What movie should win Best Picture?

One of the films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar is “Avatar,” the largest-grossing movie in history. But its popularity doesn’t mean it will win. Today’s Question: What movie should win Best Picture?

  • bjames

    I haven’t seen all of the Best Picture nominees, but Avatar does not deserve the award. Even the positive reviews say, “It looks great, but the story is not very good. But it looks great, so, Yay!” That doesn’t sound like a Best Picture winner to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the reviewers who raved about it will, in a few years time, wonder what they were thinking.

    Give it a technical award – it definitely deserves one of those. Unfortunately, James Cameron didn’t make use of far older technologies to write a compelling – or at least interesting – story.

    If the Academy does feel like shaking things up a bit and giving the Best Picture award to a sci fi film, District 9 was orders of magnitude better than Avatar.

  • It’s a dirty little secret that the 10 (formerly 5) Best Picture Nominees do not necessarily include the best movies released in a year.

    That said, out of the ten Best Picture nominees, Avatar should win, for its groundbreaking achievements. However, given that actors are the largest category of Oscar voters, I suspect the Best Picture and Best Director will go to Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Who cares what the movie snobs of AMPAS think? Watch movies you enjoy.

  • Gregory of Anoka

    Hurt Locker is by far the best picture of the year. The question is, will that be recognized? The Avatar juggernaut has lost a bit of steam as people have come to realize that it is a setting without a story. (It’s basically the same story as Dances With Wolves, but more poorly done.) Avatar deserves and should get awards for special effects; but frankly, it never should have even been nominated for the best picture category. Hurt Locker, on the other hand, was timely and captivating. One could not help but be drawn into it. The recent lawsuits by the soldier who apparently formed the basis for the main character unfortunately cast doubt on the integrity of the makers of the film, but ironically give it more validity as a realistic portrayal. The other nominees are throw-aways in my book. Hurt Locker is the only deserving best picture despite a possible dearth of ethics on the part of its producers.

  • Melanie Dunn

    I don’t know if Avatar should win best picture I haven’t seen all the nominees. Although, it definitely deserves a technical award and I liked the metaphor it drew with the U.S., the enviroment, and what we value. I liked it a lot. I could talk to my kids about the moral concepts the story brought up. James Cameron made it all very accessible.

  • Peter

    Has anyone seen Inglorious Basterds? The quality of every aspect of that production is absolutely amazing. It has my vote!

  • Mari

    Avatar, definitely! I don’t care if the critics don’t like it because parts of it were animated, it was a great movie with believable, well-written characters; great directing; a beautiful message; and stunning effects. It’s the only movie from 2009 that I saw in theaters more than once.

  • Kjersti

    Although I appreciated Avatatar and the HUrt Locker, I was most moved by Precious. I think that after seeing this film I have been able to be more empathethic towards people I may not have understood as well before the film. Without any special effects, this movie kept me at the edge of my seat, whereas by the 15th minute of the endless battle scene in Avatar, I was nodding off. However, I will be dressing up as an Avatar for my annual Academy Awards costume party.

  • Angela

    I agree with Peter, “Inglourious Basterds” should win. I think that was amazing from start to finish! Otherwise I’m rooting for “Up” or “A Serious Man.” Both of those were quirky and meaningful for me.

    I hope that Avatar does not win. I like what bjames said in their post, “Even the positive reviews say, “It looks great, but the story is not very good. But it looks great, so, Yay!” That doesn’t sound like a Best Picture winner to me.” People should take into account EVERYTHING about the movie, not just the visual effects. Yes, it was a huge money maker, but it was only because of the special effects. Everyone that I have talked to that have seen it have all said that the storyline was junk, but the 3-D was cool.

    A movie should be nominated for an Oscar because of how it moved the audience and what effect it had for people.

    In other rants:

    Why can’t we go back to basics with making movies? Remember when we didn’t have computers to generate backgrounds, explosions, or make-up effects? Casablanca, anyone?

  • Ute

    I agree with “bjames” in that Avatar, though technically revolutionary, lacked a good story and thus does not deserve the all-encompassing award of “Best Film”.

    My vote is for “District 9”. Its contemporary themes of power, greed, oppression, propaganda and cultural conflicts were captured in an exciting story that was well executed.

    “Inglorious Basterds” in my opinion does not even deserve a nomination. Tarantino trivializes tragic historic events and figures by giving them a cartoon-like image and creating a fictional story of the all-American bad boy defeating the brilliant evil. “Hellboy” was more realistic.

  • Amanda

    Inglorious Basterds was the best picture of the year. Having seen all the other nominees (excepting Blind Side as I don’t go in for schmaltz) Inglorious Basterds had all the elements of a Best Picture: complex story, truly exceptional acting and beautifully shot. Avatar is flash in the pan, not worthy of the industries highest award.

  • Christine

    I’ve seen all the nominees except The Blind Side. I really think that Hurt Locker should win. I think that the soldier’s story both at war and away is told with alot of compassion and realism.

  • phil

    Not Avatar. It’s a remake of Disney’s Pocahontas — only without the music.

  • Richard

    Hurt Locker. It was a complex film that explored war and soldiers, was suspenseful and well done.

