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Ranking the Oscar's Best Picture winners from every year

  • Ranking the Oscar's Best Picture winners from every year

    The 91st Academy Awards are right around the corner, with Oscar nominations set to be announced Jan. 22. The acclaimed live show will be broadcasted Feb. 24 by ABC to more than 225 countries and territories around the world. The event's come a long way since its start as a private dinner reception for 270 people in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (with no adjoining radio broadcast).

    Today's venue, audience, attendance numbers, and categories have all increased substantially. Likewise, the film industry has adopted a slew of new technologies, making the cinematic experience as immersive and detailed as possible while maintaining the cherished core tenants of story pacing and character from 91 years ago. 

    Of all its categories, the Academy Awards' Best Picture nominees and winners receive some of the most widespread recognition. In honor of great cinema new and old, Stacker has ranked Best Picture winners from each year of the awards. That officially takes us back to 1927, though technically the first Oscars weren’t until 1929. IMDb ratings were relied on to rank every Best Picture winner. 

    Counting down from 91, Stacker presents the best of the best in descending order.

    ALSO: Golden Globes Best Picture in Drama from the year you were born

  • #91. Cavalcade

    IMDb user rating: 6.0
    Year: 1933
    Director: Frank Lloyd

    World history is seen through the eyes of well-heeled Londoners in “Cavalcade,” which remains tied with “Cimarron” as the lowest-rated Best Picture winner on IMDb, not to mention the one with the fewest votes. However, audiences viewing the debut of “Cavalcade” were far more receptive: The movie was a box office success and critical darling upon its 1933 release.

  • #90. Cimarron

    IMDb user rating: 6.0
    Year: 1931
    Director: Wesley Ruggles

    A newspaper editor and his frustrated wife settled down in an Oklahoma boom town at the end of the 19th century in 1931’s “Cimarron.” It was the first Western to win an Oscar, something that wouldn’t happen again until 1990’s “Dances With Wolves.”


  • #89. The Broadway Melody

    IMDb user rating: 6.2
    Year: 1929
    Director: Harry Beaumont

    “The Broadway Melody” follows two performance artist sisters who stray from the vaudeville circuit in search of big Broadway dreams only to get sidetracked by romantic endeavors. The film was a box office smash and MGM’s first talking picture, though a silent version was also released as a number of theaters weren’t yet equipped for sound.


  • #88. Tom Jones

    IMDb user rating: 6.6
    Year: 1963
    Director: Tony Richardson

    Henry Fielding’s famous novel about the frisky adventures of its titular lothario leaps from page to screen in 1963’s “Tom Jones.” Certain music fans might see the title and think of a famous Welsh singer of the same name wondering if there’s a connection. There is: Thomas John Woodward took on the stage name Tom Jones.


  • #87. The Greatest Show on Earth

    IMDb user rating: 6.7
    Year: 1952
    Director: Cecil B. DeMille

    From acclaimed director Cecil B. Demille came the story of the lives of various circus performers, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” DeMille took no shortcuts when it came to his actors and actresses, demanding that they each master the stunts they’d be performing on screen. For actor Cornel Wilde, that meant conquering his fear of heights in order to play a high-wire artist.


  • #86. The Great Ziegfeld

    IMDb user rating: 6.8
    Year: 1936
    Director: Robert Z. Leonard

    His name was Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and his legacy was so great that a movie was made about it. That movie was “The Great Ziegfeld” and it took home the award for Best Picture in 1937. The movie features an uncredited cameo from Patricia Ryan, who later married Richard Nixon.


  • #85. Gigi

    IMDb user rating: 6.8
    Year: 1958
    Director: Vincente Minnelli

    Not to be confused with “Gigli,” the now-famous cinematic abomination starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, 1958’s “Gigi” remains an acclaimed Broadway adaptation about the relationship between a wealthy playboy and the granddaughter of his uncle’s former mistress. Production was so rapid on this musical that the cast had to mouth words to songs because the score wasn’t yet recorded. Obviously, it all worked out in the end.


  • #84. Around the World in 80 Days

    IMDb user rating: 6.8
    Year: 1956
    Director: Michael Anderson, John Farrow

    Based on the famous novel by Jules Verne, “Around the World in 80 Days” is about a Victorian Englishman who travels the entire globe in just 80 days in order to win a bet. Broadly considered the largest production in Hollywood history, the movie is also credited with introducing the first cameo roles as it had well-known entertainers walk on for bit parts.


  • #83. Shakespeare in Love

    IMDb user rating: 7.1
    Year: 1998
    Director: John Madden

    From the fantasies of every actor and actress came the 1998 smash hit “Shakespeare in Love.” Ultimately, it was lucky thespians Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes who landed the lead roles. In the film, a young frustrated William Shakespeare finds both love and inspiration with a woman named Viola De Lesseps. Their romance prompts him to write “Romeo and Juliet,” arguably the most famous play of all time.


  • #82. Going My Way

    IMDb user rating: 7.2
    Year: 1944
    Director: Leo McCarey

    In “Going My Way,” crooner and actor Bing Crosby plays Father Charles O’Malley, who helps revitalize a struggling church in a bad neighborhood. The movie was a major box office success, though it could have done even better were it not banned in certain Latin American countries that took offense to the depiction of a priest wearing a white shirt.


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