My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners (And Bottom Five!)

I’m continuing my Oscar-themed week with this list of my favorite (and least-favorite!) Best Picture Oscar winners.

The Academy does quite often get things very wrong (especially in recent years) but when looking at a list of all the winners, there are indeed a lot of true classics here that I’d highly recommend to everyone.

I have my little IMDB project where I’m trying to watch all the IMDB Top 250 Films so I’m not about to start attempting to watch all the Best Picture Winners. However, when making this list, I discovered that I’ve already seen 47 so I guess that isn’t too bad! So I ranked them ALL (because I’m sad like that). But I’ll of course focus on the top ten.

So now, counting down to My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners, these are all of them that I’ve seen ranked from least favorite to favorite. My Bottom Five list will follow this one…

Chicago
Birdman
The King’s Speech
Oliver!
Out Of Africa
On The Waterfront
Driving Miss Daisy
Chariots Of Fire
Dances With Wolves
Unforgiven
A Beautiful Mind
Spotlight
Moonlight
Argo
Braveheart
My Fair Lady
All About Eve
The Best Years Of Our Lives
The Silence Of The Lambs
Rebecca
‪The French Connection
West Side Story
Gladiator
Amadeus
Forrest Gump
Ben-Hur
The Shape Of Water
Rain Man
In The Heat Of The Night
Casablanca
Gone With The Wind
The Sting
Terms Of Endearment

We’re getting there… ūüėČ

15. Platoon
14. The Deer Hunter
13. The Departed
12. Million Dollar Baby
11. Titanic

My Top Ten Best Picture Winners:

10. TIE: American Beauty & Schindler’s List

9. Midnight Cowboy

8. The Apartment

7. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

6. Rocky

5. The Artist

4. TIE: The Godfather & The Godfather Part II (it made more sense to keep them together but I slightly prefer the first film)

3. The Bridge On The River Kwai

2. The Sound Of Music

1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

I absolutely love Cuckoo’s Nest – it’s very easily my number one favorite. ūüôā

And now is when I’m going to be a bitch! Here are My Bottom Five Best Picture Oscar Winners (Counting down to the very worst):

5. Crash
4. Ordinary People (it beat Raging Bull & The Elephant Man!)
3. Shakespeare In Love (it famously beat Saving Private Ryan)
2. Slumdog Millionaire
1. The English Patient


*yawn!*

It was fun making this list! I really should try to watch more Oscar winners – I seem to especially have not seen many of the winners from the past decade or so. I’d love to hear all of your favorite & least favorite Best Pictures in the comments now! ūüôā

**List updated 2/7/17 to add Spotlight, Million Dollar Baby & Rocky

**List updated 25/11/17 to add Moonlight

**List updated 28/1/18 to add The French Connection

**List updated December 2018 to add The King’s Speech & The Shape Of Water

**List updated February 2019 to add In The Heat Of The Night

Schindler’s List (1993) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from John of 501 Must See Movies Project . He also reviewed Amadeus HERE and Platoon HERE and A Beautiful Mind HERE and Braveheart HERE. Thanks for the reviews, John! ūüôā Now let’s hear his thoughts on Schindler’s List, IMDB rank 8 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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As World War II begins, the Nazis move Polish Jews into the Kraków Ghetto.  Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a member of the Nazi Party, arrives in Krakow to make a fortune.  Bribing local German officials and making connections with the local Jewish black marketeers through Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler opens a factory producing enamel ware.  He hires numerous Jewish workers, who cost less than Polish workers, and saves those workers from being sent to concentration and extermination camps.

SS officer Amon¬†Goeth¬†(Ralph¬†Fiennes) arrives in Krak√≥w¬†to oversee the construction of the¬†PŇāasz√≥w¬†concentration camp.¬† Once the camp is completed, he orders the ghetto be liquidated, killing many of the Jews in the process.¬† Schindler witnesses this from a distance, and shifts his priorities from making money to saving as many lives as possible.

This is Spielberg’s masterpiece.

There are very few films I’ve watched where I just have to sit and really let it soak in once the end credits roll.¬† Movies like this really put into perspective how pathetic and petty my “struggles” really are.¬† That’s been the case both times I’ve watched¬†Schindler’s List.

Someone who makes a film about something as significant as the Holocaust has to be all in: directing, motivating performers, production, set design, etc.¬† Though the full scope of the Holocaust can’t be completely explored in one movie, Steven Spielberg has probably come the closest to accomplishing this.¬† Filming most of the movie in Poland instead of at a studio, using actors who work best in performing the complex emotions and actions of their characters are a couple of the things Spielberg nails spot on with¬†Schindler’s List.

Stanley Kubrick was in production of his own Holocaust film,¬†Aryan Papers, about the same time that¬†Schindler’s List¬†was released.¬† He abandoned it, though, in part because of the broad scope of the subject matter.¬† His critique centered on the fact that¬†Schindler’s¬†focuses on those who survived, a much smaller group compared to the more than 6 million who didn’t.

The black-and-white enhances the gravity of the subject matter.¬† The way¬†Schindler’s List¬†is filmed conveys the human element that a documentary can’t quite capture while still having that documentary-type feel.

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Liam¬†Neeson¬†gives one of the best performances of his career.¬† He handles the various emotional stages Schindler goes through authentically.¬† It’s interesting to see his transformation from a boozing, gambling, womanizing man living the highlife to a man hellbent on saving as many lives as he can.¬† Witnessing the ghetto liquidation and¬†Goeth’s¬†heartless treatment of the Jews forces Schindler to stop keeping everyone at arm’s length and really take stock in his main purpose.¬† Though he had done quite a few movies prior to¬†Schindler’s List, he hadn’t had that one great breakout role.¬† As a result, his star power¬†doesn’t overshadow his performance as could have happened had a more accomplished actor been chosen for this role.

Having already won an Oscar for his role in¬†Gandhi, Ben Kingsley is a grounded, purposeful character with wisdom, insight, and perspective.¬† His nonverbal expressions provide a continuous reflection of Schindler’s character and his gradual transformation.¬† Stern acts as Schindler’s conscience to a certain extent.¬† He also offers perspective that Schindler has saved many lives when Schindler felt guilty for not sacrificing more to save more.

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Ralph¬†Fiennes¬†gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the heartless and cruel Amon¬†Goeth.¬† His intimidation tactics with the Jewish prisoners works well in keeping them in line out of absolute fear.¬† He seems like the kind of person who keeps pushing to see just how much he can get away with.¬† It’s good, though, that he can be bribed and Schindler can help set some boundaries with his random and senseless killings.

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“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”

The final scene where the real life Schindler Jews placing stones on Schindler’s grave was especially moving.¬† I can appreciate someone like Spielberg wanting to tell their story and show the lasting impact that Oskar Schindler had on those that he saved.¬† The epilogue serves as a time capsule that reaffirms¬†that tangible human connection to those who lived and survived something as horrific as the Holocaust.

Having seen¬†Schindler’s List¬†twice now, I highly doubt I could sit through it again aside from watching it with someone else.¬† It’s one of those films that is so powerful and moving that it only needs to be watched once.¬† It is most definitely deserving of the 7 Academy Awards it earned in 1994, and remains timeless as it explored one of history’s darkest events.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.