The Best Food Scenes from Oscar-Nominated Movies of Yesteryear

February 14, 2017

Scan this year's list of Oscar-nominated films and you'll find that some of them have particularly noteworthy scenes involving food. There's the beautifully evocative sequence involving jalebi in Lion, and there's the kitchen scene in Moonlight.

And look beyond the past year, to the history of cinema, and you'll find a number of great scenes that feature food as a prominent narrative fixture. Recent cinematic history attests to this: There’s the scene of strudels from Inglorious Basterds (2009), for example. I begrudge Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar win for 2012's Silver Linings Playbook (uh, pretty sure that belonged to Emmanuelle Riva), but even I can't deny the power of her diner meltdown.

Here’s a sampling of some food scenes from Oscar-nominated films of yesteryear. This list required a lot of winnowing, and none of these movies is younger than a decade. All are some scenes I, an Oscar dork who's paid to think about food constantly, can't get out of my head.

Sabrina (1954)

The Apartment (1960)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Tom Jones (1963)

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Klute (1971)

The Godfather (1972)

Tommy (1975)

Rocky (1976)

Annie Hall (1977)

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Atlantic City (1980)

Raging Bull (1980)

Diner (1982)

Splash (1984)

Babette’s Feast (1987)

Moonstruck (1987)

Big (1988)

Goodfellas (1990)

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Fargo (1996)

American Beauty (1999)

Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)

Spirited Away (2001)

Sideways (2004)

What are your favorite food scenes from movies? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sharon
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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Sharon February 26, 2017
Don't forget McCabe & Mrs. Miller - 1971. That wonderful scene in that dimly lit inn when Julie Christie ordered an entire table full of food, including a heaping plate of beef stew topped with THREE fried eggs (my favorite). She plowed through everything on the table with gusto, then wiped the plates COMPLETELY clean with her bread. All this while a stunned Warren Beatty looked on in utter disbelief. Great scene, and I've topped my leftover stew with a fried egg for breakfast ever since. Delicious! Julie Christie was nominated for best actress.
Anne February 18, 2017
Tampopo (1985) - a very funny, delightful and extremely foodie Japanese film about the search for the perfect noodle soup. Hunt it down if you can.
Gisele February 17, 2017
Big Night should have been nominated. Best food movie of all time. Every scene in that film is brilliant!!!!!!! Great list. Thanks! Gisele
Margaret L. February 17, 2017
I still remember "The Age of Innocence" (1993), with its endless 19th-century New York society banquet. How many gellées, parfaits, ices, quail eggs, soup tureens, and roast haunches can one robber baron eat??
Barbara February 14, 2017
How could you forget Big Night?
Mayukh S. February 15, 2017
Ah, Big Night wasn't nominated for any Oscars! Though it made my list of snubbed food movies: https://food52.com/blog/18914-the-best-old-food-movies-that-were-snubbed-by-the-oscars
Whiteantlers February 14, 2017
Happy Valentine's Day, Mayukh! This was a fantastic article-yet again! : )
Mayukh S. February 15, 2017
Kenzi W. February 14, 2017
Really love this list.
N February 14, 2017
As usual, thoughtful writing, way outside the usual lists published. Thanks
Mayukh S. February 15, 2017
Thanks, N!