Someone told me the Oscars are coming up, so I thought I’d look back at what kind of job the Academy has been doing.
Here, therefore, is a list of Who Should Have Won Every Academy Award for Best Picture Going Back to 1930—based solely on the nominees. A * indicates the Academy correctly picked the best nominee, or that in a close race and a tough call, the Academy did not humiliate itself.
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road, I guess, but anything would have been better than Spotlight
2014: Grand Budapest Hotel
2013: Wolf of Wall Street
2012: Django Unchained
2011: Tree of Life
2010: Toy Story 3
2009: Up (but we would also have accepted Inglorious Basterds)
2008: Milk? bad year
*2007: There Will Be Blood (but No Country is an acceptable choice)
2006: no award (i.e., no good nominees)
2005: Brokeback Mountain (or: anything but Crash! Sheesh!)
2004: no award
*2003: I guess it’s Return of the King
2002: I feel ridiculous repeating myself, but it’s Two Towers
2001: Hollywood should have made some good movies, but it didn’t and the winner is Fellowship
2000: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
1999: Sixth Sense
1998: Life Is Beautiful
1997: LA Confidential (all other nominees are humiliating)
1995: Sense and Sensibility I guess?
1994: Pulp Fiction (duh)
*1993: Is it really Schindler’s List? Maybe, I guess
*1992: Unforgiven is a fine choice
*1991: It’s probably Beauty and the Beast, but Silence of the Lambs is a fine choice
1990: Goodfellas (duh)
1989: no award
1988: Accidental Tourist, I guess. Maybe no award
*1987: Last Emperor is an ok choice
1986: The Mission (unless I’m just beguiled by the soundtrack)
1985: Kiss of the Spider Woman
1984: Killing Fields
1983: Right Stuff
1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark (duh)
1980: Elephant Man (sorry, Raging Bull)
1979: Apocalypse Now (duh)
1978: no award
*1977: I like Star Wars, but I can’t really complain about their Annie Hall pick
1976: Taxi Driver
1973: The Exorcist, I guess
1971: Clockwork Orange
*1970: Patton is a fine choice
*1969: Midnight Cowboy is a fine choice. A good year!
1968: no award
1967: The Graduate, I guess
1966: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, probably. The 60s are pretty grim!
1965: no award
1964: Mary Poppins (but we would also accept Dr. Strangelove)
*1963: Maybe Tom Jones is an ok choice
*1962: Yes! Definitely Lawrence of Arabia!
*1961: West Side Story is an ok choice
*1960: The Apartment is a good choice, but why wasn’t Psycho nominated?
1959: Anatomy of a Murder
1958: Defiant Ones
*1957: 12 Angry Men (but River Kwai is also a good choice)
1956: The King and I, maybe?
*1955: Marty is an ok choice
1954: The Caine Mutiny
1953: Roman Holiday
1952: High Noon
1951: maybe Streetcar, maybe no award
*1950: Yes! All about Eve
1949: 12:00 High
1948: Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1947: Miracle on 34th Street
*1946: It’s a Wonderful Life (but Best Years is also a great choice)
*1945: Lost Weekend is a fine choice
1944: Double Indemnity (duh)
1943: Heaven Can Wait
1942: Magnificent Ambersons
1941: Maltese Falcon (sorry, Kane!)
1940: Foreign Correspondent
1939: Wizard of Oz
1938: Grand Illusion (duh)
1937: Lost Horizon
1936: I should probably have watched more of these movies
1935: Lives of a Bengal Lancer
*1934: Yes! It Happened One Night!
1933: how embarrassing. I’ve seen none of the nominees
1932: Shanghai Express
1931: Cimarron is the only one I’ve seen, but I bet the deserving winner is Skippy
*1930: All Quiet on the Western Front
Because what I consider to be the best movie in a year often goes unnominated, the only years the Oscar went to the “actual” best picture are 1969 and 1934.
For 2016, I wanted Love and Friendship to win, and it didn’t even get nominated, so to heck with them.