Best Picture Oscar Winners...
We take a look at the Best Picture Oscar-winners over the years from the first ever winner, Wings, to last year's sensation, Argo.
Best Picture Oscar Winners...
We take a look at the Best Picture Oscar-winners over the years from the first ever winner, Wings, to last year's sensation, Argo.
1927/28 - Wings
Also Nominated: The Racket, Seventh Heaven
William Wellman's Oscar-winning silent epic celebrating the exploits of World War One fighter pilots. The flying sequences in the first winner of Hollywood's best film Oscar are still among the most breathtaking ever put on screen, with the infantry battle scenes not far behind. Despite some extremely poignant moments, however, the story is really too slight for this sort of running time.
1928/29 - The Broadway Melody
Also Nominated: Alibi, The Hollywood Revue of 1929, In Old Arizona, The Patriot
The 1929 musical, The Broadway Melody, was not only the first musicals to feature a Technicolor sequence, but the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. The story is based around the romances of musical comedy stars among the backstage hubbub of Broadway life.
1929/30 - All Quiet on the Western Front
Also Nominated: The Big House, Disraeli, The Divorcee, The Love Parade
First World War drama starring Lew Ayres. A group of German youngsters volunteer for action in the trenches on the Western Front. The doyen of sound war films, this is a vivid and consistently involving version of Erich Maria Remarque's famous pacifist novel about the progressive disillusionment of young German soldiers (and one in particular) during World War One. The ending is now one of the movies' immortal moments and Academy Awards went to the picture itself, and to director Lewis Milestone.
1930/31 - Cimarron
Also Nominated: East Lynne, The Front Page, Skippy, Trader Horn
Oscar-winning Western saga starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne as a young husband and wife who take part in the Oklahoma land rush of 1889.
1931/32 - Grand Hotel
Also Nominated: Arrowsmith, Bad Girl, Five Star Final, One Hour with You, Shanghai Express, The Smiling Lieutenant
Classic Hollywood drama starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore. In a luxury hotel the lives of some of the guests become curiously entwined. The first great portmanteau film, with MGM offering half-a-dozen big stars in the days when the public was accustomed to seeing just one name above the title.
1932/33 - Cavalcade
Also Nominated: 42nd Street, A Farewell to Arms, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Lady for a Day,
Little Women, The Private Life of Henry VIII, She Done Him Wrong, Smilin' Through, State Fair
Oscar-winning film version of Noel Coward's stage play about the fortunes of an upper-crust English family from the Boer War to the early 1930s. Starring Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Ursula Jeans, Una O'Connor.
1934 - It Happened One Night
Also Nominated: The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Cleopatra, Flirtation Walk, The Gay Divorcee, Here Comes the Navy, The House of Rothschild, Imitation of Life, One Night of Love, The Thin Man, Viva Villa!, The White Parade
Reporter Clark Gable - still for many cinema's greatest romantic male lead - and runaway heiress Claudette Colbert hook up on a trip from Miami to New York. This was the first film to win all five major Oscars - best film, director, actor, actress and screenplay. Even Captain Titanic James Cameron has to bow to that.
1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty
Also Nominated: Alice Adams, Broadway Melody of 1936, Captain Blood , David Copperfield, The Informer, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer , A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Misérables, Naughty Marietta, Ruggles of Red Gap, Top Hat
A stunningly mounted, stirring remake of the 1935 hit, based on one of history's greatest sea adventures. Marlon Brando (as Fletcher Christian) and Trevor Howard (as Captain Bligh) bring their powerful personalities to two men with opposing attitudes and ideals whose inevitable clash is set against the cruelty of life aboard a Royal Navy ship in the 18th Century.
1936 - The Great Ziegfeld
Also Nominated: Anthony Adverse, Dodsworth, Libeled Lady, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Romeo and Juliet, The Story of Louis Pasteur, A Tale of Two Cities, Three Smart Girls
This is a skilfully-structured, extravagantly mounted look at the career of showman Florenz Ziegfeld (astutely played by William Powell) who gave his name to the Ziegfeld Follies. Luise Rainer's sympathetic portrait of Anna Held was rewarded with an Oscar, while the climax may have been remembered by Orson Welles when he came to make Citizen Kane.
1937 - The Life of Emile Zola
Also Nominated: The Awful Truth, Captains Courageous, Dead End, The Good Earth, In Old Chicago, Lost Horizon, One Hundred Men and a Girl, Stage Door, A Star Is Born
Classic historical drama starring Paul Muni as the 19th-century French novelist who famously championed the cause of the wrongly imprisoned Captain Dreyfus. With Gloria Holden. The film, too, won an Oscar, as did the screenplay. Solid entertainment, capably directed by William Dieterle.
