Searching for Oscar meaning in IMDb’s top 15 of the millennium

Posted by · 8:02 am · August 19th, 2009

IMDbOver at IMDb there is a new feature called “The Power of Film” (lofty title, that), which has listed out the top 15 films of the millennium as voted on by IMDB users, i.e., fans, the public, regular folks.

The IMDb top 250 is an ever-changing mish-mash of high-,middle- and low-brow entertainment that always makes for an amusing cross section of what the public thinks of cinema from one moment to the next.  “The Godfather” and “The Shawshank Redemption” trade off the #1 spot consistently, save for the spike of interest in this major new release or that, films that insinuate themselves high early on but inevitably fall down the list as more viewers get a look.

The new feature, unsurprisingly, features Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” at the top, but strewn throughout is a diverse mixture including the “Lord of the Rings” triology, German Oscar-winner “The Lives of Others” and Pixar entries “WALL-E” and “Up.”  And speaking of Oscar, MTV’s Terri Schwartz has spun her wheels on the idea that, with a larger slate of Best Picture possibilities, the IMDb list could prove an omen for the potential blend of eclectic and entertainment cinema so many expect the Academy’s line-up to resemble from this year forward.

(Schwartz’s thoughts and IMDb’s list after the jump.)

Says Schwartz:

It is odd but exciting to see such an array of films selected as the best of this (admittedly short) millennium. Many complain that the Academy –- which is supposed to honor the best films of the year -– is out of touch with the general public, and IMDB’s list certainly makes that point loud and clear. Hopefully, the expanded Best Picture category and object examples such as this list will foster a new respect for the power of art-house and foreign films, as well as more high concept blockbuster fare. Critics will continue to argue that the doubled category nominations dilutes the value of a Best Picture win… until an unlikely candidate like “Up” or “District 9” goes home with a statue.

Read more at MTV’s Movies Blog.

The IMDb top 15 films of the new millennium:

1. “The Dark Knight” (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
2. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Peter Jackson, 2003)
3. “City of God” (Fernando Meirelles, 2003)
4. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Peter Jackson, 2001)
5. “Up” (Pete Docter, 2009)
6. “Memento” (Christopher Nolan, 2001)
7. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (Peter Jackson, 2002)
8. “WALL-E” (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
9. “Amelie” (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
10. “The Departed” (Martin Scorsese, 2006)
11. “The Lives of Others” (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
12. “The Pianist” (Roman Polanski, 2002)
13. “Spirited Away” (Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)
14. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Michel Gondry, 2004)
15. “Requiem for a Dream” (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

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32 responses so far

  • 1 8-19-2009 at 8:16 am

    Katey said...

    The Pianist??? Really??

  • 2 8-19-2009 at 9:11 am

    El Rocho said...

    A very interesting list.

    I, too, was shocked by ‘The Pianist’ being on there. I think it is a great film, but certainly not one of the 15 best of the millenium.

    I really don’t like how the entire LOTR trilogy is on there, let alone the third installment is ranked #2 when, I feel, the first two are superior.

    I am glad, though, to see ‘The Dark KNight’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘WALL-E’, ‘Memento’ and ‘City of God’ on there.

    I would have added ‘Adaptation’, ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Road to Perdition’, ‘No Country for Old Men’.

  • 3 8-19-2009 at 9:12 am

    McGuff said...

    Ugh, this UP stuff isn’t going away, is it? Now I know how you felt last year with WALL-E, Kris.

  • 4 8-19-2009 at 9:18 am

    McGuff said...

    I’ve been diving into my own personal top 15, or in my case, 50 or so, and I think the only holdovers this high up would be WALL-E, Memento and The Departed. I certainly can’t fault the selections of Dark Knight and Requiem, as they would be close on mine. And, embarassingly, I’ve yet to see City of God.

    But Rocho, no doubt that not adding TWBB is a real disgrace. Movie of the decade for me, easy.

  • 5 8-19-2009 at 9:22 am

    Ivan said...

