For the last 10 years, Academy Award completists and desperate procrastinators have flocked to AMC Theatres the Saturday before the Oscars for a movie marathon: every Best Picture nominee, played back to back to back to… you get the idea. This year, there are eight back’s, beginning with Brooklyn at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 5:10 a.m. the next day with The Martian. (It’s actually a smartly scheduled lineup, with the exception of Bridge of Spies at 2:25 a.m. Literally no one can watch that film at that time of day without falling asleep. It’s reported to turn everyone into your dad dozing on his recliner.)
I’ve seen all but one of this year’s nominees (Bridge of Spies), and Mad Max: Fury Road is already a regular fixture on HBO Now, so I’m skipping this year’s marathon. For anyone who’s behind, though, it’s a great idea and only costs $65, which is a lot cheaper than individually paying for eight tickets. But how does 2016 compare to last year, or 2007, or 1994? That’s what I set to find out: the best year since 2000 to watch every Best Picture nominee.
I did this two ways. First, the average Rotten Tomatoes score of the films (obviously, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the perfect barometer for quality, but it’s a wide enough swath of reviews that it reveals something about how critics felt about a certain film at the time; that’s also why I only went back to 1990 — beyond that, Rotten Tomatoes gets shakier). Second, my personal opinion. What five, or eight, or nine, or even 10 nominees would I want to watch in a row? Spoiler: It’s not the Crash or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close years.
Let’s go through the nominees, with the average and individual RT ratings.