In looking back over the best films of the 2010s, it seemed like it might be fun to also revisit and rank the Best Picture winners of the last nine years (we’ll get the 10th in February). It seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice ranking the films that won the top honors at the Oscars over the past decade was simply a reminder of how often the Academy goes with a boring or safe or outright angering choice, leaving behind a litany of genuinely great films as non-winners in its wake.
Here are a few of the films that did not win Best Picture over the last decade: The Social Network, The Tree of Life, Her, Lincoln, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max: Fury Road, Arrival, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, Roma, A Star Is Born, Black Panther. And those are just films that were nominated, not to mention the countless now-iconic movies that didn’t even make the shortlist for the Academy.
And yet each year, like Lucy and the football, I’m drawn back to the Oscar race, hopeful that something great might get recognized. To be fair, that’s happened in the last decade too, and the screenplay categories routinely single out ambitious storytelling. But be forewarned as you read this list: the back half or so is a rough trip down memory lane.