    My top 15
    15. WALTZ WITH BASHIR/Ari Folman
    14. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE/Julie Taymor
    13. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM/Darren Aronofsky
    11. KILL BILL/Quentin Tarantino
    9. SHORTBUS/John Cameron Mitchell
    7. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN/ Tomas Alfredson
    5. 25TH HOUR/ Spike Lee
    4. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE/Wong Kar Wai
    3. CITY OF GOD/Fernando Meirelles
    2. THE DARK KNIGHT/Christopher Nolan
    1. CHILDREN OF MEN/Alfonso Cuaron

  • 6 8-19-2009 at 9:24 am

    andrew said...

    I’d bump off The Pianist and The Dark Knight (I do like it, but 15 of the decade?) make the LOTR trilogy as one slot, move up Spirited Away, ESOTSM, and Requiem for a Dream.

    I would include There Will Be Blood, Crouching Tiger, In the Mood for Love, Talk to Her, Brokeback Mountain, Lost in Translation, Moulin Rouge! and Mulholland Drive.

    Just misses would be No Country, Far from Heaven, Dogville, and Y Tu Mama Tambien.

    I have yet to see Up, and Lives of Others

  • 7 8-19-2009 at 9:25 am

    Ryan said...

    Great list. I would’ve put Eternal Sunshine higher up, but the fact that it’s here at all is fantastic.

    As much as I love Up, it’s weird seeing it here. I mean 2009 isn’t even done yet. And even though I expected Wall-E here, it’s so strange to me that Finding Nemo isn’t here. If Finding Nemo replaced Up, it would make a lot more sense.

    I’ve yet to see City of God and Spirited Away. Must rectify this soon.

    And finally, YES on The Lives of Others! Amazing movie.

  • 8 8-19-2009 at 9:46 am

    Chris138 said...

    I love seeing The Dark Knight, City of God, and The Departed on there. I am a bit surprised that Wall-E is on there.. easily one of the most overrated movies of the decade.

  • 9 8-19-2009 at 10:02 am

    Wade said...

    Across the Universe? Really? I hope you’re just an over eager Beatles fan.

  • 10 8-19-2009 at 10:11 am

    Brian said...

    It’s really hard to have any respect for these lists because of all the trolls, but I do love me some imdb.

  • 11 8-19-2009 at 10:34 am

    Mike said...

    The Dark Knight – LOL

  • 12 8-19-2009 at 10:40 am

    McGuff said...

    Most underrated of the decade, that might find its way into my top 15: The Painted Veil.

  • 13 8-19-2009 at 11:15 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    pretty solid list, except memento, and id replace UP with ratatouille, and the years now over, id bet where the wild things are slides in there and aybe the lovely bones even avatar

  • 14 8-19-2009 at 11:30 am

    Ryan said...

    It’s also interesting to see what they thought the best out of the individual years:

    2000 – Requiem for a Dream
    2001 – LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
    2002 – LOTR: Two Towers
    2003 – LOTR: Return of the King
    2004 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    2005 – NOTHING
    2006 – The Departed
    2007 – NOTHING
    2008 – The Dark Knight
    2009 – Up

    It’s especially egregious the lack of love for 2007 which was of the better cinematic years of the decade IMO.

  • 15 8-19-2009 at 11:32 am

    Aleksis said...

    Seriously – complaints about all sorts in these comments, yet NONE about The Dark Knight at #1?

    Spirited Away and City of God are the only two I’d even consider for a Top 15 of 00s list.

  • 16 8-19-2009 at 11:32 am

    Andrew L. said...


  • 17 8-19-2009 at 11:58 am

    j said...

    2007 was the only year of the last 14 whose 5 nommed films all scored in the 80’s on MC.

    After scrolling down their full list, and hitting some more Nolan fanboy love (Batman Begins & The Prestige), the highest 2007 is at no. 25, No Country.

  • 18 8-19-2009 at 12:11 pm

    Mark Kratina said...

    I’m going to be “that guy” here, but why does seemingly everyone think Cinderella Man was not on par with some of the best films of the decade? I thought it was the best of 2005 (Batman Begins right there with it) and yet it seems to continually get ripped by people.

    I’d throw out Letters from Iwo Jima and A Very Long Engagement as candidates for this list, as well as the aforementioned There Will be Blood.

  • 19 8-19-2009 at 12:13 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m with you, Mark. Not best of 2005 for me, but a fantastic film with a weird bum rap.

  • 20 8-19-2009 at 12:17 pm

    El Rocho said...

