How Wide Open Is the Best-Picture Oscar Race? (Published 2021) (2022)

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The Projectionist

Each of the eight contenders has a path to victory, but it will be harder for some than others. For now, keep your eye on “Nomadland.”

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How Wide Open Is the Best-Picture Oscar Race? (Published 2021) (1)

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By Kyle Buchanan

What movie will win the best-picture Oscar, capping the most unusual year Hollywood has ever weathered? Eight films are left standing after Monday’s Oscar nominations, and though “Nomadland” is considered by most pundits to be the front-runner, an atypical awards season isn’t guaranteed to go with the expected winner.

We still have over a month until the Oscar ceremony on April 25, and that’s plenty of time for contenders to make their case. Here’s my take on how each of this year’s nominees could still chart a course to best picture.

‘The Father’

The production-design category usually goes for big, flashy films with extravagant sets, not movies like “The Father,” which is mostly contained to a single apartment. But the fact that the film still showed up in this category — a tribute to the clever way it shoots spaces to indicate the creeping dementia of its title character (Anthony Hopkins) — is a sign that Oscar voters really responded to “The Father” and were looking for places to reward it.

I do wonder, though, if the movie can turn any of its six nominations into a win. A posthumous best-actor victory for Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) will probably keep Hopkins from his second Oscar, and the “Father” co-star Olivia Colman’s very recent win for “The Favourite” (2018) may hinder her chances in the supporting-actress race. In the screenplay, editing and production-design races, other films are favored. For “The Father” to muster any real best-picture heat, it will have to pull off another upset win along the way.

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

There may have been no Oscar surprise greater than the supporting-actor double dip accomplished by “Judas and the Black Messiah”: While Daniel Kaluuya is considered the front-runner to win for his powerful performance as the assassinated Black Panther Fred Hampton, nobody predicted that he would be joined in that race by his co-star Lakeith Stanfield (the Judas of the title), who had been campaigned as a leading-actor candidate.

The fact that Stanfield still made it in, despite some fairly evident category confusion, is remarkable: Even a split vote couldn’t siphon much enthusiasm from “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which has a lot of late-breaking momentum as the final best-picture contender to screen widely. Its odds as a best-picture winner would be better if Shaka King had managed a best-director nomination, but if the film is still on an upswing, who knows where it may ultimately finish.

‘Mank’

David Fincher’s technically lavish Hollywood period piece swamped every other contender with 10 nominations, including nods for its stars Gary Oldman (as the writer Herman Mankiewicz) and Amanda Seyfried (as the starlet Marion Davies). But here’s the black eye: Despite that major haul, “Mank” is the only best-picture nominee that couldn’t manage a nomination for its screenplay. This, for a film about a screenwriter!

The path to best picture is increasingly predicated on a screenplay victory, and only seven films have ever won the top Oscar without their scripts even being nominated. (The most recent examples, “Titanic” and “The Sound of Music,” aren’t even that recent.) “Mank” could still pull off some technical wins or an upset victory for Seyfried in the hard-to-predict supporting-actress category, but the sting of that screenplay snub, as well as another telling omission in the best-editing category, suggest a contender that is admired rather than loved.

‘Minari’

The hot distributor A24 managed a best-picture win in 2017 with “Moonlight,” but recent efforts have mostly failed to connect with Oscar voters. “Minari” changed that, racking up six nominations, including director and screenplay nods for Lee Isaac Chung as well as individual acting nominations for Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn, a notable accomplishment since the Asian ensembles from previous Oscar favorites like “Parasite” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” earned no recognition from the academy’s acting branch.

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In a year when almost every awards show has been awkward and remote, “Minari” has produced two of the season’s most memorable, heartfelt acceptance speeches: When “Minari” took the Golden Globe for foreign-language film, Chung’s young daughter fell into his arms and exclaimed, “I prayed!”; and when the 8-year-old star Alan Kim won best young actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards, he was so overcome that he broke down in tears. Plenty of Oscar voters may root for “Minari” simply because its win would guarantee a moment as moving as the film itself.

