Oscars 2024: Ranking every Best Picture winner since 2010

Euronews Culture ranks all the Best Picture Oscar winners since 2010.
Euronews Culture ranks all the Best Picture Oscar winners since 2010. Copyright A24, CJ Entertainment / Camera Film, Apple TV+, Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Copyright A24, CJ Entertainment / Camera Film, Apple TV+, Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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From 'The King’s Speech' to 'Everything Everywhere All at Once', Euronews Culture ranks all the Best Picture Oscar winners since 2010. Where will 'Oppenheimer' sit if it wins the top gong on Sunday?


The 96th Academy Awards are coming this weekend, and whether we like it or not, that eight-and-a-half-pound gold-plated trophy for Best Picture does remain the grandest prize of every year’s awards season.

The Oscar for Best Picture is a distinction that cements a film’s place in history, and while it’s easy to second-guess the Academy on its laureates, putting these prizes into context remains an interesting exercise – specifically to ascertain how films have stood the test of time. And how only a handful truly deserved the award.

You’ll have to stay tuned for our full 2024 predictions, but we’re guessing that Oppenheimer will most likely add its name to this list, as Christopher Nolan’s bombs-go-bad-boom epic is the frontrunner above the likes of Poor Things, Anatomy of a Fall, Past Lives (our favourite film of last year), and The Zone of Interest (our favourite film of 2024 so far).

In the meantime, Euronews Culture looks at the Best Picture winners since 2010 and ranks them from “WTF Academy?” to “OMG they actually got it right”. 

No prizes for guessing which film kicks off this list.

13) Green Book (2019)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay.

Green Book is without a doubt the most unworthy Best Picture winner since 2010. While not a terrible movie in and of itself, it remains a shallow look at race in America. Worse, it won two years after Moonlight, which managed to deal with many similar themes without leaning on outdated “magical negro” tropes or childishly reducing its core message to “racism is bad”.

Green Book was a step backwards in the way this unremarkable film belittled America’s ongoing history of racism. Its feel-good credentials aren’t the problem, and neither is Mahershala Ali’s performance – but Peter Farrelly’s sickly interracial buddy movie / Driving Miss Daisy update was about as subtle as a chainsaw to the face. Still, what did you expect from the director of Shallow Hal?

It showed Oscar voters merely keen to award a film that would make them feel good about themselves, à la “racism is sorted and we helped” – much like awarding Crash Best Picture in 2006.

While the Academy has taken steps to diversify its voters, the 91st Oscars went down as a ceremony that did honour diversity (Best Supporting Actress to Regina King, Best Supporting Actor to Mahershala Ali, Best Director to Alfonso Cuarón…) but chose the wrong film for the top gong.

What Should Have Won: Almost all nominees that year were more deserving, especially A Star Is Born, The Favourite and Roma. Hell, even Black Panther or Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman could have won it for portraying issues of race in more layered ways. Take your pick. Except for Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody.

12) The King’s Speech (2011)

Total Oscars won: 4 - Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Original Screenplay.

Let’s face facts: Tom Hooper, the director of Les Misérables, The Danish Girl and Cats, has only made one good film. And it’s none of these. Nor is it The King's Speech. You’d have to look back to 2009’s football drama The Damned United for his strongest effort.

And yet, he won for The King’s Speech, which isn’t a bad film per se - it’s just a very bland, inspirational-by-numbers melodrama that was tailored Oscar bait.

Biopic? Check. Royalty? Check. Looming war? Check. The reductive conflation of a personal issue with the WWII effort and nation also finding their voice? Check. The list goes on with this tame story of how King George VI overcame a crippling stammer to deliver a speech which would send countless men to die. Hooray.

And think about it - When was the last time you rewatched The King’s Speech? And what about its fellow nominees Inception, Toy Story 3, Black Swan and The Social Network? Case closed.

What Should Have Won:The Social Network

11) The Artist (2012)

Total Oscars won: 5 - Best Picture, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Original Score, Best Costume Design.


Give Hollywood a film about the power of filmmaking and you can be sure the Oscar nominations are all but guaranteed.

French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius got confirmation of this with The Artist, a valentine to the silent era shot in gorgeous monochrome that brought home five Oscars for its troubles. It’s a sweet but very slight confection of a film that has some charm to spare and did introduce us to Uggie the dog. So that’s something.

