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Hollywood history from the year you were born

  • Thomas Wolf // Wikimedia Commons
    1/ Thomas Wolf // Wikimedia Commons

    Hollywood history from the year you were born

    Embedded within the glamor of Hollywood, and thousands of its unforgettable movies, lie the stories behind the pictures. From the rise of movie stars to their last hurrahs and early production techniques to modern, eye-popping technology, Hollywood has regularly produced the core of American entertainment.

    America's love affair with Hollywood productions turned the movie industry into a true American cultural icon. Studios such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Paramount, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox all trigger a fascination with the films they produce, as well as with the people and the production techniques that brought their pictures to life. Names like Garbo, Bogart, Stewart, de Havilland, Peck, Damon, Duvall, Hoffman, and so many others remain imprinted on the collective American memory long after they were first festooned on glowing movie marquees.

    But what happened behind the scenes, on the sets, during development, and post-production for movies from the year you were born? After sifting through historical accounts, IMDb data, technological reports, and information from other various sources, Stacker has brought these stories forward—from 1929 to 2018. Directors and stars, studios and style, and many little-known facts detailing production issues fall under the spotlight in these fascinating snippets. Each year listed includes its Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Actor Academy Award winners. The slides also feature the year’s top grossing film as well the film’s revenue in dollar amounts that year.

    Click here to see Stacker’s list of incredible filming locations from popular movies.

  • Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation
    2/ Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation

    1929

    Best Picture winner: "Wings"
    Best Actress winner: Janet Gaynor ("7th Heaven")
    Best Actor winner: Emil Jannings ("The Last Command")
    Top grossing film: "The Broadway Melody" ($2,800,000)

    This was the very first year of the Academy Awards, honoring the best of Hollywood from 1927 to 1928. In "Wings," actors actually flew airplanes with cameras mounted to their fuselages during filming. Oscar winner Janet Gaynor won for her performances in three films: "7th Heaven," "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans," and "Street Angel." It was the only time an actress won one award for multiple roles. After his movie career, actor Emil Jannings worked in theater for the Nazis.

  • Paramount Pictures
    3/ Paramount Pictures

    1930

    Best Picture winner: "The Broadway Melody"
    Best Actress winner: Mary Pickford ("Coquette")
    Best Actor winner: Warner Baxter ("In Old Arizona")
    Top grossing film: "Tom Sawyer" ($11,000,000)

    The movie "Tom Sawyer" was the third screen adaptation of Mark Twain's beloved novel, with silent versions released in 1907 and 1917. "The Broadway Melody" was the first sound film and first musical to win Best Picture. Greta Garbo appeared in her first talking movie, "Anna Christie."

  • Universal Pictures
    4/ Universal Pictures

    1931

    Best Picture winner: "All Quiet on the Western Front"
    Best Actress winner: Norma Shearer ("The Divorcee")
    Best Actor winner: George Arliss ("Disraeli")
    Top grossing film: "Frankenstein" ($12,000,000)

    Lewis Milestone, who directed "All Quiet on the Western Front," also won an Oscar for best director of "Two Arabian Knights.” He was blacklisted as a suspected communist sympathizer after World War II. George Arliss was one of the oldest actors on screen when he won for "Disraeli." The monster makeup design of "Frankenstein," by Jack P. Pierce, is under copyright to Universal Studios through 2026.

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    5/ RKO Radio Pictures

    1932

    Best Picture winner: "Cimarron"
    Best Actress winner: Marie Dressler ("Min and Bill")
    Best Actor winner: Lionel Barrymore ("A Free Soul")
    Top grossing film: "Shanghai Express" ($3,700,000)

    "Cimarron" was the only film in Oscar history nominated in every category. Lionel Barrymore was also a composer, artist, author, and director who played Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." Katharine Hepburn made her movie stardom debut as Amazon princess Antiope in "A Warrior's Husband."

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    6/ RKO Radio Pictures

    1933

    Best Picture winner: "Grand Hotel"
    Best Actress winner: Helen Hayes ("The Sin of Madelon Claudet")
    Best Actor winner: Wallace Beery ("The Champ")
    Top grossing film: "King Kong" ($10,000,000)

    "Grand Hotel" Director Edmund Goulding is credited with films typifying MGM's style, emphasizing elegance and refinement. The roar of "King Kong" combined the sounds of a lion's roar and a tiger's roarplayed slowly backwards. Wallace Beery is perhaps best remembered as Long John Silver in the 1934 version of "Treasure Island."

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    7/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    1934

    Best Picture winner: "Cavalcade"
    Best Actress winner: Katharine Hepburn ("Morning Glory")
    Best Actor winner: Charles Laughton ("The Private Life of Henry VIII")
    Top grossing film: "It Happened One Night" ($2,500,000)

    "Cavalcade" director Frank Lloyd was known for his meticulous attention to period and geographic details. Winner of the Oscar for Best Art Director, "The Merry Widow" featured naturalistic musical expressions as the sound era continued to evolve. Donald Duck made his debut in "The Wise Little Hen."

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    8/ RKO Radio Pictures

    1935

    Best Picture winner: "It Happened One Night"
    Best Actress winner: Claudette Colbert ("It Happened One Night")
    Best Actor winner: Clark Gable ("It Happened One Night")
    Top grossing film: "Top Hat" ($1,782,000)

    "It Happened One Night" was the first film to sweep the top five Academy Award categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). Clark Gable was loaned to the film by MGM as punishment for his affair with Joan Crawford. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy first appeared in "Naughty Marietta."

