Oscars: The Uncomfortable Truth About “Best” Picture

Each year the Academy Awards apparently showcase the best of the previous year in film. Actors, directors, producers, and technical teams gather to give each other a collective tap on the back. All movies covet one prize, the award for “Best Picture”. However, rarely is the winner of Best Picture the best movie in any given year.

In fact, when deciding the Best Picture winner at the Oscars, the Academy usually gets it spectacularly wrong. Throughout the years, the Oscars have become an event that transcends movies. People even place bets on who they think will win. For example, with a bet365 bonus code in New Jersey, some movie fans will be betting on who will grab the Best Picture award this year.

Take a walk through the last two decades of Best Picture winners and compare them to other movies nominated. Many times, the Academy chose the wrong movie. Films that have become bona fide classics were dismissed in favor of movies that are now largely forgotten.

Sure, almost all Best Picture winners are a decent watch, but many have been eclipsed by genuine masterpieces that failed to win. Let’s pick some Oscar years to prove the point.

2019 (movie year 2018)

Best Picture winner – Green Book

Of course, the controversy surrounding the award being given to Green Book is well storied. This is one of those movies that just about everyone agrees should not have won Best Picture. Everyone except the Academy members it seems. Let’s not forget Green Book’s fellow nominees included The Favorite, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born, and Roma.

Personally, I don’t think it was a great year for Best Picture movies and none of the above stand out as soon-to-be classics. However, the four just listed are better than Green Book.

2018 (movie year 2017)

Best Picture winner – The Shape of Water

Perhaps this one is harsh but bear with me. While the Shape of Water is a good movie, I would argue it rarely excels in any way. It’s a solid B+ across the board. The story is interesting but not challenging, the visuals are stylish but not captivating, and the performances are believable but not outstanding.

Other nominees this year included Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Post, Lady Bird, and Phantom Thread. Again, not a stacked year in terms of genuine classics, but certainly one where we could consider The Shape of Water a mistake.

2002 (movie year 2001)

Best Picture winner – Chicago

I have purposely avoided Crash winning in 2005 because that movie has become the poster boy for bad Best Picture choices, it’s frankly a meme by now. Just a few years earlier, the was an equally bizarre choice to win Best Picture… Chicago. Riding on the hot again musical genre, Chicago somehow rode that train all the way to six Oscars.

It was a baffling decision considering the movie is forgettable in almost every sense. It is even more strange when you consider The Pianist (a masterpiece regardless of Roman Polanski’s reputation) was also nominated that year.


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