I think it's easy to quickly categorize movies into certain types. Some of the types I can list off the top of my head would include vulgar, sex-filled nonsense comedies, violent/gorey action movies, high school horror, animated comedies, chick flicks, etc. Notice, from this short list I have generated, you will RARELY (if ever) see a movie from one of these types up for Movie of the Year honors (imagine if Dude, Where's My Car? or The World Is Not Enough were ever nominated!).
Certainly, directors are aware, when they embark on a movie, that they are NOT going to be granted any awards, a knowledge they must have even prior to filming. They are filming these movies for a very particular reason, and it's not based on creating art (although I will admit you can argue this as the primary motive behind EVERY SINGLE movie, despite its artistic qualities): $$$. Sex, violence, horror, vulgarity, explosions, and terrific wall-to-wall action that is seemingly plotless SELLS. I admit, I sometimes love a good flick with no real storyline (see: Fast 5, Terminator Salvation).
Here's my point: I have left out two types of movies that seem to avoid the common traps of the above list, movies that can actually be considered for awards, movies that directors embark on in an EFFORT to be noticed as artistic. Some of these movies fail miserably, some of them perform admirably. I wish to talk about the two types of movies that perform admirably.
1 - Unreflective Virtuosos. You could compare the music of Mozart to these movies. These movies seem to challenge traditional cinematographic methods while maintaining a flavor of simplicity that is refreshing. Case-In-Point: The King's Speech. Simple plot, basic, easy-to-grasp characters, and fantastic dialogue characterize this movie, as you meander from scene to scene, not really ever waiting for anything to happen, but at the same time not checking your watch to wonder when it will end. The movie, simply, was simple. This has become quite a winnable way in recent cinema. Other movies I would add to this list of simplicity include The Social Network (very simple story, but an unbelievably fabulous Plot carries you through the movie), and Little Miss Sunshine, to name a few. Although complexity exists in these movies, it is not mind-bending, but it is thought-provoking, and refreshingly basic.
2 - Cerebral Structurer. Here is the other type of movie that seems to do well in the eyes of critics. Beethoven's symphonies were complex, deep in meaning, layered, and full of comprehension and understanding of the passion and feeling humans were capable of. His music is SUPPOSED to evoke those emotions (as compared with Mozart's, where a very different feeling, if any besides relaxation, is often felt). As for movies... Inception, anyone? A movie riddled with layers, forcing you to think, think, think, think! Success in cinema can be accomplished by more of a grand spectacle, so to speak, a movie that you wait in line for hours just to be the first to see. These include the Matrix, the LOTR's, the Gladiators, the Slumdogs, the Saving Private Ryans. Directors really pull out the stops, as they give you what you came for: epic entertainment that isn't sold as Cheap or Pastiche.
So there you have it. I would love to hear movies that have been Cream of the Crop and have avoided one of these two areas, because I really don't think it's possible. It seems that 95% of what Hollywood produces can be stuffed inbetween, as directors give way to apathy, writers succumb to lack of creativity and genius, and producers decide cost is not worth the product.
Hopefully, movies will be more like The King's Speech and Inception.