Every Film That Should Have Won Best Picture (But Didn’t) Since 1997

1998: Saving Private Ryan


  • Shakespeare In Love (actual winner)
  • Elizabeth
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Thin Red Line

In retrospect, it’s shocking Saving Private Ryan didn’t grab the Oscar in 1998. Though admittedly, we didn’t know just how great of an impact the film would ultimately have. Spielberg and his cinematographer Janusz Kaminski’s hand-held, ground-level camera work (with a desaturated color palette) has since been almost universally adopted as the visual language of war.

While the Omaha Beach scene is the most memorable, Spielberg follows that dizzying opening fifteen minutes with a powerful, honest story that manages to show the realities of war without glorifying violence. Perhaps the best World War II film ever made, and certainly the best picture of 1998.

Image Source: Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images