Oscar Project

In the middle of 2014, my brand-new boyfriend Noah and I hatched an idea. We'd just met that year, we both liked movies, and we were frustrated at the number of films we'd meant to see but had never made the time to watch. What if, we said, we made the time? A project of going back to the beginning and watching all of the Best Picture winners in order? No skipping a movie no matter how much we hate it, and no watching out of order so we can see the progression of the craft over time?

The Oscar Project was born.

Along the way, as we talked about what won and what didn't, we wondered how frequently a Best Picture winner also picked up one of the writing awards.  We noticed overlap, but it was hard to tell how much, given that the writing awards have changed over time, and no page existed that clearly laid out the winners in the categories that interested us.

  • Text with a blue background indicates movies we've not yet watched.
  • Best Picture winners whose names are bolded won at least one of Best Story, Best Original Screenplay, or Best Adapted Screenplay.

We thought watching the Best Picture winners would be a fairly short project. It wasn't. It took us two years, and we got married shortly thereafter. 

We couldn't have done even round 1 of this project without access to Movie Madness, the amazing movie rental store (84K titles!) that we can walk to from our home. As part of the 2017 Kickstarter to save Movie Madness and turn it into a nonprofit, we donated accordingly, in thanks. Our donation level meant we got unlimited rentals for a year, which caused us to start round two in January 2018. For round two, we watched all of the screenplay winners in order, though we chose not to re-watch any screenplay winner that also won Best Picture. We've seen and discussed all of those movies since 2014, after all.

We completed the Oscar Project on February 29, 2020, with takeout Chinese food and a big hug, as we prepared to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. The only movie that remains unwatched is Ernst Lubitsch's The Patriot, which is lost.

The movies

Oscar winners for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay
Year Best Picture Best Story Best Original Screenplay Best Adapted Screenplay
1927/1928 Wings Underworld   Seventh Heaven
1928/1929 The Broadway Melody none given   The Patriot


All Quiet on the Western Front none given   The Big House
1930/1931 Cimarron The Dawn Patrol   Cimarron
1931/1932 Grand Hotel The Champ   Bad Girl
1932/1933 Cavalcade One Way Passage   Little Women
1934 It Happened One Night Manhattan Melodrama   It Happened One Night
1935 Mutiny on the Bounty The Scoundrel   The Informer
1936 The Great Ziegfeld The Story of Louis Pasteur   The Story of Louis Pasteur
1937 The Life of Emile Zola A Star Is Born   The Life of Emile Zola
1938 You Can't Take It With You Boys Town   Pygmalion
1939 Gone With the Wind Mr. Smith Goes To Washington   Gone with the Wind
1940 Rebecca Arise, My Love The Great McGinty The Philadelphia Story
1941 How Green Was My Valley Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Citizen Kane

Here Comes Mr. Jordan
1942 Mrs. Miniver 49th Parallel (The Invaders)

Woman of the Year

Mrs. Miniver
1943 Casablanca The Human Comedy

Princess O'Rourke

1944 Going My Way Going My Way


Going My Way
1945 The Lost Weekend The House on 92nd St.


The Lost Weekend
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives Vacation From Marriage

The Seventh Veil

The Best Years of Our Lives
1947 Gentleman's Agreement Miracle on 34th Street

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Miracle on 34th Street
1948 Hamlet The Search

none given

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1949 All the Kings Men The Stratton Story


