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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

Oscar Best Picture winners


La La Land Best Picture Oscar 2016







Best Picture 2016: Moonlight


Luminous and plaintive, Moonlight is emotional virtual reality, transforming a unique human experience into something universal and unforgettable. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2015: Spotlight


Spotlight is an elegy for old-school reportage and the people who pursue it, and a journalistic procedural with a snappy rush of urgent discovery and consequence. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2014: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


The satirical Birdman sends up the disaffected global movie star putting on artistic theatrical airs. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2013: 12 Years a Slave


12 Years a Slave movie poster
12 Years a Slave is more horror story than historical drama, terrifyingly and heartbreakingly straightforward in the real-life nightmare it depicts. [not yet reviewed]




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Best Picture 2012: Argo


Argo is simply fantastic: very funny, hugely suspenseful, enormously intelligent, beautifully presented in every possible way. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2011: The Artist


I cannot see how anyone who loves movies doesn’t fall madly, madly in love with The Artist. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2010: The King’s Speech


The power of The King’s Speech’s triumph-of-the-human-spirit story aside, there is something ineffably compelling about how uncinematic a story this is. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2009: The Hurt Locker


War is hell? Hell, war is a rush, man, in The Hurt Locker. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2008: Slumdog Millionaire


Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is an enchanting movie about love and destiny and honor and perseverance and how money cannot ever hope to measure up to them. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2007: No Country for Old Men


No Country for Old Men is a simple story simply told by the Coen Brothers, perhaps the finest pure storytellers working in film today. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2006: The Departed


The Departed is a toe-curlingly thrilling film about the misleading seductions of the criminal life and the idiocies in pursuing it. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2005: Crash


Crash holds up a mirror to reality that is so incisive and so harshly honest that it sears right through you and jolts you with its wisdom. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2004: Million Dollar Baby


Oh, but Million Dollar Baby is a sucker punch of a movie, harsh and sere and thoroughly unsentimental. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is an immense film, as big as an entire world, filled with an abundance of hope to be found in the worst of circumstances. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2002: Chicago


All the deliciously indecent sass and bawdiness of stage and screen is bound up in this new interpretation of Chicago. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2001: A Beautiful Mind


A Beautiful Mind is pure made-for-Hollywood pap about the mentally ill in which schizophrenia is treated the way doctors used to treat it in the bad old days. Read the review…




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Best Picture 2000: Gladiator


A sense of honor and duty to family — along with Russell Crowe’s Oscar-winning performance — is what drives Gladiator. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1999: American Beauty


The thrilling and infuriating American Beauty uses layers of seeing to remind us that rote, ordinary, day-to-day life around us isn’t really real. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1998: Shakespeare in Love


Romantic and uproariously funny, full of life and joy, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romp of the highest order. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1997: Titanic


A film of immense power and eerie beauty, James Cameron’s Titanic could only have been made now. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1996: The English Patient


With The English Patient, director Anthony Minghella crafted a film that is lyrical and complex — emotionally, morally — and full of enduring imagery. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1995: Braveheart


Braveheart is history the way it should be told, full of sex and treachery and battle and passion and Mel Gibson in a kilt. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1994: Forrest Gump


Forrest Gump is a fable of a dimwitted but goodhearted Alabaman who is, in his own words, a “football star, war hero, national celebrity, and shrimp-boat captain.” Read the review…




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Best Picture 1993: Schindler’s List


Schindler’s List is the least Spielberg-ian and least showy of the director’s work, yet it demonstrates an artistry that is at times highly stylized. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1992: Unforgiven


Revisionist Western Unforgiven offers us none of the grandeur of the old West we’ve seen in countless movies before. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1991: The Silence of the Lambs


The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller of the highest order. Before or since, action/horror has never been done so well or so cerebrally. Read the review…




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Best Picture 1990: Dances with Wolves


Dances with Wolves is a beautiful, moving film about the closing of the American frontier and all that disappeared with it. Read the review…




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