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Ranked: Oscar Best Picture Winners from Worst to Best
Auditing the one category that contains both The Godfather and Crash.
By Josh Kurp
There have been eighty-two films to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, ranging from 1928's Wings to last year's The Hurt Locker. Some have been worthy of the film industry's highest honor; others, not so much. Below are all the winners, ranked from least deserving to most.
82. Crash (2005)
One of the weakest years for movies in recent history also gives us the worst film to ever win Best Picture. When Brendan Fraser and Ludacris steal the show, you know there's a problem.
Up Against: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich
Should Have Lost to: Munich
81. Cimarron (1931)
Very racist and very bad. The award should have gone to Skippy, the only Best Picture-nominee based on a comic book.
Up Against: East Lynne, The Front Page, Skippy, Trader Horn
Should Have Lost to: Skippy
80. Dances with Wolves (1990)
A terrible film, especially when you put it right next to Goodfellas. In light of Waterworld, The Postman, et. al., Dances with Wolves now looks like the first in a long line of Kevin Costner vanity projects. It's about as subtle as a buffalo.
Up Against: Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Pt. III, Goodfellas
Should Have Lost to: Goodfellas
79. Chicago (2002)
The only good thing about Rob Marshall directing the next Pirates of the Caribbean film is that he won't be able to screw up a classic musical. Only he could take the fun and sex out of Chicago.
Up Against: Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist
Should Have Lost to: The Pianist
78. Ordinary People (1980)
I guess this ordinary film beating out Raging Bull and The Elephant Man is one of those you-had-to-be-there moments, because thirty years later, I don't get it.
Up Against: Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess
Should Have Lost to: Raging Bull
77. Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
It's a fun film — certainly better than the 2004 remake starring Jackie Chan — but fun doesn't necessarily mean best. (If it did, Starship Troopers would have won Best Picture in 1997.)
Up Against: Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I, The Ten Commandments
Should Have Lost to: The Ten Commandments
76. The Broadway Melody (1929)
An awkward year for Hollywood. None of the Best Picture nominees are very memorable (a full copy of The Patriot doesn't even exist), largely because the movie industry was switching from silent to sound. As for why Broadway Melody won: well, something's gotta take the prize.
Up Against: Alibi, The Hollywood Revue of 1929, In Old Arizona, The Patriot
Should Have Lost to: In Old Arizona
75. Going My Way (1944)
Bing Crosby was unstoppable in the 1940s. He sold millions of records and his movies were big hits. But Going My Way isn't one of his best; it's too sweet to be anything more than heartwarming, and definitely not Oscar-worthy.
Up Against: Double Indemnity, Gaslight, Since You Went Away, Wilson
Should Have Lost to: Double Indemnity
74. Braveheart (1995)
If the Academy could have one do-over, they'd probably choose Apollo 13 or Babe over Braveheart, due to star Mel Gibson's recent, um, troubles. They should have gotten it right in the first place.
Up Against: Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino, Sense and Sensibility
Should Have Lost to: Apollo 13
73. Cavalcade (1933)
It was ambitious for its time, with a story that takes place over thirty-four years, so the Academy couldn't help but give it an award. But it's obvious that Cavalcade tried to do much, and ended up with too little in the quality department.
Up Against: 42nd Street, A Farewell to Arms, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Lady for a Day, Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII, She Done Him Wrong, Smilin' Through, State Fair
Should Have Lost to: 42nd Street