FOOD FOR THOUGHT: New way of deciding Best Picture winner

Often when we look back at who won Best Picture, we really scratch our heads.  Crash?!?!  The English Patient?!?!  I think that in hindsight, the Best Picture winner should be the film that, among the nominees, people are most likely to remember 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road.  How many people still remember Chariots of Fire?  Tom Jones?  Marty? 

So I thought I'd go back just 20 years and pick who, based on this guideline, should've won alongside who actually DID win.  Of course, I'm still choosing only from Best Picture nominated films, and we know that sometimes the most enduring film from a particular year was never even nominated.  The Big Lebowski, anyone?

Here goes.  Discuss.

2009: Winner: The Hurt Locker.  Should've won: Avatar.  Other nominees include: Up in the Air, Precious, Inglourious Basterds.

2008: Winner: Slumdog Millionaire.  Should've won: The Dark Knight.  Other nominees: Milk.

2007: Winner: No Country for Old Men.  Should've won: There Will Be Blood.  Others: Michael Clayton.

2006: Winner: The Departed.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: The Queen, Babel, Little Miss Sunshine.

2005: Winner: Crash.  Should've won: Brokeback Mountain.  Others: Capote, Munich.

2004: Winner: Million Dollar Baby.  Should've won: The Aviator.  Others: Sideways, Ray.

2003: Winner: LOTR: ROTK.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: Mystic River, Lost in Translation.

2002: Winner: Chicago.  Should've won: LOTR: TTT.  Others: The Pianist, The Hours, Gangs of New York.

2001: Winner: A Beautiful Mind.  Should've won: LOTR: FOTR.  Others: Gosford Park, Moulin Rouge.

2000: Winner: Gladiator.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

1999: Winner: American Beauty.  Should've won: The Sixth Sense.  Others: The Green Mile, The Insider.

1998: Winner: Shakespeare in Love.  Should've won: Saving Private Ryan.  Others: Life is Beautiful, The Thin Red Line, Elizabeth.

1997: Winner: Titanic.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: LA Confidential, Good Will Hunting.

1996: Winner: The English Patient.  Should've won: Fargo OR Jerry Maguire.  Others: Shine.

1995: Winner: Braveheart.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: Apollo 13, Sense and Sensibility.

1994: Winner: Forrest Gump.  Should've won: The Shawshank Redemption.  Others: Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

1993: Winner: Schindler's List.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: The Piano, The Fugitive.

1992: Winner: Unforgiven.  Should've won: unchanged.  Others: A Few Good Men, Howard's End, The Crying Game, Scent of a Woman.

1991: Winner: The Silence of the Lambs.  Should've won: Silence OR JFK.  Others: Bugsy, Beauty and the Beast.

1990: Winner: Dances with Wolves.  Should've won: Goodfellas.  Others: Godfather Part 3.


I'll stop there.  Let's keep this thread going.



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Hmmm, thought Traffic & The Sixth Sence did win?

TMundo's picture

...and Avatar, as memorable as it was, well, would you rent the DVD?  I sure wouldn't, unless the DVD was in 3D.

Where's Slingblade in all this, that one in 96 right?  And rightfully so, anyone that saw it would not forget Billy Bob Thorton's performance, and if that much, they wouldn't forget the "mmmmm-hmmm."


HS's picture

Admittedly, it's a bit early to tell for Avatar...but I think that it will be remembered for years to come b/c the groundbreaking visuals...much moreso than The Hurt Locker, anyway.

Traffic won 4 Oscars (including Best Director), but Best Picture was not one of them.  The Sixth Sense lost in every category nominated.

Slingblade was not a Best Picture nominee, but Billy Bob did win for Adapted Screenplay (based on his own short film, "Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade").



My input

FearlessFreep's picture

1995:  THE USUAL SUSPECTS should have won.

2000:  CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON should have won.

2001:  GOSFORD PARK should have won.

2003:  MYSTIC RIVER should have won.

2004:  MILLION DOLLAR BABY deserved to win.

A couple of Best Actor races:

1997:  Jack Nicholson won for AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Either Peter Fonda for ULEE'S GOLD or Robert Duvall for THE APOSTLE should have won.

1998:  Roberto Benigni won for (ugh) LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.  Either Ian McKellen for GODS AND MONSTERS or Nick Nolte for AFFLICTION should have won.



HS's picture

My picks were based on what films - of the nominees for Best Picture in their respective year - I think will be most remembered by the general public.

I think LOTR is the new "best trilogy ever" and arguments can be made in favor of each installment being the best of the series.  PERSONALLY, I think Gosford Park is terrific, but I think FOTR is even better. 

2000 had three strong BP nominees in Gladiator, Traffic, and Crouching Tiger.  Although I chose Gladiator as our generation's Ben-Hur, I don't have a problem with Crouching Tiger over Gladiator.  As for Traffic, as great as it was in 2000, it's a bit tedious to watch over and over again, and will eventually be forgotten.

The Usual Suspects is prolly the correct choice for 1995...except it wasn't nominated for Best Picture.  I do think people have since grown tired of Kevin Spacey, though.

I agree with your pick of Robert Duvall for The Apostle in 1997.  But then, I never was a big fan of As Good as it Gets.

As for 1998's Best Actor, anyone would've been better than Roberto Benigni and his incessant mugging.  Not sure what the Academy was thinking. 

Good discussion.


Up was nominated in 2009.

jazzdrive3's picture

Up was nominated in 2009. So that probably should have won.

They nominated a Russ Meyer movie?

FearlessFreep's picture

I KNEW he'd be appreciated someday!


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