Beyond that, it has faded with time. Its win only makes sense when you see the rest of the Best Picture candidates that year: The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and War Horse. Put simply, it was the best of a very mediocre bunch. Except when you remember Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life was also nominated, and then you curse the Academy voters for being catastrophic flans with no taste.

What Should Have Won:The Tree of Life

10) CODA (2022)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur), Best Adapted Screenplay.


CODA is a very tender, Sundance-by-numbers coming-of-age movie that defied the odds to make history as the first Best Picture winner ever released by a streamer (Apple TV+).

Beyond that piece of trivia though, the chances are that if you haven’t already seen Sian Heder’s film, based on the superior 2014 French-Belgian film La Famille Bélier, you probably won’t. You probably didn’t remember that it won Best Picture two years ago. That’s because it has already faded into obscurity.

Shame, as it’s schmaltz – but sincere schmaltz.

What Should Have Won:Drive My Car or Power of the Dog.

9) Spotlight (2016)

Total Oscars won: 2 - Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay.


Tom McCarthy’s film is hat tip to investigative journalism and journalistic determination, which tries to make up for All the President’s Men not winning the Oscar in 1977.

It’s informational and at times gripping, laudably tackling the systemic child sex abuse by the Catholic Church, as well as delving into themes of mass culpability and the fracturing of communities.

It does falter considering the amount of Sorkinesque walk-and-talk exposition dumps, and its penchant for Oscar clip segments (see: Mark Ruffalo’s scenes). Above all though, it was the safe choice.

How great would it have been to see the Academy deviate from the formula and pick Best Picture nominee Mad Max: Fury Road – one of the boldest and brashest action films of the 21st century?

What Should Have Won:Mad Max: Fury Road


8) Argo (2013)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing.

Argo gets a hard time of it.

Yes, it exaggerates the facts and smudges many real-life details, but all in favour of creating a suspenseful, stranger-than-fiction thriller that’s well-acted and never boring. Once you’ve accepted that it’s not overly concerned with veracity so much as simply seeking to glue you to your seat with an American foreign-policy fantasy doubling up as yet another “this is the power of cinema” movie, then you can accept it as such.

The tone doesn’t always land, and some moments are questionable – the 20th century history of Iran reduced to storyboards at the beginning raises some eyebrows. But at the end of the day, were you not entertained? Argo is a disposable but self-aware reminder of a time when Ben Affleck was having a Hollywood renaissance… And... And... Argofuckyourself. 

Still, for all the defence of Argo, there’s no escaping the fact that Spielberg’s Lincoln, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michael Haneke’s Amour or Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty would have been more worthy winners.


What Should Have Won:Zero Dark Thirty

7) Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2015)

Total Oscars won: 4 - Best Picture, Best Director (Alejandro G. Iñárritu), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography.

This is another one which has its many detractors, but there’s still plenty to admire with Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s ambitious but completely self-righteous single-shot movie chronicling how a washed up Hollywood actor tries to put on a Broadway play as a comeback vehicle.

Birdman wasn’t exactly as emotionally expansive as fellow nominee Boyhood and it didn’t deliver Whiplash ’s thrills. Nor was it as all-round brilliant as Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. That said, its continuous takes boasted moments of brio and Edward Norton hadn’t been this fun in years.

What Should Have Won:The Grand Budapest Hotel


6) Nomadland (2021)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Director (Chloé Zhao), Best Actress (Frances McDormand).

Prior to her third feature, writer-director Chloé Zhao had made quite a name for herself, crafting empathetic, beautifully lyrical small-scale portraits of life on the fringes of American society. After Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, Nomadland also tackled the failed promises of the American Dream, and was the one that propelled her to Oscar glory.

Recalling at times the work of Kelly Reichardt, Zhao’s direction showed how to make the audience care for all the protagonists in the frame, and the political and social implications she delved into never felt didactic. Add Joshua James Richards’s sweeping cinematography and Ludovico Einaudi’s emotive score, and you had one of the best films of 2020.

Nomadland was also one of the most left-field Oscar winners (until Everything Everywhere All At Once came along), as it was the furthest thing from a traditional crowd-pleaser as you get. It’s not had that much staying power since its win, but this Best Picture winner was not one to complain about.

What Should Have Won:Sound of Metal


5) The Shape of Water (2018)

Total Oscars won: 4 - Best Picture, Best Director (Guillermo del Toro), Best Original Score, Best Production Design.

Looking back, it’s still a bit galling that Guillermo del Toro won Best Picture for The Shape of Water, when he really should have taken it home for Pan’s Labyrinth in 2007.

