Oscars: 16 war movies that won Best Picture, including ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (1930)

Something could happen at the 95th Academy Awards that has never happened before: a remake of a Best Picture champion could win Best Picture. The movie in question is “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which initially won the coveted Oscar prize for 1930 and is now a hot contender to be named the best film of 2022. The Netflix remake, directed by Edward Berger, earned nine total bids this year: picture, adapted screenplay, international film, score, sound, production design, cinematography, makeup & hairstyling and visual effects. If it wins Best Picture on Sunday, March 12, 2023, it will become the 17th war movie to prevail.

Scroll through our photo gallery above (or click here for direct access) to see all of the war movies that won Best Picture at the Oscars, from the most recent champ “The Hurt Locker” (2009) to the original victor “Wings” (1928). In all, 16 such films have triumphed in the top category, which is no surprise considering war movies provide Academy Awards voters with everything they require in a Best Picture contender: impact, empathy, range and hope in humanity.

As of this writing, the new version of “All Quiet” is in third place to win Best Picture, per Gold Derby odds. It has the support of two Experts (Pete Hammond and Tim Gray), one Editor (myself) and one Top 24 User (Conor Ryan). Comparatively, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the overwhelming favorite to win the top prize, while “The Banshees of Inisherin” comes in second place. The other seven nominees, in odds order, are “The Fabelmans,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Tár,” “Elvis, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking.”

Over the past 25 years, only one war movie has prevailed: “The Hurt Locker” (2009). It took down “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” “District 9,” “An Education,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Precious,” “A Serious Man,” “Up” and “Up in the Air.” Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film was about a three-man bomb disposal team in the Iraq War. It prevailed at the Oscars in six out of nine categories (picture, director, film editing, original screenplay, sound editing and sound mixing). It lost actor (Jeremy Renner), cinematography and score.

Universal’s 1930 version of “All Quiet on the Western Front” defeated “The Big House,” “Disraeli,” “The Divorcee” and “The Love Parade” at the 3rd Academy Awards. The film, based on Erich Remarque’s novel, is a harrowing account of World War I seen from the eyes of the German soldiers. Besides the top prize, its only other Oscar win was for director (Lewis Milestone). Its two losses were for cinematography and screenplay.

At the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1928, the Best Picture winner was “Wings.” It defeated “The Racket” and “Seventh Heaven.” The film was about two World War I fighter pilots in love with the same woman. It only had one other nomination that year and won for Best Engineering Effects.

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