Academy Award for Best Picture
|Academy Award for Best Picture|
|Awarded for||Best Motion Picture of the Year|
|Presented by||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)|
|First awarded||May 16, 19291927/1928 film season)(for films released during the|
|Most recent winner||Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)|
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) since the awards debuted in 1929. This award goes to the producers of the film and is the only category in which every member of the Oscars is eligible to submit a nomination and vote on the final ballot. The Best Picture category is traditionally the final award of the night and is widely considered as the most prestigious honor of the ceremony.
The Grand Staircase columns at the
Category name changes
The following year, the Academy dropped the Unique and Artistic Picture award, decided retroactively that the award won by Wings was the highest honor that could be awarded, and allowed synchronized sound films to compete for the award. Although the award kept the title Outstanding Picture for the next ceremony, the name underwent several changes over the years as seen below. Since 1962, the award has been simply called Best Picture.
- 1927/28–1928/29: Academy Award for Outstanding Picture
- 1929/30–1940: Academy Award for Outstanding Production
- 1941–1943: Academy Award for Outstanding Motion Picture
- 1944–1961: Academy Award for Best Motion Picture
- 1962–present: Academy Award for Best Picture
Until 1950, this award was presented to a representative of the production company. That year the protocol was changed so that the award was presented to all credited producers. This rule was modified in 1999 to apply a maximum limit of three producers receiving the award, after the five producers of Shakespeare in Love had received the award.
As of 2020[update], the "Special Rules for the Best Picture of the Year Award" limit recipients to those who meet two main requirements:
- Those with screen credit of "producer" or "produced by", explicitly excluding those with the screen credit "executive producer, co-producer, associate producer, line producer, or produced in association with"
- those three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions
The rules allow bona fide team of not more than two people shall be considered to be a single “producer” if the two individuals have had an established producing partnership as determined by the Producers Guild of America Producing Partnership Panel. Final determination of the qualifying producer nominees for each nominated picture will be made by the Producers Branch Executive Committee, including the right to name any additional qualified producer as a nominee.
The Academy can make exceptions to the limit, as when Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack were posthumously included among the four producers nominated for The Reader. As of 2014[update] the Producers Branch Executive Committee determines such exceptions, noting they take place only in "rare and extraordinary circumstance[s]."
Steven Spielberg currently holds the record for most nominations at twelve, winning one, while Kathleen Kennedy holds the record for most nominations without a win at eight. Sam Spiegel and Saul Zaentz tie for the most wins with three each. As for the time when the Oscar was given to production companies instead, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer holds the record with five wins and 40 nominations.
Best Picture and Best Director
The Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director have been closely linked throughout their history. Of the 95 films that have won Best Picture, 68 have also been awarded Best Director. Only six films have been awarded Best Picture without receiving a Best Director nomination: Wings directed by William A. Wellman (1927/28), Grand Hotel directed by Edmund Goulding (1931/32), Driving Miss Daisy directed by Bruce Beresford (1989), Argo directed by Ben Affleck (2012), Green Book directed by Peter Farrelly (2018), and CODA directed by Sian Heder (2021). The only two Best Director winners to win for films that did not receive a Best Picture nomination were during the early years of the awards: Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights (1927/28), and Frank Lloyd for The Divine Lady (1928/29).
Nomination limit increased
On June 24, 2009,
At the same time, the voting system was switched from
Language and country of origin
Only fourteen non-English language films have been nominated in the category: La Grande Illusion (French, 1938); Z (French, 1969); The Emigrants (Swedish, 1972); Cries and Whispers (Swedish, 1973); The Postman (Il Postino) (Italian/Spanish, 1995); Life Is Beautiful (Italian, 1998); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Mandarin Chinese, 2000); Letters from Iwo Jima (Japanese, 2006, but ineligible for Best Foreign Language Film because it was an American production); Amour (French, 2012); Roma (Spanish/Mixtec, 2018); Parasite (Korean, 2019); Minari (Korean, 2020, but ineligible for Best International Feature Film because it was an American production); Drive My Car (Japanese, 2021) and All Quiet on the Western Front (German, 2022). Parasite became the first film not in English to win Best Picture.
Only ten films wholly financed outside the United States have won Best Picture, eight of which were financed, in part or in whole, by the United Kingdom: Hamlet (1948), Tom Jones (1963), A Man for All Seasons (1966), Chariots of Fire (1981), Gandhi (1982), The Last Emperor (1987), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and The King's Speech (2010). The ninth film, The Artist (2011), was financed in France and the tenth film, Parasite (2019), was financed in South Korea.
Since 1968, most Best Picture winners have been rated R under the Motion Picture Association's rating system. Oliver! is the only G-rated film and Midnight Cowboy is the only X-rated (now NC-17) film, so far, to win Best Picture; they won in back-to-back years, 1968 and 1969. The latter has since been downgraded to an R rating. Eleven films have won with a PG rating: the first was Patton (1970) and the most recent was Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Eleven more films have won with a PG-13 rating (which was introduced in 1984): the first was The Last Emperor (1987) and the most recent was CODA (2021).
