clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Best Movies of the Decade’ podcast: Based on True Stories

Nearly 30 movies inspired by true events were considered for the top recognition at the Academy Awards this decade. Richard Roeper and Roe Conn discuss the best films and the impact they had on the 2010s.

John David Washington stars with Laura Harrier in “BlacKkKlansman.” | FOCUS FEATURES
This image released by Focus Features shows John David Washington, left, and Laura Harrier in a scene from “BlacKkKlansman.”
FOCUS FEATURES

From straightforward biopics of historical figures like “Lincoln” to mostly accurate period pieces in the recent past, e.g., “Captain Phillips,” to dramatizations with a great deal of poetic license (hello, “Argo”!) — these are the best movies from the decade based on (or at least inspired by) true events.

Some 28 films based on true stories earned Best Picture Academy Award nominations in the 2010’s, with five (“The King’s Speech,” “Argo,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Spotlight” and “Green Book”) taking home the Oscar. But not all of those films made the list…

“BlacKkKlansman”

Roeper’s review — August 2018

Sometimes it doesn’t matter all that much if a movie is based on a true story or has sprung fully from the imagination of the screenwriter.

But in the case of Spike Lee’s searing, electric and sometimes flat-out funny ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ knowing we’re seeing a dramatization of real-life events definitely helps — because if this were pure fiction, it would just seem too unbelievable.

“BlacKkKlansman” movie still
Topher Grace stars as David Duke in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.”
Focus Features

Recognitions at the 2019 Academy Awards

  • Best Adapted Screenplay, Winner
  • Best Supporting Actor, Adam Driver, Nominated
  • Best Original Music Score, Nominated
  • Best Picture, Nominated
  • Best Director, Spike Lee, Nominated
  • Best Film Editing, Nominated

“Moneyball”

Roeper’s review — July 2019

“Moneyball” is filled with pitch-perfect little touches reminding us of the romance of baseball, even as Beane says there’s no place for emotion in the game. In certain scenes, we catch glimpses of framed photos of pro ballplayers when they were kids in oversized Little League uniforms, grinning from ear to ear.

Recognitions at the 2012 Academy Awards

  • Best Actor, Brad Pitt, Nominated
  • Best Supporting Actor, Jonah Hill, Nominated
  • Best Picture, Nominated
  • Best Adapted Screenplay, Nominated
  • Best Sound Mixing, Nominated
  • Best Film Editing, Nominated

“The Big Short”

Roeper’s review — March 2016

“The Big Short” mirrors the chaotic times it chronicles, continually introducing new characters as well as fresh, seemingly insane chunks of information.

Recognitions at the 2016 Academy Awards

  • Best Adapted Screenplay, Winner
  • Best Supporting Actor, Christian Bale, Nominated
  • Best Picture, Nominated
  • Best Director, Adam McKay, Nominated
  • Best Film Editing, Nominated

“First Man”

Roeper’s review — October 2019

From an engrossing, full-throttle, dizzyingly visceral opening sequence in which Armstrong pilots an X-15 that dances above the Earth’s atmosphere before coming precariously close to fatally spinning out of control; through the geeky, period-piece, procedural interludes; to the sometimes heartbreaking domestic sequences; to the stunning and breathtaking climactic voyage to the moon, “First Man” achieves authenticity and greatness.

“First Man” still
Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in “First Man.”
Universal Pictures

Recognitions at the 2019 Academy Awards

  • Best Visual Effects, Winner
  • Best Sound Mixing, Nominated
  • Best Production Design, Nominated
  • Best Sound Editing, Nominated