‘Nomadland’

If the Oscars were held today, “Nomadland” could surely make the strongest case for best picture: This Frances McDormand-led drama has already picked up top honors from the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Gotham Awards, to name just a few of its accolades. Might Chloé Zhao also become the first woman of color to win best director? Based on what we’ve seen so far, her chances look awfully good.

But the best-picture race has proved fluid in recent years, and voters may prefer a more overtly political film to represent such a tumultuous year. With a budget under $5 million, “Nomadland” would also be one of the most modest best-picture champs ever made. Can a film this intimate sustain its front-runner position all the way through an awards season elongated by two extra months?

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‘Promising Young Woman’

Underestimate “Promising Young Woman” at your own peril. This dark dramedy about sexual assault is the only best-picture nominee aside from “Nomadland” to show across-the-board strength in four key categories — earning a best-director nomination for Emerald Fennell; an acting nod for its lead, Carey Mulligan; and nominations for screenplay and editing. On Oscar night, one or two crucial wins could pave a path to best picture: Mulligan has a strong shot at taking the best-actress Oscar, but an even better omen would be a win for Fennell in the original-screenplay category.

It won’t be easy going up against Aaron Sorkin, an Oscar-winning writer who is nominated again for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” but “Promising Young Woman” is audacious enough to still stand a chance. Even better, a win there would make history: If Fennell takes the original-screenplay Oscar and Zhao triumphs in the adapted-screenplay category, it will be the first time that both screenplay races have been won by women who were the sole credited writers of their films.

‘Sound of Metal’

The Toronto International Film Festival often catapults major Oscar contenders, but when this Riz Ahmed drama debuted there in the fall of 2019, its awards buzz was all but negligible. The Oscar campaign for “Sound of Metal” required the sort of patience and effort that may not have been possible in any other year, when the film might have been swamped by bigger-budget competition: Instead, in a pared-down awards landscape, this story of a drummer dealing with deafness earned six Oscar nominations.

Will that translate into best-picture heat? Well, a win for best sound is almost assured, and you can’t take the top prize without picking up at least one other trophy along the way. Ahmed and his co-star Paul Raci, a supporting-actor nominee, are certainly deserving in their categories, though neither man is considered a front-runner. The best-picture nomination may have to be enough for “Sound of Metal,” though the film has certainly defied modest expectations before.

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’

The directors branch of the academy tends to prefer technically audacious movies to talky ones, but in a year when far fewer of the former were in competition, Aaron Sorkin still couldn’t land a best-director nomination for the Netflix drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Does that spell doom for the movie, or can it pull an “Argo” and win best picture regardless?

Certainly, the film has the feel of an old-fashioned Oscar contender: It’s a well-reviewed period piece based on a true story, and its themes of political protest and police violence have plenty of modern-day resonance. “Chicago 7” should be a down-the-middle best-picture pitch for older Oscar voters, who tend to gravitate to male-led movies with topical weight.

But by now, some sort of significant best-film victory would have been expected, yet the movie keeps losing to “Nomadland.” Netflix will surely spend hard, and a triumph at this weekend’s Writers Guild Awards could give “Chicago 7” a boost, but it’s an open question whether the film can notch much more than a screenplay win at the Oscars.

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FAQs

Who keeps the Oscar for Best Picture? ›

This award goes to the producers of the film and is the only category in which every member of the Oscars is eligible to submit a nomination and vote on the final ballot. The Best Picture category is often the final award of the night and is widely considered as the most prestigious honor of the ceremony.

Which of the following movie has won Best Picture in Oscar 2021? ›

Oscars 2021: 'Nomadland' wins best picture at the 93rd Academy Awards.

How many Best Picture winners are there? ›

There have been 94 best picture Oscar winners over the years, and award-winning movies can be a great way to look back at pop culture history. Check out the full list of best picture winners below!

