Ranking Academy Awards for Best Picture

by luke-a-mcgowan | created - 03 Apr 2015 | updated - 29 Mar 2016 | Public

All of the Academy Awards for Best Picture, ranked from Best to Worst. This is based on artistic merit, entertainment value, whether it was the best of the nominees, and the balance between all its factors.

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1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

PG-13 | 201 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

94 Metascore

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Votes: 1,593,872 | Gross: $377.85M

2. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,558,676 | Gross: $134.97M

3. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

70 Metascore

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 502,754 | Gross: $117.24M

4. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

100 Metascore

A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 506,230 | Gross: $1.02M

5. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 619,718 | Gross: $56.67M

6. Titanic (1997)

PG-13 | 194 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates

Votes: 1,017,243 | Gross: $659.33M

7. The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller, War

95 Metascore

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce

Votes: 411,935 | Gross: $17.02M

8. Annie Hall (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

92 Metascore

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane

Votes: 246,964 | Gross: $39.20M

9. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,223,475 | Gross: $130.74M

10. Chicago (2002)

PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Crime, Musical

81 Metascore

Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer's attention.

Director: Rob Marshall | Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Taye Diggs

Votes: 211,339 | Gross: $170.69M

11. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

R | 120 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A Mumbai teenager reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?".

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan | Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor

Votes: 782,679 | Gross: $141.32M

12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

R | 133 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Michael Berryman

Votes: 884,825 | Gross: $112.00M

13. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

PG-13 | 132 min | Drama, Sport

86 Metascore

A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel

Votes: 618,914 | Gross: $100.49M

14. Crash (I) (2004)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

66 Metascore

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Karina Arroyave

Votes: 413,659 | Gross: $54.58M

15. American Beauty (1999)

R | 122 min | Drama

84 Metascore

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley

Votes: 1,043,095 | Gross: $130.10M

16. Argo (2012)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Votes: 560,360 | Gross: $136.03M

17. The King's Speech (2010)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Votes: 624,824 | Gross: $138.80M

18. Rain Man (1988)

R | 133 min | Drama

65 Metascore

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen

Votes: 462,320 | Gross: $178.80M

19. Spotlight (I) (2015)

R | 129 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 401,935 | Gross: $45.06M

20. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

87 Metascore

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 561,802 | Gross: $42.34M

21. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) and a young man, The "Schofield Kid" (Jaimz Woolvett).

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 364,112 | Gross: $101.16M

22. Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

Votes: 53,249 | Gross: $108.42M

23. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 1,150,804 | Gross: $132.38M

24. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 936,735 | Gross: $75.60M

25. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

R | 202 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,089,278 | Gross: $57.30M

26. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 823,146 | Gross: $74.28M

27. Gladiator (2000)

R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

67 Metascore

A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed

Votes: 1,297,731 | Gross: $187.71M

28. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,741,115 | Gross: $330.25M

29. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, History

87 Metascore

The world's greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare, is young, out of ideas and short of cash, but meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Director: John Madden | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 209,984 | Gross: $100.32M



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