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    9/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    1936

    Best Picture winner: "Mutiny on the Bounty"
    Best Actress winner: Bette Davis ("Dangerous")
    Best Actor winner: Victor McLaglen ("The Informer")
    Top grossing film: "How to Become a Detective" ($6,000,000)

    "Mutiny on the Bounty" is still considered the best cinematic adaptation of the story written by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Bette Davis, who signed a seven-year deal with Warner Brothers in 1932, became known as an actress capable of playing a variety of complex roles. Victor McLaglen formed a semi-militaristic riding and polo club as well as a motorcycle corps bearing his name, leading some to believe he was forming his own private army. He wasn't.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    10/ Walt Disney Productions

    1937

    Best Picture winner: "The Great Ziegfeld"
    Best Actress winner: Luise Rainer ("The Great Ziegfeld")
    Best Actor winner: Paul Muni ("The Story of Louis Pasteur")
    Top grossing film: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" ($184,925,486)

    "The Great Ziegfeld" is the first musical film in Academy history that also won a cast member an OscarLuise Rainer for Best Actress. The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. were built with the profits from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Although Muni won Best Actor for "The Story of Louis Pasteur," he considered his 9-year-old son's request to buy him a microscope the greatest compliment he'd ever received.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    11/ Twentieth Century Fox

    1938

    Best Picture winner: "The Life of Emile Zola"
    Best Actress winner: Luise Rainer ("The Good Earth")
    Best Actor winner: Spencer Tracy ("Captains Courageous")
    Top grossing film: "Alexander's Ragtime Band" ($4,000,000)

    When Spencer Tracy received his Oscar, it was inscribed to comic-book hero Dick Tracy. The statuette was replaced. "Alexander's Ragtime Band," a biopic of Irving Berlin, featured many of his songs, but became a fictional story because Berlin felt a movie about him would be too intrusive. "The Life of Emile Zola" was reportedly shot in reverse order.

  •  Warner Bros.
    12/ Warner Bros.

    1939

    Best Picture winner: "You Can't Take It with You"
    Best Actress winner: Bette Davis ("Jezebel")
    Best Actor winner: Spencer Tracy ("Boys Town")
    Top grossing film: "Gone with the Wind" ($198,680,470)

    His peers considered William Wyler, who directed "Jezebel," one of the top master craftsmen of cinema. He won three Best Director Oscars during his career. Along with "GWTW," "The Wizard of Oz" was produced in Technicolor, with special effects processes advancing at this time. John Wayne had his breakout role in "Stagecoach."

  •  Selznick International Pictures
    13/ Selznick International Pictures

    1940

    Best Picture winner: "Gone with the Wind"
    Best Actress winner: Vivien Leigh ("Gone with the Wind")
    Best Actor winner: Robert Donat ("Goodbye Mr. Chips")
    Top grossing film: "Pinocchio" ($84,300,000)

    "Gone with the Wind" won eight Oscars and two other Academy awards, along with five other Academy nominations. Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to be nominated for and to win an Oscar (Best Actress in a Supporting Role), was not allowed to attend the premiere of "Gone with the Wind" in racially segregated Atlanta.

  • Selznick International Pictures
    14/ Selznick International Pictures

    1941

    Best Picture winner: "Rebecca"
    Best Actress winner: Ginger Rogers ("Kitty Foyle")
    Best Actor winner: Jimmy Stewart ("The Philadelphia Story")
    Top grossing film: "Sergeant York" ($16,400,000)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, "Rebecca" also won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White for George Barnes, who created a sinister atmosphere for the picture. His trademark styles included soft-edged and deep-focus photography with unique composition and camera movement. "The Philadelphia Story" director George Cukor directed Katharine Hepburn in 10 films over 47 years. "Citizen Kane," produced, directed, and starring Orson Welles, was voted as American Film Institute's most influential film of the 20th Century.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    15/ Walt Disney Productions

    1942

    Best Picture winner: "How Green Was My Valley"
    Best Actress winner: Joan Fontaine ("Suspicion")
    Best Actor winner: Gary Cooper ("Sergeant York")
    Top grossing film: "Bambi" ($102,797,000)

    Walt Disney demanded that children should provide the voices for the young animals in "Bambi," rather than adults mimicking children. There are only around 1,000 words of dialogue in the entire film. Gary Cooper's portrayal of Alvin York in "Sergeant York" gave the hero 35th place on the American Film Institute's Top 50 Heroes in American Cinema.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    16/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    1943

    Best Picture winner: "Mrs. Miniver"
    Best Actress winner: Greer Garson ("Mrs. Miniver")
    Best Actor winner: James Cagney ("Yankee Doodle Dandy")
    Top grossing film: "This is the Army" ($19,500,000)

    War-themed movies abounded this year, with movies such as "Guadalcanal Diary" and "Bataan" thriving along with "This is the Army," a musical comedy from which Bette Davis insisted the profits be contributed to the war effort. "Mrs. Miniver" director William Wyler admitted he made the film for propaganda reasons.

  • Warner Bros.
    17/ Warner Bros.

    1944

    Best Picture winner: "Casablanca"
    Best Actress winner: Jennifer Jones ("The Song of Bernadette")
    Best Actor winner: Paul Lukas ("Watch on the Rhine")
    Top grossing film: "Going My Way" ($16,300,000)

    Filmed in black and white, "Casablanca" also won Best Director and Best Screenplay for its superior script and memorable dialogue. "The Song of Bernadette" was Jennifer Jones' first major film role. Angela Lansbury made her movie debut in "Gaslight."

