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!
Toy Story 3
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.
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.)
Life of Pi
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.
12 years A Slave
Dallas Buyers Club
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.
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.)
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.
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.”
Call Me By Your Name
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.
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.
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!