A long time ago, on a movie-related podcast, a question was posited to the hosts: When is the last time your favorite movie of the year won Best Picture at the Oscars? As I was listening to the podcast, it took me a little while to figure my first answer out, but whenever I thought of a film, I realized that I only agreed with the selected winner of the nominated films — but it wasn’t really my favorite film of the year. So, today, I want to do my own four-pronged test, for the purpose of finding out just how much I agree with the Academy.
This test that I have designed consists of four questions, which are each trying to gather what your personal connection to the selected winners is. Now, I should note that I haven’t seen every film ever made, obviously, and I can’t say that I’ve seen every Best Picture winner yet, unfortunately. But I think this is an interesting test for me to go through.
#1 – Starting With an Easy One
- When is the last time your personal favorite film of the nominated films for Best Picture won the award?
Now again, this isn’t your favorite film of the year. This is about your favorite Best Picture nominated film in any given year. Let’s start with last year’s ceremony — the 90th Academy Awards. While I loved The Shape of Water, it wasn’t my favorite nominated film. In fact, my favorite film of 2017 — Phantom Thread — was nominated for Best Picture.
We have to go a couple of extra years back to find the answer. The last time my favorite Best Picture nominated film won the big award was at the 88th Academy Awards. That’s right, that means I am one of those people who would’ve picked Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight to win. Though I should say Inside Out was my favorite film of 2015.
#2 – Nominated
- When is the last time your favorite movie of the year was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars?
I mentioned this in the previous section, but this one is easy for me — Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. I mean, it just happened at the previous ceremony. Interestingly, the last time my favorite film of the year wasn’t nominated for Best Picture was actually at the ceremony that Spotlight won at.
#3 – Half and Half
- At the ceremonies celebrating films from the 2010s, how many times has your favorite film of the year not been nominated for Best Picture?
You know, these last few years it’s been going quite well for me with Best Picture. 2017 had Phantom Thread, 2016 had La La Land, and… Well, that’s when it starts to slow down. 2013 had Her and 2010 had Toy Story 3. And that’s it.
My favorite films of 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2011 were Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen’s Inside Out, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, and Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 respectively. 50/50 and Under the Skin were completely ignored by the Academy in their years, but Inside Out and The Hunt did show up in certain categories. So, what does that mean? Well, it is an even split. Four good years, four bad ones. Fifty-fifty.
#4 – The Big One
- Finally, when is the last time your favorite film of the year won Best Picture at the Academy Awards?
The honest answer is that it’s been awhile unless you count the minutes we all thought La La Land won Best Picture. We have to go all the way back to the 76th ceremony when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the top award. And if that film hadn’t won, then we’d have to go much farther back.
So, that’s that. But what about you? Please comment below.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.