The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2010s


Ah, the 2010s. Social media made anxiety the norm and Americans became obsessed with “red states” and “blue states.” Americans fetishized politicians and the Academy decided that it would be cool to do away with the idea of having a set number of best picture winners. One bright spot, for me at least: Arleigh invited me to write for this site! And the rest, as they say, is history!

2010

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Won: The King’s Speech

Should Have Won: Ah, The King’s Speech vs The Social Network. On the one hand, The King’s Speech was a far more conventional film than The Social Network. On the other hand, The Social Network‘s supporters tended to be so obnoxious about it that you kind of wanted it to lose just to spite them. Personally, I liked The King’s Speech on an emotional level. The Social Network holds up fairly well, though I still find it to be overrated. Inception is still exciting to watch and Winter’s Bone gets better every time I view it. In the end, though, my vote still goes to Black Swan, a film that gave me an asthma attack the first time I watched it.

2011

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

Won: The Artist

Should Have Won: The Artist isn’t bad but its victory was still more about its novelty than its quality. The Tree of Life is visually stunning but the scenes with Sean Penn are a bit too heavy-handed for me. My vote goes to Hugo, a film that gets better each and every time that I see it. (My favorite film of the year remains the unnominated Hanna.)

2012

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Won: Argo

Should Have Won: “Argo fuck yourself!” Yes, I can see why this won! Actually, Argo‘s victory has always struck me as weird. Argo is a rather forgettable winner. My vote goes to Life of Pi.

2013

12 years A Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Won: 12 Years A Slave

Should Have Won: This was a good year and I can make an argument for why American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, and The Wolf of Wall Street all deserved to win. In the end, though, the power of 12 Years a Slave cannot be denied.

2014

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Won: Birdman

Should Have Won: We all love Michael Keaton but Birdman was a pretentious film that thought it was more profound than it actually was. Of the nominees, Boyhood is my pick. (My favorite film of the year was — and I make no apologies for this — the terrifically entertaining Guardians of the Galaxy.)

2015

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Won: Spotlight

Should Have Won: Spotlight is a well-acted, visually flat movie that feels like it belongs on television as opposed to playing in theaters. Of the nominees, I really love Brooklyn but Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of the pulp imagination and that’s the film that gets my vote.

2016

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester By The Sea

Moonlight

Won: Moonlight

Should Have Won: This is one of the stronger best picture line-ups and the fact that I would pick a film other than Moonlight should not be taken as a criticism of the Academy’s decision. Moonlight is a worthwhile winner. La La Land would have been a worthy winner, as well. In retrospect, 2016 was a better year for movie than a lot of us realized a the time. Back then, I would have voted for Arrival but today, I would probably vote for Hell or High Water. “We ain’t got no goddamned trout.”

2017

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Won: The Shape of Water

Should Have Won: Considering how much I love Guillermo Del Toro, it pains me that I didn’t particularly care for The Shape of Water. But I have to admit that the film lost me as soon as the Fishman ate that cat. Of the nominees, I would have voted for Lady Bird.

2018

Black Panther

BlackKklansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourtie

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Won: Green Book

Should Have Won: My favorite film of the year, Eighth Grade, was not nominated. In fact, a lot of good films weren’t nominated in 2018. What a strange year that sees both Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody nominated but not Eighth Grade or First Reformed. Spike Lee finally got his first nomination but it was for one of his most conventional films. It was a strange year. Of the nominees, I would vote for A Star is Born.

2019

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Won: Parasite

Should Have Won: My favorite film of the year was The Souvenir, which barely got any distribution at all in the States and went unnominated. Parasite‘s victory was a great moment and it’s certainly a good film. That said, I still would have voted for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

And that’s it for our look back at all the previous races for Best Picture! Later tonight, a new film will join these previous winners! The big show starts in about 30 minutes!

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

3 responses to “The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2010s

  1. This was an excellent series and a big undertaking – great job! I very much enjoyed all of it (and agreed with quite a lot) – thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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

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