  • Paramount Pictures
    18/ Paramount Pictures

    1945

    Best Picture winner: "Going My Way"
    Best Actress winner: Ingrid Bergman ("Gaslight")
    Best Actor winner: Bing Crosby ("Going My Way")
    Top grossing film: "The Bells of St. Mary's" ($21,300,000)

    "Going My Way" was nominated for 10 Oscars overall, and made Bing Crosby the biggest box-office draw of the year, a title he would maintain throughout the 1940s. Crosby also starred in "The Bells of St. Mary's," the sequel to "Going My Way." Ingrid Bergman spent time in a mental institution to research her role in "Gaslight."

  • Paramount Pictures
    19/ Paramount Pictures

    1946

    Best Picture winner: "The Lost Weekend"
    Best Actress winner: Joan Crawford ("Mildred Pierce")
    Best Actor winner: Ray Milland ("The Lost Weekend")
    Top grossing film: "Song of the South" ($65,000,000)

    Hollywood first took on the taboo subject of alcoholism as a modern illness in "The Lost Weekend," starring Best Actor winner Ray Milland. The film garnered seven Academy Award nominations overall. This year saw an all-time high in theater attendance and profits. Walt Disney's "Song of the South" was his first live-action musical drama, which included animated tales of Uncle Remus.

  • The Samuel Goldwyn Company
    20/ The Samuel Goldwyn Company

    1947

    Best Picture winner: "The Best Years of Our Lives"
    Best Actress winner: Olivia de Havilland ("To Each His Own")
    Best Actor winner: Fredric March ("The Best Years of Our Lives")
    Top grossing film: "Forever Amber" ($16,000,000)

    Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, scored, and starred in "Monsieur Verdoux," which bombed due to anti-communist hysteria aimed at him and others in Hollywood at that time. Harold Russell became the only actor to win two Oscars for the same role. He won Best Supporting Actor and an honorary award for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans as Homer Parrish in "Best Years of Our Lives."

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    21/ Twentieth Century Fox

    1948

    Best Picture winner: "Gentleman's Agreement"
    Best Actress winner: Loretta Young ("The Farmer's Daughter")
    Best Actor winner: Ronald Colman ("A Double Life")
    Top grossing film: "The Snake Pit" ($10,000,000)

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in the Paramount antitrust case, ordered major studios to divest themselves of their theater chains and banned admission price-fixing and other arrangements. Although the decision helped spawn independent productions, movie attendance continued to fall after the ruling. The "Othello" scenes in "A Double Life" were filmed in the exact order they appear in the Shakespeare play to give Ronald Colman the feeling he was appearing in the play.

  • Paramount Pictures
    22/ Paramount Pictures

    1949

    Best Picture winner: "Hamlet"
    Best Actress winner: Jane Wyman ("Johnny Belinda")
    Best Actor winner: Laurence Olivier ("Hamlet")
    Top grossing film: "Samson and Delilah" ($28,800,000)

    "Hamlet" was the first non-American film to win the Best Picture award, and Lawrence Olivier was the first person to direct himself to an Oscar. "Johnny Belinda" is considered to be the first Hollywood movie to deal with the subject of rape. In the scene where Victor Mature kills the lion in "Samson and Delilah," a stunt man wrestles with a tame lion, and the scene is interspersed with close-ups of Mature wrestling a lion skin.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    23/ Walt Disney Productions

    1950

    Best Picture winner: "All the King's Men"
    Best Actress winner: Olivia de Havilland ("The Heiress")
    Best Actor winner: Broderick Crawford ("All The King's Men")
    Top grossing film: "Cinderella" ($85,000,000)

    Robert Rosen, who directed "All the King's Men," let his cast read their scripts just once, and then took their scripts away. Walt Disney considered the transformation of Cinderella's torn, ragged dress into a white ball gown his favorite animation. Director Billy Wyler made 37 takes of Olivia de Havilland for the spiral staircase scene in "The Heiress."

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    24/ Twentieth Century Fox

    1951

    Best Picture winner: "All About Eve"
    Best Actress winner: Judy Holliday ("Born Yesterday")
    Best Actor winner: Jose Ferrer ("Cyrano de Bergerac")
    Top grossing film: "Quo Vadis?" ($30,000,000)

    "Quo Vadis?"which translates to "Where are you going?"was nominated for eight Academy Awards and is credited with rescuing MGM from bankruptcy. "Cyrano de Bergerac" was filmed on a relatively low budget, and camera angles and lighting were used to conceal the sparseness of the sets. Bette Davis and co-star Gary Merrill fell in love during the filming of "All About Eve," and were married a few weeks later.

  • Romulus Films
    25/ Romulus Films

    1952

    Best Picture winner: "An American in Paris"
    Best Actress winner: Vivien Leigh ("A Streetcar Named Desire")
    Best Actor winner: Humphrey Bogart ("The African Queen")
    Top grossing film: "The Greatest Show on Earth" ($36,000,000)

    Katharine Hepburn, disgusted with the amount of alcohol Humphrey Bogart and John Huston were drinking during the filming of "The African Queen," drank only water and suffered a severe attack of dysentery. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which included 1,400 people and hundreds of animals, appeared in "The Greatest Show on Earth," which featured behind-the-scenes looks at the logistics of making big-top circuses possible.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    26/ Walt Disney Productions

    1953

    Best Picture winner: "The Greatest Show on Earth"
    Best Actress winner: Shirley Booth ("Come Back, Little Sheba")
    Best Actor winner: Gary Cooper ("High Noon")
    Top grossing film: "Peter Pan" ($87,400,000)

    In the original play "Peter Pan," the title character was written to be a heartless sociopath who killed Lost Boys if they seemed to grow up. "High Noon" director Fred Zinnemann fought to keep the film from being colorized, since he designed it in black and white.