Some genres of film (or mediums in the case of an animation) have received few or no nominations or awards. Only three animated films have been nominated:
No documentary feature has yet been nominated for Best Picture, although
Several musical adaptations based on material previously filmed in non-musical form have won Best Picture, including Gigi, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Oliver!, and Chicago.
Sequel nominations and winners
Nine films that were presented as direct sequels have been nominated for Best Picture: The Bells of St. Mary's (1945; the sequel to the 1944 winner, Going My Way), The Godfather Part II (1974), The Godfather Part III (1990), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Toy Story 3 (2010), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) and Top Gun: Maverick (2022).
Toy Story 3, Mad Max: Fury Road and Top Gun: Maverick are the only sequels to be nominated without any predecessors being nominated. The Godfather Part II and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King are the only sequels to have won the award, and their respective trilogies are the only series to have three films nominated. The Godfather series is the only film series with multiple Best Picture winners, with the first film winning the award for 1972 and the second film winning the award for 1974.
Another nominee, Broadway Melody of 1936, was a follow-up of sorts to previous winner The Broadway Melody, but beyond the title and some music, the two films have mutually independent stories. The Silence of the Lambs was adapted from the sequel novel to Red Dragon. The latter had been adapted for film as Manhunter by a different studio, and the two films have different casts and creative teams and were not presented as a series.
The Lion in Winter features Peter O'Toole as King Henry II, a role he had played previously in the film Becket, but The Lion in Winter is not a sequel to Becket. Similarly, The Queen features Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, a role he had played previously in the television film The Deal. Christine Langan, producer of both productions, described The Queen as not being a direct sequel, only that it reunited the same creative team.
Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima was a companion piece to his film Flags of Our Fathers that was released earlier the same year. These two films depict the same battle from the different viewpoints of Japanese and United States military forces; the two films were shot back-to-back.
In addition, Black Panther is a continuation of the events that occurred in Captain America: Civil War and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Remake nominations and winners
Along similar lines to sequels, there have been few nominees and winners that are either remakes or adaptations of the same source materials or subjects.
Silent film winners
At the 1st Academy Awards, the Best Picture award (then named "Academy Award for Outstanding Picture") was presented to the 1927 silent film Wings.
No Best Picture winner has been lost, though a few such as All Quiet on the Western Front and Lawrence of Arabia exist only in a form altered from their original, award-winning release form. This has usually been due to editing for reissue (and subsequently partly restored by archivists). Other winners and nominees, such as Tom Jones (prior to its 2018 reissues by The Criterion Collection and the British Film Institute) and Star Wars, are widely available only in subsequently altered versions. The Broadway Melody originally had some sequences photographed in two-color Technicolor. This footage survives only in black and white.
The 1928 film
In 2017, at the 89th Academy Awards, presenter Faye Dunaway read La La Land as the winner of the award. However, she and Warren Beatty had mistakenly been given the duplicate envelope for the "Best Actress in a Leading Role" award, which Emma Stone had won for her role in La La Land moments prior. In the resulting chaos, it was La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz who finally announced—two minutes and twenty-seven seconds later—that Moonlight was the real winner.
The Academy has established a set of "representation and inclusion standards" which a film will be required to satisfy in order to compete in the Best Picture category, starting with the
For the 94th and 95th Academy Awards (films released in 2021 and 2022), filmmakers were required to submit a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form to be considered for Best Picture but were not required to fulfill the standards. These standards will only apply to the Best Picture category and do not affect a film's eligibility in other Oscar categories.
Winners and nominees
In the list below, winners are listed first in the gold row, followed by the other nominees. Except for the early years (when the Academy used a non-calendar year), the year shown is the one in which the film first premiered in Los Angeles County, California; normally this is also the year of first release, however, it may be the year after first release (as with Casablanca and, if the film-festival premiere is considered, Crash). This is also the year before the ceremony at which the award is given; for example, a film exhibited theatrically during 2005 was eligible for consideration for the 2005 Best Picture Oscar, awarded in 2006. The number of the ceremony (1st, 2nd, etc.) appears in parentheses after the awards year, linked to the article on that ceremony. Each individual entry shows the title followed by nominee.
Until 1950, the Best Picture award was given to the production company; from 1951 on, it has gone to the producer or producers. The Academy used the producer credits of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) until 1998, when all five producers of Shakespeare in Love made speeches after its win. A three-producer limit has been applied some years since. There was controversy over the exclusion of some PGA-credited producers of Crash and Little Miss Sunshine. The Academy can make exceptions to the limit, as when Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack were posthumously among the four nominated for The Reader. However, now any number of producers on a film can be nominated for Best Picture, should they be deemed eligible.
