"Birdman," "12 Years A Slave," "Rebecca," "Casablanca" and the 1948 version of "Hamlet," starring Laurence Olivier in the title role, are some movies that members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have awarded the Oscar in the Best Picture category. There are full lists at Filmsite.org, MovieFone.com and Nerve.com.
When the Academy Awards of Merit debuted in 1929, the list of nominees reflected entries released in 1927 and 1928. Whereas previous Oscar seasons straddled two years, Oscar seasons as of 1934 reflect movies released between January 1st and December 31st of a given calendar year.
Depending on the source, the total list of Best Picture Oscar winners contains 80 to 87 titles. Many of the movie titles in the complete lists on MovieFone.com and Filmsite.org are deep links to detailed synopses and critical background.
"Best Picture" is a recent name for the category. Previously, the category was called Outstanding Picture, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture and Best Picture. Eligible films must be at least 40 minutes in length, publicly exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film, for paid admission in a commercial Los Angeles County theater, for at least seven days and within the awards year.
Only Active and Life members of the Academy may nominate movies and then vote anonymously for nominees. In both stages, movies with the most votes win nominations and the final award.