What will be nominated for Best Picture in 2021? ›

The 2021 Best Picture Oscar Nominees Ranked
  • #8. Mank (2020) 83% #8. ...
  • #7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) 89% #7. ...
  • #6. Promising Young Woman (2020) 90% #6. ...
  • #5. Nomadland (2020) 93% #5. ...
  • #4. Sound of Metal (2019) 97% #4. ...
  • #3. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) 97% #3. ...
  • #2. Minari (2020) 98% #2. ...
  • #1. The Father (2020) 98% #1.

Can the Academy take away an Oscar? ›

No. The Academy could have expelled him permanently, banned him from being nominated or winning future awards, and/or rescinded his just-awarded Oscar.

What is an Oscar worth? ›

Cast in bronze and finished with gold plating, the award is among the most coveted in the film industry — and the Academy values it at just $1. Of course, the Oscar itself is much more costly to produce.

What won Movie of the Year 2022? ›

Oscars 2022: 'CODA' wins best picture, Will Smith and Jessica Chastain win acting honors at Academy Awards. "That was the greatest night in the history of television."

Who won best picture tonight? ›

Apple's “CODA” won a historic Oscar for Best Picture at the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Which movie won the most Oscars in history? ›

Ben-Hur won with: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Cinematography; Art Direction; Sound; Music Score; Film Editing; Special Effects; Costume and loosing out to Room at the Top for Screenplay based on material from another medium.

Who is the best pitcher in the world? ›

1. Walter Johnson
IPWWAR
5,914417117.1
26 May 2022

What is the lowest rated Best Picture winner? ›

1) 'The Broadway Melody' (1929)

It's about two sisters from the vaudeville circuit trying to make it big on Broadway, but their heart gets in the way. IMDb audiences generally dislike the Broadway Melody for a multitude of reasons.

What is the Best Picture of all time? ›

All 95 Best Picture Winners, Ranked
  • #1. Parasite (2019) 99% #1. ...
  • #2. Casablanca (1942) 99% #2. ...
  • #3. On the Waterfront (1954) 99% #3. ...
  • #4. All About Eve (1950) 99% #4. ...
  • #5. Rebecca (1940) 98% #5. ...
  • #6. Moonlight (2016) 98% #6. ...
  • #7. Schindler's List (1993) 98% #7. ...
  • #8. It Happened One Night (1934) 98% #8.

Who won Best Actress at the Oscars last night? ›

Watch the top moments from the 2022 Oscars in 4 minutes

Jessica Chastain won her first Oscar for best actress in a leading role for her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Will Smith took home his first Oscar for best actor in a leading role in "King Richard."

Who got Best Actress? ›

Jessica Chastain accepts the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.

Where can I watch 2022 Best Picture nominees? ›

How to Watch 2022 Oscar Best Picture Nominees Online. WINNER: Coda — Stream it exclusively on Apple TV+. Belfast — Rent it to stream on Prime Video or Vudu for $5.99. Don't Look Up — Stream it exclusively on Netflix.

Who was nominated best actor 2022? ›

Actor in a Leading Role
  • Will Smith. King Richard.
  • Javier Bardem. Being the Ricardos.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch. The Power of the Dog.
  • Andrew Garfield. tick, tick... BOOM!
  • Denzel Washington. The Tragedy of Macbeth.

What movie has the most Oscar nominations 2022? ›

The films with the most nominations at the 2022 Oscars are literally worlds apart— Dune, the expansive sci-fi epic set on several fictional planets, earned 10 nominations, while the New Zealand–filmed Western The Power of the Dog leads the pack with 12 nominations in total.

Has anyone been stripped of an Oscar? ›

In fact, though there are those who have rejected their Oscars (Marlon Brando, Dudley Nichols), only one award has ever been revoked in Academy history — the 1969 prize for Best Documentary, which was given to Young Americans before it was determined that the film was released in 1967 and therefore ineligible.

Has anyone been expelled from the Academy? ›

Carmine Caridi

The Godfather Part II star Caridi was the first person ever kicked out of the Academy. In 2004, he was expelled for producing VCR copies of preview screeners and sharing them around.

