2010s Academy Awards Best Picture Films Ranked from Worst to Best

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If you do not wish to read the entire post, here is the ranking as a tier list (made using TierMaker).

A+ (THE BEST): Parasite, Moonlight, Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman

A/A- (EXCELLENT): The Artist, The Shape of Water, The King’s Speech, Argo


B-/C+ (FAIRLY DECENT): Green Book

(If you’re curious, if I had included the 2020 and 2021 winners, Nomadland would be in the A+ tier behind 12 Years a Slave, and CODA would be in the A/A- tier behind The King’s Speech.)

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Folks, it’s that time of year, once again!  Hollywood is about to make a lot of people happy, sad, and indifferent as it recognizes the (supposedly) best in cinema for 2022.  As you already know, I am working on my predictions for the upcoming Oscars (and the Razzies), and I’ve been spending a lot of time watching a lot of movies and writing down a lot of my thoughts.  In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to recall some of the previous Oscar winners, which is why I am ranking the 2010s Oscar winners from worst to best. 

Originally, I had thought about ranking the winners from 2000 to 2019, but one of the Best Picture winners of the 00s was 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third film in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I have never seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies or read any of the books, and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to start with the third film.  Instead, I will probably do a Lord of the Rings movie marathon ranking at some point where I will go through all the original trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy, and after that, I will do the 2000s Best Picture winners.

(Oh, and I also don’t like the movie Crash, the 2005 Best Picture winner, and don’t want to see it anytime soon.)

Okay, so I revisited the 2010s winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.  I’ve also already seen them before, so it wasn’t too hard to recollect my thoughts.  If I truly wanted to do this ranking justice, though, I probably should have included the Best Picture nominees as well, but that would have added dozens of films to this marathon, many of which I’ve already included (or will include) in other posts (and again, I am already watching several movies for my upcoming Oscars/Razzies predictions).

In general, it was a great experience (re)watching these movies, and even though I haven’t seen all the nominated films for the 2010s, the winners were (mostly) great.  Because of this, it was very difficult to rank them, especially the films in my A+ tier.  These are movies that span a variety of genres, studios, stories, and filmmakers, so comparing among them was not as simple as how I would usually do it for my previous marathons.  Nonetheless, the ranking is completed, and I really hope you take my thoughts with the tiniest grain of salt.

And the Oscars Went to…

10. Green Book (2018)

green book still
Image via Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Director: Peter Farrelly

Producers: Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Charles B. Wessler

TL;DR Review:

In an underwhelming attempt to examine relationships among race, ethnicity, and class, Green Book shares an awkward message of racial reconciliation in a generic, but well-acted, story of friendship and…uh…

…yeah, just watch Driving Miss Daisy instead.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Metascore: 69/100

My Grade: C+

9. Argo (2012)

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Country: USA

Director: Ben Affleck

Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov

TL;DR Review: Though not a completely historically accurate depiction of the Iranian hostage crisis, Argo makes for a realistic and suspenseful narrative.

Alternate TL;DR Review: Out of context, the ending scene with the alcoholic beverage announcement is HILARIOUS.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Metascore: 86/100

My Grade: A-

8. The King’s Speech (2010)

Image via Momentum Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Transmission Films

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Tom Hooper

Producers: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

TL;DR Review: The King’s Speech is a historical drama on King George VI’s ascension to the British throne.  This could have been really bland, but surprisingly, it’s quite the opposite due to amazing acting performances, great direction, and visually, a strong attention to detail.  Tom Hooper, please make more movies like this.  No more musicals.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Metascore: 88/100

My Grade: A

7. The Shape of Water (2017)

Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

Country: USA

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Producers: Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale

TL;DR Review:

“Unable to perceive the shape of you,

I find you all around me.

Your presence fills my eyes with your love.

It humbles my heart,

For you are everywhere.”

Excuse me, I think there’s something in my eye.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Metascore: 87/100

My Grade: A

6. The Artist (2011)

Image via Warner Bros. France

Country: France

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

Producer: Thomas Langmann

TL;DR Review: In The Artist, the Silent Film delivers a long-delayed, yet moving self-eulogy, grateful for its life and accepting of its death.  Also, that dog was snubbed a Best Supporting Actor nomination (RIP Uggie).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Metascore: 89/100

My Grade: A

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

Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

Country: USA

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

TL;DR Review: Most notably in its cinematography, Birdman convincingly depicts a ceaseless show, where the literal cameras keep rolling after the metaphorical ones stopped a long a time ago.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Metascore: 87/100

My Grade: A+

4. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

Country: USA, United Kingdom

Director: Steve McQueen

Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas

TL;DR Review: 12 Years a Slave effectively utilizes the tools of modern cinema to deliver one of numerous accounts of slavery, powerfully capturing the brutality of America’s Original Sin.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Metascore: 96/100

My Grade: A+

3. Spotlight (2015)

Image via Open Road Films

Country: USA

Director: Tom McCarthy

Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

TL;DR Review: Powerful – the simplest way to describe Spotlight.  In spite of, no, because of its commitment to realism, Spotlight, a powerful story told with powerful performances, is a demonstration of how powerful institutions affect the dissemination of truth.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Metascore: 93/100

My Grade: A+

2. Moonlight (2016)

Image via A24

Country: USA

Director: Barry Jenkins

Producers: Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

(Not so) TL;DR Review: Moonlight’s beauty is largely attributed to how it employs subtleties to address complex, interwoven themes.  The world and story of Chiron are specific, but at numerous points, the latter is also relatable to audiences of a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  This is because of the degree of emotional depth and the effective portrayals of identity and relationships – core elements of the universal human experience.  Moonlight neither ends happily nor offers any clear solutions to the issues it addresses, and in my opinion, if it did, the film might lose much of its appeal.  At the end of the day, Moonlight, in everything that it brings to light as a popular film, is a modern masterpiece in audiovisual storytelling.

Alternate TL;DR Review: That Chopped & Screwed remix of Jidenna’s “Classic Man” SLAPS!

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Metascore: 99/100

My Grade: A+

1. Parasite (2019)

Image via CJ Entertainment

Country: South Korea

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Producers: Kwak Sin-ae, Moon Yang-kwon, Bong Joon-ho, Jang Young-hwan

(Again, not so) TL;DR Review: One of the sharpest pieces of social commentary in recent years, Parasite is an eerily haunting glance at modern-day class inequity.  Beyond the powerful commentary, Parasite is a brilliantly crafted work of moving art, boasting an extreme attention to detail and taking full advantage of every component of the cinematic form.  This is the type of film that warrants multiple watches and invites numerous conversations for years to come. 

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Metascore: 96/100

My Grade: A+


Published by Miles N

Some guy with glasses.

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