5 Phenomenal Best Picture Winners (since 2000)

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

That time is approaching where all of us movie bloggers begin to ponder and discuss our favorite films of the year. We put together Top 10 lists that some people dislike but I personally love. That leads into awards season highlighted by the Oscars. In light of that I was thinking about past Oscar Best Picture winners specifically since the year 2000. That lead to this installment of the Phenomenal 5. Now Oscar’s choices are always subject to good debate and my list is no exception. Therefore calling this the definitive list would be silly. But I have no problem calling these five Best Picture winners simply phenomenal.

#5 – “A Beautiful Mind”

BEAUTIFUL

Ron Howard did some amazing things in 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind”. He puts us in the head of a brilliant man struggling with a mental disorder and creates a level of empathy only captured in truly great films. Russell Crowe shows off his immense acting range and a wonderful supporting cast featuring Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Paul Bettany make things even better. The film has been criticized for its inaccuracies and by those who don’t care for Howard’s style. I think it’s a beautiful movie that tells an incredible story.

#4 – “Slumdog Millionaire”

SLUMDOG

In 2008 “Slumdog Millionaire” was the movie that seemed to come out of nowhere. The vision of British director Danny Boyle was so vivid and energetic and the story was captivating. I remember the debate at the time particularly from those who couldn’t connect with the film. Personally I found it to be a magnetic, poetic, searing, and heartbreaking experience. I’ll give the detractors this, there are moments where the movie stumbles, but overall “Slumdog” is still a great film both from a story and style perspective.

#3 – “The Artist”

ARTIST

My appreciation for “The Artist” is hard to express in one simple paragraph. Looking at it one could say it was a film made for awards. I think that is cutting it short. Director Michel Hazanivicius deserves a ton of credit, not just for having the guts to make a silent picture in a finicky modern movie era, but for doing it with incredible detail and precision. And then there is the performances especially from Jean Dujardin. Watching it again only impressed me more and the perfection of his casting is undeniable. I love “The Artist”.

#2 – “Gladiator”

Gladiator

Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott teamed up for 2000’s “Gladiator” and the results were magical. Scott’s epic-sized direction and Crowe’s period-perfect performance drove what would become an enormous box office hit. The film had its critics including Roger Ebert who called it dull and indistinct. I couldn’t possibly disagree with him more. “Gladiator” has so many scenes that I adore and Russell Crowe owns the screen every time the camera is on him. Pulse-pounding action, glorious epic scale, and a fine central story. I’m a big fan of this film.

#1 – “No Country for Old Men”

NO COUNTRY

Frequent readers of Keith & the Movies shouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the Coen Brothers’ near perfect modern day classic “No Country for Old Men” at the top of my list. For me few movies from the last fifteen years can compete with it. Joel and Ethan Coen’s faithful adaptation of the stellar Cormac McCarthy novel is a visual masterpiece laced with their signature quirky humor and gritty tone. Every performance hits the right note, and there isn’t a wasted scene in the entire film. I’ll say it again, “No Country for Old Men” is as close to perfection as I’ve seen in years.

So there you have my five top five Best Picture winners since the year 2000. What about you? See something that I missed? Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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28 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Best Picture Winners (since 2000)

  1. I really still need to see A Beautiful Mind. It’s on my list of movies to get to, certainly. Can’t disagree with Gladiator and NCFOM at all, either, both phenomenal movies, and I did enjoy The Artist quite a bit as well.

    For a moment I was about to say my favorite since then was The Social Network, but then I literally just now remembered that it lost out to The King’s Speech. Damn did the wrong movie ever win that year. 😛

  2. Nice list Keith!

    I must say that I was not a fan of Slumdog Millionaire at all… :/ I am one of those people it didn’t connect with. Pity, too, I enjoy Boyle’s work.

  3. Good stuff! I’ve never seen A Beautiful Mind, I really should change that. I would definitely have No Country, Gladiator and The Artist in my 5 as well. After that I’m not so sure…12 Years A Slave definitely…maybe The Departed too. I didn’t mind Crash even though everyone seemed to hate it…the one film I never really liked that won though was Million Dollar Baby. Sometimes Clint’s films are a little too slow for me. Not always but I remember that one in particular seemed to drag.

