Best picture winners list: Every movie to win top Oscar

Only two best picture winners were directed by women. If 'The Power of the Dog' wins in 2022, that number could rise to three.

ByAlex Meier via OTRC logo
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
History of Oscar best picture winners
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The Academy has nominated 581 films for the Oscars' best picture award. Here's a look at the few that made history.

LOS ANGELES -- In the Oscars' 94-year history, the Academy has nominated 581 films for the best picture award.

Some winners, like the comedy-drama "Forrest Gump" (1994), are considered classics, while others, like the psychological horror "Silence of the Lambs" (1991), are trailblazers in their genres.

"Titanic" (1997) and "All About Eve" (1950) top the list as the most-nominated movies to win best picture, with 14 nominations each. "La La Land" (2016) also boasts 14 nominations but did not win best picture, even if Warren Beatty's famous faux pas had millions of ceremony viewers briefly believing it had.

"Titanic" is also one of three movies to win a record 11 awards, joined by "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003). Yet the latter takes the cake for being the most-nominated movie to win in every single nominated category.

FULL LIST: 2022 Oscar nominations

"Gone with the Wind" (1939) was the pioneer for color films, while "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) is the only X-rated film to ever win best picture.

Few sequels are nominated for best picture and only two have won: "The Godfather Part II" (1974) and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003).

When "Parasite" won best picture in 2020, it became the first foreign-language film to take home the Academy's highest honor. At the time, it was only the second time a foreign-language film has made the nominees list. "Grand Illusion" (1938), in French, was the first, and "Drive My Car" (2021), in Japanese, made this year's list.

Only two best picture winners were directed by women: Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" (2009) and Chloé Zhao's "Nomadland" (2020). Woman-directed movies have only made that nominee list 15 times. This year, Jane Campion made history as first woman to ever be nominated twice in the directing category with "Power of the Dog" (2021) and "The Piano" (1993).

As movie buffs know, winning several awards in other categories does not guarantee best picture success. "Cabaret" (1972) won in eight categories but lost to "The Godfather" for the top prize.

And even though Steven Spielberg is the most-nominated best picture film producer, with 11 nominations, he's only taken home one golden statuette in that category for "Schindler's List" (1993).

2022's best picture nominees are: "Belfast," "CODA," "Don't Look Up," "Drive My Car," "Dune," "King Richard," "Licorice Pizza," "Nightmare Alley," "The Power of the Dog" and "West Side Story."

Here are the best picture winners listed in reverse-chronological order. The accompanying year indicates when the film was released, not when it won its Oscar:


  • "Nomadland" (2020)


  • "Parasite" (2019)
  • "Green Book" (2018)
  • "The Shape of Water" (2017)
  • "Moonlight"(2016)
  • "Spotlight" (2015)
  • "Birdman" (2014)
  • Michael Keaton stars in "Birdman" (2014).

  • "12 Years a Slave" (2013)
  • "Argo" (2012)
  • "The Artist" (2011)
  • "The King's Speech" (2010)
  • 2000s

  • "The Hurt Locker" (2009)
  • "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008)
  • "No Country for Old Men" (2007)
  • "The Departed" (2006)
  • "Crash" (2005)
  • "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)
  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003)
  • "Chicago" (2002)
  • "A Beautiful Mind" (2001)
  • Russell Crowe looking at a wall of numbers in a scene from the film "A Beautiful Mind" (2001).

    Photo by Universal/Getty Images

  • "Gladiator" (2000)
  • 1990s

  • "American Beauty" (1999)
  • "Shakespeare in Love" (1998)
  • "Titanic" (1997)
  • "The English Patient" (1996)
  • "Braveheart" (1995)
  • "Forrest Gump" (1994)
  • Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" (1994)

    Sunset Boulevard

  • "Schindler's List" (1993)
  • "Unforgiven" (1992)
  • "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)
  • "Dances with Wolves" (1990)
  • 1980s

  • "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989)
  • "Rain Man" (1988)
  • "The Last Emperor" (1987)
  • "Platoon" (1986)
  • "Out of Africa" (1985)
  • "Amadeus" (1984)
  • "Terms of Endearment" (1983)
  • Debra Winger in a scene from the film "Terms of Endearment" (1983).

    Photo by Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

  • "Gandhi" (1982)
  • "Chariots of Fire" (1981)
  • "Ordinary People" (1980)
  • 1970s

  • "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979)
  • "The Deer Hunter" (1978)
  • "Annie Hall" (1977)
  • "Rocky" (1976)
  • "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975)
  • "The Godfather Part II" (1974)
  • Al Pacino sitting in an armchair in a publicity still issued for the film, "The Godfather Part II" (1974)

    Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

  • "The Sting" (1973)
  • "The Godfather" (1972)
  • "The French Connection" (1971)
  • "Patton" (1970)
  • 1960s

  • "Midnight Cowboy" (1969)
  • "Oliver!" (1968)
  • "In the Heat of the Night" (1967)
  • "A Man for All Seasons" (1966)
  • "The Sound of Music" (1965)
  • Julie Andrews performs a musical number in the movie "The Sound Of Music" (1964) directed by Robert Wise.

    Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

  • "My Fair Lady" (1964)
  • "Tom Jones" (1963)
  • "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962)
  • "West Side Story" (1961)
  • "The Apartment" (1960)
  • 1950s

  • "Ben-Hur" (1959)
  • Messala, played by Stephen Boydcompetes against Judah Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, in the chariot racing scene from "Ben-Hur" (1959), directed by William Wyler.

    Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

  • "Gigi" (1958)
  • "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957)
  • "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956)
  • "Marty" (1955)
  • "On the Waterfront" (1954)
  • "From Here to Eternity" (1953)
  • "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952)
  • "An American in Paris" (1951)
  • "All About Eve" (1950)
  • 1940s

  • "All the King's Men" (1949)
  • "Hamlet" (1948)
  • "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947)
  • "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946)
  • "The Lost Weekend" (1945)
  • "Going My Way" (1944)
  • "Casablanca" (1943)
  • Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star in the Warner Brothers film "Casablanca" (1942).

    Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

  • "Mrs. Miniver" (1942)
  • "How Green Was My Valley" (1941)
  • "Rebecca" (1940)
  • 1930s

  • "Gone with the Wind" (1939)
  • "You Can't Take It with You" (1938)
  • "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937)
  • "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936)
  • "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935)
  • "It Happened One Night" (1934)
  • "Cavalcade" (1933)
  • "Grand Hotel" (1932)
  • Joan Crawford, John Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore star in "Grand Hotel" (1932), directed by Edmund Goulding for MGM.

    Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

  • "Cimarron" (1931)
  • "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930)
  • 1920s

  • The Broadway Melody" (1929)
  • "Wings" (1927)
  • Charles 'Buddy' Rogers and Clara Bow in front of an airplane in a scene from the film "Wings" (1927).

    Photo by Paramount/Getty Images

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