1938 - You Can't Take It with You
Also Nominated: The Adventures of Robin Hood, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Boys Town, The Citadel, Four Daughters, Grand Illusion, Jezebel, Pygmalion, Test Pilot
Classic American family comedy starring Jean Stapleton and Art Carney about the daughter of an eccentric family falls in love with the son of a wealthy man.
1939 - Gone with the Wind
Also Nominated: Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz , Wuthering Heights
Epic Oscar-winning romance starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable as tempestuous lovers driven apart by the Civil War and their own explosive passions.The performance of a lifetime from Vivien Leigh, pulsating with passion as Scarlett O'Hara, was rightly rewarded with one of the film's nine Academy Awards. Another went to Hattie McDaniel as Mammy: her best supporting actress award was the first Oscar to go to a black player.
1940 - Rebecca
Also Nominated: All This, and Heaven Too, Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Kitty Foyle, The Letter, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town, The Philadelphia Story
A shy young woman (Joan Fontaine) finds herself living in the shadow of her husband's dead first wife in Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood outing. Based on Daphne du Maurier's novel, this is a good story simply told and is boosted by superb performances from Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. However, Judith Anderson nearly steals the show as the eerie housekeeper.
1941 - How Green Was My Valley
Also Nominated: Blossoms in the Dust, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Hold Back the Dawn, The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon, One Foot In Heaven, Sergeant York, Suspicion
John Ford swapped America's wild west for the verdant valleys of Wales for this Oscar-winning saga of the region's descent from paradise to slagheap. The movie follows the story of Huw (Roddy McDowall) - the youngest of seven children - and his struggle as the unrelenting march of industrialisation take their toll on the family. Quite simply, a classic and as relevant now as it was back in 1941.
1942 - Mrs. Miniver
Also Nominated: 49th Parallel, King's Row, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Pied Piper, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, The Talk of the Town, Wake Island, Yankee Doodle Dandy
William Wyler's classic film depicting an English family at war, starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon and Teresa Wright. The film won six academy awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director.
1943 - Casablanca
Also Nominated: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Heaven Can Wait, The Human Comedy, In Which We Serve, Two Cities, Madame Curie, The More the Merrier, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Song of Bernadette, Watch on the Rhine
Perhaps Hollywood's best-loved and most-quoted movie, this romantic masterpiece has Ingrid Bergman arriving in wartime Casablanca with her Resistance leader husband Paul Henreid and encountering her great past love, Humphrey Bogart.
1944 - Going My Way
Also Nominated: Double Indemnity, Gaslight, Since You Went Away, Wilson
Sentimental, award-winning comedy starring Bing Crosby as a young priest who brings get-up-and-go to a run-down New York parish. Bing Crosby was certainly never better, Barry Fitzgerald's older priest added a much-needed vein of saltiness, and the film swept all before it at the Academy Awards of its year: Oscars for best film, best director (McCarey), best actor (Crosby), best supporting actor (Fitzgerald).
1945 - The Lost Weekend
Also Nominated: Anchors Aweigh, The Bells of St. Mary's, Mildred Pierce, Spellbound
This striking study of alcoholism not only changed Ray Milland's career from lounge lizard leading man to personable star in both hero and villainous roles, but shook the film colony by taking four of the year's major Academy Awards. Besides the almost inevitable award for Milland - the competition that year wasn't strong but Milland's performance would have won against almost anything - The Lost Weekend picked up statuettes for Best Film, Best Director (Billy Wilder) and Best Screenplay
1946 - The Best Years of Our Lives
Also Nominated: Henry V, It's a Wonderful Life, The Razor's Edge, The Yearling
William Wyler's powerful story of American servicemen returning from World War Two and fighting to adjust to civilian life was a box office colossus and won Academy Awards for Sam Goldwyn (as producer), director William Wyler, star Fredric March, and handless war veteran Harold Russell. But Myrna Loy (in a superbly understanding performance as March's wife) was shamefully denied even a nomination. In fact, she never received one during 20 years as a top Hollywood star.
1947 - Gentleman's Agreement
Also Nominated: The Bishop's Wife, Crossfire, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street
Oscar-winning drama starring Gregory Peck as a magazine writer who poses as a Jew to expose American anti-Semitism. A controversial film in its time, was based on the 1947 novel of the same name by Laura Z. Hobson.
