Oscar Winners, a Look Back, Part 2

Time is often the best measure of the Best movies in a given year. Last week I looked at the field from 30, 25 and 20 years ago. Today I will look back at the field from 15, 10 and five years back.

15 Years Ago
Ceremony: 2002
Film Year: 2001
* A Beautiful Mind
* Gosford Park
* In The Bedroom
* Moulin Rouge
* Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Winner: A Beautiful Mind
Thoughts: Well, this is a tough one. At the time, I thought "A Beautiful Mind" was the best, and it was the one I would have picked. Fifteen years later, that's probably still the case. But it's hardly clear cut. In fact, the movie that's probably remained highest in the public consciousness is "Moulin Rouge." I never liked that movie, so it's hard for me to go all in on that movie. But that is probably one you could make a strong case for because of what it means to people all these years later. Either way, "A Beautiful Mind" still holds up as a solid biopic that won in a somewhat weak year.

10 Years Ago
Ceremony: 2007
Film Year: 2006
* The Departed
* Babel
* Little Miss Sunshine
* The Queen
* Letters From Iwo Jima
Winner: The Departed
Thoughts: This was another weak year and a dubious field. Of those five nominated, I think "The Departed" was the right selection and would still be today. But was it the best film? Was the best film even nominated? Personally, I think a film that wasn't in the field, "Children of Men," was the best film that year, and probably the one that holds up best 10 years later. "The Departed" is a good film, and the best of this field, but it hasn't held up as well the past 10 years.

Five Years Ago
Ceremony: 2012
Film Year: 2011
* The Artist
* Tree of Life
* The Descendants
* Moneybag
* The Help
* Hugo
* War Horse
* Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
* Midnight in Paris
Winner: The Artist
Thoughts: This was another year when we had an expanded field. "The Artist" had the advantage of being beautifully unique, which helped it carry the day at the time. But five years later, would it still win? I think not. Over that time many of the other nominees — "Midnight in Paris," "The Help," "The Descendants," "Tree of Life" and "Moneyball" — have remained more relevant. In fact, if the awards were being handed out today, I think the top contenders would be "Moneyball" and "Tree of Life." Thought eclectic, "Tree of Life" is a beautifully made and powerful film. "Moneyball," meanwhile has remained a favorite and popular film, one that's been more appreciated over time. I actually think "Moneyball" might be the best of the group, which is not something I thought five years ago.


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