Can you sell an Oscar statue? ›

In fact, according to the Academy's official regulations, winners are not allowed to “sell or otherwise dispose of the Oscar statuette ... without first offering to sell it to the Academy for the sum of $1.”

Is Oscar made of real gold? ›

The statuettes are solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. Due to a metal shortage during World War II, Oscars were made of painted plaster for three years.

Is the Oscar made out of real gold? ›

The Statuettes Are Merely Gold-Plated. Beneath that sheath of 24-karat plating is actually bronze—not gold. During WWII The Statuettes Were Made Of Plaster. For three years the prizes were made of painted plaster, but the winners were later given gold and metal replacements once the war had ended.

Do Oscar winners get paid? ›

There is no monetary reward for winning an Oscar, but there are significant benefits in other ways. Oscars Awards Prize Money: When it comes to award events, the Oscars are the best of the best. The dress is perfect, there's a little controversy every now and then, and, of course, the coveted gold trophy.

What happened with Will Smith at the Oscars 2022? ›

It was one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history that became known as "the slap." The world could not stop talking about Will Smith striking comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's bald head.

Did Will Smith win the Oscar? ›

Will Smith

What onstage incident overshadowed the 94th Oscar Academy Awards 2022 ceremony? ›

There were a number of historic firsts as the 94th Academy Awards returned to the Dolby Theater in Hollywood Sunday night — but they were overshadowed by a shocking moment when Will Smith walked up on stage and smacked Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Who won for CODA? ›

History was made at the 94th Academy Awards last week, as the film CODA scooped up all three of its Oscar nominations at the live show in Los Angeles. CODA was named Best Picture, star Troy Kotsur took home Best Supporting Actor, and writer-director Siân Heder accepted Best Adapted Screenplay.

Who won 8 Oscars? ›

8th Academy Awards

Who is the most awarded actor of all time? ›

As of 2022, Katharine Hepburn maintained her lead as the actor with the most Oscar wins of all time.

Who won 26 Oscars? ›

26th Academy Awards

Who threw the fastest pitch ever? ›

The Fastest Pitch Ever: Aroldis Chapman's 106 MPH Heater

On September 24, 2010, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who hails from Cuba, delivered a 105.1-mph fastball, measured by Statcast, in a game against the San Diego Padres, which is recognized as the Guinness World Record for fastest pitch ever.

What pitcher has the fastest fastball? ›

As a result, Aroldis Chapman is credited with throwing the fastest pitch in MLB history. On Sept. 24, 2010, Chapman made MLB history. Then a rookie relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, the fireballer unleashed a fastball clocked at 105.1 mph by PITCH/fx. MLB later bumped that up to 105.8 mph.

Who threw the first 100 mph pitch? ›

Jhoan Duran is first in MLB history to throw 100 mph off-speed pitch.

What's the highest IMDB rating? ›

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

What did Rocky beat for Best Picture? ›

The ceremonies were presided over by Richard Pryor, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty. Network and All the President's Men were the two biggest winners of the ceremony with four Oscars each, but Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best Editing, were won by Rocky. Los Angeles, California, U.S.

What comedies have won Oscars? ›

Here is a list of comedic performances that went on to get nominated or win an Academy Award for acting.
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. ...
  • Blazing Saddles. 1974. ...
  • Private Benjamin. 1980. ...
  • A Fish Called Wanda. 1988. ...
  • City Slickers. 1991. ...
  • My Cousin Vinny. 1992. ...
  • Little Miss Sunshine. ...
  • Tropic Thunder.

Who is the No 1 photographer in world? ›

1. Ansel Adams is probably the most easily recognized name of any photographer. His landscapes are stunning; he achieved an unparalleled level of contrast using creative darkroom work.

Who is the most photographed person in the world? ›

The World's Most Photographed Celebrity – Donald Trump

Coming up trumps (if you may) is none other than former President of the United States, Donald Trump. The 75-year-old businessman-turned-politician returns a staggering 463,574 results on Getty Images at the time of research.