  • Paramount Pictures
    27/ Paramount Pictures

    1954

    Best Picture winner: "From Here to Eternity"
    Best Actress winner: Audrey Hepburn ("Roman Holiday")
    Best Actor winner: William Holden ("Stalag 17")
    Top grossing film: "White Christmas" ($30,000,000)

    The Motion Picture Association of America banned the famous kissing scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in "From Here to Eternity" for being too erotic. "Stalag 17" was filmed in the same order as shown, and many of the actors were surprised by the final plot twist. The midnight snack scene in "White Christmas" was almost entirely improvised.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    28/ Walt Disney Productions

    1955

    Best Picture winner: "On the Waterfront"
    Best Actress winner: Grace Kelly ("The Country Girl")
    Best Actor winner: Marlon Brando ("On the Waterfront")
    Top grossing film: "Lady and the Tramp" ($93,600,000)

    Changing demographics and the advent of television led the film industry to target American youth in the 1950s, with films including "The Blackboard Jungle" and "Rebel Without a Cause" this year. "On the Waterfront" director Elia Kazan introduced James Dean to movie audiences with "East of Eden." The hiring of Peggy Lee for "Lady and the Tramp" was the first instance of a superstar's voice being used in animation.

  • Hecht-Lancaster Productions
    29/ Hecht-Lancaster Productions

    1956

    Best Picture winner: "Marty"
    Best Actress winner: Anna Magnani ("The Rose Tattoo")
    Best Actor winner: Ernest Borgnine ("Marty")
    Top grossing film: "The Ten Commandments" ($80,000,000)

    "Marty" was the shortest film (90 minutes) to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Part of the reason Charlton Heston was cast as Moses in "The Ten Commandments" was due to his resemblance to Michelangelo's statue. Anna Magnani won the Best Actress award for "The Rose Tattoo" in her first English-speaking role in a Hollywood movie. Humphrey Bogart's final film, "The Harder They Fall," was released this year.

  • Michael Todd Company
    30/ Michael Todd Company

    1957

    Best Picture winner: "Around the World in Eighty Days"
    Best Actress winner: Ingrid Bergman ("Anastasia")
    Best Actor winner: Yul Brynner ("The King and I")
    Top grossing film: "The Bridge on the River Kwai" ($33,300,000)

    "The Bridge on the River Kwai" screenwriters Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson were on the Hollywood blacklist and worked on the film in secret. The images of Earth as seen from space in "Around the World in Eighty Days" were made by a camera mounted on a guided missile. Yul Brynner was the only actor to have played a lead role in a Rogers and Hammerstein production both onstage and in film.

  • Magna Theatre Corporation
    31/ Magna Theatre Corporation

    1958

    Best Picture winner: "The Bridge on the River Kwai"
    Best Actress winner: Joanne Woodward ("The Three Faces of Eve")
    Best Actor winner: Alec Guinness ("The Bridge on the River Kwai")
    Top grossing film: "South Pacific" ($36,800,000)

    Steve McQueen appeared in "The Blob" this year, his first major screen role. The real Eve, on whom "The Three Faces of Eve" was based, had to sign three separate contracts under each of her personalities. The elephants used to help build "The Bridge on the River Kwai" took breaks every four hours and laid around in the water regardless of what the crew wanted.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    32/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    1959

    Best Picture winner: "Gigi"
    Best Actress winner: Susan Hayward ("I Want To Live!")
    Best Actor winner: David Niven ("Separate Tables")
    Top grossing film: "Ben-Hur" ($73,000,000)

    The cat used in "Gigi" reacted violently whenever it was in a scene with Leslie Caron and reportedly had to be drugged. David Niven's performance in "Separate Tables" is the shortest ever to win an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. More than 300 sets covering over 340 acres were built on location for "Ben-Hur."

  •  Romulus Films
    33/ Romulus Films

    1960

    Best Picture winner: "Ben-Hur"
    Best Actress winner: Simone Signoret ("Room at the Top")
    Best Actor winner: Charlton Heston ("Ben-Hur")
    Top grossing film: "Swiss Family Robinson" ($40,400,000)

    "Room at the Top" is considered the first of the British "kitchen sink realism" dramas, in which protagonists were often angry young men disillusioned with modern society. Best Actor Charlton Heston ("Ben-Hur") also narrated highly classified military and Department of Energy instructional films, particularly those related to nuclear weapons, during his career. "Room at the Top" was noted for its excessive amount of cigarette smoking, and both Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret later died from smoking-related cancer.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    34/ Walt Disney Productions

    1961

    Best Picture winner: "The Apartment"
    Best Actress winner: Elizabeth Taylor ("Butterfield 8")
    Best Actor winner: Burt Lancaster ("Elmer Gantry")
    Top grossing film: "101 Dalmatians" ($153,000,000)

    Disney artists used inexpensive animation techniques like xerography to keep production costs down for "101 Dalmatians." Elizabeth Taylor won her first Oscar with "Butterfield 8." The 1927 publication of the Sinclair Lewis novel "Elmer Gantry," on which the film is based, raised public fury and was denounced from religious pulpits across America.

