The Oscars always – like it or not – had a responsibility to provide snapshots of a given year when best picture recognition.
The film industry’s most prestigious artistic award, the Oscars have been both hailed and criticized for their choices. As they began to diversify their membership in the mid-2010s, the Academy has grown more vibrant, with many different artistic activities and genres recognized each year. As we head towards an impending 100th anniversary celebration of the awards in 2027, Variety begins the daring task of ranking the 571 films that were nominated (and the few reviews that ultimately won) for Best Picture.
Naturally time consuming, this list will be updated in stages, adding films in order from year to year.
The first Oscar-recognized best films list ranks the 35 best films released from 2010 to that year’s extended eligibility year 2020-2021. Until the 96 movies from this period are added, we won’t move on to the 2000s, etc.
Each movie below includes the title, a link to the Variety review time and major credit information including distributors, directors, writers, producers and stars. There is also an excerpt from the film, nicknamed “the scene that proves it”, otherwise known as what I perceive to be the best scene in the film.
Although the road to 571, but essentially 641 (which will be the presumed amount that we will live up to if the Academy stays at 10 nominees defined until that point, which begins in 2022) is long and tedious, this allows an opportunity for me to watch and revisit all those great movies, many of which I have never seen even though I own most of the nearly 600.
While no list is perfect and the definition of “best” versus “favorite” is an ongoing argument in circles of movie buffs in general, one should not expect unanimous agreement on these rankings. . As cinema is subjective, as is all art, we encourage you to make your own list as you navigate the process with us.
For all the current Oscars predictions for Best Picture and other categories, visit the Awards Circuit hub for rankings.
Updated: April 18, 2021
(including the top 35 of the 96 nominated films from 2010 to 2020-2021)