1948 - Hamlet
Also Nominated: Johnny Belinda, The Red Shoes, The Snake Pit, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Laurence Olivier’s famous version of the Shakespeare play, was the first of his three screen adaptations of the Bard's plays and the first wholly British picture to win the Best Film Oscar. Olivier’s version was cut by two hours from the original four hours running time, was seen as controversial among Shakespearean purists.
1949 - All the King's Men
Also Nominated: Battleground, The Heiress, A Letter to Three Wives, Twelve O'Clock High
Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel of the same name, All the King’s Men follows the rise of politician Willie Stark from a rural country seat to the governor’s mansion. The film won Best Picture, Best Actor (Broderick Crawford) and Best Supporting Actress (Mercedes McCambridge) at the 1949 Oscars.
1950 - All About Eve
Also Nominated: Born Yesterday, Father of the Bride, King Solomon's Mines, Sunset Boulevard
Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s acidic attack on celebrity culture is more relevant today than when originally released to rave reviews and Oscar glory. Bette Davis won her eighth Oscar in sixteen years as Margo Channing, a revered theatre star neurotic about her advancing years, and her relationship with Baxter’s Eve, a young wannabe actress with eyes fixed on Channing’s throne. To die for dialogue and performances make this witty bitch-fest a sparkling example of Classical Hollywood virtuosity.
1951 - An American in Paris
Also Nominated: Decision Before Dawn, A Place in the Sun, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire
Vincente Minnelli's enchanting musical raised artistic standards to a new level, with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron forming a brilliant dancing partnership. Minnelli's direction was full of vivid, imaginative touches. And George Gershwin's music was the perfect background for a Paris which really sprang to life. The film won eight Oscars, including one for best film; one for story and screenplay.
1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth
Also Nominated: High Noon, Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man
Roll up, roll up for ringmaster Cecil B DeMille's Oscar-winning extravaganza. Charlton Heston takes top billing as the circus boss vying with acrobat Cornel Wilde for the affections of lissome Betty Hutton, but James Stewart steals the show as a clown with a shady secret. A real spectacle.
1953 - From Here to Eternity
Also Nominated: Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday, Shane
A memorable roll in the surf between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr almost outshone the eight Oscars won by Best Director Fred Zinnemann's captivating WWII-set Best Picture. On a Hawaiian US Army base prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Best Actor Lancaster is the sergeant who falls for fellow officer's wife Kerr. Meanwhile, misfit private Montgomery Clift has a personal battle on his hands while Frank Sinatra (Best Supporting Actor) gets mixed up with goodtime girl Donna Reed (Best Supporting Actress). With every performance doing justice to the romantic, tragic and brutal story, Zinnemann and his cast created one of the most powerful dramas of the 50s - if not of all time.
1954 - On the Waterfront
Also Nominated: The Caine Mutiny, The Country Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Three Coins in the Fountain
Marlon Brando plays the New York docks stevedore and former prize-fighter faced with the dilemma of turning informer in this Oscar-winning classic. Lee J Cobb is the nasty gangster union chief and the movie contains the classic "contender" exchange between Brando and Rod Steiger as his brother. Director Elia Kazan would later court controversy as an alleged collaborator with the Commie-hunting Senator Joe McCarthy.
1955 - Marty
Also Nominated:Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, Mister Roberts, Picnic, The Rose Tattoo
Hollywood moguls were shocked by the critical and commercial success of this perceptive story about a lonely man in his mid-thirties who hesitantly finds love. With widescreen and Technicolor in full swing, a studio-bound black and white film based on an admittedly successful television play hadn't seemed such a great idea. But Ernest Borgnine showed an acting depth not hinted at in previous 'villain' roles, and his performance earned him an Oscar. The film also won for Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Picture, and Best Screenplay (Paddy Cheyefsky, adapting his own TV script).
1956 - Around the World in Eighty Days
Also Nominated: Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I, The Ten Commandments
The 1956 epic, Around the World in 80 Days based on the classic novel by Jules Verne, won five Oscars, beating out classics like The Ten Commandments, Giant, and The King and I. Phileas Fogg, a strict and emotionless nobleman becomes involved in a bet to prove that it is possible to travel around the world in 80 days.
1957 - The Bridge on the River Kwai
Also Nominated: Peyton Place, Sayonara, 12 Angry Men, Witness for the Prosecution
David Lean's anti-war classic stars Alec Guinness as a British officer who raises the morale of his captured regiment in a PoW camp in Burma by building a bridge, but in doing so is unwittingly helping the Japanese war effort. William Holden is the American escapee who returns to destroy the bridge. A brilliantly intelligent and stirring epic with superb colour photography, it won Oscars for picture, director, actor (Guinness), script, photography and music.
