Academy Awards
Best Picture Milestones

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Oscars - Best Picture Milestones
Year of Awards (No.) Production Company
Best Picture Winner/Year and Director
Number of Awards/Nominations and Milestones
Film Poster
2010 (83rd)

Weinstein Company

The King's Speech (2010)
d. Tom Hooper
Awards: 4
Nominations: 12

A speech therapist helps insecure monarch King George VI control his stuttering.

  • the Best Picture winner was just shy one award from winning the Big Five; it won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), and Best Actor (Colin Firth), and was only lacking a Best Actress nomination/win.
  • it was the seventh film in Academy history to win three Guild prizes: Directors, Producers, and Screen Actors. In six of those seven cases, the film went on to win Best Picture. The only exception was Apollo 13 (1995) which was also lacking a Best Director nomination
  • at the time, the most-recent biopic to win Best Picture
  • the MPAA had given The King's Speech (2010) a restrictive 'R' rating for its abundant profanity - basically, for its repeated use of the F-word, although the British Ratings Board had given the film a much milder '12A' rating, on appeal. As a result of the MPAA's firm decision to not alter the original R rating, an alternate, sanitized or muted version of the film (without the F-word profanity, replaced with the S-word) was released by the Weinstein Company on 1,000 screens after the Best Picture win, to expand its potential audience. The studio received a waiver to immediately release the new version, and did not have to wait 90 days from the time the R-rated version was pulled. The short-lived PG-13 version grossed only $3.3 million, while the R-rated version grossed $135.4 million.
  • in the same year, Toy Story 3 (2010) became the most-recent Best Picture nominee with a G rating, and it was the only sequel to be nominated for Best Picture without any of its predecessors being nominated
  • it was one of the most successful independent British films ever made, with a budget of $15 million and a worldwide gross of $414.2 million
2011 (84th)

Weinstein Company

The Artist (2011)
d. Michel Hazanavicius
Awards: 5
Nominations: 10

Declining, handsome silent film star George Valentin struggles with the coming of the talkies.

  • it was the second 'silent' Best Picture winner in Oscar history, the first was Wings (1927). [The soundtrack for The Artist was non-diegetic.]
  • it was the first black and white film to win Best Picture since Schindler's List (1993) (although Spielberg's film contained a few spots of color), and it was filmed in the older 4:3 aspect ratio; it remains the most recent B/W film to win Best Picture
  • it was the first silent (almost) to be nominated for Best Picture since Ernst Lubitsch's The Patriot (1928/1929).
  • with its Best Picture win, it went from the most Oscar-nominated French film in history to being the first to win the top prize
  • the Weinstein Company began another streak of Best Picture nominees (with some wins), beginning in 2008: The Reader (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), The King's Speech (2010), and The Artist (2011).
2012 (85th)

Warner Bros.

Argo (2012)
d. Ben Affleck (un-nominated for Best Director)
Awards: 3
Nominations: 7

CIA agents in the Middle East in the 1970s team up with filmmakers to create a fake movie production to help free embassy workers (during the Iran hostage crisis).

  • the most-recent film to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director - the last film to win Best Picture without a director nomination was Bruce Beresford's Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and the previous victors before that were Wings (1927/28) and Grand Hotel (1931/32), without nominations for their directors William Wellman and Edmund Goulding respectively.
  • a possible sympathy vote and backlash in support of un-nominated director Ben Affleck may have had some impact and possibly accounted for the Best Picture win.
  • the last film to win Best Picture without winning the Oscar for Best Director was Crash (2005).
  • Argo won numerous awards pre-Oscars, including AFI Movie of the Year, BAFTA's Best Film honors, Cesar Award's Best Foreign Film, Critics Choice Best Picture, the Golden Globes Best Motion Picture - Drama, and Producers Guild of America Best Picture, among others.
  • to date, it ties Gigi (1958) for the Best Picture winner with the shortest title of 4 letters.
  • the film's title referred to the name of the fake movie being filmed, and in Greek mythology, it was also the name of the ship sailed by Jason and his Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
  • at the time of the awards, Argo was only the fourth highest-grossing (domestic) film among the Best Picture nominees.
  • in the same year, Silver Linings Playbook (2012) was the most-recent Best Picture nominee to receive nominations in all four of the acting categories
  • in the same year, Amour (2012) was the most-recent foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture (French)
  • in the same year, Life of Pi (2012) was the most-recent Best Picture nominee with a PG rating.
2013 (86th)

Fox Searchlight

12 Years A Slave (2013)
d. Steve McQueen
Awards: 3
Nominations: 9

The harrowing tale of freed black man/musician Solomon Northup from Sarasota, NY who was kidnapped and sold into bondage in the 1840s.

