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Critics' Choice Best Picture winners from worst to first

  • Critics' Choice Best Picture winners from worst to first

    Presented on Jan. 12 by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards will honor the most beloved movies of 2019. Leading with 14 nominations is Martin Scorsese’s atypical gangster epic “The Irishman,” which is up for Best Picture, Best Costume Design, and pretty much everything in between. It will square off against the following Best Picture nominees: “1917,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Little Women,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Joker,” “Uncut Gems,” “Marriage Story,” and “Parasite.” Based on critics’ awards thus far, “Parasite” appears to be the front-runner, but anything can happen.

    Whichever film walks home with top honors, it will join a relatively small batch of previous winners. That’s because the Critics’ Choice Awards is a relatively new ceremony, dating back to 1996. Created for films only, it now honors the best in cinema and television alike. Each winner is determined by a write-in ballot while a board of directors decides special awards. This year’s ceremony will take place at Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport and air on The CW with host Taye Diggs.

    Like the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards indicate which films and talents will take home Oscar gold. In fact, among the 24 Critics’ Choice Best Picture winners, 14 achieved the same feat at the Academy Awards. That’s not to mention Critics’ Choice Best Picture winners such as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Fargo,” and “The Social Network,” all of which easily could have (and maybe should have) won the Oscar for Best Picture.

    So which Critics’ Choice Best Picture winners are the best? To find out, Stacker compiled Letterboxd, IMDb, and Metacritic data on all 24 films that have won the Critics' Choice Best Picture award. Data was sourced from the Critics’ Choice Awards website and each title was ranked according to its Letterboxd score. Initial ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user ratings. Here they are from worst to first.

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  • #24. Chicago (2002)

    - Director: Rob Marshall
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.65
    - Metascore: 82
    - IMDb user rating: 7.1
    - Runtime: 113 min

    Along with films such as “Moulin Rouge,” this 2002 smash hit was part of a short-lived musical revival. Following two convicted murderers (Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones) in their pursuit of fortune and fame, it swept through awards season like a tornado. Besides winning Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice Awards, it won for Best Acting Ensemble and Best Supporting Actress (Zeta-Jones).


  • #23. Argo (2012)

    - Director: Ben Affleck
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.65
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 7.7
    - Runtime: 120 min

    Ben Affleck’s historical drama about a real-life CIA operation defeated movies like “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Silver Linings Playbook” when it was awarded Best Picture and Best Director by the BFCA. It was also nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three. Despite his victory at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Affleck did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director.


  • #22. Sideways (2004)

    - Director: Alexander Payne
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.67
    - Metascore: 94
    - IMDb user rating: 7.5
    - Runtime: 127 min

    Winner of five Critics’ Choice Awards, this understated dramedy from Alexander Payne surprised the film industry and wine industry alike. Chronicling the misadventures of two close friends in California’s wine country, it made over $100 million at the worldwide box office. It also won two Golden Globes and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.


  • #21. The Hurt Locker (2009)

    - Director: Kathryn Bigelow
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.70
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 131 min

    Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of a bomb-disposal sergeant (Jeremy Renner) in Iraq won Best Picture and Best Director at the Critics’ Choice Awards. At the Oscars, she again beat out ex-husband James Cameron and his film “Avatar” in both respective categories. To date, Bigelow remains the only female to have won an Academy Award for Best Director.


  • #20. The Artist (2011)

    - Director: Michel Hazanavicius
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.71
    - Metascore: 89
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 100 min

    Critics were near universal in their acclaim of this black-and-white dramedy, which unfolds in the style of a silent era film. After winning three Golden Globes and four Critics’ Choice Awards, it scooped up five Oscars out of 10 nominations. Actress Kim Novak of “Vertigo” fame was less fond of the film, chastising its brief use of music from the Alfred Hitchcock classic.

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  • #19. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

    - Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.72
    - Metascore: 86
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 120 min

    With its harrowing themes and brisk execution, this gripping romantic drama became the biggest sleeper hit in UK history. It also swept at the Critics’ Choice Awards, winning in all five categories for which it was nominated. Along with the widespread fanfare came no shortage of controversy, when the film was accused of exploiting poverty in India.


  • #18. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

    - Director: Ron Howard
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.76
    - Metascore: 72
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 135 min

    Ron Howard’s biopic of mathematician John Nash plays loose with the facts, but audiences and critics loved it, anyway. Stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly took home top honors at the Critics’ Choice Award, where the film also won for Best Picture and Best Director. Connelly won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, with Crowe losing out to Denzel Washington of “Training Day.”


  • #17. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

    - Director: Ang Lee
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.79
    - Metascore: 84
    - IMDb user rating: 7.6
    - Runtime: 136 min

    At the first-ever Critics’ Choice Awards, this beloved adaptation won for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The screenplay was written by British actress Emma Thompson, who starred in a lead role. She also won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Adapted Screenplay.


  • #16. The Shape of Water (2017)

    - Director: Guillermo del Toro
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.80
    - Metascore: 87
    - IMDb user rating: 7.3
    - Runtime: 123 min

    Before winning big at the Oscars, this unconventional tale of forbidden romance racked up four Critics’ Choice Awards out of a whopping 14 nominations. Shining a light on women, the ceremony also handed out awards to female-driven stories such as “Wonder Woman,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Big Little Lies,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Actress while “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot earned the second-ever #SeeHer Award.


  • #15. Boyhood (2014)

    - Director: Richard Linklater
    - Letterboxd user rating: 3.80
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 165 min

    Famously filmed over the course of 12 years, this coming-of-age drama chronicles the life of a young boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane). It took home the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture over a host of critical and commercial darlings, including “Whiplash,” “Birdman,” and “The Imitation Game.” Star Patricia Arquette won not just a Critics’ Choice Award, but also an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

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