Reassessing The Best Picture Races Of The 2000s

We are in a new decade. On the calendar, at least, but not on the Oscars front. We still need to name the Best Film of 2019 to close out the 2010s. Eventually, the 2010s will be reassessed, in terms of the films and performances that win Oscars. That’s what we do. Hindsight is 20/20, and it rules. At this point, the winners of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s have been pored over, but let’s dip into the new millennium. I decided to take a look at all the films nominated for Best Picture in the 2000s to see if I agree with the winner. If not, I will decide who should have won. I am, of course, right in all my opinions.

2000: Gladiator is a solid old-school epic. It has some great performances and the line “Are you not entertained?” It’s a fair winner, but what about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Ang Lee notably has two Best Director awards but no Best Picture, though Crouching Tiger did win Best Foreign Film.

2001: A Beautiful Mind is a big pile of whatever, but this is a bad year of nominees. Gosford Park is fine. Moulin Rouge! is whatever. There’s also the first Lord of the Rings film, but we’ll get to that series later. I am OK with A Beautiful Mind winning, mostly because I am not really a fan of any of these films.

2002: Chicago won. Remember when musicals won Oscars all the time? I am not a musicals fan, but I’ve always said I like the parts of Chicago a lot when they aren’t singing. However, it was up against Gangs of New York. Not my favorite Martin Scorsese film, but better than Chicago.

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2003: I’m not that big of a fan of Return of the King, but it’s better than the other nominees. Yes, I don’t really like Lost in Translation all that much, but I feel like maybe I should revisit it sometime.

2004: I don’t want to just keep saying “Actually, the Scorsese film should have won.” However, The Aviator clearly should have won over Million Dollar Baby. The Howard Hughes biopic is one of Scorsese’s best films.

2005: Crash is an infamous Best Picture winner. It was at the time, and that remains the case. People call it one of the worst Best Picture winners ever. What if I pulled a major hot take and said it deserved to win. I won’t, of course. It’s garbage. I think I would go with Brokeback Mountain, but I’m also a fan of Capote.

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2006: This one they got right. The Departed is far from Scorsese’s best movie. It’s maybe the third-best of his films I’ve mentioned so far. It’s definitely better than the other four nominees in 2006, though.

2007: Oof. I think No Country For Old Man is great. It’s better than every winner prior to this one in the 2000s, and better than any of the nominees as well. However, There Will Be Blood is one of my five favorite movies of all-time. With all due respect to the Coen Brothers’ excellent film, Daniel Plainview drinks its milkshake.

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2008: I guess Slumdog Millionaire is alright as a winner? When was the last time anybody mentioned it. It’s a shrug of a winner. People don’t support it or knock it. Maybe because it was a bad year for nominees. Frost/Nixon is probably my favorite of the bunch, and it’s far from a classic.

2009: We end with the first Oscars in many years with more than five nominees. That means The Hurt Locker, a good but unremarkable movie, has a lot of competition. A Serious Man is quite good. Pixar fans love Up. All that being said, this should have been Quentin Tarantino’s big win. Inglourious Basterds is his masterpiece. It should have finally gotten him Best Picture, as well as Best Director. Well, maybe Once Upon a Time in Hollywood… will fix that.

Chris Morgan
Author: Chris Morgan

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