Smaller Budgeted Movies that Should Have Won the Oscar for Best Picture

Many have said that Moonlight became the least expensive movie to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards earlier this month. At only $1.5 million, it is a very small movie, but technically the credit given to Moonlight isn’t true because of inflation and the simple fact that for a long time, movies cost a small fraction to make of what they do know. Having said that, here is a list of all the years when a relatively small movie should have defeated the much bigger movie that ended up winning. All of the estimated budgets listed come from each movie’s IMDB page. Not all of the movies I’m picking as should-be winners were actually nominated by the Academy. The only criteria for this list is that each movie is the best movie I’ve seen from that year according to the year of it’s release in American theaters.

MV5BMjAwNDEwNzA1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODU2Nzc3._V1_ At $150,000, Once (2007) is the least expensive film that I would pick to win Best Picture.

1931 Frankenstein ($291,000) over Cimarron ($1,433,000)

1941 Citizen Kane ($839,727) over How Green Was My Valley ($1,250,000)

1951 Rashomon ($250,000) over An American in Paris ($2,773,903)

1956 The Killing ($320,000) over Around the World in 80 Days ($6,000,000)

1957 12 Angry Men ($350,000) over Bridge on the River Kwai ($3,000,000)

1959 Some Like It Hot ($2,883,848) over Ben-Hur ($15,900,000)

1960 Psycho ($806,947) over The Apartment ($3,000,000)

1961 Judgment at Nuremberg ($3,000,000) over West Side Story ($6,000,000)

1962 The Manchurian Candidate ($2,200,000) over Lawrence of Arabia ($15,000,000)

1964 Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb ($1,800,000) over My Fair Lady ($17,000,000)

1969 Easy Rider ($400,000) over Midnight Cowboy ($3,600,000)

1978 Coming Home ($3,000,000) over The Deer Hunter ($15,000,000)

1983 A Christmas Story ($3,300,000) over Terms of Endearment ($8,000,000)

1991 Boyz N the Hood ($6,500,000) over The Silence of the Lambs ($19,000,000)

1995 Sense and Sensibility ($16,000,000) over Braveheart ($72,000,000)

1996 Fargo ($7,000,000) over The English Patient ($27,000,000)

1997 The Full Monty ($3,500,000) over Titanic ($200,000,000)

1998 Smoke Signals ($2,000,000) over Shakespeare in Love ($25,000,000)

2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ($17,000,000) over Gladiator ($103,000,000)

2002 Bowling for Columbine ($8,000,000) over Chicago ($42,000,000)

2003 Lost in Translation ($4,000,000) over The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($94,000,000)

2006 A Prairie Home Companion ($10,000,000) over The Departed ($90,000,000)

2007 Once ($150,000) over No Country for Old Men ($25,000,000)

2014 Whiplash ($3,000,000) over Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance ($18,000,000)

MV5BNjU3NDQxNzYxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTA0MTUxMTI@._V1_.jpg1997 marks the  biggest gap between the budgets of my choice and the Academy’s with the Oscar winner (Titanic) making $196,500,000 more than my pick (The Full Monty).


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