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Clint Eastwood

Every Best Picture Oscar Winner of the 2000s, Ranked

The Academy Awards is by far the highest honor one can receive in the world of cinema. The prestigious awards ceremony nominates actors, directors, producers, writers, costume designers, composers, and other creatives in the industry each year to be recognized for their brilliant accomplishments in film. In fact, this year’s Academy Awards nominations were recently announced. Out of all 24 categories, the biggest award of the night is that of Best Picture. A culmination of things goes into choosing Best Picture nominees, but contenders must show excellence across themes and narratives, creative leadership, industry access, and audience development.

The amount of great cinema created in the 2000s is extensive and there are so many films that are eligible for winning Best Picture in any given year. The ten films that did end up winning the Oscar include American Beauty (2000), Gladiator (2001), A Beautiful Mind (2002), Chicago (2003), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004), Million Dollar Baby (2005), Crash (2006), The Departed (2007), No Country for Old Men (2008), and Slumdog Millionaire (2009). Here’s where every Best Picture Oscar winner of the 2000s ranks.

10 Chicago

Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere star in the 2002 Miramax-produced film Chicago. What makes this movie a unique Best Picture winner is that it’s a musical. The most common genre we see win and get nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards almost always falls into the category of drama, crime, and romance. Besides Best Picture, Chicago also took home the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (for Zeta-Jones), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Production Design.

9 Gladiator

Russell Crowe gives one of the greatest performances of his career in the 2000 adventure/drama Gladiator. The film was a huge success from the start, earning over $460 million at the box-office. Even twenty-two years after Gladiator was released, it is still considered an epic must-watch and major accomplishment in the world of cinema.

8 Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire stars the incredibly talented Dev Patel who has gained major critical acclaim over the years. The actor’s most recent work consists of the 2016 drama Lion directed by Garth Davis and the 2021 fantasy/adventure The Green Knight from director David Lowery. Slumdog Millionaire is an unforgettable film that was nominated for a total of eight Academy Awards, winning seven.

7 American Beauty

Sam Mendes is the brilliant director and mastermind behind the romance/drama American Beauty. Mena Suvari, Kevin Spacey, Thora Birch, and Wes Bentley give great performances and their natural chemistry onscreen is amazing. From the cinematography to the screenplay, there are so many reasons to watch this film. Not only is American Beauty a great piece of cinema, it is arguably Sam Mendes’ best movie of all time as he won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on the film.

6 A Beautiful Mind

Some of the best films are the simplest: no crazy special effects or epic adventure scenes, but instead real-life struggles that we can all relate to in one way or another. A Beautiful Mind is a story of self-discovery that takes us on a journey of success, heartbreak, and mental health struggles. Russell Crowe stars in the film as John Nash, a mathematical genius whose life takes an unexpected turn at the height of his career. Ron Howard won Best Director at the Oscars for his work on the film, in addition to its Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (for Jennier Connelly), and Best Adapted Screenplay wins.

5 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

To say The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King stole the show at the 76th Academy Awards is an understatement. The three-hour and 30 minute epic adventure/fantasy received twelve Oscar nominations and won in eleven categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing just to name a few. All three movies in the film series are incredible and definitely worth the watch.

4 No Country for Old Men

Javier Barden is one of the most talented actors working today and his performance in No Country for Old Men is proof of that. He stars in the crime/drama alongside the talented Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin who play Sheriff Ed Tom Bell and Llewelyn Moss, respectively. The Coen brothers are masters at their craft, creating compelling work time and time again that is so unique to them. From their first film Blood Simple, to the incredible Academy Award-winning crime/drama Fargo, and No Country for Old Men each one of Joel and Ethan Coen’s projects is better than the next.

3 The Departed

The Departed follows an undercover cop in Boston, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is attempting to get information on the head of the mob Frank Costello, played by the one and only Jack Nicholson. Simultaneously, Costello has one of his most trusted men Colin Sullivan infiltrate the police department and report back to him on their activity. Martin Scorsese does an incredible job with every film he works on, but The Departed was such a success that, in addition to its Best Picture win, it finally earned Scorsese his long-overdue Academy Award for Best Director.

