Oscar recollections: 15 favorite Best Picture winners

Oscar day is here! Last year I celebrated by doing a live blog of the awards, but since I now have Twitter and will most likely be joining the festivities there, I’ve decided to share a couple of retrospective lists instead. This is the last of four lists. Previously: 10 favorite Best Actor winners, 10 favorite Best Actress winners and 10 favorite Best Director winners

The following are my 15 favorite Best Picture winners, in chronological order.

(Image: the170)

(Image: the170)

1. Wings (1st winner)
Dir. William A. Wellman | Starring Clara Bow
Other nominations: Effects (won)

(Image: Doctor Macro)

(Image: Doctor Macro)

2. It Happened One Night (7th winner)
Dir. Frank Capra | Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), actress in a leading role (won), directing (won), adapted screenplay (won)

(Image: yesandyes.org)

(Image: yesandyes.org)

3. Gone with the Wind (12th winner)
Dir. Victor Fleming | Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Other nominations: Actress in a leading role (won), actress in a supporting role (won), art direction (won), color cinematography (won), directing (won), film editing (won), screenplay (won), actor in a leading role, special effects, score, sound recording; The film also received a Technical Achievement Award and an honorary award for its use of “coordinated equipment” and use of color

(Image: dashandapinch.com)

(Image: dashandapinch.com)

4. Casablanca (16th winner)
Dir. Michael Curtiz | Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
Other nominations: Directing (won), screenplay (won), actor in a leading role, actor in a supporting role, black and white cinematography, film editing, score

(Image: Doctor Macro)

(Image: Doctor Macro)

5. The Best Years of Our Lives (19th winner)
Dir. William Wyler | Starring Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Fredric March
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), actor in a supporting role (won), directing (won), film editing (won), score (won), screenplay (won), sound recording; Harold Russell also received an honorary award “for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans” with his performance

(Image: Doctor Macro)

(Image: Doctor Macro)

6. All About Eve (23rd winner)
Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter
Other nominations: Black and white costume design (won), actor in a supporting role (won), directing (won), sound recording (won), screenplay (won), actress in a leading role (x2), actress in a supporting role (x2), black and white set decoration, black and white cinematography, film editing, score

(Image: Doctor Macro)

(Image: Doctor Macro)

7. On the Waterfront (27th winner)
Dir. Elia Kazan | Starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), actress in a supporting role (won), black and white set decoration (won), black and white cinematography (won), directing (won), film editing (won), screenplay (won), actor in a supporting role (x3), score

(Image: toutlecine.com)

(Image: toutlecine.com)

8. Marty (28th winner)
Dir. Delbert Mann | Starring Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), directing (won), screenplay (won), actor in a supporting role, actress in a supporting role, black and white set decoration, black and white cinematography

(Image: conciliara.com)

(Image: conciliara.com)

9. West Side Story (34th winner)
Dir. Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise | Starring Natalie Wood
Other nominations: Actor in a supporting role (won), actress in a supporting role (won), color set decoration (won), color cinematography (won), color costume design (won), directing (won), film editing (won), score (won), sound (won), adapted screenplay

(Image: Fanpop)

(Image: Fanpop)

10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (48th winner)
Dir. Milos Forman | Starring Jack Nicholson
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), actress in a leading role (won), directing (won), adapted screenplay (won), actor in a supporting role, cinematography, film editing, original score

(Image: Alienation Mentale)

(Image: Alienation Mentale)

11. Schindler’s List (66th winner)
Dir. Steven Spielberg | Starring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes
Other nominations: Set decoration (won), cinematography (won), directing (won), editing (won), original score (won), adapted screenplay (won), actor in a leading role, actor in a supporting role, costume design, makeup, sound,

(Image: drafthouse.com)

(Image: drafthouse.com)

12. Forrest Gump (67th winner)
Dir. Robert Zemeckis | Starring Tom Hanks
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), directing (won), visual effects (won), editing (won), adapted screenplay (won), actor in a supporting role, set decoration, cinematography, sound editing, makeup, original score, sound

(Image: onsecrethunt.com)

(Image: onsecrethunt.com)

13. Titanic (70th winner)
Dir. James Cameron | Starring Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio
Other nominations: Set decoration (won), cinematography (won), costume design (won), directing (won), sound editing (won), visual effects (won), editing (won), original score (won), original song (won), sound (won), actress in a leading role, actress in a supporting role, best makeup

(Image: In the Frame)

(Image: In the Frame)

14. American Beauty (72nd winner)
Dir. Sam Mendes | Starring Kevin Spacey
Other nominations: Actor in a leading role (won), cinematography (won), directing (won), screenplay (won), actress in a leading role, editing, original score

(Image: filmofilia.com)

(Image: filmofilia.com)

15. The Artist (84th winner)
Dir. Michel Hazanavicius | Starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo
Other nominations: Costume design (won), directing (won), original score (won), actor in a leading role (won), editing, art direction, cinematography, actress in a supporting role, original screenplay

Share your favorite Best Picture-winning films in the comments! Who are you rooting for in tonight’s show?

This post was written for the 31 Days of Oscar blogathon.

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12 thoughts on “Oscar recollections: 15 favorite Best Picture winners

  1. Todd Benefiel says:

    Amazingly enough, I’ve seen all of your 15 picks, and loved every one of them (well, I had a little trouble with West Side Story!), but if I had to change it up a bit, based on personal preferences, I’d add The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Apartment, The French Connection, and The Sting. Oh yeah, and Unforgiven, one of my favorite Clint Eastwood films of all time.

    As for this year’s pick, based on the nominated films I’ve actually seen, I’m going with Life of Pi: incredible visuals, great storytelling, and one of the most haunting sinking ship sequences I’ve ever experienced.

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    • Lindsey says:

      I still haven’t seen Life of Pi! I remember enjoying the book when I read it years ago, and the previews for the adaptation looked beautiful. I was hoping to make it to my theater’s marathon of all of the Best Picture noms earlier is week but school got in the way, so there are still a few I missed out on.

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  2. Natalie says:

    I love your list, especially the early picks. There are a couple I haven’t yet seen, but it’s hard to argue with your choices. Some of my other favorites are Rebecca, Lawrence of Arabia, and The King’s Speech. And The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – it’s one of my favorite movies, but I always seem to forget that it’s also a Best Picture winner. Excited to see which movie will join them tonight!

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    • Lindsey says:

      I toyed with the idea with making this a list of 20 instead of 15, because I do love so many of the winners. Rebecca definitely would’ve been on that list, as would Return of the King. (I love the entire LotR series!)

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  3. Aurora says:

    Lindsey,

    I’m very impressed you can pick 15 from 84 years of winners, is it? I may attempt this one day to see if my head explodes. I agree with some and not with others but…impressive.

    Thanks much for your great submissions to the blogathon!!

    Aurora

    Like

    • Lindsey says:

      My head almost exploded! Any time I’m making a list about film it’s always difficult to narrow it down to 10 or 15. Maybe some day, if I have an extraordinary amount of free time and want my head to actually explode instead of just coming close to exploding, I’ll make a ranking of all 80-something in order of preference. Maybe for next year’s blogathon? :) Thanks again for letting me take part in it!

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    • Lindsey says:

      I haven’t seen that one — shame on me! It’s one of those films that’s been sitting on my “to watch” list forever, unfairly neglected. I will have to track down a copy sooner rather than later. And yes, for all of the Academy’s faults, they do know what they’re doing sometimes. :)

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