  • it marked the first time a film directed by a black filmmaker had won Best Picture, although McQueen did not win Best Director
  • it was only the fifth highest-grossing film among the nine Best Picture nominees at only $50 million (domestic revenue), at the time of the awards
  • only 20 other Best Picture winners in previous Oscars history have claimed three or fewer Oscars (e.g., 12 with 3 Oscars, 5 with 2 Oscars, and 3 with only 1 Oscar). It matched the most recent Best Pictures Argo (2012) and Crash (2005) with only three total wins. Interestingly, all three films won Best Picture without winning the Best Director Oscar.
  • Gravity (2013) was the first film since Cabaret (1972) (with eight wins) to win seven or more Oscars and still not win Best Picture. Its director Alfonso Cuaron became the first Mexican and Latino to win Best Director.
  • this was the first major slavery film told from an exclusively black point of view
  • it lacked a major star (except perhaps Brad Pitt in a minor role), was made by a black British director, and starred a black British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor
  • earlier, the film had swept up Best Picture accolades from the PGA, Critics' Choice, Golden Globes, and BAFTA
  • the film's Best Supporting Actress winner, Lupita Nyong'o, became the ninth Best Supporting Actress contender to win an Oscar for her film debut
  • scriptwriter John Ridley became the second African-American writer to win the Oscar for Best (Adapted) Screenplay
  • during the 2013 film season, there were four other black-themed Oscar contenders including 42, Fruitvale Station, (Lee Daniels') The Butler, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, but only 12 Years A Slave was rewarded
2014 (87th)

Fox Searchlight

Birdman (2014)
d. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Awards: 4
Nominations: 9

The tale of a fading star questing for redemption - washed-up Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson, who portrayed the costumed, comic-book superhero 'Birdman' from decades earlier (his alter-ego), was attempting a Broadway comeback to revive his career.

  • The most recent comedy to win Best Picture.
  • This marked the first year since the academy expanded the Best Picture field in 2009 that every nominee won at least one Oscar.
  • Birdman was the third film in four years to win Best Picture with its story about show business (and backstage).
  • Inarritu was the second consecutive Latino (Mexican) director to win after Alfonso Cuaron last year for Gravity (2013).
  • The Mexican director became the fifth consecutive non-American to win Best Director, following Britisher Tom Hooper for The King's Speech (2010), Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011), Taiwanese-born Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012), and fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity (2013).
  • Inarritu won the Directors Guild Award, which has matched Oscar all but seven times in the DGA's 67-year history.
  • The film was a miraculous feat - it appeared to be comprised of a single, seamless, unbroken shot.
2015 (88th)

Open Road Films

Spotlight (2015)
d. Tom McCarthy
Awards: 2
Nominations: 6

Based on the true story of the The Boston Globe's inquiry into local allegations of child abuse in the Catholic church.

  • The ensemble film won only two Oscars (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay), in the same year that Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) won six Oscars.
  • The last film to win Best Picture and just one other Oscar was director Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).
  • It was the second lowest domestic-grossing film ever to win Best Picture (at $39.1 million at the time of the award), compared to $17 million for The Hurt Locker (2009); ultimately, its domestic gross was about $45 million
  • Spotlight won over the more widely-predicted favorite The Revenant, which won Best Director for Alejandro Iñárritu. It was the third time in four years that Best Picture and Best Director were split between different films.
  • The consecutive string of non-Americans (6) winning Best Director now stretched from 2010 to 2015.
  • It was the second digitally-captured movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture, after last year's Birdman (2014).
  • Although a number of journalism-themed films in Oscar history have received lots of nominations, including Best Picture (e.g, Network (1976), All the President's Men (1976), The Killing Fields (1984), Broadcast News (1987), and Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)), Gentleman's Agreement (1947) was the last journalism-related film to win Best Picture.
2016 (89th)

A24/Plan B Entertainment

Moonlight (2016)
d. Barry Jenkins
Awards: 3
Nominations: 8

A coming-of-age dramatic tale (the director's second film) told in three chapters - about black youth Chiron (a young gay black man) living in a crime-infested rough area of Miami with a crack-addicted mother.

  • Its director Barry Jenkins became the 4th black helmsmen to be nominated in the category, and the first African-American to direct a Best Picture-winning film.
  • The film's other two Oscars included Best Supporting Actor (for Mahershala Ali - he became the first Muslim to win an Oscar), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for its director Barry Jenkins, from a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney).
  • It was the first prominent LGBTQ film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. [Note: LGBTQ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning) individuals/identities.]
  • It became the first Best Picture winner without a single white cast member.
  • With a production budget of only $4 million (the least expensive film to ever win Best Picture), it was released by independent distributor A24 and had support from Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. It was ranked as the # 101st film of the year at the time of the awards, with eventually only $27.9 million (domestic) (one of the lowest grossing Best Picture winners ever).
  • Before the film was nominated for Best Picture, its domestic gross was only $15.9 million - it added $6.4 million (almost 23% of its total gross of $27.9 million) as a result of its Oscar nomination.
Moonlight  (2016)
2017 (90th)

Fox Searchlight

The Shape of Water (2017)
d. Guillermo del Toro
Awards: 4
Nominations: 13

A whimsical fantasy set in the early 1960s about the romance between a mute, forlorn cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) and a misunderstood, imprisoned amphibious mutant man-monster (actor-mime Doug Jones) in a secret Cold War lab outside Baltimore.