  • The Mirisch Corporation
    35/ The Mirisch Corporation

    1962

    Best Picture winner: "West Side Story"
    Best Actress winner: Sophia Loren ("Two Women")
    Best Actor winner: Maximilian Schell ("Judgement at Nuremberg")
    Top grossing film: "The Longest Day" ($39,100,000)

    Robert Duvall got his first major film role this year as Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird," which won three Oscars and was nominated for five others. Co-directed by Jeremy Robbins and Robert Wise, "West Side Story" gave Robbins the only Best Director award for the only film he ever directed. Sophia Loren was the first actress to win the Academy's Best Actress award for a foreign-language film.

  • Horizon Pictures (II)
    36/ Horizon Pictures (II)

    1963

    Best Picture winner: "Lawrence of Arabia"
    Best Actress winner: Anne Bancroft ("The Miracle Worker")
    Best Actor winner: Gregory Peck (T"o Kill a Mockingbird")
    Top grossing film: "Cleopatra" ($57,000,000)

    King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire brigade of soldiers as extras for "Lawrence of Arabia." Only two words of dialogue ("good girl") are used in the breakfast scene where Helen Keller trashes the dining room in "The Miracle Worker." Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz wanted "Cleopatra" to be released as two movies of three hours each, but the movie was run as one—at just over four hours.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    37/ Walt Disney Productions

    1964

    Best Picture winner: "Tom Jones"
    Best Actress winner: Patricia Neal ("Hud")
    Best Actor winner: Sidney Poitier ("Lilies of the Field")
    Top grossing film: "Mary Poppins" ($102,300,000)

    Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent in "Mary Poppins" is considered one of the worst film accents in history. "Tom Jones" was the only film to receive five Oscar nominations for acting and lose every one of them. Best Actor Sidney Poitier agreed to do "Lilies of the Field" for a smaller salary and a percentage of the profits.

  • Warner Bros.
    38/ Warner Bros.

    1965

    Best Picture winner: "My Fair Lady"
    Best Actress winner: Julie Andrews ("Mary Poppins")
    Best Actor winner: Rex Harrison ("My Fair Lady")
    Top grossing film: "The Sound of Music" ($163,214,286)

    Bing Crosby, Yul Brynner, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton were all considered for the role of the captain in "The Sound of Music" before Christopher Plummer was chosen. Plummer turned down the offer several times before being convinced he could improve the character. Rex Harrison was reportedly disappointed when Audrey Hepburn was cast as Eliza in “My Fair Lady,” as he wanted Julie Andrews.

  • Robert Wise Productions
    39/ Robert Wise Productions

    1966

    Best Picture winner: "The Sound of Music"
    Best Actress winner: Julie Christie ("Darling")
    Best Actor winner: Lee Marvin ("Cat Ballou")
    Top grossing film: "The Bible" ($34,900,023)

    Ernest Lehman, who wrote the screenplay for "The Sound of Music," used the camera to emphasize action and mood while transforming the original Broadway stage production for film. In "The Bible: In the Beginning," Egyptian extras staged a rock-throwing riot during the filming of the Tower of Babel sequence. The cast and crew of "Cat Ballou" had to work quickly for the location shots to beat the Colorado winter weather.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    40/ Walt Disney Productions

    1967

    Best Picture winner: "A Man for All Seasons"
    Best Actress winner: Elizabeth Taylor ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?")
    Best Actor winner: Paul Scofield ("A Man For All Seasons")
    Top grossing film: "The Jungle Book" ($141,843,000)

    Truckloads of Styrofoam arrived to simulate snow for the filming of "A Man for All Seasons,” just as it began snowing. The entire cast took salary cuts except for Scofield, Orson Welles, and Susannah York to keep the budget under $2 million. Walt Disney died during production of "The Jungle Book," and had the movie failed, the animation department would have been closed at the Disney studio.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    41/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    1968

    Best Picture winner: "In the Heat of the Night"
    Best Actress winner: Katharine Hepburn ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner")
    Best Actor winner: Rod Steiger ("In the Heat of the Night")
    Top grossing film: "Funny Girl" ($58,707,416)

    Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte were almost killed by Ku Klux Klansman during a visit to Mississippi, leading Poitier to insist that “In the Heat of the Night" be filmed in the North. Spencer Tracy died 17 days after the completion of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Barbra Streisand sang "My Man" live during the filming of "Funny Girl" because she hated lip-syncing.

  • Romulus Films
    42/ Romulus Films

    1969

    Best Picture winner: "Oliver!"
    Best Actress winner: Tie between Barbra Streisand ("Funny Girl") and Katharine Hepburn ("The Lion in Winter")
    Best Actor winner: Cliff Robertson ("Charly")
    Top grossing film: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" ($102,308,900)

    Streisand and Hepburn's tie was the first exact tie in a principal Oscar category. A production executive rejected the script to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" after reading the title characters fled to Bolivia, because Western protagonists at the time didn't flee. Actor Mark Lester couldn't simulate tears for the "Where is Love?" number in "Oliver!" so freshly-cut onions were used to make his eyes water.

  • Jerome Hellman Productions
    43/ Jerome Hellman Productions

    1970

    Best Picture winner: "Midnight Cowboy"
    Best Actress winner: Maggie Smith ("The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie")
    Best Actor winner: John Wayne ("True Grit")
    Top grossing film: "Love Story" ($106,397,186)

    "True Grit" was the only Oscar winner for John Wayne, whose last box office success came in 1971 with "Big Jake." Director Ronald Neame chose the 75 girls needed for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" based on how well they could giggle. In "Midnight Cowboy," Dustin Hoffman kept pebbles in his shoe to ensure his limp would be consistent throughout shooting.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    44/ Twentieth Century Fox

    1971

    Best Picture winner: "Patton"
    Best Actress winner: Glenda Jackson ("Women in Love")
    Best Actor winner: George C. Scott ("Patton")
    Top grossing film: "Billy Jack" ($98,000,000)

    Almost half the budget for "Patton" went to soldiers and equipment rented from the Spanish army. Glenda Jackson was pregnant throughout the filming of "Women in Love," one of the first mainstream movies to feature male frontal nudity.

