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.
The Apartment (1960)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Tom Jones (1963)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
The Godfather (1972)
Annie Hall (1977)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Atlantic City (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Babette’s Feast (1987)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
American Beauty (1999)
Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
What are your favorite food scenes from movies? Let us know in the comments.
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.