5 Best, 5 Worst Oscar 'Best Picture' Winners

For every 'Godfather,' there's a 'Crash'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2019 4:04 PM CST
5 Best, 5 Worst Oscar 'Best Picture' Winners
This photo provided by Paramount Pictures shows Marlon Brando, right, as Don Corleone, in a scene from the 1972 movie, "The Godfather."   (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

There have been some pretty questionable Best Picture winners at the Oscars over the years—like that time Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan, or Crash was chosen over Brokeback Mountain. But what are the best Best Picture honorees of all time? USA Today is out with a Top 10, while Vulture ranks all 90 winners from worst to best. USAT's top five, along with how they rank on Vulture's list:

  1. The Godfather (1972): While the mobster epic grabs the top spot on USAT's list, it's No. 2 on Vulture's.
  2. Casablanca (1942): USAT's No. 2 pick is tops on Vulture's list.
  3. Schindler's List (1993): But Vulture doesn't list the Holocaust tale until No. 7.
  4. On the Waterfront (1954): The Marlon Brando classic comes in No. 5 on Vulture's list.
  5. All About Eve (1950): The Bette Davis flick is Vulture's No. 3 pick.
So what was in Vulture's top 5 that wasn't in USAT's? The Godfather Part II at No. 4. See Vulture's full list here, or the rest of USAT's top 10 here, or go to the next page for the five worst Best Picture winners.

Variety offers a list of the 10 worst Best Picture winners—its worst 5, compared to Vulture's complete ranking:

  1. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952): Cecil B. DeMille's circus epic gets the worst spot on Variety's list, and the fifth-worst spot on Vulture's.
  2. The Broadway Melody (1929): Only the second Best Picture winner ever, it actually snagged the worst-ever spot on Vulture's ranking.
  3. Gigi (1958): Variety was clearly not impressed with the musical, but it fares much better on Vulture's list, coming in at 62nd place (out of 90 total winners).
  4. Ben-Hur (1959): Perhaps a shocking inclusion, but Variety argues it simply doesn't stand the test of time. Vulture, however, ranks it in the top half of winning films, No. 39 out of 90.
  5. Around the World in 80 Days (1956): Another one that does better in Vulture's eyes; though the site admits it's "overstuffed," it ranks it 61 out of 90.
In Vulture's worst 5 but not Variety's? Second-worst went to 1930's Cimarron, followed by Crash (2005) and The Great Ziegfeld (1936) in spots No. 3 and 4. See the rest of Variety's list here. (More Academy Awards stories.)

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