1958 - Gigi
Also Nominated: Auntie Mame, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, Separate Tables
Delightful musical that took nine Academy Awards in its year, equalling the then-record set by Gone With The Wind. Maurice Chevalier, as the old man with a twinkle in his eye for 'leetle girls', got a special Oscar 'for his contribution to the world of entertainment for more than half a century', and sang a memorable duet with fellow-veteran Hermione Gingold into the bargain.
1959 - Ben-Hur
Also Nominated: Anatomy of a Murder, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story, Room at the Top
An epic of biblical proportions, Ben Hur was the first film in history to scoop 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor. A figure never beaten, only Titanic and Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King have matched its chariot full of statuettes. The tale of a Jewish prince falsely seeking revenge on the friend who betrayed him remains a thrilling, colourful adventure. And that chariot race is still one of cinema's finest action set-pieces.
1960 - The Apartment
Also Nominated: The Alamo, Elmer Gantry, Sons and Lovers, The Sundowners
Billy Wilder's bittersweet Oscar-winner stars Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter, an ambitious office drone who tries to further his career by letting his philandering colleagues treat his apartment like a motel. Trouble is, he's in love with lift girl Miss Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), his boss's bit on the side. By turns hilarious and heart-breaking, the interplay between Lemmon, MacLaine and bully-boy Fred MacMurray is truly marvellous. Rightfully anointed 1960's Best Picture, Wilder's efforts were also rewarded with Oscars for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
1961 - West Side Story
Also Nominated: Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg
Dynamic Bernstein-Sondheim musical starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as young lovers caught between rival gangs in 1950s New York. The sentimental ending is perhaps not for everyone, but does work surprisingly well. Its 10 Oscars included Best Film, Best Direction (for Robert Wise and Robbins) and Best Supporting Actress/Actor for Moreno and George Chakiris.
1962 - Lawrence of Arabia
Also Nominated: The Longest Day, The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty, To Kill a Mockingbird
David Lean's biopic of the life of the enigmatic British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence is a true epic. Peter O'Toole made his name in the iconic lead role while Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif provide the sort of support on which empires are built. As well as bagging Oscars for Best Film, cinematography and music, it saw Lean crowned Best Director for what is regarded as his finest hour (or four).
1963 - Tom Jones
Also Nominated: America, America, Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Lilies of the Field
A deserved Academy Award winner, this lusty, magnificent period comedy deservedly gave the British their first `best picture' Oscar for 15 years. Director Tony Richardson (who never equalled his achievements here), takes Henry Fielding's famous story of a foundling's amorous adventures and, with incredibly cheeky sleight-of-hand, including quick motion, freeze-frame, and characters addressing the audience, enriches the screen with earthy entertainment played for laughs at breakneck speed.
1964 - My Fair Lady
Also Nominated: Becket, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Mary Poppins, Zorba the Greek
The 1964 classic musical about a flower girl from the grimy streets of London, who is transformed into the perfect socialite by an eccentric professor. Based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, Rex Harrison stars as linguist Henry Higgins, who draws Eliza into a social experiment that works almost too well.
1965 - The Sound of Music
Also Nominated: Darling, Doctor Zhivago, Ship of Fools, A Thousand Clowns
"How do you solve a problem like Maria?" Well, a sling her a guitar, deck her out in duds made from curtain material and put the former novice (Julie Andrews) in charge of the seven children of a widowed naval captain (Christopher Plummer). The time swings tunefully by - despite the three hour plus running time - in Rodgers & Hammerstein's evergreen classic that follows the true story of the Von Trapps flight from the Nazis in wartime Austria. Sing along to classics including Edelweiss, My Favourite Things and Do-Re-Mi.
1966 - A Man for All Seasons
Also Nominated: Alfie, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The Sand Pebbles, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Historical drama about Sir Thomas More's clash with Henry VIII over the king's divorce. An honourable if uninspired remake of the Oscar-winning 1966 film, re-adapted by Robert Bolt from his own play. Charlton Heston is predictably stately as Sir Thomas More, and is far outshone both by John Gielgud's dour Wolsey and Benjamin Whitrow's malevolent Thomas Cromwell. Heston also directed, with his son Fraser as producer.
