The last 43 Oscar best-picture winners, ranked from lowest budget to highest

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20th Century Fox

  • A range of highly expensive to low-budget films have won the best picture Oscar throughout its history.
  • Based on budget data from IMDB Pro, and then adjusted for inflation, we ranked the last 43 best picture winners based on their budget, from lowest to highest.

There is no special formula to win the best picture Oscar – at least when it comes to money.

Films that range from low-budget indie flicks (“Moonlight,” “The Artist”) to high-budget blockbusters (“Titanic,” “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”) have won the Oscar for best picture throughout history.

And that’s reflected in this year’s nominees as well – from Christopher Nolan’s $100 million war epic, “Dunkirk,” to Luca Guadagnino’s $4 million 1980s romantic drama “Call Me by Your Name.”

Based on budget data from IMDB Pro, and then adjusted for inflation using an inflation calculator, we’ve ranked the last 43 best picture winners from lowest budget to highest budget.


43. “Moonlight” (2016)

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A24

Initial budget: $4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $4.13 million


42. “Rocky” (1976)

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Chartoff Winkler Productions

Initial budget: $960,000

Adjusted for inflation: $4.18 million


41. “Crash” (2005)

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Bob Yari Productions

Initial budget: $6.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $8.2 million


40. “Platoon” (1986)

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Orion Pictures

Initial budget: $6 million

Adjusted for inflation: $13.5 million


39. “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989)

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Zanuck Company

Initial budget: $7.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $14.991 million


38. “Chariots of Fire” (1981)

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20th Century Fox

Initial budget: $7.5 million

Adjusted for inflation: $14.997 million


37. “Annie Hall” (1977)

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United Artists

Initial budget: $4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $16.36 million


36. “The Artist” (2011)

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The Weinstein Company

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $16.5 million


35. “The King’s Speech” (2010)

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The Weinstein Company

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.05 million


34. “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)

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Fox Searchlight Pictures

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.26 million


33. “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

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Voltage Pictures

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $17.3 million


32. “Ordinary People” (1980)

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Paramont Pictures

Initial budget: $6 million

Adjusted for inflation: $18.04 million


31. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

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New Regency Pictures

Initial budget: $18 million

Adjusted for inflation: $18.84 million


30. “Terms of Endearment” (1983)

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Paramount Pictures

Initial budget: $8 million

Adjusted for inflation: $19.9 million


29. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

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Fantasy Films

Initial budget: $4.4 million

Adjusted for inflation: $20.27 million


28. “Spotlight” (2015)

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Open Road Films

Initial budget: $20 million

Adjusted for inflation: $20.91 million


27. “12 Years a Slave” (2013)

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Fox Searchlight

Initial budget: $20 million

Adjusted for inflation: $21.28 million


26. “American Beauty” (1999)

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Dreamworks

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $22.3 million


25. “Unforgiven” (1992)

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Warner Bros.

Initial budget: $14 million

Adjusted for inflation: $24.73 million


24. “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)

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Columbia

Initial budget: $8 million

Adjusted for inflation: $27.31 million


23. “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

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Paramount Pictures

Initial budget: $25 million

Adjusted for inflation: $29.88 million


22. “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

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Orion Pictures via YouTube

Initial budget: $19 million

Adjusted for inflation: $34.57 million


21. “Schindler’s List” (1993)

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Universal Pictures

Initial budget: $22 million

Adjusted for inflation: $37.73 million


20. “Shakespeare in Love” (1999)

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Miramax

Initial budget: $25 million

Adjusted for inflation: $38.01 million


19. “Million Dollar Baby” (2004)

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Warner Bros.

Initial budget: $30 million

Adjusted for inflation: $39.36 million


18. “Dances with Wolves” (1990)

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Orion

Initial budget: $22 million

Adjusted for inflation: $41.72 million


17. “The English Patient” (1996)

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The Weinstein Company

Initial budget: $27 million

Adjusted for inflation: $42.65 million


16. “Amadeus” (1984)

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Orion Pictures

Initial budget: $18 million

Adjusted for inflation: $42.94 million


15. “Argo” (2012)

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Warner Brothers

Initial budget: $44 million

Adjusted for inflation: $47.5 million


14. “The Last Emperor” (1987)

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Record Picture Company

Initial budget: $23 million

Adjusted for inflation: $50.18 million


13. “Rain Man” (1988)

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MGM

Initial budget: $25 million

Adjusted for inflation: $52.38 million


12. “Gandhi” (1982)

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Columbia Pictures

Initial budget: $22 million

Adjusted for inflation: $56.5 million


11. “The Deer Hunter” (1978)

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Universal Pictures

Initial budget: $15 million

Adjusted for inflation: $57.02 million


10. “Chicago” (2002)

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Miramax

Initial budget: $45 million

Adjusted for inflation: $62 million


9. “The Godfather Part II” (1974)

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Paramount Pictures

Initial budget: $13 million

Adjusted for inflation: $65.36 million


8. “Out of Africa” (1985)

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Universal Pictures

Initial budget: $31 million

Adjusted for inflation: $71.41 million


7. “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)

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Universal Pictures

Initial budget: $58 million

Adjusted for inflation: $81.22 million


6. “Forrest Gump” (1994)

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Paramount

Initial budget: $55 million

Adjusted for inflation: $91.98 million


5. “The Departed” (2006)

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Warner Bros.

Initial budget: $90 million

Adjusted for inflation: $110 million


4. “Braveheart” (1995)

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Icon Entertainment International

Initial budget: $72 million

Adjusted for inflation: $117 million


3. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

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New Line

Initial budget: $94 million

Adjusted for inflation: $126 million


2. “Gladiator” (2000)

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Universal

Initial budget: $103 million

Adjusted for inflation: $148 million


1. “Titanic” (1997)

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20th Century Fox

Initial budget: $200 million

Adjusted for inflation: $308 million