Patton (movie)

For Oscar-seeking filmmakers, World War II never ends

Moviemakers love war. Make a war picture, you get explosions, high drama, death, sacrifice, heroism, villainy. Studios love war too because war is great for box office: More than half of the 10 best-grossing films of all time are filled with humans, Transformers, Na'vi, Orcs or wizards beating the stuffing out of one another.

But for sheer drama and emotional resonance, nothing compares to World War II. At least eight best picture Oscars have used that conflict directly or indirectly as a backdrop, including 1943's "Casablanca," 1970's "Patton" and 1993's "Schindler's List," and it's easy to understand why these battlefields remain so fertile in award...