1967 - In the Heat of the Night
Also Nominated: Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Outstanding, racially-charged thriller starring Sidney Poitier as a big-city detective sent to help
redneck Southern sheriff Rod Steiger on a murder investigation. All mystery aside, you can almost taste the tension as the pair struggle to overcome their mutual mistrust. A deserving winner of five Oscars, including Best Film and Best Actor for the perfectly objectionable Steiger. Poitier reprised his role in 1970's They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!
1968 - Oliver!
Also Nominated: Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Rachel, Rachel, Romeo and Juliet
Lionel Bart's musical of Dickens's Oliver Twist was a huge stage hit and became an equally big-screen smash. With all these wonderful songs and vigorous playing from the top-notch cast, it's a national treasure. Ron Moody as Fagin, Shani Wallis as Nancy and Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes, Mark Lester as Oliver and Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger all etch themselves into the heart. A wonderful-looking movie, it fully deserves its five Oscars (Best Film, Director, Musical Score, Art Direction and Sound plus an honorary award for choreographer Onna White.
1969 - Midnight Cowboy
Also Nominated: Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hello, Dolly!, Z
It was quite a shock when British director John Schlesinger's portrait of the grime and slime of New York's underbelly took the Best Film Oscar because it was the first to be honoured despite having an 'X' certificate. Today its subject matter looks pretty tame, but there was no denying its shock value over 30 years ago. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman are both brilliant as the odd couple of drifters who try to eke out a meagre living as hustlers on the streets of the Big Apple.
1970 - Patton
Also Nominated: Airport, Five Easy Pieces, Love Story, MASH
George C Scott delivers a steely performance as the driven US general who was equally at home fighting his superiors as well as the Germans in the last days of World War II. Trivia: Scott turned down the Academy Award for best actor, stating that competition between actors was unfair and calling it a "meat parade."
1971 - The French Connection
Also Nominated: A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof , The Last Picture Show, Nicholas and Alexandra
American thriller with arguably the most famous car chase ever (apart from The Italian Job, of course). The film centres on the exploits of Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle and Buddy Russo from the New York Narcotics division. The film tells the true story of the biggest drugs bust in recent years, following the partners as they try to uncover the truth.
1972 - The Godfather
Also Nominated: Cabaret, Deliverance, Sounder, The Emigrants
An Oscar-winning Marlon Brando stars as Don Corleone, the aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty who transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son (Al Pacino). Director Francis Ford Coppola crafts a near flawless drama boosted by terrific performances and a darkly, brooding atmosphere. Often imitated, yet never bettered.
1973 - The Sting
Also Nominated: American Graffiti, The Exorcist, A Touch of Class, Cries and Whispers
This crafty re-teaming of Paul Newman and Robert Redford (from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid) drew seven Oscars and worldwide queues. The Thirties' settings, in the hands of cameraman Robert Surtees, costume designer Edith Head and art director Henry Bumstead, veterans all, vividly recreate conditions of the period, and the banteringly humorous playing of the stars, as they attempt to relieve big-time shark Robert Shaw of his money, is immensely winning.
1974 - The Godfather Part II
Also Nominated: Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny, The Towering Inferno
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro take centre stage in the second movie of Francis Ford Coppola's trilogy about the Corleone mafia family. The first time a sequel ever won an Oscar, this looks at the origins of Don Corleone (De Niro plays the young Brando of the original). Violent and serene by turns, it's moviemaking at its most satisfying.
1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Also Nominated: Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, Nashville
The first winner of all five major Oscars (best film, actor, actress, direction and screenplay) for more than 40 years, this is an immensely skilful (though some might say callous) attempt to make a commercially enjoyable film out of life in a mental institution. The opening scenes - Hollywood-style shots of imbecilic inmates and the symbolic squirrel outside the wall (freedom) signal the facile approach the film feels forced to adopt to get its message across.
1976 - Rocky
Also Nominated: All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, Taxi Driver
Oscar-winning drama starring Sylvester Stallone as Philadelphia heavyweight boxing hopeful Rocky Balboa - a down on his luck prize-fighter who finds himself fighting for the heavyweight title of the world when champ Apollo Creed decides to give a nobody a shot.
1977 - Annie Hall
Also Nominated: The Goodybye GIrl, Julia, Star Wars, The Turning Point
Basically a series of loosely strung sketches illustrating Woody Allen's views on love, death, psychoanalysis, movies, religion and sex. This is still one of cinema's great romances; Allen and Diane Keaton making an impossibly sweet, yet utterly plausible Manhattan couple, going through the usual trials of meeting up, loving up and breaking up. As well as winning the Oscar for Best Film, Allen bagged awards for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (with co-writer Marshall Brickman) while Keaton was crowned Best Actress.
