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A Guide To All The Oscar Best Picture Winners
An in-depth look at every winner, what it's about, why it won and did it deserve to


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THE ARTIST (2011)

What is it? A French black-and-white silent movie about – wait! Come back! It's the story of major silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who has all of Hollywood at his feet with his combination of talent, charm and adorable dog (Uggie). He falls for newcomer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), but the arrival of talkies devastates his career even as her's takes off...


Why did it win? It's utterly irresistible. Anyone who made it past the worryingly common "Not sure I'd like a silent movie" reaction on first hearing the concept found a film that is smart, very funny, wildly romantic, dramatic and brilliantly played. By emphasising the connection to Hollywood history, its LA shoot and utter brilliance, the filmmakers managed to convince the Academy to overlook the fact that it's, well, French.


Did it deserve to win? It's closest competition among the nominees was probably The Descendants, with an on-form George Clooney starring in a deeply compassionate Alexander Payne family drama (that took Best Original Screenplay, at least) and Martin Scorsese's impeccably made Hugo, which also delved into forgotten cinema history (that took 5 technical Oscars). Sadly, Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life was never really in with a chance. Among the films not nominated that should have been in with a shout, Drive is the most obvious contender. That, or Fast Five.


Worth a look? Absolutely, positively, yes. Forget that it's silent and foreign and black-and-white: this is a film to sing and dance about. In technicolour.

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THE BEST PICTURE WINNERS

1. (Best Production) Wings (1927-1928)2. The Broadway Melody (1928-1929)
3. All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-1930)4. Cimarron (1930-1931)
5. Grand Hotel (1931-1932)6. Cavalcade (1932-1933)
7. It Happened One Night (1934)8. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
9. The Great Ziegfeld (1936)10. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
11. You Can't Take It with You (1938)12. Gone with the Wind (1939)
13. Rebecca (1940)14. How Green Was My Valley (1941)
15. Mrs. Miniver (1942)16. Casablanca (1943)
17. Going My Way (1944)18. The Lost Weekend (1945)
19. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)20. Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
21. Hamlet (1948)22. All the King's Men (1949)
23. All About Eve (1950)24. An American in Paris (1951)
25. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)26. From Here to Eternity (1953)
27. On the Waterfront (1954)28. Marty (1955)
29. Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)30. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
31. Gigi (1958)32. Ben-Hur (1959)
33. The Apartment (1960)34. West Side Story (1961)
35. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)36. Tom Jones (1963)
37. My Fair Lady (1964)38. The Sound of Music (1965)
39. A Man for All Seasons (1966)40. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
41. Oliver! (1968)42. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
43. Patton (1970)44. The French Connection (1971)
45. The Godfather (1972)46. The Sting (1973)
47. The Godfather Part II (1974)48. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
49. Rocky (1976)50. Annie Hall (1977)
51. The Deer Hunter (1978)52. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
53. Ordinary People (1980)54. Chariots of Fire (1981)
55. Gandhi (1982)56. Terms of Endearment (1983)
57. Amadeus (1984)58. Out of Africa (1985)
59. Platoon (1986)60. The Last Emperor (1987)
61. Rain Man (1988)62. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
63. Dances with Wolves (1990)64. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
65. Unforgiven (1992)66. Schindler's List (1993)
67. Forrest Gump (1994)68. Braveheart (1995)
69. The English Patient (1996)70. Titanic (1997)
71. Shakespeare in Love (1998)72. American Beauty (1999)
73. Gladiator (2000)74. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
75. Chicago (2002)76. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
77. Million Dollar Baby (2004)78. Crash (2005)
79. The Departed (2006)80. No Country For Old Men (2007)
81. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)82. The Hurt Locker (2009)
83. The King's Speech (2010)84. The Artist (2011)
85. Argo (2012)86. 12 Years A Slave (2013)

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The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
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