Can you believe there are 86 movies that have won the Oscar for best picture? If you wanted to watch them all, it would take you almost 200 hours to do it! That would be an eight-day Oscar movie marathon! At that length, you’d better enjoy the best Hollywood has to offer more than sleep, or sanity!
Unless you are looking to break the current movie marathon Guinness world record, I don’t think a single mega-oscar movie marathon is feasible for us mere mortals. So what do we do? The first question to ask is: “Do I want to watch all of the ‘Best Picture’ films, or just the best ones?”
It’s a pertinent question. I compared the list of best picture winners with the American Film Institute’s top 100 American films, and came up with a grand total of 27 films that appeared on both lists. That means that less than 33% of Oscar best picture winners are on the list of the top 100 best American films ever made. Combine that fact with a few opinions on the internet that not all Oscar films have aged that well, and you’d be right to conclude that maybe some of the “best picture” films are better than others.
However, even if you choose to go after only the 27 best films, that’s still about three straight days of movie watching. That is still too much for a single Oscar movie marathon. I think a different approach is needed with the Oscar winners. What about slipping them one-by-one into other movie marathons until you’ve seen them all?
In other words, I think your best bet is to treat the Oscar “best pictures” as more of a bucket list than a movie marathon schedule. At least, that’s what I think I’m going to do. I have seen 21 of these films – less than 25%. I have heard of a lot of these films, but I just haven’t gotten around to seeing most of them yet. I’m going to find them homes in my future movie marathons!
That these films don’t all appear on the critics’ lists doesn’t bother me so much. Living on a diet of only critics’ choices can lead to a severe case of pretentiousness. I like the idea of seeing what America thought was important, or inspiring, or moving, for a particular year in history. It is like watching the video diary for America, one year at a time. I think it’ll be fun!
So, here is the complete list of best picture Oscar winners, along with their length and whether they made it into the AFI top 100. Let’s start checking them off!
Your Oscar Movie Marathon Checklist
* Ok – technically The Fellowship of the Ring is what made the AFI list – but c’mon! They’re all the same movie!