Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the prestigious Academy Award for Best Picture. Since its inception, this coveted accolade has been the pinnacle of recognition for filmmakers and movie enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will take you through a complete list of every film that has had the honor of receiving this esteemed award. From groundbreaking classics to modern masterpieces, join us as we celebrate the cinematic achievements that have shaped the world of cinema and left an indelible mark on the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Academy Award for Best Picture Winners
Best Picture Winners — Complete List
The Oscars, officially known as the Academy Awards, have been honoring the best in cinema since 1929. The Best Picture award considered the most prestigious of all, has been a part of the ceremony from the very beginning.
Originally, the Oscars had two categories: Outstanding Picture and Unique and Artistic Picture, with "Wings" (1927) and "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans" (1927) as the first winners, respectively. From the 2nd Academy Awards, these were merged into a single Best Picture award.
The category has evolved over time, with varying nominee numbers and up to 10 nominees since 2009, reflecting the film industry's changing landscape and promoting diversity among contenders. It should also be noted that the studio or production company was given the award until 1950. After that, the producer or producing team was awarded the Oscar for Best Picture.
As we look back on the illustrious history of the Best Picture Oscar, it's clear that the award has played a pivotal role in recognizing and celebrating the most outstanding achievements in filmmaking.
Academy Award for Best Picture History
OSCAR BEST PICTURE WINNERS
- 1927/28 – Wings (Famous Players-Lasky)
- 1928/29 – The Broadway Melody (MGM)
- 1929/30 – All Quiet on the Western Front (Universal)
- 1930/31 – Cimarron (RKO Radio)
- 1931/32 – Grand Hotel (MGM)
- 1932/33 – Cavalcade (Fox)
- 1934 – It Happened One Night (Columbia)
- 1935 – Mutiny on the Bounty (MGM)
- 1936 – The Great Ziegfeld (MGM)
- 1937 – The Life of Emile Zola (Warner Bros.)
- 1938 – You Can’t Take it with You (Columbia)
- 1939 – Gone With the Wind (Selznick International Pictures)
- 1940 – Rebecca (Selznick International Pictures)
- 1941 – How Green Was My Valley (20th Century-Fox)
- 1942 – Mrs. Miniver (MGM)
- 1943 – Casablanca (Warner Bros.)
- 1944 – Going My Way (Paramount)
- 1945 – The Lost Weekend (Paramount)
- 1946 – The Best Years of Our Lives (Samuel Goldwyn Productions)
- 1947 – Gentleman’s Agreement (20th Century-Fox)
- 1948 – Hamlet (J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films)
- 1949 – All the King’s Men (Columbia)
- 1950 – All About Eve (20th Century-Fox)
- 1951 – An American in Paris (Arthur Freed)
- 1952 – The Greatest Show on Earth (Cecil B. DeMille)
- 1953 – From Here to Eternity (Buddy Adler)
- 1954 – On the Waterfront (Sam Spiegel)
- 1955 – Marty (Harold Hecht)
- 1956 – Around the World in 80 Days (Michael Todd)
- 1957 – The Bridge on the River Kwai (Sam Spigel)
- 1958 – Gigi (Arthur Freed)
- 1959 – Ben-Hur (Sam Zimbalist)
- 1960 – The Apartment (Billy Wilder)
- 1961 – West Side Story (Robert Wise)
- 1962 – Lawrence of Arabia (Sam Spiegel)
- 1963 – Tom Jones (Tony Richardson)
- 1964 – My Fair Lady (Jack L. Warner)
- 1965 – The Sound of Music (Robert Wise)
- 1966 – A Man for All Seasons (Fred Zinnemann)
- 1967 – In the Heat of the Night (Walter Mirisch)
- 1968 – Oliver! (John Woolf)
- 1969 – Midnight Cowboy (Jerome Hellman)
- 1970 – Patton (Frank McCarthy)
- 1971 – The French Connection (Philip D'Antoni)
- 1972 – The Godfather (Albert S. Ruddy)
- 1973 – The Sting (Tony Bill, Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips)
- 1974 – The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, Gray Frederickson, Fred Roos)
- 1975 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Michael Douglas, Saul Zaentz)
- 1976 – Rocky (Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff)
- 1977 – Annie Hall (Charles H. Joffe)
- 1978 – The Deer Hunter (Barry Spikings, Michael Deeley, Michael Cimino, John Peverall)
- 1979 – Kramer vs. Kramer (Stanley R. Jaffe)
- 1980 – Ordinary People (Ronald L. Schwary)
- 1981 – Chariots of Fire (David Puttnam)
- 1982 – Gandhi (Richard Attenborough)
- 1983 – Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks)
- 1984 – Amadeus (Saul Zaentz)
- 1985 – Out of Africa (Sydney Pollack)
- 1986 – Platoon (Arnold Kopelson)
- 1987 – The Last Emperor (Jeremy Thomas)
- 1988 – Rain Man (Mark Johnson)
- 1989 – Driving Miss Daisy (Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck)
- 1990 – Dances with Wolves (Jim Wilson, Kevin Costner)
- 1991 – The Silence of the Lambs (Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt, Ron Bozman)
- 1992 – Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)
- 1993 – Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen, Branko Lustig)
- 1994 – Forrest Gump (Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey)
- 1995 – Braveheart (Mel Gibson, Alan Ladd Jr., Bruce Davey)
- 1996 – The English Patient (Saul Zaentz)
- 1997 – Titanic (James Cameron, Jon Landau)
- 1998 – Shakespeare in Love (David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick, Marc Norman)
- 1999 – American Beauty (Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks)
