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Best Oscar-Winning Films of the Last 40 Years

With the Academy Awards set to take place in just a few weeks, it seems as though everyone is rushing to see all of the nominated movies prior to the big night. Some years, one epic picture is a shoe-in, whereas other years the Best Picture Oscar is up for grabs. Take 1939, for example. That was a tough year to compete for Best Picture. Gone with the Wind ended up taking home the prize, but it was up against The Wizard of Oz and Of Mice and Men! What a year. (And we can't forget about last year, when everyone thought that La La Land would win, and it was even erroneously announced, only to have the powerful drama Moonlight emerge as the real winner.)

Competition in any given year can be pretty tough, but what if the films had to compete across years? Who would the nominees even be? And which film would take home the whole enchilada?

In looking at the Best Picture winners over the last 40 years, I have compiled a list of what are arguably the top 10 films. See if you agree.

10. Spotlight, 2015

While this particular film wasn't as flashy as some of the others on this list, it had a couple of very strong things going for it. The writing was solid, the acting was exceptional, and the subject was incredibly important. The story brought to light the rampant sexual abuse that has taken place in the Catholic Church, something that a lot of people weren't even aware of before.

9. Dances With Wolves, 1990

This epic film was shot long before CGI was an option — which means that the buffalo chase scene (which involved 3500 buffalo running at full speed) needed to actually happen. Furthermore, it captures the energy of the Wild West and features a love story, making it appealing to most audience members. The portrayal of the daily life of the Sioux tribe in the film was praised by the tribe itself — as it accurately depicted day-to-day life. In all, the film is beautifully shot, well-written, and went so far as to have the Native American actors speak in the Lakota dialect as opposed to English with an accent.