The 10 Most Surprising Oscar Best Picture Winners
Every year, film buffs and casual viewers alike get excited when the Academy releases their annual list of nominations — especially when it comes to the Best Picture category. You see, unlike every other category, the Best Picture trophy carries a bit more weight to it. There are less quantifiable elements to it than a more specific category, such as Sound Editing or Costume Design. In those categories, you can pinpoint certain merits based on technique or attention to craft. As a concept, “Best Picture” implies that a film manages to score highly in several departments — but even beyond that, it leaves the biggest impression on its audiences.
The term “Oscar bait” refers to a movie (typically, a drama) that seems particularly geared toward a certain demographic — the industry professionals who get to decide the nominations each year. These films often feature A-list actors in challenging roles, heavy-hitting themes, and sweeping scores. They’re the clear front-runners, and no one is really surprised when they take home the big prize. But other times, a movie has an unexpected victory. Whether it falls into a genre that isn’t typically celebrated at the Academy Awards, or it snubs a more “Oscar-worthy” title, sometimes a film’s win comes as quite a shock to the audience. At the end of the day, though, the news shouldn’t come as a shock to the Academy — they’re the very ones who picked it, after all.
Below, you’ll find 10 of the most shocking Best Picture winners in Oscar history.