The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2000s


Lost In Translation (2003, dir by Sofia Coppola)

Ah, the aughts. The new century started out with the terror of 9-11 and it ended with the collapse of the world’s economy. In between, a lot of films were released. Some of them were really good. A few of them were nominated for Best Picture. Most of them were not.

2000

Chocolat

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Erin Brockovich

Gladiator

Traffic

Won: Gladiator

Should Have Won: I’m in a minority here but I’ve never particularly cared for Gladiator. Joaquin Phoenix is a good villain and I can certainly understand why some people have adopted it as a sort of a life manual but, for the most part, Gladiator just falls flat for me. If I was voting, I would have voted for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There was a time when I would have voted for Traffic but Crouching Tiger has aged with a bit more grace the Steven Soderbergh’s look at the war on drugs.

2001

A Beautiful Mind

Gosford Park

In the Bedroom

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge!

Won: A Beautiful Mind

Should Have Won: A Beautiful Mind gets criticized for being too Oscar bait-y but it’s not a bad film. What it does, it does well. That said, I would have voted for Todd Field’s haunting In The Bedroom.

2002

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

Won: Chicago

Should Have Won: As much as I love Chicago, this is the year that I would have selected to honor Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Two Towers is the darkest chapter in the saga and it’s also the best.

2003

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Mystic River

Seabiscuit

Won: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Should Have Won: Even while it was sweeping the Oscars, it was understood that Return of the King was being honored as a way to acknowledge the entire trilogy. Since I already honored the trilogy with The Two Towers, that frees me up to vote for Lost In Translation this year. Lost In Translation is a film that haunts me in a way that few other films ever have or ever will.

2004

The Aviator

Finding Neverland

Million Dollar Baby

Ray

Sideways

Won: Million Dollar Baby

Should Have Won: Million Dollar Baby is good but The Aviator is Scorsese at his best. It also features Leonardo DiCaprio’s first legitimately great performance.

2005

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

Crash

Good Night and Good Luck

Munich

Won: Crash

Should Have Won: Oh God, don’t get me started on Crash. What should have won? Anything other than Crash. I’ll go with Brokeback Mountain.

2006

Babel

The Departed

Letters From Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

The Queen

Won: The Departed

Should Have Won: Martin Scorsese finally won his first Oscar for The Departed. Sadly, The Departed is actually one of his weaker films. (Of course, a weak Scorsese film is still better than an average film from any other director.) Back in 2007, I thought Babel should have won but that’s just because I was going through a pretentious phase where I thought any film with multiple storylines was automatically brilliant. Today, I realize that The Queen was the proper winner.

2007

Atonement

Juno

Michael Clayton

No Country For Old Men

There Will Be Blood

Won: No Country For Old Men

Should Have Won: No Country For Old Men. The Academy got it exactly right.

2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Frost/Nixon

Milk

The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire

Won: Slumdog Millionaire

Should Have Won: Of the nominees, I have to go with Slumdog Millionaire. This, of course, is the year that The Dark Knight was not nominated and the internet lost its mind as a result.

2009

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious

A Serious Man

Up

Up In The Air

Won: The Hurt Locker

Should Have Won: This is the year that the Academy went back to ten nominees. The idea was that this would lead to a more diverse best picture lineup and it certainly worked the first year they tried it. This is one of the strongest best picture lineups in Oscar history and I say that as someone who really disliked Avatar and who thought The Hurt Locker was a bit overrated. I could make an argument for honoring Up In The Air, Up, District 9, A Serious Man, and Inglourious Basterds but my final vote would go to the underrated but wonderful An Education.

Coming up in an hour, we wind up our look at the history of the Best Picture race with the 2010s!

One response to “The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2000s

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 4/19/21 — 4/25/21 | Through the Shattered Lens

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