A Letter to Three Wives
1950 All About Eve Panic in the Streets

Sunset Boulevard

All About Eve
1951 An American In Paris Seven Days to Noon

An American in Paris

A Place in the Sun
1952 The Greatest Show On Earth The Greatest Show on Earth

The Lavender Hill Mob

The Bad and the Beautiful
1953 From Here to Eternity Roman Holiday


From Here to Eternity
1954 On the Waterfront Broken Lance

On the Waterfront

The Country Girl
1955 Marty Love Me Or Leave Me

Interrupted Melody

1956 Around the World in 80 Days The Brave One

The Red Balloon

Around the World in 80 Days
1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai   Designing Woman The Bridge on the River Kwai
1958 Gigi   The Defiant Ones Gigi
1959 Ben-Hur   Pillow Talk Room at the Top
1960 The Apartment   The Apartment Elmer Gantry
1961 West Side Story   Splendor in the Grass Judgment at Nuremberg
1962 Lawrence of Arabia   Divorce, Italian Style To Kill a Mockingbird
1963 Tom Jones   How the West Was Won Tom Jones
1964 My Fair Lady   Father Goose Becket
1965 The Sound of Music   Darling Doctor Zhivago
1966 A Man for All Seasons   A Man and a Woman A Man for All Seasons
1967 In the Heat of the Night   Guess Who's Coming to Dinner In the Heat of the Night
1968 Oliver!   The Producers The Lion in Winter
1969 Midnight Cowboy   Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Midnight Cowboy
1970 Patton   Patton MASH
1971 The French Connection   The Hospital The French Connection
1972 The Godfather   The Candidate The Godfather
1973 The Sting   The Sting The Exorcist
1974 The Godfather Part II   Chinatown The Godfather Part II
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest   Dog Day Afternoon One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
1976 Rocky   Network All the President's Men
1977 Annie Hall   Annie Hall Julia
1978 The Deer Hunter   Coming Home Midnight Express
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer   Breaking Away Kramer vs. Kramer
1980 Ordinary People   Melvin and Howard Ordinary People
1981 Chariots of Fire   Chariots of Fire On Golden Pond
1982 Gandhi   Gandhi Missing
1983 Terms of Endearment   Tender Mercies Terms of Endearment
1984 Amadeus   Places in the Heart Amadeus
1985 Out of Africa   Witness Out of Africa
1986 Platoon   Hannah and Her Sisters A Room with a View
1987 The Last Emperor   Moonstruck The Last Emperor
1988 Rain Man   Rain Man Dangerous Liaisons
1989 Driving Miss Daisy   Dead Poets Society Driving Miss Daisy
1990 Dances With Wolves   Ghost Dances with Wolves
1991 Silence of the Lambs   Thelma & Louise The Silence of the Lambs
1992 Unforgiven   The Crying Game Howards End
1993 Schindler's List   The Piano Schindler's List
1994 Forrest Gump   Pulp Fiction Forrest Gump
1995 Braveheart   The Usual Suspects Sense and Sensibility
1996 The English Patient   Fargo Sling Blade
1997 Titanic   Good Will Hunting L.A. Confidential
1998 Shakespeare in Love   Shakespeare in Love Gods and Monsters
1999 American Beauty   American Beauty The Cider House Rules
2000 Gladiator   Almost Famous Traffic
2001 A Beautiful Mind   Gosford Park A Beautiful Mind
2002 Chicago   Talk to Her (Hable con Ella) The Pianist
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King   Lost in Translation The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 Million Dollar Baby   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Sideways
2005 Crash   Crash Brokeback Mountain
2006 The Departed   Little Miss Sunshine The Departed
2007 No Country for Old Men   Juno No Country for Old Men
2008 Slumdog Millionaire   Milk Slumdog Millionaire
2009 The Hurt Locker   The Hurt Locker Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
2010 The King's Speech   The King's Speech The Social Network
2011 The Artist   Midnight in Paris The Descendants
2012 Argo   Django Unchained Argo
2013 12 Years A Slave   Her 12 Years a Slave
2014 Birdman   Birdman The Imitation Game
2015 Spotlight   Spotlight The Big Short
2016 Moonlight   Manchester by the Sea Moonlight
2017 The Shape of Water   Get Out Call Me By Your Name
2018 Green Book   Green Book BlacKkKlansman
2019 Parasite   Parasite Jojo Rabbit
2020 Nomadland   Promising Young Woman The Father
2021 CODA   Belfast CODA
2022 Everything Everywhere All At Once   Everything Everywhere All At Once Women Talking