The Best Movies That Have Won Academy Awards From Each Category

With Awards Season right around the corner, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite past Oscar-winners!


Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Leo’s first (and well deserved) Oscar in 2016

I fancy myself to be a movie lover. My mom and I get so excited for Oscar season every year and watch every movie nominated for Academy awards, choose our favorites, and predict winners. With COVID, the movie industry is struggling, but that has not stopped this year’s Academy Awards from being held Sunday, April 25th. These are some of my past winners that have been my favorite from some of the major categories, and my opinion is always, always right.

Best Picture: Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight is a film that shows three phases throughout a young boy’s life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood). It revolves around a young man (Chiron) exploring his identity and sexuality in a community that is not always supportive of him for who he is. This was the year of the big “Lala Land vs. Moonlight mistake” that captured the world’s attention. While announcing the winner of Best Picture, Faye Dunaway claims the card said “Emma Stone, La La Land” , and read the winner as La La Land, but in reality, the cards got mixed up, and the true winner was Moonlight. A few minutes into La La Land’s acceptance speech, the mistake was realized, and the cast and crew of Moonlight was called on stage to receive their award.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan is one of my favorite movies of all time. It centers around a New York City ballet dancer who is pressured to be “perfect” by her mother, other dancers, her teacher, and even her coach. She also deals with a host of mental health problems (psychosis? Schizophrenia?, we don’t really know). It is unclear if the pressure is the cause for her mental health issues, or if her mental health issues intensify the effects of this pressure on her mind and body. She hallucinates dramatic scenes and events happening to her which often get violent. I would classify this movie as a physiological thriller as it is scary to watch, but it’s not just silly jump scares, its very mindful to make the viewer truly yhink about what is happening. The ending to this movie (not going to give any spoilers) is very ambiguous; I was thinking about it for days. Natalie Portman was magnificent; she made me forget who she really was and all I could think about while watching was that she was actually Nina the ballerina, she actually believed she was seeing faces in paintings come to life for example.

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything (2014)

This was a hard category to choose from, there were many actors that deserved my praise. My pick, though, would have to be Eddie Redmayne in his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. This is a hard role to play, but he did it so well I forgot that he actually wasn’t Hawking, himself. This is a sweet movie about his relationship with his partner, Jane Wilde, and how their relationship affects his work.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood (2014)

In the same year as The Theory of Everything, Patricia Arquette took home the academy award for best supporting actress in the movie, Boyhood. This movie is unlike any I have ever seen because its process was so original. They hired some actors in the early 2000s and decided that they would film a coming of age story but with the same actors over the course of about 12 years. It showed the real progression of growing up for the children and aging for the adults. The cast and crew would get together once a year for 12 years and film a segment of the fictional character Mason’s (played by Ellar Coltrane) life. The movie isn’t about anything specific, just how Mason grows up with divorced parents and the relationships he makes with others. Arquette plays his supportive mother who has had her fair share of bad relationships, but she portrays a caring mother excellently.

Best Supporting Actor: Marheshala Ali, Greenbook (2018)

Ali also won the same award for Moonlight two years prior, and I actually enjoyed his performance more in that film, but we have already discussed it. I also really liked him in Greenbook which is similar to Moonlight in the way that it is a commentary on racial relations and stereotypes in America. Greenbook, however, is a more historical story set in the 1960s about the relationship between a famous black piano player and his white driver. It chronicled their road-trips throughout the south where they experienced the harshness of Jim Crow Laws and discrimination firsthand. It got its title from a guide-book that African American travelers used during the time that helped them find safe hotels and restaurants to stop at. Greenbook also won best picture that year.

Best Animated Feature Film: too hard to choose

I’ll just leave it at this, these were some of the winners from the 2000s and 2010s: Shrek, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Walle-E, UP (!!!), Toy Story 3, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Coco, and Toy Story 4.

p.s. Soul will totally win this category this year ^