With Academy Award winner Ben Affleck‘s latest directorial effort, the gangster saga “Live By Night,” now opening nationwide in the prime of Oscar voting season, it’s fascinating to remind ourselves just how often that Oscars and gun-toting mobsters have been intertwined. Let’s take a look back at gangster films contending for Best Picture in our new photo gallery.
It all began in the early days of Oscar, with Best Picture nominations being earned by “The Racket” in 1928 and “Alibi” in 1929. However, for the next 38 years, true gangster movies were completely absent from the roll of Best Picture nominees. Sure, there were gangland classics such as “Little Caesar” and “Public Enemy,” but they never reached the height of being Best Picture nominees.
“Bonnie and Clyde” changed it all in 1967, proving once and for all that genre films can be art too. In the half-century since, a total of 10 gangster films have either received Best Picture nominations (or in the case of the first two “Godfather” films and “The Departed”, the big prize itself). In addition to these, others in our gallery are “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985), “Goodfellas” (1990), “Bugsy” (1991), “Pulp Fiction” (1994), and “L.A. Confidential” (1997).
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