For the first ceremony, three films were nominated for the award. For the following three years, five films were nominated for the award. This was expanded to eight in 1933, to ten in 1934, and to twelve in 1935, before being dropped back to ten in 1937. In 1945, it was further reduced to five. This number remained until 2009, when the limit was raised to ten; it was adjusted from 2011 to 2020 to vary between five and ten, but has been a full ten since 2021.
For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years. For example, the 2nd Academy Awards presented on April 3, 1930, recognized films that were released between August 1, 1928, and July 31, 1929. Starting with the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31. This has been the rule every year since except 2020, when the end date was extended to February 28, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2021, which was correspondingly limited to March 1 to December 31.
|Year of Film Release||Film||Film Studio|
|The Racket||The Caddo Company|
|The Broadway Melody||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer|
|In Old Arizona||Fox|
|The Patriot||Paramount Famous Lasky|
|Year of Film Release||Film||Film Studio|
|Rebecca||Selznick International Pictures|
|All This, and Heaven Too||Warner Bros.|
|Foreign Correspondent||Walter Wanger (production company)|
|The Grapes of Wrath||20th Century-Fox|
|The Great Dictator|
Charles Chaplin Productions
|Kitty Foyle||RKO Radio|
|The Letter||Warner Bros.|
|The Long Voyage Home|
Sol Lesser (production company)
|The Philadelphia Story||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer|
|How Green Was My Valley||20th Century-Fox|
|Blossoms in the Dust||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Columbia|
|Hold Back the Dawn||Paramount|
|The Little Foxes||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|The Maltese Falcon||Warner Bros.|
|One Foot in Heaven||Warner Bros.|
|Sergeant York||Warner Bros.|
|Kings Row||Warner Bros.|
|The Magnificent Ambersons||Mercury|
|The Pied Piper||20th Century-Fox|
|The Pride of the Yankees||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|The Talk of the Town||Columbia|
|Yankee Doodle Dandy||Warner Bros.|
|For Whom the Bell Tolls||Paramount|
|Heaven Can Wait||20th Century-Fox|
|The Human Comedy||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer|
|In Which We Serve||Two Cities Films|
|The More the Merrier||Columbia|
|The Ox-Bow Incident||20th Century-Fox|
|The Song of Bernadette||20th Century-Fox|
|Watch on the Rhine||Warner Bros.|
|Going My Way||Paramount|
|Since You Went Away||Selznick International Pictures|
|The Lost Weekend||Paramount|
|The Bells of St. Mary's||Rainbow Productions|
|Mildred Pierce||Warner Bros.|
|Spellbound||Selznick International Pictures|
|The Best Years of Our Lives||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|Henry V||Two Cities Films|
|It's a Wonderful Life||Liberty Films|
|The Razor's Edge||20th Century-Fox|
|Gentleman's Agreement||20th Century-Fox|
|The Bishop's Wife||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|Great Expectations||J. Arthur Rank-Cineguild|
|Miracle on 34th Street||20th Century-Fox|
|Hamlet||J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films|
|Johnny Belinda||Warner Bros.|
|The Red Shoes||J. Arthur Rank-Archers|
|The Snake Pit||20th Century-Fox|
|The Treasure of the Sierra Madre||Warner Bros.|
|All the King's Men||Columbia|
|A Letter to Three Wives||20th Century-Fox|
|Twelve O'Clock High||20th Century-Fox|
Individuals with multiple wins
Individuals with multiple nominations
Production companies with multiple nominations and wins
Columbia Pictures has the most wins with 12, while 20th Century Studios has the most nominations with 63. Focus Features has the most nominations without a win with 11.
20th Century Studios
|Warner Bros. Pictures||26||9|
|Plan B Entertainment||8||3|
|The Weinstein Company||6||2|
|Selznick International Pictures||5||2|
|Samuel Goldwyn Productions||8||1|
|J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films||3||1|
|New Line Cinema||3||1|
|Walt Disney Pictures||4||0|
|Pixar Animation Studios||2||0|
|The Caddo Company||2||0|
|Walter Wanger (production company)||2||0|
- BAFTA Award for Best Film
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Film
- Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Picture
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
- Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
- List of superlative Academy Award winners and nominees
- List of presenters of the Academy Award for Best Picture
- List of Big Five Academy Award winners and nominees
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
- List of Academy Award-winning films
- List of film production companies
- List of films considered the best
- Lists of films
- Academy Aperture 2025
- ^ The 2nd Academy Awards is unique in being the only occasion where there were no official nominees. Subsequent research by AMPAS has resulted in a list of de facto nominees, based on records of which films were evaluated by the judges at the time.
- ^ The Academy also announced that A Farewell to Arms came in second, and Little Women third.
- ^ The Academy also announced that The Barretts of Wimpole Street came in second, and The House of Rothschild third.
- ^ The Academy also announced that The Informer came in second, and Captain Blood third.
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The Technicolor footage for this sequence has since been lost, and only a black-and-white version is now available.
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- Oscars.org (official Academy site)
- Oscar.com (official ceremony site)
- The Academy Awards Database (official site)