    Well, after thinking about these lists for too long (I’m at work right now and can barely concentrate!), I thought I’d put my mind at ease and make my own Top 15 list. Here goes:

    15. ADAPTATION/Spike Jonze
    14. WALL-E/Andrew Stanton
    13. ROAD TO PERDITION/Sam Mendes
    12. THE DEPARTED/Martin Scorsese
    11. IN BRUGES/Martin McDonagh
    8. KILL BILL/Quentin Tarantino
    7. CITY OF GOD/Fernando Meirelles
    6. THERE WILL BE BLOOD/Paul Thomas Anderson
    5. MEMENTO/Christopher Nolan
    4. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN/Joel and Ethan Coen
    3. THE DARK KNIGHT/Christopher Nolan
    2. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM/Darren Aronosky
    1. PAN’S LABYRINTH/Guillermo del Toro

  • 21 8-19-2009 at 12:18 pm

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    Where’s A.I., MULHOLLAND DR., LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, CHILDREN OF MEN, both Cronenberg outings, etc.? More populist, impossible.

  • 22 8-19-2009 at 12:20 pm

    Mark Kratina said...

    @ El Rocho:

    Yes, Road to Perdition belongs on any Top 15 list. Like you, I am at work, too, so I do not have the 2000-2009 titles I own at my fingertips, but Perdition belongs.

  • 23 8-19-2009 at 12:42 pm

    El Rocho said...

    I must admit, Gustavo, I completely forgot MUHOLLAND DRIVE. I would have put it in my top 5 on the list. bumping ADAPTATION out of there. Good call, sir.

  • 24 8-19-2009 at 1:42 pm

    Daniel said...

    In a more perfect world…

    1. Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
    2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
    3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Cristan Mungui, 2007)
    4. Up (Pete Docter, 2009)
    5. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)
    6. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
    7. All the Real Girls (David Gordon Green, 2003)
    8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)
    9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
    10. The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
    11. Stevie (Steve James, 2002)
    12. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
    13. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
    14. Birth (Jonathon Glazer, 2004)
    15. The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003)

  • 25 8-19-2009 at 2:14 pm

    Andrew J. said...

    Pretty solid list. Only modification I’d make is taking out The Two Towers and placing There Will Be Blood (which would be my no.1).

  • 26 8-19-2009 at 3:29 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    IMDb rankings are frightening. At the most, three of those 15 films will make my top 100 of the decade.

  • 27 8-19-2009 at 3:51 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Two film there would be serious contenders for my own Top 15. Actually, one of them is definitely in.

    As for the rest … some good films in there, sure, but dullsville overall. (And while I’m no fan of the entire trilogy, I’m waiting for someone — anyone — to come round to my way of thinking that “The Two Towers” is easily the strongest of the “Rings” films.)

  • 28 8-19-2009 at 4:27 pm

    Chris said...

    Guy, I’m with you. “The Two Towers”, in my opinion, is the best film of the trilogy. “Return of the King” is the weakest.

    I’d include 3 of these 15 in my top 15.

  • 29 8-19-2009 at 6:24 pm

    kevin said...

    i think the “top movies of the dacade” is something that can be different for everyone, the movies up there are mainly agreed upon by most people to be quality films along with hundreds of others from this decade, but with everyone their favorite movies will differ, thats just normal. everyone and their experiences are different therefore everyones idea of what is best over the decade will be different

  • 30 8-20-2009 at 2:30 pm

    leocd said...

    Up is not one of the best 15 of this decade. I love it, but it’s not for me.
    On the other hand, TWBB and the AOJJ are one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and of score, one of my top 15 of the decade, along with Wall-e, The Prestige, Amelie, The Lives of the Others, Crash (yes, I love Crash also), Little Miss Sunshine, Big Fish, Mystic River, No Country for Old Men, etc
    2007 was by far the best year of the decade!!

  • 31 8-20-2009 at 2:58 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    The Lives of Others made it?!? Color me impressed…

  • 32 1-17-2015 at 11:51 pm

    mister empire said...

    my top 10:
    1. the lord of the rings: the return of the king
    2. city of god
    3. spirited away
    4. the lord of the rings: the two towers
    5. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
    6. master and commander: the far side of the world
    7. no country for old men
    8. memento
    9. kill bill vol 2
    10 zodiac