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.
The 10 Most Shocking Best Picture Winners In Oscar History
These movies shocked the film world on their way to winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
The Worst Oscar Best Picture Winners
These movies won the Academy Awards for Best Picture over better, more deserving films.