1978 - The Deer Hunter
Also Nominated: Heaven Can Wait, Midnight Express, An Unmarried Woman, Coming Home
A richly detailed, angry picture, for many 'the' Vietnam war film, but one that also deals with such subjects as American small-town life, rites of passage, and love and death, in a way that haunts the memory.John Cazale and John Savage and a marvellous dominating performance from Christopher Walken that established his star status and won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Other Academy Awards included Best Picture, Best Director for Cimino, Best Editor for Peter Zinner and Best Sound.
1979 - Kramer vs. Kramer
Also Nominated: Apocalypse Now, All That Jazz, Breaking Away , Norma Rae
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep play the divorced couple fighting for custody of their child. This simple, emotionally-charged premise provided one of the biggest earning movies of the year and critical plaudits for the two stars. Touching entertainment of the highest order and a sublime - often overlooked performance - by Jane Alexander.
1980 - Ordinary People
Also Nominated: Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess
Robert Redford's auspicious debut behind the camera earned him an Academy Award as Best Director for this overwrought study of a well-heeled American family in crisis. Young Timothy Hutton's passionate performance as the teenage son eaten up by guilt over his brother's death earned him the Best Supporting Actor statuette.
1981 - Chariots of Fire
Also Nominated: Reds, Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Winner of four Academy Awards - writer Colin Welland took the occasion to warn Hollywood (rather prematurely, as it proved) that 'the British are coming' - and nominated for four others, this stirring story of the battle between two Olympic runners from different social and ethnic backgrounds hit an unexpected box-office bullseye.
Many considered Ian Holm, as a professional coach, was robbed of an Oscar when it was awarded to Gielgud for his role in Arthur.
Also Nominated: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict
Richard Attenborough's movie charts Gandhi's rise from obscurity to the elevated position of a lasting symbol of peace and understanding throughout the world.
The film won a total of eight academy awards, including best actor and best director. In a big year for great films, Gandhi beat off competition from E.T for Best Film.
1983 - Terms of Endearment
Also Nominated: The Big Chill , The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies
Oscar-winning comedy drama about the love-hate relationship between an eccentric mother (Shirley MacLaine) and her headstrong daughter (Debra Winger). Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, the movie, which also stars Jack Nicholson, skilfully avoids sentimentality even when the dark shadow of cancer arises. Trivia: Burt Reynolds, James Garner and Harrison Ford all passed up on the role of astronaut Garrett Breedlove before it went to Nicholson (who won a best supporting Oscar).
1984 - Amadeus
Also Nominated: The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier's Story
Adapted from the giant stage hit, this eight-Oscar film spotlights the clash of wills in 18th century Vienna between two men: composer Mozart (Tom Hulce), a vulgar, licentious popinjay with hyena laugh, but kissed with genius, and Salieri (F Murray Abraham), the court composer whose work Mozart mocks and who, even while he plots his tormentor's destruction, is tortured himself by the knowledge that Mozart is the greatest composer he has ever heard.
1985 - Out of Africa
Also Nominated: The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman , Prizzi's Honor, Witness
This seven-Oscar triumph (including Best Director for Sydney Pollack) is a superb nostalgic romance about a Danish woman, Karen Dinesen Blixen (Meryl Streep), who finds herself running a farm in Africa in 1913 after her husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer) decides to opt out for the life of a hunter.
1986 - Platoon
Also Nominated: Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View
Charlie Sheen leads Oliver Stone's emotional ground assault as a teenage college drop-out who volunteers to serve as a "grunt" in the US Army in Vietnam. In Sheen's best performance, we see his psychological disintegration as he witnesses atrocities and becomes caught in the power struggle between a pair of veteran sergeants (Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger) when one of them precipitates a massacre of villagers. Based on Stone's own experiences and the winner of four Oscars including Best Picture, this is a sobering corrective to John Wayne's flag-waving The Green Berets.
1988 - The Last Emperor
Also Nominated: Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction , Hope and Glory, Moonstruck
Director Bernardo Bertolucci built this fascinating story of China's last emperor on an epic scale, but in essence it is the very intimate tale of a man raised in glorious isolation who struggles to come to terms with a rapidly-changing world in which he is not equipped to live.
1989 - Rain Man
Also Nominated: The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl
Tom Cruise plays Charlie, a self-centred car dealer who kidnaps his autistic elder brother (Dustin Hoffman) in a bid to claim the bulk of their father's $3m inheritance. But their eventful road trip to Los Angeles gives Charlie plenty of reasons to reassess his priorities. Though Hoffman and director Barry Levinson were Academy-awarded for their work, this is the first real evidence that Cruise could seriously act. Their combined efforts made this affecting and wryly amusing drama a worthy Best Picture Oscar-winner.