- 2000 – Gladiator (Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig)
- 2001 – A Beautiful Mind (Brian Grazer, Ron Howard)
- 2002 – Chicago (Martin Richards)
- 2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh)
- 2004 – Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, Albert S. Ruddy, Tom Rosenberg)
- 2005 – Crash (Paul Haggis, Cathy Schulman)
- 2006 – The Departed (Graham King)
- 2007 – No Country for Old Men (Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
- 2008 – Slumdog Millionaire (Christian Colson)
- 2009 – The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro)
- 2010 – The King’s Speech (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin)
- 2011 – The Artist (Thomas Langmann)
- 2012 – Argo (Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney)
- 2013 – 12 Years a Slave (Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Anthony Katagas)
- 2014 – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole)
- 2015 – Spotlight (Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar)
- 2016 – Moonlight (Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner)
- 2017 – The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale)
- 2018 – Green Book (Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga)
- 2019 – Parasite (Kwak Sin-ae, Bong Joon-ho)
- 2020 – Nomadland (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Chloé Zhao)
- 2021 – CODA (Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger)
- 2022 – Everything Everywhere All At Once (Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Jonathan Wang)
Best Academy Award for Best Picture Winners
20. Birdman (2014)
Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, explores the struggles of a washed-up actor, Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton), as he attempts to revive his career through a Broadway production. Birdman delves deep into themes of fame, ego, and artistic integrity, offering a biting commentary on the entertainment industry.
The film's groundbreaking cinematography, led by Emmanuel Lubezki, creates the illusion of a single continuous shot, immersing the audience in the frenetic energy of the story and the psychological turmoil of its protagonist. This technical achievement enhances the narrative's intensity and adds a layer of realism to the film.
Ranking Academy Award Best Picture Winners
19. Spotlight (2015)
Spotlight, a gripping and powerful drama, uncovers the true story of a team of investigative journalists unraveling a massive scandal within the Catholic Church. The film's compelling narrative and stellar performances captivated audiences, leading it to win multiple Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
The film is loaded with heavy-hitting performances. Mark Ruffalo's Oscar-nominated performance in Spotlight delivers a captivating and emotionally charged portrayal of dogged determination in the pursuit of truth.
Ranking Best Picture Academy Awards
18. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Russell Crowe's exceptional performance in A Beautiful Mind brings depth to Nash's character, capturing both his genius and the challenges he faced due to mental illness. The film and brilliant screenplay present a nuanced exploration of the effects of schizophrenia on personal and professional relationships, evoking empathy and understanding.
A Beautiful Mind also boasts a strong supporting cast, including Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, further enhancing the cinematic experience.
Crime Genre Academy Award Best Picture Winners
17. The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II, a masterful continuation of the Corleone family saga, expertly weaves together two parallel narratives that delve into the past and present. With its intricate storytelling, powerful performances, and striking cinematography, the film transcends the boundaries of the crime genre and ranks as one of the best crime movies of all time.
Ranking Academy Award for Best Picture Winners
16. On the Waterfront (1954)
On the Waterfront (1954), directed by Elia Kazan, is a powerful drama that delves into the world of corruption, crime, and moral conflict, making it a deserving Best Picture Oscar winner. Marlon Brando's iconic portrayal of Terry Malloy, an ex-boxer turned longshoreman, showcases his exceptional acting prowess and sets a new standard for method acting.
LOTR Academy Award for Best Picture
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson's epic conclusion to his groundbreaking fantasy trilogy, immerses audiences in a breathtaking cinematic journey through Middle-earth. Jackson's visionary direction, coupled with stunning visuals, seamless special effects, and an evocative score, brings Tolkien's world to life like never before.
Timeless Academy Award for Best Picture
14. Gone with the Wind (1940)
Gone with the Wind, a sweeping epic set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, remains a timeless masterpiece more than eight decades after its release. Directed by Victor Fleming, the film's breathtaking cinematography, lavish costumes, and evocative score further enhance the grandeur of the story.
Historical Oscar Best Picture Winners
13. Amadeus (1984)
A symphony of cinematic brilliance, Amadeus (1984) orchestrates a harmonious blend of music, drama, and historical intrigue. The exquisite set design and atmospheric cinematography transport viewers to 18th-century Vienna, immersing them in a world of opulence and artistic fervor.