Still, this Cold War Amélie was a satisfying win, a stylish valentine to old-school moviemaking that blended B-movie horror, fantasy and unabashedly romantic storytelling in ways other filmmakers can only dream of.

It was a strong year with the nine nominees for Best Picture, including Get Out, Call Me By Your Name and Phantom Thread. The latter should have taken the statuette, as it remains one of the last decade’s best films, an unconventionally romantic film that explores the knotty complexities of any inexplicable and passionate attraction. Still, it’s hard to get mad at this ode to outsiders, or at anything del Toro does. Except Crimson Peak. That was rubbish.

What Should Have Won:Phantom Thread


4) Everything Everywhere All at Once (2023)

Total Oscars won: 7 - Best Picture, Best Director (the Daniels), Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing.

Last year’s winner was an anomaly.

It’s a madcap and Dadaist mix of sci-fi, action, comedy and family drama and the furthest thing from a classic Oscar-winning film you can get. Its win signalled a sizeable shift – not only for Asian representation, but because it was both the popular and critics' choice. This little indie that could was a delirious take on intergenerational trauma, one which featured hotdog fingers, rocks, evil bagels, buttplugs and Ratatouille references to comment on existential angst. Above all, it still stands as an inventive ode to kindness.

Its overcaffeinated weirdness and inventiveness felt fresh for the Oscars and the directing duo known as the Daniels made sure that despite the current ubiquity of the multiverse storytelling trend, they never lost sight of an emotional pull that made all the characters devastatingly relatable.

While it’s a shame that one of last year’s best films – Todd Field’s Tár – left the Oscars empty-handed, there’s always something truly worth celebrating when a film defiantly breaks the rules and delivers something truly different. 


What Should Have Won:Everything Everywhere All at Once

3) 12 Years A Slave (2014)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o), Best Adapted Screenplay.

There was no other movie more deserving of the top prize in 2014.

As good as Her, Gravity and Dallas Buyers Club were, Steve McQueen’s brutal look at American slavery was the favourite going into the 86th Academy Awards, and proved that his previous films – Hunger and Shame – were only the beginning of a great filmmaking career.

It’s not the easiest of watches – to say the least – but it's a vital film that, if anything, deserved to take home more statuettes.


What Should Have Won:12 Years A Slave

2) Moonlight (2017)

Total Oscars won: 3 - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay.

Ah, the winner we almost never got… Everyone remembers that infamous card mix-up and La La Land mistakenly announced as Best Picture. But sanity prevailed and Barry Jenkins’ second film took home the Golden Baldie.

While Dennis Villeneuve’s Arrival could have made for an interesting winner, this story of a young gay man during three crucial periods in his life was raw, honest and deeply resonant. Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue", Moonlight remains one of the go-to examples of the Academy getting it 100% right, and this profoundly moving intersectional film continues to yield rewards to this day. Plus, that soundtrack by Nicholas Britell is truly one for the ages.

What Should Have Won:Moonlight


1) Parasite (2020)

Total Oscars won: 4 - Best Picture, Best Director (Bong Joon Ho), Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film.

Bong Joon Ho’s dark social satire is hands down the worthiest winner of Best Picture in the last 14 years.

The South Korean auteur expertly constructed a caustic indictment of the dehumanising effect of entrenched social strata. By seamlessly crafting some unexpected twists and turns, which blended Hitchcockian tension with farcical elements, Bong added sombrely poetic layers to his biting social commentary. It remains an uncompromising and borderline unclassifiable masterwork, one that became the first Korean film to win Cannes’ Palme d’Or and the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Parasite seemed like a shoo-in for Best International Feature in 2020, but most people were expecting either 1917 or The Irishman to win Best Picture. However, when Bong Joon-ho won Best Director, beating Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes and Quentin Tarantino to the punch, it was a moment of jubilation.

"Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films," said Bong Joon Ho as he claimed the prize for foreign-language film at the Golden Globes that year. Not only does his statement continue to resonate to this day, but by calling out Hollywood myopia, director Bong and his modern-day masterpiece showed that the best Oscar winners are always the ones where the Academy breaks free of protocol and dares to think outside the box.


What Should Have Won:Parasite

This year’s Academy Awards take place on Sunday 10 March. Stay tuned to Euronews Culture for news, updates and live coverage next weekend. And if Oppenheimer wins, we'd place it in fifth, maybe fourth place. In case you were wondering.

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