With the 88th Academy Awards ceremony a little less than a week away, it’s tempting to ponder which of 2015’s selected films will take home the statue for Best Picture. At one point, “The Revenant” looked to be a dark horse candidate, the thinking was that it was too gritty for voters, but with Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s big win at the DGA Awards, as well as the movie’s stellar performance at this year’s Golden Globes, no one should count it out just yet. Ditto for “Spotlight,” a smart, grown-up drama that undeniably checks all of the Academy boxes and yet remains very much its own thing. “Mad Max: Fury Road” would be a hell of a great surprise, and let’s not forget Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” which was greeted with more critical enthusiasm than most probably anticipated.
It goes without saying that there’s a familiar narrative with the Academy Awards where the movies that usually win for Best Picture are seen in hindsight as being somehow inferior. The most obvious example of this is probably “Raging Bull,” which lost to the mostly forgettable “Ordinary People” in 1980, though I would argue the most egregious instance of this occurred in 2002 when someone decided that Rob Marshall’s garish, overblown “Chicago” was somehow worthy of the ceremony’s highest honor. And now, just in time for this year’s awards, we have a new video from Burger Fiction that takes a look at every Best Picture winner ever, going all the way back to the late 1920s.
Watching the video, you can’t help but wonder about the evolution of the Academy’s standards as they have progressed over time — or, as some would argue, how they haven’t. Any film lover should find this too-brief video to be, at the very least, educational (and if you’re not a film lover, then what are you doing reading this?) Sure, there have been some strange selections over the years (“Out of Africa,” “Forrest Gump,” or “Crash,” anyone?), but there are certainly a few undeniably solid picks here too, like “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Deer Hunter.” Obviously, whether or not a film takes home a Best Picture statue doesn’t necessarily affect its standing in the annals of history, but it’s certainly interesting to see what the Academy has chosen to honor over the years.
What’s your pick for Best Picture this year? Let us know below, and watch the video here.