     

  • Philip D'Antoni Productions
    45/ Philip D'Antoni Productions

    1972

    Best Picture winner: "The French Connection"
    Best Actress winner: Jane Fonda ("Klute")
    Best Actor winner: Gene Hackman ("The French Connection")
    Top grossing film: "The Godfather" ($134,966,411)

    The car crash during "The French Connection" was unplanned, but included because of its realism. To save money the film's director, William Friedkin, had the cameraman moved around in a wheelchair rather than using dolly track-mounted cameras.

  • Warner Bros.
    46/ Warner Bros.

    1973

    Best Picture winner: "The Godfather"
    Best Actress winner: Liza Minnelli ("Cabaret")
    Best Actor winner: Marlon Brando ("The Godfather")
    Top grossing film: "The Exorcist" ($204,868,002)

    Trouble followed the production of "The Exorcist," leading to claims the movie set was cursed, with directors Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Penn turning it down, and a toddler son of one of the actors being hit by a motorbike. "The Godfather" cinematographer Gordon Willis and director Francis Ford Coppola agreed to not use any modern filming devices for the flick.

  • Zanuck/Brown Productions
    47/ Zanuck/Brown Productions

    1974

    Best Picture winner: "The Sting"
    Best Actress winner: Glenda Jackson ("A Touch of Class")
    Best Actor winner: Jack Lemmon ("Save the Tiger")
    Top grossing film: "Blazing Saddles" ($119,500,000)

    Robert Shaw injured his knee a week before filming of "The Sting" and incorporated the resulting limp into his performance. "Blazing Saddles" director Mel Brooks said the film was almost not released; it opened in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago as a test, later becoming a top moneymaker for Warner Bros. that summer.

  •  Zanuck/Brown Productions
    48/ Zanuck/Brown Productions

    1975

    Best Picture winner: "The Godfather: Part II"
    Best Actress winner: Ellen Burstyn ("Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore")
    Best Actor winner: Art Carney ("Harry and Tonto")
    Top grossing film: "Jaws" ($260,000,000)

    The films "Futureworld" and "Tron" were the first to use 3-D computer-generated images (CGI). Mechanical sharks malfunctioned regularly during production of "Jaws," leading director Steven Spielberg to use mostly the movie's theme music to indicate the shark's impending presence.

  • Fantasy Films
    49/ Fantasy Films

    1976

    Best Picture winner: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
    Best Actress winner: Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest")
    Best Actor winner: Jack Nicholson ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest")
    Top grossing film: "Rocky" ($117,235,147)

    "The Shootist," released this year, was the last movie for John Wayne, who died of cancer three years later. Many of the extras in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" were actual patients. Near the end of production, Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) took off her dress and stood out in only her panties to prove to the cast she wasn't a cold-hearted monster.

  •  Lucasfilm
    50/ Lucasfilm

    1977

    Best Picture winner: "Rocky"
    Best Actress winner: Faye Dunaway ("Network")
    Best Actor winner: Peter Finch ("Network")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope" ($460,998,007)

    Meryl Streep kicked off her movie career with a minor supporting role in "Julia" this year. The lightsaber sound effect in "Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope" combines the hum of an idling 35-millimeter movie projector and feedback made by passing a stripped microphone cable going past a TV set. Mark Hamill broke a blood vessel in his face after holding his breath too long in the trash compactor scene.

  • Paramount Pictures
    51/ Paramount Pictures

    1978

    Best Picture winner: "Annie Hall"
    Best Actress winner: Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall")
    Best Actor winner: Richard Dreyfuss ("The Goodbye Girl")
    Top grossing film: "Grease" ($181,813,770)

    Kevin Bacon starred as Chip Diller in his debut film, "Animal House." Optical mattes were used to obscure the Coca-Cola logos in "Grease," after producer Allan Carr made a deal with Pepsi. Sigourney Weaver made her screen debut in a non-speaking part in "Annie Hall."

  • EMI Films
    52/ EMI Films

    1979

    Best Picture winner: "The Deer Hunter"
    Best Actress winner: Jane Fonda ("Coming Home")
    Best Actor winner: Jon Voight ("Coming Home")
    Top grossing film: "Kramer vs. Kramer" ($106,260,000)

    Olivia de Havilland made her final theatrical film with a cameo in "The Fifth Musketeer." The opening scene in "Coming Home" was unscripted, with real Vietnam vets expressing their views about the war. It was one of the first movies that explored sex between an able-bodied person and one who is disabled.

  • Columbia Pictures
    53/ Columbia Pictures

    1980

    Best Picture winner: "Kramer vs. Kramer"
    Best Actress winner: Sally Field ("Norma Rae")
    Best Actor winner: Dustin Hoffman ("Kramer vs. Kramer")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back" ($290,271,960)

    Tom Hanks launched his movie career this year with "He Knows You're Alone." In designing Yoda, the Jedi master in "The Empire Strikes Back," artist Stuart Freeborn used his own face for a model and added Albert Einstein's wrinkles to appear exceptionally intelligent.

