The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture is one of the Academy Awards, awards given to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which are voted on by others within the industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only to vote on the final ballot, but also to nominate.

In the lists below, the winner of the award for each year is shown first, followed by the other nominees. Except for the early years (when the Academy used a non-calendar year), the year shown is the one in which the film first premiered in Los Angeles County, California; normally this is also the year of first release, but it may be the year after first release (as with Casablanca). This is the year before the ceremony at which the award is given; for example, a film exhibited theatrically during 2005 was eligible for consideration for the 2005 Best Picture Oscar, awarded in 2006. The number of the ceremony (1st, 2nd, etc.) appears in parentheses after the awards year, linked to the Wikipedia article (if any) on that ceremony.

Each individual entry shows the title followed by the production company, and the producer. Before 1951, the Best Picture award was given to the production company; from 1951 on, it has gone to the producer. When the film was produced anywhere other than the United States, its country and original title, if applicable, are shown in parentheses.

In the Academy Awards' first year (1927-28, awarded in 1929), there was no "Best Picture" award as such. There were two separate awards, one called "Most Outstanding Production," won by the epic Wings, and one called "Most Artistic Quality of Production," won by the art film Sunrise. The awards were intended to honor different and equally important aspects of superior filmmaking, and in fact the judges and the studio bosses who sought to influence their decisions paid more attention to the latter-- MGM head L. B. Mayer, who had disliked the realism of King Vidor's The Crowd, pressured the judges not to honor his own studio's film and to select "Sunrise" instead. The next year, the Academy instituted a single award called "Best Production," and decided retrospectively that the award won by "Wings" had been the equivalent of that award, with the result that "Wings" is often erroneously listed as the winner of a sole "Best Picture" award for the first year. (The title was eventually changed to Best Picture for the 1931 awards.) Incidentally, "Wings" and "Sunrise" were the only silent films to win Best Picture-equivalent awards.

A point of contention is the lack of consideration for non-English language films for other categories than the Best Foreign Language Film category: very few foreign films have been nominated for any of the other categories, regardless of artistic merit. Thus the Academy Award for Best Picture is practically the "Academy Award for English-language Best Picture." (As of 2006, only eight foreign language films have been nominated for Best Picture: Grand Illusion (1938); Z (1969); The Emigrants (1972); Cries and Whispers (1973); Il Postino (1995); Life Is Beautiful (1998); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000); and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006).)

Since 1944, the Academy has restricted nominations to five Best Picture nominees per year.

To date, the first Animated Feature film to win the Best Picture Oscar is An American Tail. The first G-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar is Oliver! (1968). The first R-rated movie to win the Best Picture Oscar is The Godfather and to date 17 of the Best Picture winners have been R-rated. The first PG-13-rated movie to win the Best Picture Oscar is The Last Emperor and to date 8 of the Best Picture winners have been PG-13-rated and 20 of the Best Picture winners have been G-rated.



The name of the award becomes Best Picture



From 1951 on, the individual producer (rather than the production company) receives this award.