2 Crash

Although Crash may not get spoken about as much as some other Best Picture winners, it’s an incredible film with a heartbreaking and extremely powerful screenplay. The film deals with race, stereotypes, and imbalances of power that are very much prevalent in our world today. Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandiwe Newton, Brendan Fraser, and Terrence Howard star in the 2004 drama. What makes Crash so powerful is that while the viewer is watching the film, we are reminded that incidents and injustices like this are happening around us every day.

1 Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood is a brilliant director who has been involved in some of the most legendary works of cinema. His career is beyond impressive, and he has offered the industry so much over the years. Million Dollar Baby is one of the many gifts Eastwood has given audiences and is arguably the best film he has ever directed. Hilary Swank gives a heartbreaking performance as Maggie Fitzgerald, the talented up-and-coming woman boxer whose career is cut short when tragedy strikes and leaves her paralyzed. Morgan Freeman plays Eddie, a former boxer and one of the most supportive people in Maggie’s life. This movie is amazing and received Best Picture, Best Actress (for Swank), Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (for Freeman) at the Academy Awards in 2005.

Clint Eastwood

The actor Sergio Leone wanted instead of Clint Eastwood for ‘A Fistful of Dollars’

Hollywood’s most decorated living legend, Clint Eastwood, broke through in the late 1950s and ‘60s as one of many western stars riding the genre’s concurrent wave of popularity. Having established a tough, squinting outlaw image in the foundational TV series Rawhide and mastering it in Sergio Leone’s legendary Dollars Trilogy, the handsome gunslinger consolidated his status as the iconic anti-hero cop Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry franchise.
Throughout his six-decade stint under the Hollywood limelight, Eastwood expanded his skillset to become a leading producer and director, earning four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes for his duties behind the camera. Remarkably, Eastwood is still active today at 93 years of age and is currently working on his final movie, Juror #2.
However, the nonagenarian may not sit atop such a humbling mountain of success as an actor and filmmaker if Leone hadn’t given him his big movie break in the 1960s. The Dollars Trilogy finished most memorably with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1966 but set off with A Fistful of Dollars two years before.
Although joining the cast would turn out to be one of the most important steps in Eastwood’s career, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the project at first. “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood once recalled in a BBC documentary. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
“I said, ‘Not particularly,’” Eastwood recalled with a smile.
Another hurdle to Eastwood’s unseen future was the fact that Leone didn’t really want Eastwood for the role initially. “I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone told the BBC. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
Continuing, the Italian director explained why he was initially wary of Eastwood’s style. “I didn’t see any character in Rawhide, only a physical figure,” he said. “What struck me most about Clint was his indolent way of moving; it seemed to me Clint closely resembled a cat.”
Eastwood recalled becoming more intrigued by the project after reading the uniquely constructed script. “The script was in English, very strange English because it had been written by an Italian group of people who didn’t speak English that well – especially English with what you’d call the western kind of slang,” he explained. “It was like an Italian concert of what a western slang would be.”
“So, a lot of the dialogue was a little bit on the shaky side,” Eastwood continued. “I liked it, though, and I felt that maybe a European approach would give the western new flavour because I thought it had been in a very stagnant period at that point.”
Ultimately, Leone settled for Eastwood, and Eastwood settled for $15,000 from a total movie budget of approximately $200,000. Although the movie was released in mainland Europe in 1964, it wouldn’t receive its theatrical debut in the US until 1967. Taking $19.9 million at the box office, the movie was a monumental commercial and critical success as the progenitor of the spaghetti western genre.
Watch the trailer for the A Fistful of Dollars 4K restoration below.