  • Paramount Pictures
    54/ Paramount Pictures

    1981

    Best Picture winner: "Ordinary People"
    Best Actress winner: Sissy Spacek ("Coal Miner's Daughter")
    Best Actor winner: Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull")
    Top grossing film: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ($225,686,079)

    Beginning with this year's "Carbon Copy," Denzel Washington became a film favorite. Tom Cruise also made his film debut this year in "Endless Love." Special effects for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" included rod puppet spirits moving through water to convey a sense of floating, and mixed dolphin and sea lion screams for the sound of the spirits within the ark.

     

  • Universal Pictures
    55/ Universal Pictures

    1982

    Best Picture winner: "Chariots of Fire"
    Best Actress winner: Katharine Hepburn ("On Golden Pond")
    Best Actor winner: Henry Fonda ("On Golden Pond")
    Top grossing film: "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" ($435,110,554)

    "On Golden Pond" was the last movie for Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn. Jane Fonda purchased the rights to the play specifically for her father, and the movie closely parallels the real-life relationship between father and daughter. The face of "E.T." was modeled after Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein, and a pug dog.

  • International Film Investors
    56/ International Film Investors

    1983

    Best Picture winner: "Gandhi"
    Best Actress winner: Meryl Streep ("Sophie's Choice")
    Best Actor winner: Ben Kingsley ("Gandhi")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi" ($309,205,079)

    Ben Kingsley looked so much like the man in "Ghandi" that many natives thought him to be Ghandi's ghost. Six people were needed to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt in "Return of the Jedi." Meryl Streep learned a Polish accent, as well as Polish and German to have the proper accent of a Polish refugee in "Sophie's Choice."

  • Paramount Pictures
    57/ Paramount Pictures

    1984

    Best Picture winner: "Terms of Endearment"
    Best Actress winner: Shirley MacLaine ("Terms of Endearment")
    Best Actor winner: Robert Duvall ("Tender Mercies")
    Top grossing film: "Ghostbusters" ($242,212,467)

    Johnny Depp began his film career this year in "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Nearly none of the scenes in "Ghostbusters" were filmed as scripted, with most of Bill Murray's lines being ad-libs. Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine did not get along during the production of "Terms of Endearment." Both were nominated as Best Actress, with MacLaine getting the statue.

  • AMLF
    58/ AMLF

    1985

    Best Picture winner: "Amadeus"
    Best Actress winner: Sally Field ("Places in the Heart")
    Best Actor winner: F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus")
    Top grossing film: "Back to the Future" ($212,259,762)

    F. Murray Abraham learned how to read and conduct music for his role in "Amadeus," about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Steven Spielberg produced "Back to the Future" this year, making Michael J. Fox an instant superstar. Spielberg also directed "The Color Purple" in 1985, which was nominated for 11 Oscars.

  • Mirage Enterprises
    59/ Mirage Enterprises

    1986

    Best Picture winner: "Out of Africa"
    Best Actress winner: Geraldine Page ("The Trip to Bountiful")
    Best Actor winner: William Hurt ("Kiss of the Spider Woman")
    Top grossing film: "Top Gun" ($179,800,601)

    Paramount paid as much as $7,800 an hour for fuel and other costs to film Navy aircraft for "Top Gun." When actors William Hurt and Raul Julia needed to better understand each other's characters for their roles in "Kiss of the Spider Woman," Hurt suggested they switch roles during rehearsal. Hurt's Oscar was the first won by an actor portraying an openly gay character.

  • Hemdale
    60/ Hemdale

    1987

    Best Picture winner: "Platoon"
    Best Actress winner: Marlee Matlin ("Children of a Lesser God")
    Best Actor winner: Paul Newman ("The Color of Money")
    Top grossing film: "3 Men and a Baby" ($167,780,960)

    The production of "Platoon" was almost cancelled due to political upheaval in the Philippines, but shooting began as scheduled two days after then-President Ferdinand Marcos fled. Producers made a deal with the Philippine military for use of equipment, and the key stars were put through a 30-day military-style training.

  • Recorded Picture Company
    61/ Recorded Picture Company

    1988

    Best Picture winner: "The Last Emperor"
    Best Actress winner: Cher ("Moonstruck")
    Best Actor winner: Michael Douglas ("Wall Street")
    Top grossing film: "Rain Man" ($172,825,435)

    Matt Damon made his film debut this year with "Mystic Pizza." Brad Pitt's first credited role also came this year, with the release of "The Dark Side of the Sun." Director and writer Oliver Stone and co-writer Stanley Weiser spent weeks visiting brokerage houses and interviewing investors to better understand the financial world for the movie "Wall Street."

  • United Artists
    62/ United Artists

    1989

    Best Picture winner: "Rain Man"
    Best Actress winner: Jodie Foster ("The Accused")
    Best Actor winner: Dustin Hoffman ("Rain Man")
    Top grossing film: "Batman" ($251,188,924)

    Three weeks into the filming of "Rain Man," Dustin Hoffman wanted out, declaring this to be the worst work of his life. With the film, "Always," Audrey Hepburn ended her movie career this year. Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker in Batman, but producers wanted Jack Nicholson, who hesitated before taking the role.

  • The Zanuck Company
    63/ The Zanuck Company

    1990

    Best Picture winner: "Driving Miss Daisy"
    Best Actress winner: Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy")
    Best Actor winner: Daniel Day-Lewis ("My Left Foot")
    Top grossing film: "Home Alone" ($285,761,243)

    No orchestra was used for the music in "Driving Miss Daisy." Hans Zimmer, who wrote the score, played it on synthesizers. Joe Pesci deliberately avoided Macaulay Culkin on the set of "Home Alone." He wanted the child actor to think he was really mean. The movie Kevin watches was not a real movie, but footage created specifically for the scene.

