Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW | Oscars Best Picture In The Last 10 Years

All right, I'm supposed to be heading outside now. But my guts just told me to put up this entry. True, Academy Awards does not contribute much to improving the lives of people, let's say of Africa nor does it solve wars in the gulf region.

However, you may agree (or not with me) that the movies nominated in the Oscars reflect a lot about our current situation. And this in itself is important because we get to have a retrospect of our world views. That is why I am following the Oscars to this day.


It is interesting to know that in the past ten years of Oscars, most of the Best Picture winners share similar defining traits and one of them is their emotionally charged narrative and more or less happy ending. 

It is like making the audience grip to his seat and prepare for eventual tragedy, but only to be disappointed because the ending actually had a redeeming plot. Which gives the audience a reason to be optimistic.

Is this a formula then? Perhaps. When you analyze the other ten best films in the Oscars, you would know that the most of them ended on a hollywood-ified happy endings. That Broke Back Mountain, despite it's expected win, lost to Crash. And we know how Brokeback Mountain ended.

Fast forward to 2015/2016. All Best Picture nominees this year seemingly had happy endings. The top four contenders, all had a triumphant conclusions. Is it a bad thing? Well not necessarily, but one gets a feeling how deceiving it is. From a bear attack survivor to an unbelievable Martian odyssey. As they say, it only happens in movies.

PS. Leonardo Dicaprio (The Revenant) & Matt Damon (The Martian) are nominated for Best Actor. The two worked together in 2006 Oscars Best Picture "The Departed". Both Leo & Matt have never won an Oscars as of 2015. 

Out of this year's best picture nominees, the top four in my list would be: (1) The Revenant, (2) The Martian, (3) Spotlight, (4) Mad Max: Fury Road. Each with different themes. The Martian has already scored an edge after bagging the best picture award at the Golden Globes.

But I'm betting my bottom dollar that it is going to "The Revenant". I can be wrong of course, but all signs lead to it. It has 12 nominations this year including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, etc. Can it move to the ranks of LOTR, Titanic, and Benhur for most number of awards? That is something to be seen, but highly doubtful in this competitive season.


Here are the past ten Best Picture Winners at the Oscars from 2014 to 2004.

2014 (87th Academy Awards)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Trivia: The first comedy to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since Shakespeare in Love (1998), 16 years earlier. Also the first to win the Academy Award for Best Director since Annie Hall (1977), 37 years earlier.

2013 (86th Academy Awards)
12 Years A Slave
Trivia: 12 Years a Slave is the first film from a black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

2012 (85th Academy Awards)

Trivia: First movie in 7 years to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture without winning the Oscar for Best Director (the previous movie was Crash (2004)). It is also the first movie in 23 years to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture without being nominated for Best Director (the previous one was Driving Miss Daisy (1989)).

2011 (84th Academy Awards)
The Artist

Trivia: This movie is considered to be the most ever awarded French film in film history. Further, Jean Dujardin became the first ever French actor to win a Best Actor Academy Award when he won an Oscar for this film.

2010 (83rd Academy Awards)
The King's Speech

Trivia: With Colin Firth winning the Academy Award Best Actor Oscar for playing King George VI in this film, Best Acting Oscars have now gone to actors playing both Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren in The Queen (2006)) and her father, and awarded just four years apart.

2009 (82nd Academy Awards)
Hurt Locker

Trivia: With a small $12 million domestic box office gross, this is the lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever since box office results were regularly counted even without adjusting for inflation. Best picture winners from the 1960s have even out grossed The Hurt Locker (2008) quite significantly. The film had actually closed by the time of the Oscars, which tend to boost the film's numbers. It was the use of DVD screeners, rentals and significant campaigning that lead to its win for the prize over the highest grossing film of all time Avatar (2009).

2008 (81st Academy Awards)
Slumdog Millionaire

Trivia: This is the first 'de facto' foreign film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since The Last Emperor (1987) in 1988. Neither films were produced or supported by a major American film studio.

2007 (80th Academy Awards)
No Country For Old Men

Trivia: Javier Bardem's victory at the 80th Academy Awards (Feb. 2008) makes him the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.

2006 (79th Academy Awards)
The Departed

Trivia: A possible reason why Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an Oscar nomination for his performance in this movie was because the Warner Bros. Studios initially did not want to favor DiCaprio over his co-stars and place him in the leading actor category. The studio favored DiCaprio's leading performance in Blood Diamond (2006) (which eventually got him a nomination). DiCaprio himself refused to campaign against his male co-stars in the supporting actor category, so Warner bought no supporting actor ads for DiCaprio, and he did not receive a nomination.

2005 (78th Academy Awards)

Trivia: Although originally released in 2004, the film did not qualify for the following year's Academy Awards as it did not play at least one week in L.A. (as Academy Awards rules require for eligibility). When it finally opened in L.A. the following year, the film did qualify for Oscar consideration for 2005, and it went on to win the Best Picture Oscar for that year.

Related articles:
Nominees - The 88th Academy Awards (2015/2016)

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