Academy Award for best picture
12. No Country for Old Men (2007)
A chilling odyssey through the barren landscapes of West Texas, No Country for Old Men (2007) grips its audience with unrelenting tension and masterful storytelling. The Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men screenplay adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel delivers a raw, visceral exploration of human nature and morality, juxtaposing it against the unforgiving backdrop of the American Southwest making for one of the best Neo-Westerns of all time.
Best Academy Award for Best Picture of All Time List
11. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump (1994), a heartwarming journey through the tumultuous decades of American history, enchants audiences with its endearing protagonist and poignant narrative. Robert Zemeckis' visionary direction weaves together iconic moments from the 20th century, seamlessly integrating them into Forrest's life story, creating an unforgettable tapestry of love, loss, and friendship.
Ranking Academy Award for Best Picture Winners
10. Annie Hall (1977)
Annie Hall, directed by the legendary Woody Allen, stands as a shining beacon of romantic comedy, and it's no wonder it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1977. The film's unique blend of humor, introspection, and poignant storytelling transcends genre expectations, creating a deeply resonant experience for viewers.
Best Academy Awatd Winners Best Picture
9. Titanic (1997)
James Cameron's Titanic is an epic romance and disaster film that captivated audiences worldwide, earning it the Best Picture Oscar in 1997. Titanic's groundbreaking visual effects and meticulously recreated historical details transport viewers back to the fateful voyage, immersing them in the grandeur and tragedy of the era.
Unique Academy Award for Best Picture
8. Moonlight (2016)
Moonlight (2016), directed by Barry Jenkins, is a remarkable coming-of-age drama that explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and love. The film's unique narrative story structure, divided into three acts, provides an intimate look into the protagonist Chiron's life at different stages, allowing viewers to fully understand his journey.
What are the Oscar Best Picture Winners?
7. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) fearlessly delves into the dark corners of the human psyche, cementing its status as a one of the most deserving Best Picture Oscar winners. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film masterfully balances psychological thriller and crime drama elements, resulting in a gripping and haunting cinematic experience.
List of Oscars for Best Picture
6. Parasite (2019)
Parasite (2019), directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a masterful social commentary that captivated audiences and critics alike, leading to its historic Oscar wins. The film's perfect blend of dark humor, suspense, and drama creates an engrossing narrative that keeps viewers enthralled from start to finish.
Parasite's exceptional cinematography and meticulous set design contribute to the powerful visual storytelling that exposes the stark disparities between social classes.
Oscars Best Picture Winners
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Directed by David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) stands as a timeless masterpiece in the realm of Oscar-winning films. Peter O'Toole's mesmerizing portrayal of T.E. Lawrence, combined with a gripping narrative, captures the essence of this larger-than-life historical figure. The movie's breathtaking cinematography, featuring vast desert landscapes and monumental battle scenes, immerses viewers in the heart of the Arab Revolt.
Timeless Academy Award for Best Picture Winner
4. Casablanca (1943)
Casablanca (1942) weaves a tale of love, sacrifice, and intrigue that has stood the test of time, marking its indelible presence among the greatest Oscar-winning movies. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the film features the iconic duo of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, whose on-screen chemistry and memorable performances breathe life into this classic wartime romance.
List of Oscars for Best Picture
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) made history by sweeping the five major Oscar categories, a testament to its exceptional filmmaking and powerful storytelling. The film triumphed in winning Best Picture, Best Director for Miloš Forman, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson's unforgettable performance, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher's chilling portrayal of Nurse Ratched, and Best Adapted Screenplay, an achievement shared by only two other films in history.
Best Picture by Year List Ranked
2. Schindler's List (1993)
Schindler's List (1993) serves as a haunting and deeply moving testament to the resilience of the human spirit, firmly establishing itself among the greatest Oscar-winning movies of all time. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this heart-wrenching film tells the story of Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, who saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
Best Academy Award for Best Picture
1. The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather (1972) reigns supreme as the paramount masterpiece among Best Picture Oscar-winning movies, transcending the boundaries of filmmaking to become a cultural phenomenon. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this epic crime drama delves into the intricacies of the Corleone family, offering a captivating portrayal of power, loyalty, and the American Dream. Marlon Brando's iconic performance as Vito Corleone, along with Al Pacino's unforgettable turn as Michael Corleone, elevates the film to legendary status.
The Godfather's intricate storytelling, lush cinematography, and masterful direction transport viewers into the world of organized crime, immersing them in the lives and struggles of its complex characters. Its memorable lines like "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse" have become ingrained in popular culture, attesting to the film's lasting impact.
International Feature Films — Full List
In our next article, we explore the best international Oscar winners of all time. From Italy to South Korea, these films have made a lasting impact on the world of cinema and are essential viewing for any movie lover.