The Ultimate ‘Best Picture’ Oscar Winners Decade By Decade

Oscar Winners

We’ve gone through all of the archives to search for the best Oscar winners from each decade. With the success of Moonlight at The Academy Awards 2017, we’ve decided to round up the best of the best, to search for the greatest Oscar winners from the advent of the awards ceremony.

Best Film of the 1930s

The 30’s had some storming films, with films like ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and ‘It Happened One Night’ – But one film stands tall above all others. You’ll probably never meet someone who /hasn’t/ heard of Gone With the Wind. This is a distinctly American film, which hit with critics worldwide. With its historical focus and sweeping romance, Gone With the Wind has since become a classic film for all to enjoy.

Best Film of the 1940s

The 40s were a rocky time, with political turmoil and war emerging around the world, this change in atmosphere was also reflected in the films of the time, with the emergence of Film Noir. Casablanca combines the style and conventions of Film Noir with another sweeping romance that will be remembered for decades to come. Starring Humphrey Bogard and Ingrid Bergman, we also started to see the emergence of celebrity culture in Hollywood.

Best Film of the 1950s

With the economy back in growth after the Second World War, we saw film budgets skyrocket. Sets became more intricate and stars got paid more, everything was bigger, better and flashier. Arguably one of the films that perfectly reflects this is Ben Hur, which was produced on a scale and budget of which the film industry had never seen before. With astonishing set-pieces and excellent storytelling, Ben-Hur quickly became legendary and was also recently remade.

Best Film of the 1960s

Hollywood was going through a renaissance. With emerging stars, creativity and budgets at an all-time high. From this, we saw the epic adaptation of the memoirs of T.E Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. The adaptation of the film dealt with heavy themes of identity and belonging, with the historical epic soon becoming one of the most influential films of all time. Lawrence of Arabia is one of those ‘must-see’ films that is worth the lengthy running time.

Best Film of the 1970s

The 70s saw many iconic films being produced and created. It was a golden age for the industry, Rocky, Annie Hall, and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest are all fantastic films, but one franchise stands above them all. The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever created. Chronicling the downfall of Micheal Corleone and complex machinations of the criminal underworld, The Godfather stands tall as a piece of cinema that is still incredibly relevant and poignant to this day. The Godfather Part II is also an incredible film, but we prefer the first.

Best Film of the 1980s

The 80s was a decade where films got political once again, with our pick for the best film of the decade being Platoon, which is a rumination on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Platoon portrays a harrowing representation of War, with the writer/director also being a veteran of the Vietnam War itself. With nods to previous films such as Apocalypse Now and an iconic soundtrack, Platoon is one of the most iconic films in history.

Best Film of the 1990s

Schindler’s List is another film which chronicles a dark period in human history. The film is based on the real-life tale of the Schindlerjuden, Jews who were saved the Oskar Schindler during the holocaust. Directed by Steven Spielberg and in production for decades, Schindler’s List is a heartrenching watch on one of the biggest atrocities in history.

Best Film of the 2000s

The cinematic universe is something that is now taken for granted, but the first one that we ever saw on-screen was The Lord of the Rings. The film’s unusual production schedule became the blueprint for many modern franchises. The Return of the King swept up awards at the ceremony, with the faithful adaptation of Tolkien’s Classic book series. The universal themes of loss, war and love all come to a head in the conclusion to this epic tale.

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Team Zavvi

Team Zavvi


A collection of thoughts, opinions and news from the staff at Zavvi.