Who keeps the Oscar for Best Picture? ›

This award goes to the producers of the film and is the only category in which every member of the Oscars is eligible to submit a nomination and vote on the final ballot. The Best Picture category is often the final award of the night and is widely considered as the most prestigious honor of the ceremony.

Who is the most decorated actress of all time? ›

Katharine Hepburn won four Academy Awards (all for Best Actress), more than any other actor or actress in the history of the award.

Who Won 3 Oscars for Best Actress? ›

Meryl Streep

All those nominations have resulted in three Oscars. Streep has won twice for Best Actress, though “The Iron Lady” felt a little dubious, and once for Best Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

Who won Best Actress 3 times? ›

Ingrid Bergman and Meryl Streep both have two best actress and one best supporting actress win, and in 2021, Frances McDormand became only the second woman to win three best actress Oscars.

Has a black person ever won an Oscar for best actor? ›

From Hattie McDaniel to Regina King, here's a look at the Black history that has been made at the Academy Awards. This article was updated on March 28, 2022. Third time was the charm for Will, as he finally took home an Oscar trophy for Best Actor for his leading role in King Richard after two prior nominations.

Who won best soap actress 2022? ›

2022 winner Paige Sandhu.

How many black people have won Oscars? ›

African Americans have won 20 acting Oscars, but as recently as 2015, a call for more diversity began under the banner #OscarsSoWhite.

What male has won the most Academy Awards? ›

Daniel Day-Lewis has the most Best Actor wins of all time: three.

Who is the Best Actress in the world 2022? ›

Jessica Chastain is officially an Academy Award winner. At Sunday night's Oscars 2022 ceremony, Chastain picked up the best-actress statuette for her performance in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in which she portrayed the titular televangelist, Tammy Faye Bakker.

Who won Best Actor at the Oscars 2022? ›

94th Academy Awards

Where can I watch Oscar nominated for Best Picture? ›

Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Production Design, Costume Design and Cinematography. “Nightmare Alley” is available to stream on Hulu and HBO Max with subscriptions to each platform. Learn more at hulu.com and hbomax.com. You can also rent or purchase the film on YouTube.

Where can I watch best picture winners? ›

And for the second consecutive year, every winner is available to view at home, either as an on demand rental on platforms including Amazon, Apple, Google Play, VUDU and YouTube or via streaming services including Apple TV+, HBO Max, Netflix and Disney+.

How can I watch best picture nominations? ›

It's available at a cost on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, YouTube, Redbox, Vudu and more. Seven nominations. HBO Max and Disney+. Steven Spielberg's reimagining of the 1961 classic received nominations for best picture, and director for him.

Who announced Best Picture 2022? ›

Minnelli's surprise Oscars appearance marked the 50th anniversary of 'Cabaret. ' Despite earlier events, the 2022 Oscars ended on a sweet note: Lady Gaga helping Liza Minnelli present the Academy Award for best picture.

Who won the Emmys 2022? ›

74th Primetime Emmy Awards

Has Denzel Washington ever won an Oscar? ›

Denzel Washington

Who has the most Oscar nominations without a win? ›

As of 2022, Greg P. Russell remained at the top of this ranking with 16 nominations and no trophy. Alex North (1910-1991), Roland Anderson (1903-1989), and Thomas Newman followed, each with 15 nominations.

Which movie has the record for the most Oscar nominations ever? ›

Three titles top the list of films with the most Academy Award nominations: "Titanic" (1997), "All About Eve" (1950), and "La La Land" (2016). All three films were nominated for 14 awards, and while the latter two scored six wins each, "Titanic" received a total of 11 trophies.

What's the first highest grossing film to not win an Oscar? ›

Avengers: Endgame Is the First "Highest Grossing Movie Ever" to Not Win an Oscar.