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Clint Eastwood

“I don’t like it when it’s dumb”: Yellowstone Star Kevin Costner Revealed He Hates Western Genre Despite Sharing Clint Eastwood’s Rare Record In Hollywood

Taking a look at the rear-view mirror in the journey of Hollywood, everyone remembers the good old days when Western films dominated not just the US, but the entire world. And leading that charge was the legendary Clint Eastwood, along with stars like Kevin Costner following close behind. To this day, the effect of those classic pieces of cinema can be felt.
Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner
In fact, when we take a look at Costner’s career in the industry, many will realize that it was the 1985 Western classic Silverado that brought him to the spotlight. In the later stage of his career, he won two Academy Awards for his film Dances with Wolves, something that Eastwood has also managed to achieve. But despite leaving an everlasting impression, it seems like he doesn’t love the genre for being dumb.
Kevin Costner Reveals That He Doesn’t Love The Western Genre Because It’s Dumb
Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves
While he may have been forgotten for a while in the changing landscape of Hollywood, the fans of the classic Western genre of films will never forget the impact Kevin Costner made with his films in the category. Going toe-to-toe in this genre with the face of old-school Western films Clint Eastwood himself, the actor and director has proved why he’s a genius in this department.
But despite achieving the extremely rare accolade of directing one of the only four Western films to receive the Oscars, also including Unforgiven by the Dirty Harry star, Costner reveals that this genre may not be his favorite.
In a past interview with Good Morning America, the former Yellowstone star talked about how he was not a big fan of the Western genre, the reason being that most of the films produced in it are dumb and illogical. He says that there’s too much of a straight divide between good and bad without any substantial form of moral complexity.
On top of that, he calls out the genre for being somewhat illiterate but has the potential to become so much more than just an illustrious piece of history. He said:
“[western] have to be literate. It’s too much black hat, white hat…I won’t tolerate bad language, meaning literacy of a western on TV or in film. I hate it. I don’t like it when it’s dumb because there’s such great opportunity because the architecture of a western should be to actually frighten you sitting in the dark, watching something. ‘That could have just happened to me. And I don’t know what I would’ve done’”
Thus, his new and unique outlook on the filmmaking of a Western film is what drives him to only make the best that the genre has ever seen.
What Was Dances With Wolves About?
A still from Dances with Wolves A still from Dances with Wolves
Widely considered to be one of the best films in the history of this genre, recognized by being awarded two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for Costner, Dances with Wolves may be Western filmmaking done right.
The film tells the tale of Civil War soldier Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, a man who is posted at Fort Hays, where he meets and develops a relationship with the native Lakota Indian tribe. Mesmerized by their lifestyle and simple outlook on the world, he soon finds himself being welcomed into their clan. But when Union Army soldiers come to their land with the agenda of uprooting the tribe, Dunbar has to choose a side.
Dances with Wolves, streaming on Prime Video.

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Clint Eastwood

“He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar Winning Actor With $15000 Salary

In today’s day and age, Clint Eastwood’s name is one that echoes with terms such as legendary and brilliant. His ability to be expressive as an actor without having to say too many dialogues was one admired by many. Not only his skills as an actor, but being a talented director helped build his reputation in the best way possible.
Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
During his days as an actor, there were many films offered to him. Some he let go of, others he grabbed as soon as he could. One of his most iconic works is the Dollars Trilogy with director Sergio Leone. Despite the massive amount of fame that he got from it, there was an unfortunate yet slight chance that Eastwood would have lost out on the role because Leone wanted another actor altogether.
Sergio Leone’s Initial Choice for His Trilogy was not Clint Eastwood
One of Clint Eastwood’s biggest movie trilogies, the Dollars trilogy was something that came along his career, giving him a boost the actor never knew he needed. The year 1964 saw a rise in his fame from then on. However, as per BBC (via Farout Magazine), Eastwood was not Sergio Leone’s first choice for the film.
James Coburn
“I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone stated. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
The director revealed that because of the budgetary limitations that they had, there was no way possible for him to get James Coburn for the role. The actor wanted $10,000 more than what Eastwood had settled on, making it an absolutely impossible choice for them to hire Coburn. He elaborated on how being in the Italian cinema at that time did not give him flexibility with the budget. Due to this, Eastwood became his ideal choice and that in turn benefitted his career.
Clint Eastwood Almost did not Join Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood’s career has been a rising climb for decades now. One of the reasons for this is his credible fame because of the Dollars trilogy. However, there was a slight chance that the actor would have given up on the role. According to a BBC documentary (via Farout Magazine), the actor was hesitant about saying yes.
Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood
 “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood remembered. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
The actor/director stated that he was asked to make a film in a rather peculiar setting right after he was coming back from a three-month-long break. His reply to the same had been a rejection. In the end, he warmed up to the idea.

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