1990 - Driving Miss Daisy
Also Nominated: Born on the Fourth of July , Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot
It's really hard to see anyone disliking this sweet-natured, if sharp-tongued story of a southern American Jewish lady (Jessica Tandy, winning an Oscar), forced by her son (Dan Aykroyd) to take on a black chauffeur (Morgan Freeman), after she can no longer be trusted behind her own wheel.
The relationships between the three main characters are carefully, flawlessly sketched in by Tandy, Freeman and Aykroyd, the last quietly effective in a different kind of assignment from his comedy roles.
1991 - Dances With Wolves
Also Nominated: Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III, Goodfellas
Kevin Costner's stunning debut as director also sees him at his best in the lead role. He plays an army lieutenant who escapes the horrors of the American Civil War of the 1860s to live in tranquillity in the far frontier where he comes to befriend the local Sioux Indians. Costner's seven Oscar-winning epic, packed with action, emotion, romance, laughter and an insight into a half-lost culture, is one heck of a beautiful movie.
1992 - The Silence of the Lambs
Also Nominated: Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy , JFK, The Prince of Tides
A serial killer skins his victims alive. So FBI agent Jodie Foster, looking for a clue to the so-called Buffalo Bill murders, approaches America's most feared prisoner, psychiatrist-turned-mass murderer Hannibal the Cannibal. Anthony Hopkins makes Hannibal at once a frightening and almost sympathetic character and director Jonathan Demme keeps the tension tight as the film moves to its terrifying confrontation climax. Hopkins and Foster deserved their Oscars.
1993 - Unforgiven
Also Nominated: The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman
Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winner pretty much raised the bar for the modern western. He plays a reformed killer who is forced out of retirement to mete out justice after a brothel girl was cut up by a pair of hoodlums who got let off. Gritty, brooding and hardhitting, this also starred Gene Hackman as the crooked lawman and Clint's sardonic nemesis. Think The Man With No Name with a bus pass.
1994 - Schindler's List
Also Nominated: The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day
Steven Spielberg's impressive (although very long) and sometimes moving Oscar-winning account of the wartime exploits of the Austro-German businessman and profiteer who made a mint from a Polish pots-and-pans factory using Jewish labour he didn't have to pay - except in kind. To those Jews in the Krakow ghetto, though, work for Oskar Schindler was infinitely preferable to anything else.
1995 - Forrest Gump
Also Nominated: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show , The Shawshank Redemption
This multi-Oscar-winning whimsical fable stars Tom Hanks as a simpleton who leads a charmed existence over four turbulent decades of US history. What makes this movie tick is the sheer scope of the story, not to mention the supporting cast that includes Gary Sinise as the grumpy Major Dan and Robin Wright Penn as Forrest's love interest.
1996 - Braveheart
Also Nominated: Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino (The Postman), Sense and Sensibility
Oscar-winning historical drama directed by and starring Mel Gibson as 13th-century Scottish warrior William Wallace, who led a ragged but courageous army against the English enemy. Hyped, Oscar winning and controversial, Braveheart has become a landmark movie in Gibson's career.
1997 - The English Patient
Also Nominated: Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets & Lies, Shine
Director Anthony Minghella's multi-Oscar-winning romantic drama starring Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas as a desert explorer and a married Englishwomen who are drawn into a passionate but doomed affair. Based on Michael Ondaatje's bestselling book, it's three-hour length may daunt but it's never less than compelling. Trivia: Danny DeVito was bizarrely considered for Willem Dafoe's role of Caravaggio.
1998 - Titanic
Also Nominated: As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential
The tragic events that sent the celebrated White Star liner to the bottom of the Atlantic are dramatised by director James "King of the World!" Cameron with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as the doomed lovers. Made on a mega-budget ($200million); taking a record $1.5billion world-wide; showered with 11 Oscars (including Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Score), Titanic is about as big as movies get
1999 - Shakespeare in Love
Also Nominated: Elizabeth, Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella), Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line
Oscar-winning romantic comedy starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. Struggling playwright William Shakespeare is inspired to write Romeo and Juliet by a headstrong young lady who yearns to act.
