Saturday, April 16, 2011

One Word Title Oscar Best Picture Winners

Of the past 83 Oscar winners, 21 of the films (just over a quarter) have had one word titles. As I got going through the list, I was not surprised to see one word titles as nouns to be the predominant winners, and not just that, but proper nouns.

Apart from nouns, the list only has one adjective (Unforgiven, which isn’t even in the dictionary), and one title that can be a noun, adjective or verb, and in this case could easily be argued as a noun or a verb (Crash).

Wings (1927)
Cimarron (1931)
Cavalcade (1933)
Rebecca (1940)
Casablanca (1943)
Hamlet (1948)
Marty (1955)
Gigi (1958)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Oliver! (1968)
Patton (1970)
Rocky (1976)
Ghandi (1982)
Amadeus (1984)
Platoon (1986)
Unforgiven (1992)
Braveheart (1995)
Titanic (1997)
Gladiator (2000)
Chicago (2002)
Crash (2005)
Argo (2012)
Spotlight (2015)
Moonlight (2016)

There's something bold about a one word title film - something definitive about it. When I see one word title films now I usually think they're a lack luster thriller - but maybe those are usually verbs and adjectives.

**2013 UPDATE:
At the 85th annual award ceremony held in early 2013, three of the nine nominees were one-word titles. While Amour and Lincoln did not win the Oscar for best picture, Argo did win, making it the 22nd one word title film to win best picture. It to is also a noun.

**2016 UPDATE:
At the 88th Academy Award ceremony held February 28, 2016, Spotlight became the 23rd one word title winner.

**2017 Update:
At the 89th Academy Award ceremony held February 26, 2017 Moonlight became the 24th one word title winner.