    • I was really close to including The Departed. I like it quite a bit. 12 Years is a movie I liked as well, but there were some things that I felt hurt it a little. I’m like you, I didn’t mind Crash. It definitely wouldn’t make this list though.

  4. Nice list, Keith. I love The Artist as well as Gladiator. I also like The Departed and have a soft spot for Crash (which I know many people dislike).

    • Thanks. Really appreciate the comments. Crash is a movie I’ve wanted to revisit for a while. I remember think it was pretty good. I never had a problem with it that other did.

      Good call on The Departed. Really good flick.

  5. Awesome list here, Keith! You definitely mention three of my favorites from the 2000s. I absolutely loved The Artist, and I couldn’t agree more with you! I’m glad you mentioned Slumdog Millionaire and A Beautiful Mind too. Both were just such great films those years, and I’m happy they both won Best Picture in their respective years.

    • Glad to hear someone else loving Slumdog. It is a movie that had its share of critics. Personally I really appreciated it. A Beautiful Mind is really good, isn’t it. Great performance from Crowe.

      • Yes! I’m not really sure what the deal is with people not caring for Slumdog. I was blown away by the film, and it hit me hard. It’s definitely one of my favorite Best Picture films.

        Yes, I think I started to truly love Crowe as an actor after seeing A Beautiful Mind.

  6. Hey Keith, I’ve seen four of these and liked them in varying degrees, with Gladiator as one of my fave films of ALL TIME 🙂 Sorry but I still don’t have any interest in “No Country for Old Men” I know there are people who love it though 🙂

    • I think I have Broken Record Syndrome when it comes to “No Country”. I find myself constantly mentioning it in some way or another. It and Gladiator have firm spots on my all-time list as well.

      What about Slumdog? It evolved into a pretty divisive film. What did you think of it?

      • I enjoyed Slumdog, though I’m not sure if it deserves a win. It’s a feel-good kind of film that’s more of a crowd-pleaser, but not really a deep film y’know what I mean. Nothing wrong w/ that though, I mean I’m not one of those who was really upset that it won.

      • I know several people who had a Luke warm response to it. They definitely didn’t hate it, but they weren’t as enamored with it as others. I thought there were some heart wrenching moments, and I was mesmerized by the cinematography and the overall visual presentation.

        It’s a movie I really, really like a lot but at the same time completely understand why others may not as much.

  7. Top two are spot on. I need to catch The Artist. I think I didn’t see it for exactly one of the reasons you mentioned: it seemed like it was just begging for an Oscar. That’s probably not too fair though. Nice list!

    • Thanks man. Definitely see The Artist. So much work went into capturing the magic of the silent movie era, not just attracting Oscar’s attention. It’s so good and Dujardin knocks it out of the park.

  8. I’d disagree with Slumdog, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind, but completely agree with NCFOM. It’s one of my personal favorite movies and definitely one of the strongest Best Picture winners there is.

  9. Slumdog certainly didn’t work for me, despite staying in Mumbai my entire life, I couldn’t relate to a single moment in the film. Also I felt it wanted to be a ‘Cidade de deus’ of India, perhaps it worked for Danny Boyle and many spectators but not for me. But I loved No Country for Old Man and A Beautiful Mind from your list. I also loved The Departed and Million Dollar Baby which aren’t part of you list and I also liked A King’s Speech. Though I feel some of the movies nominated in all these years were much better than the winners but Films are subjective and there’ll always be such kind of dissapointments.

    • I really appreciate your perspective on Slumdog. You definitely have a certain insight on it that I don’t. But I think what connected me to the film where the characters more so than the location. I do think it was beautifully shot, but ultimately it was the characters. In fact I think it could have taken place in several other locations around the world and I would have responded the same way. It was really hard to leave off The Departed. I like that film a lot. I too like The King’s Speech. Million Dollar Baby is one than i have been wanting to revisit for a while now.

      Good discussion. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Always appreciated.

  10. Pingback: Movie Review – Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World |

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