2000 - American Beauty
Also Nominated: The Cider House Rules,The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense
British director Sam Mendes and Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball peel the paint off the picket fences of suburban America with this Oscar-winning satire. Kevin Spacey was crowned Best Actor for his portrayal of a working stiff pushed into mid-life crisis by wife Annette Bening's adultery and his obsession with his daughter's best friend (Mena Suvari). As horny and thorny as a girl in a bath full of roses, this is a work of astonishing wit and wonder.
2001 - Gladiator
Also Nominated: Chocolat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic
Gladiator is absorbing, but what makes it a classic is the stunning visual beauty in its re-creation of ancient Rome. Ridley Scott takes an age-old formula and utilises it remarkably well, enhancing but never over-doing it with digital effects that help raise the ruins of the Colosseum and capture the magnificence and casual brutality of the culture.
2002 - A Beautiful Mind
Also Nominated: Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge!
Russell Crowe's performance as John Forbes Nash, the American mathematician who overcame paranoid schizophrenia to receive the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994, is a tour de force.
2003 - Chicago
Also Nominated: Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist
A musical extravagnaza which hit the big screen in a thrilling buzz of lights and huge musical numbers. This jaw-dropping, mouth-watering, heart-stopping film version of the spectacular Fosse stage show takes all the best bits from the musical and enhances every scene.
2004 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Also Nominated: Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World , Mystic River, Seabiscuit
Peter Jackson's Herculean film adaptation of the Tolkien classic came to an end leaving the feeling that it's the greatest film trilogy ever made. Having missed out on the Best Picture statue for the previous two years, Return Of The King's Oscar was a long overdue reward for Jackson and co.
2005 - Million Dollar Baby
Also Nominated: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways
Eastwood turns a tired genre on its head with a boxing movie that delivers a knockout blow to expectations. Swank flourishes, thanks to a richly human storyline, & won an Oscar for her role.
2006 - Crash
Also Nominated: Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night, and Good Luck, Munich
Intersecting storylines describing 24 hours in the lives of Los Angeles residents - from the have-nots to the have-more-than-you-could-ever-needs - incisively illuminate a city teetering on on the brink of total breakdown. Writer and director Paul Haggis has crafted that rare thing - an intelligent, literate Hollywood movie that credits its audience with a brain.
2007 - The Departed
Also Nominated: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen
Martin Scorsese's triumphant, Oscar-winning return to gangster turf stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a cop working undercover to bring down psychopathic Boston mob boss Jack Nicholson... who plants his own mole - Matt Damon - in the police department. Everyone's on top of their (cat-and-mouse) game in this blistering remake of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs.
2008 - No Country For Old Men
Also Nominated: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood
A case full of drug money, a psychopath with a terrible haircut, and enough dead bodies to dam the Rio Grande: the Coen brothers came back with a magnificent adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's latterday western. Winner of three other Oscars, including Best Direction and Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem.
2009 - Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader
Who would have thought that a Brit-Bollywood movie that originally couldn't find a distributor and was earmarked for DVD would go on to Best Picture success at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs before taking Best Picture at the Oscars? But, Slumdog was an awards slamdunk across the board and took eight Oscars - matching Brit epic Gandhi's haul in 1983.
2010 - The Hurt Locker
Also nominated:Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up In The Air
Kathryn Bigelow added a Best Picture gong to her record making Best Director award, the first in the Academy's long history for a female director. Her claustrophobic film about ordinance clearance experts in Iraq eventually won six gongs, outdoing her former hubby James Cameron who'd been much fancied for his otherworldly epic Avatar.
2011 - The King's Speech
Also Nominated: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are Alright, 127 Hours, The Social
Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone
In a big night for British film The King's Speech scooped the coveted Best Picture gong whilst director Tom Hooper and leading man Colin Firth won the Best Director and Actor gongs respectively. It was the cherry on the cake for the biographical drama, a celluloid success story that was a hit with audiences and critics alike.
2012 - The Artist
Also nominated: The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.
Silence was golden for this irresistible, Oscar winning delight. Best Actor Jean Dujardin stars as George Valentin, a silent film heart-throb who takes aspiring nobody Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) under his wing. But when "the talkies" change Hollywood forever, his star dwindles while hers continues to rise. With a Best Director gong for Michael Hazanavicius and Oscars for Music, Costumes, and - voila! - Best Picture, here's black-and-white proof that actions speak louder than words.
2013 - Argo
Also nominated: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
This adrenaline ride directed by and starring Ben Affleck as a CIA spook who specialises in 'exfiltration' - extracting people from sticky situations - also landed Oscars for best writing (adapted screenplay) and best editing. Alan Arkin was unlucky to lose out with his nomination for best supporting actor.