  • The film's 13 nominations put it into rare company - it was the tenth film in Oscar history to earn 13 nominations. In the entire history of the Oscars, only three films have scored 14 nominations: All About Eve (1950), Titanic (1997) and La La Land (2016).
  • From 2013 to 2017, Mexican film-makers (Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Inarritu, and Alfonso Cuaron) have won Oscars for Best Director in four of the five years. Del Toro became the third Mexican-born filmmaker to win the award.
  • It was the highest-grossing (domestic) Best Picture winner in five years, at $57.4 million at the time of the award.
  • The R-rated feature (with sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language) was the sixth consecutive Best Picture winner with this rating, beginning with Argo (2012).
  • The film deliberately paid homage to the sci-fi-horror classic The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954).
  • It was only the second movie with a credited female screenwriter (Vanessa Taylor with co-writer Guillermo del Toro) to win Best Picture since World War II. [Note: The first film was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - co-written by two female screenwriters: Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.]
The Shape of Water (2017)
2018 (91st)


Green Book (2018)
d. Peter Farrelly
Awards: 3
Nominations: 5

A road-trip tour through the Jim-Crow American South in 1962 was taken by erudite, African-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his racist, vulgar, bigoted working class, New York City-born chauffeur-driver Tony 'Lip' Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) in a teal Cadillac, to attend a concert tour.

  • the film's title was a reference to a guidebook that listed Southern restaurants, hotels and gas stations that would serve black people in the 60s
  • the controversial, inter-racial buddy dramedy and road-trip film was hotly-debated and faced considerable backlash over its antiquated depiction of race relations; it was called a retread of other 'White Savior' films such as Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy (1989) (also with a chauffeur-driver character) and The Help (2011)
  • the main criticisms were that it was simplistic and saccharine, and only served as a feel-good race film; it was odd to have the main character portrayed as a bigoted white racist in a film about discrimination against black people; some called it a rebuke to this year's Oscar push for greater diversity
  • Don Shirley's family claimed that the film's account (co-written in part by Tony's son, Nick Vallelonga) was filled with inaccuracies (they called it "a symphony of lies"), and that they were not contacted until after the film was made
  • director Peter Farrelly was un-nominated as Best Director - this marked only the fifth time in Oscar's history that the director of the top film was not nominated for Best Director (previous occurrences were in 1927/28, 1931/32, 1989, and 2012)
  • at the time of its Best Picture nomination, its domestic revenue was only $42.4 million; it added another $27.1 million to its take, so by the time of the Oscar awards presentation, it still had a very low total of only $69.6 million
  • Mahershala Ali's second Best Supporting Actor Oscar win for his performance made him the second African-American actor to win two Oscars for acting, joining Denzel Washington, and he became the first black actor to repeat a win in the same category
  • for the second time since the Academy expanded the Best Picture lineup in 2009, every single Best Picture nominee (eight films) took home at least one Oscar - this feat first occurred in 2014.
Green Book  (2018)
2019 (92nd)


Parasite (2019, S. Korea)
d. Bong Joon Ho
Awards: 4
Nominations: 6

A psychological thriller, twisting drama and dark comedy about class struggle and social inequality.

  • The winner of four major awards: Best International Feature Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture.
  • Bong Joon Ho became the 8th director to have accomplished the 'hat trick' of triple Oscar wins for Producing, Directing, and Writing in a single year. He was only the second Asian director ever to win an Oscar, following two-time champ Ang Lee (for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012))
  • To date, it was one of only 12 films that won Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination.
  • It was the first non-English language film to ever win the top honor.
  • It was only the 10th foreign-language film to be nominated for Best Picture.
  • It was the first nomination and win in the category of Best International Feature Film (previously known as Best Foreign-Language Film) for a South Korean film. Only three East Asian nations have ever won this Oscar: Japan (4 wins, in 1951, 1954, 1955 and 2008), Taiwan (1 win for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)), and now South Korea.
  • It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the first Korean film to do so.
  • the Best Original Screenplay Oscar awarded to the film was the first writing win for an entirely Foreign-Language film since Talk to Her (2002, Sp.), and it was the first time Asian writers had ever won an Oscar.
Parasite (2019)

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