departed"

2005 - "Crash"

2004 - "Million Dollar Baby"

2003 - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"

2002 - "Chicago"

2001 - "A Beautiful Mind"

2000 - "Gladiator"

1999 - "American Beauty"

1998 - "Shakespeare in Love"

1997 - "Titanic"

1996 - "The English Patient"

1995 - "Braveheart"

1994 - "Forrest Gump"

1993 - "Schindler’s List"

1992 - "Unforgiven"

1991 - "The Silence of the Lambs"

1990 - "Dances with Wolves"

1989 - "Driving Miss Daisy"

1988 - "Rain Man"

1987 - "The Last Emperor"

1986 - "Platoon"

1985 - "Out of Africa"

1984 - "Amadeus"

1983 - "Terms of Endearment"

1982 - "Gandhi"

1981 - "Chariots of Fire"

1980 - "Ordinary People"

1979 - "Kramer vs. Kramer"

1978 - "The Deer Hunter"

1977 - "Annie Hall"

1976 - "Rocky"

1975 - "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"

1974 - "The Godfather Part II"

1973 - "The Sting"

1972 - "The Godfather"

1971 - "The French Connection"

1970 - "Patton"

1969 - "Midnight Cowboy"

1968 - "Oliver!"

1967 - "In the Heat of the Night"

1966 - "A Man for All Seasons"

1965 - "The Sound of Music"

1964 - "My Fair Lady"

1963 - "Tom Jones"

1962 - "Lawrence of Arabia"

1961 - "West Side Story"

1960 - "The Apartment"

1959 - "Ben-Hur"

1958 - "Gigi"

1957 - "The Bridge on the River Kwai"

1956 - "Around the World in 80 Days"

1955 - "Marty"

1954 - "On the Waterfront"

1953 - "From Here to Eternity"

1952 - "The Greatest Show on Earth"

1951 - "An American in Paris"

1950 - "All About Eve"

1949 - "All the Kings Men"

1948 - "Hamlet"

1947 - "Gentleman's Agreement"

1946 - "The Best Years of Our Lives"

1945 - "The Lost Weekend"

1944 - "Going My Way"

1943 - "Casablanca"

1942 - "Mrs. Miniver"

1941 - "How Green Was My Valley"

1940 - "Rebecca"

1939 - "Gone with the Wind"

1938 - "You Can't Take It with You"

1937 - "The Life of Emile Zola"

1936 - "The Great Ziegfeld"

1935 - "Mutiny on the Bounty"

1934 - "It Happened One Night"

1932/1933 - "Cavalcade"

1931/1932 - "Grand Hotel"

1930/1931 - "Cimarron"

1929/1930 - "All Quiet on the Western Front"

1928/1929 - "The Broadway Melody"

1927/1928 - "Wings"