After weeks of Oscar buzz, the 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony is finally approaching. Get your friends together for a viewing party to watch Jack Nicholson smirk in his coveted front-row seat, argue about whose dress is the ugliest and determine whether Hugh Jackman entertains as host of the evening.
The focus of these types of nights, of course, is to give awards to the best movies of the previous year, but they’re not complete without montages of the films that have won in decades past. These usually include classics like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca, which won Best Picture in 1939 and 1943, respectively. Now these might inspire nostalgia in older viewers, but how many college students have actually seen these movies?
Here we present a brief guide to past Best Picture winners: the absolute classics, those that are often overlooked but worth your time and a few that didn’t quite deserve the top prize. According to pundits and the Da Colbert Code, Slumdog Millionaire will likely end up with one of those classifications on Sunday.
A run-down of our categories:
Essential Viewing: These films are essentials in movie history, having held up even decades after they were first released. If you haven’t seen these films, go watch them right now.
Hidden Gems: For those film buffs who want to dig a little deeper into movie history, these are also great classics, though less known than the previous list.
Best Picture…really? The following movies certainly aren’t terrible, and they’re not the worst movies ever to win Best Picture. But these movies have either failed the test of time or simply had competition more deserving of the coveted top prize.