4 Forgotten Best Picture Winners
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave out its first Best Picture statuette in 1929 to “Wings,” a film about two men who fall in love with the same woman prior to enlisting in the military. Now approaching its 93rd ceremony, many incredible movies have received the same honor from the Academy. But even if you’re a film aficionado, it’s reasonable to forget some of the winners, including the following.
2010s: “The Artist”
Between Colin Firth knocking it out of the park in “The King’s Speech” in 2010 and the “Moonlight” and “La La Land” fiasco in 2016, it’s easy to lose track of the Best Picture winners from this decade. Among those possibly lost in translation was “The Artist,” the 2011 winner that was created in the style of classic black-and-white silent films. Although the film racked up five total awards — including Best Actor and Best Director — many critics were rooting for films like “The Help” and Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” As it turns out, “The Artist” won big at other awards shows, too, capturing the top prize at both the 65th British Academy Film Awards and the 69th Golden Globes.
Featuring a star-studded ensemble cast, “Crash” was quite the upset win for Best Picture in 2005. That same year, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger were all anyone could talk about for their roles in the groundbreaking film “Brokeback Mountain” while “Capote” gave Philip Seymour Hoffman his sole Academy Award before his untimely death. “Crash” connected many stories about gender, race, class, and family in Los Angeles following the events of September 11, 2001. And while the film was certainly deserving of the Best Picture win, it definitely caused a stir due to it not even being nominated for any of the three Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture.
When you look at the list of Best Picture winners from the ’90s, you’ll see impressive titles like “Titanic,” “Schindler’s List,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “American Beauty.” But there’s one film that likely fell off your radar among this incredible decade of films: “Unforgiven.” Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris, this revisionist Western film beat out top contenders like “A Few Good Men” and “Scent of a Woman” at the 65th Academy Awards in 1992. Clint Eastwood also took home the statuette for Best Director while Gene Hackman received the Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of Sheriff Little Bill Daggett.
1980s: “Ordinary People”
The ’70s were filled with big-screen hits from the “Godfather” franchise, “Rocky,” and the tense, real-life hit “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Heading into the ’80s, one film took the top prize and has mostly been forgotten since: “Ordinary People.” The movie was Robert Redford’s directorial debut and it earned him the award of Best Director at the 53rd Academy Awards. Meanwhile, the role of Beth Jarrett was a breakout performance for Mary Tyler Moore as she moved away from her previous bouncy television characters of Laura Petrie and Mary Richards. The serious, award-winning screenplay of “Ordinary People” ended up beating Sissy Spacek in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull.”
Although the name of the top accolade at the Academy Awards has changed multiple times in the last 90 years, it’s still regarded as one of the most sought-after awards in the film industry. Did you remember all of these Best Picture winners?
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