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R Doesn’t Always Rule at the Oscars

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When it comes to the Oscars, R-rated movies may seem more likely to triumph with six of the last Best Picture winners flaunting the higher rating. But movies with lower ratings haven’t been overlooked. While most of them have come with a PG-13 rating, a few PG films and even one G-rated movie have seen their way onto the ballot for an Academy Award in the past few decades.

“Lower rated Oscar nominated movies may offer more options for parents, teens and children.”

Although many of the following movies aren't suitable for all family members, the lower rated Oscar nominated movies may offer more options for parents, teens and children.

The Academy Awards Best Animated Feature category provides the most likely choices for family viewing. Pixar Studios (before they were bought by Disney) picked up plenty of top honors at the star-studded ceremonies for their movies Toy Story 3 (2010), Up (2009), WALL-E (2008), Ratatouille (2007), The Incredibles (2004) and Finding Nemo (2003). Other winners in this category include Shrek (2001), Spirited Away (2002), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Happy Feet (2006) and Rango (2011).

But the Academy has honored lower rated movies with the Best Picture statuette as well. In the 1980s,Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Out of Africa and Driving Miss Daisy all won. During the 1990s, Oscars for Best Picture went to the PG-13 rated movie Titanic. In 2001, A Beautiful Mind took gold followed by an Oscar nod to Chicago (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004) and The Artist (2011).

And while they didn't take home the coveted effigy, other PG-13 movies nominated for top honors in 2000 and the following years include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Chocolat, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Seabiscuit.

In 2004, four of the top nominees were rated PG-13. Along with the winner, Million Dollar Baby, the films The Aviator, Finding Neverland and Ray all made it on to the ballot while Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), The Queen (2006), Juno (2007) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) made it to final voting in the following years.

James Cameron's Avatar along with The Blind Side, An Education and Up all received Best Picture nominations in 2009. Inception, The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and True Grit were among the choices voters had to pick from in 2010.

The ballot for 2011 may have offered the biggest list of movies earning a PG-13 rating. Along with the winner, The Artist, the movies Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse all scored attention. The only R-rated movie on the ballots that year was The Descendants. Films with PG-13 ratings nominated for this year's ceremony also outnumber R-rated movies. Among those vying for the top honor are Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, Life of Pi and Lincoln.

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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