Do actors get an Oscar for Best Picture? ›

As of 2018, 91 films have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Each of the actors in this list has appeared in two or more such films. This list contains a total of 163 actors and collectively represents their 363 appearances in 88 Best Picture-winning films.

Who presented Oscar for Best Picture 2022? ›

Liza Minnelli Makes a Surprise Appearance at 2022 Oscars to Present Best Picture. Liza Minnelli surprised audiences at the 2022 Oscars Sunday night. The legendary stage and screen star appeared at the 94th annual Academy Awards alongside Lady Gaga, who was pegged to present the award for Best Picture.

Who presented the award for Best Picture 2022? ›

Minnelli's surprise Oscars appearance marked the 50th anniversary of 'Cabaret. ' Despite earlier events, the 2022 Oscars ended on a sweet note: Lady Gaga helping Liza Minnelli present the Academy Award for best picture.

How much do Oscar winners get paid? ›

There is no monetary reward for winning an Oscar, but there are significant benefits in other ways. Oscars Awards Prize Money: When it comes to award events, the Oscars are the best of the best. The dress is perfect, there's a little controversy every now and then, and, of course, the coveted gold trophy.

Who has refused an Oscar? ›

Sacheen Littlefeather had only 60 seconds to speak at the 1973 Academy Awards. In her brief speech, she refused the Oscar for best actor on behalf of Marlon Brando, faced a mixture of loud boos and cheers, and defended the rights of Native Americans on national TV.

Is the Oscar award real gold? ›

The statuettes are solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. Due to a metal shortage during World War II, Oscars® were made of painted plaster for three years. Following the war, the Academy invited recipients to redeem the plaster figures for gold-plated metal ones.

Do Oscar presenters get paid? ›

“It's less than that,” he said. “I got paid $15,000 to host the Oscars. And there's one of me! You guys will probably have to split that.” ($15,000 is obviously a lot of money, but Jimmy and Wanda went on to say that being host actually involves months and months of work ahead of the show.)

Who presented with Rachel Zegler? ›

She was eventually asked to attend and presented alongside Euphoria's Jacob Elordi the Visual Effects category. Zegler poked fun at the circumstances that brought her to the Oscar stage from London where she is filming the Disney feature Snow White. “I can't believe we are here tonight at the Oscars.

What movies are nominated for best picture 2022? ›

Best Picture Oscar Nominees of 2022, Ranked by Tomatometer
  • #1. Drive My Car (2021) 97% #1. ...
  • #2. CODA (2021) 94% #2. ...
  • #3. The Power of the Dog (2021) 94% #3. ...
  • #4. West Side Story (2021) 91% #4. ...
  • #5. Licorice Pizza (2021) 91% #5. ...
  • #6. King Richard (2021) 90% #6. ...
  • #7. Belfast (2021) 86% #7. ...
  • #8. Dune (2021) 83% #8.

Who is up for best actor 2022? ›

Actor in a Leading Role
  • Will Smith. King Richard.
  • Javier Bardem. Being the Ricardos.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch. The Power of the Dog.
  • Andrew Garfield. tick, tick... BOOM!
  • Denzel Washington. The Tragedy of Macbeth.

What picture has won the most Oscars? ›

Ben-Hur won with: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Cinematography; Art Direction; Sound; Music Score; Film Editing; Special Effects; Costume and loosing out to Room at the Top for Screenplay based on material from another medium.

Who won Best Picture every year? ›

Best Picture Oscar Winners by Year (Academy Awards)
  • Nomadland (2020) R | 107 min | Drama. ...
  • Parasite (2019) R | 132 min | Drama, Thriller. ...
  • Green Book (2018) ...
  • The Shape of Water (2017) ...
  • Moonlight (I) (2016) ...
  • Spotlight (I) (2015) ...
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) ...
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)

What is the only Best Picture Oscar winner without any female speaking roles? ›

There was not a single female speaking role - except for a camel named Gladys! It was Spiegel's third Oscar for Best Picture (earlier wins for the producer were for On The Waterfront (1954) and The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)).

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