  • azna amira

    Heard pundit on NPR say Avatar had “nice effects, but not much of a story.” WHAT? It’s only world history, American history, and a snapshot of the US in the Middle East: Western Europeans “discover” a place, kill all the people and take their stuff while destroying the environment. Only this time the indigenous people face down the aggressors’ big guns THEIR WAY–and win.

    Your pundit missed the boat: it’s the greatest story ever told, and generations of slaughtered innocents are avenged. What’s not to root for?

  • Molly Miller Mons

    Avatar. It was a stunning movie that left me mesmerized and wanting more. In fact, I saw it a total of three times and I haven’t seen a movie more than once in the theaters since I was a child.

  • craig v

    None of the current movies are in the caliber of a Shindler’s List but I really liked Crazy Heart way more than The Hurt Locker or Avatar. My 2nd choice would be Blind Side. Crazy Heart has fantastic performances by jeff Bridges & Maggie G?. The music is great old style whisky soaked country ala Kris Kristofferson and there are some fantastic vistas of the west to boot. Less is more!

  • Paul

    I would have to say that The Hurt Locker is the best film of the year. It is above and beyond the competition. Much as I loved both Up and A Serious Man, it is the Hurt Locker that is the best. There are fantastic performances from everyone in the cast. The scenes are shot with such gritty realism that it draws you completely into the film. The sound is amazing as well, keeping you on edge and helping to creating the environment. Director Katheryn Bigelow brings all of this together to make one fantastic film. She doesn’t deserve the Oscar because she would be the first female to win it. She deserves it because she made a positively brilliant and real film that rises above the other films of this year.

    It definitely deserves a place with other such great war films as Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and Paths of Glory. In fact, I would say that this one is much like the Platoon of our generation.

    It deserves great recognition, but I feel that the film hasn’t reached enough people just yet. I feel that, if it were to win, more people might give it a chance and watch it. I think it is a shame that you can ask just about anyone if they have seen Avatar, and they will say that they have, but if you ask someone whether or not they have seen the Hurt Locker, most people haven’t seen it and a few haven’t even heard of it.

    Avatar is fantastic if you want escape fantasy and amazing visuals, but the script is so incredibly weak that it drew me outside of the movie itself. And we have all heard this story before in such films as Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas.

    The Hurt Locker should most definitely win because it deserves it more than any other film this year, maybe even more than any from the past 5 years.

  • Chris

    Basterds and Hurt Locker were great, but if Up doesn’t win best picture the Oscars have no meaning. Up is one of the most astonishing films ever made.

  • jessica Sundheim


  • Sue de Nim

    I loved Avatar. Yes, it’s a variation on an oft told story (Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves, etc.), but it’s told well and and is fun to watch. I have to wonder how much of the negative reaction to it comes from people who don’t like the message and go looking for reasons to discredit the artistic value of movie, rather than admitting that it’s the message they don’t like.

  • bugloaf

    Avatar will win, but The Hurt Locker was the best movie I saw. Up was not as good as The Incredibles or WALL-E.

  • Elizabeth T

    I’ve seen Up and The Hurt Locker. I was quite astonished to realize that I accomplished so little academically without managing to spend that procrastination time watching movies … sad … sad that I can’t compare them with the other 8.

    Up was delightful; but I can’t see it being the Best Thing of the Year. The talking dogs freak out my 5 year old. (not a disqualifier as far as movies go, just a really odd fact)

    The Hurt Locker was good.

    My 2 cents: I’ve seen some Best Picture movies which left me wondering “why did anyone think this was the Best Thing of the Year? e.g. Gladiator (I saw it 3 times, something that’s only happened a handful of times) was a delightful movie, but it paled next to Traffic as far as overall quality.

    Movies get here by having the appropriate Social Message (Precious), the Historical Cultural Message (Schindler’s List), or the Political Message (Milk), or just the Right Actor(Gladiator). None of which preclude their quality. But this factor is not inherent in quality.

    If the Academy Awards are really all about the professional achievement, they fail to achieve this goal consistently. I anticipate Avatar winning due to sheer popularity. My brother worked on the CGI for it; in my experience, this generally translates to “fantastic CGI” (not that my brother is astonishing, just that he has great ability to pick the great movies to work with).

    But great popularity and CGI and fantastic story don’t mean they go well together. Hence the individual awards. Something – in my opinion – should be perfectly capable of winning Best Picture without necessarily winning anything else. It’s the whole thing put together that needs to be awe-inspiring.

    I hope – occasionally in vain – for the Best Picture to be something I can watch over and over and enjoy every time. e.g. American Beauty, Unforgiven, Platoon.

    I am left hoping this year that I’ll still be able to catch some of these in the movie theater rather than my TV.

  • James Holmes

    My nomination for the Best War Picture of all time is “The Thin Red Line” . The cinematography was outstanding; bright sunshine, fields of waving grass, flowing rivers deep in the jungle, creatures living their lives while a deadly human battle unfolds. Courage, fear, materialism versus otherworldiness, the clash of cultures, persoanl ambitions and the cruelty of war were all explored. I found the film poetic, philiosophical and disturbing. J Holmes

  • Normally I’m agasint killing but this article slaughtered my ignorance.