  • Tig Productions
    64/ Tig Productions

    1991

    Best Picture winner: "Dances with Wolves"
    Best Actress winner: Kathy Bates ("Misery")
    Best Actor winner: Jeremy Irons ("Reversal of Fortune")
    Top grossing film: "Beauty and the Beast" ($376,057,266)

    Leonardo DiCaprio made his film debut in "Critters" this year. Gene Wilder walked away from movies after this year's release of "Another You." Gregory Peck also ended his film career this year, with the remake of "Cape Fear." Queen Latifah and Halle Berry both launched their movie debuts this year in "Jungle Fever."

  • Strong Heart/Demme Production
    65/ Strong Heart/Demme Production

    1992

    Best Picture winner: "The Silence of the Lambs"
    Best Actress winner: Jodie Foster ("The Silence of the Lambs")
    Best Actor winner: Anthony Hopkins ("Silence of the Lambs")
    Top grossing film: "Aladdin" ($217,350,219)

    Sir Anthony Hopkins visited prisons, studied convicted murderers, and attended court hearings for gruesome murders and serial killings in preparation for his role as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs." The FBI fully cooperated in the production, seeing it as a possible recruiting tool to hire more female agents.

  • Warner Bros.
    66/ Warner Bros.

    1993

    Best Picture winner: "Unforgiven"
    Best Actress winner: Emma Thompson ("Howards End")
    Best Actor winner: Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman")
    Top grossing film: "Jurassic Park" ($395,708,305)

    George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic VFX combined animatronics and cutting-edge, fully computer-generated creatures to bring the most realistic dinosaurs ever seen to life in Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of "Jurassic Park." It won the Best Visual Effects Oscar, among others.

  • Universal Pictures
    67/ Universal Pictures

    1994

    Best Picture winner: "Schindler's List"
    Best Actress winner: Holly Hunter ("The Piano")
    Best Actor winner: Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia")
    Top grossing film: "The Lion King" ($422,780,140)

    To have enough costumes for the 20,000 extras used in "Schindler's List," the costume designer placed advertisements for clothes. Many poor Polish folks were eager to sell clothes they still owned from the 1930s–'40s. The animators were so impressed with Jeremy Irons' performance in "The Lion King" that they worked his facial features into Scar's face.

  •  Paramount Pictures
    68/ Paramount Pictures

    1995

    Best Picture winner: "Forrest Gump"
    Best Actress winner: Jessica Lange ("Blue Sky")
    Best Actor winner: Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump")
    Top grossing film: "Toy Story" ($191,796,233)

    When the microphone plug is pulled during the Vietnam Rally during "Forrest Gump," he said"Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. That's a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that." "Blue Sky" was completed in 1991, but was not released until 1994 due to production house Orion Pictures' bankruptcy.

  • Icon Entertainment International
    69/ Icon Entertainment International

    1996

    Best Picture winner: "Braveheart"
    Best Actress winner: Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking")
    Best Actor winner: Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas")
    Top grossing film: "Independence Day" ($306,169,255)

    Several battle scenes in "Braveheart" had to be re-shot because the extras were wearing sunglasses and watches. John O'Brien, the author of the semi-autobiography "Leaving Las Vegas," on which the film is based, committed suicide in 1994 after learning his novel was being made into a movie.

  • Miramax
    70/ Miramax

    1997

    Best Picture winner: "The English Patient"
    Best Actress winner: Frances McDormand ("Fargo")
    Best Actor winner: Geoffrey Rush ("Shine")
    Top grossing film: "Titanic" ($659,363,944)

    After learning she had to be naked in front of Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic," Kate Winslet flashed him when they first met—to break the ice. The movie cost more to make than the Titanic itself. The Germans shooting at Almasy's plane in "The English Patient" were actually tourists used in the production because the set couldn't afford any more extras.

  •  DreamWorks
    71/ DreamWorks

    1998

    Best Picture winner: "Titanic"
    Best Actress winner: Helen Hunt ("As Good As It Gets")
    Best Actor winner: Jack Nicholson ("As Good as It Gets")
    Top grossing film: "Saving Private Ryan" ($216,335,085)

    Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an all-American look; he didn't know Damon would become a star after "Good Will Hunting," before "Saving Private Ryan" was released. The Omaha Beach scene cost $11 million to shoot and involved about 1,000 extras.

  • Universal Pictures
    72/ Universal Pictures

    1999

    Best Picture winner: "Shakespeare in Love"
    Best Actress winner: Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love")
    Best Actor winner: Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace" ($474,544,677)

    Several "Shakespeare in Love" characters, lines, and plot devices are based on Shakespeare plays. Shakespeare is not credited in the film. In "Star Wars Episode I," sets were built only as high as the top of the actors' heads, with computer graphics filling in the rest. Actor Liam Neeson was so tall it cost an extra $150,000 for construction.

  • DreamWorks
    73/ DreamWorks

    2000

    Best Picture winner: "American Beauty"
    Best Actress winner: Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry")
    Best Actor winner: Kevin Spacey ("American Beauty")
    Top grossing film: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ($260,044,825)

    In "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Jim Carrey spent 92 days in Grinch makeup, needing three hours getting into it and an hour to get it off each day. "American Beauty" is a breed of pretty roses that are prone to rot, and a "look closer" tells viewers there’s something rotten at the root of seemingly perfect suburban life.

  • Warner Bros.
    74/ Warner Bros.

    2001

    Best Picture winner: "Gladiator"
    Best Actress winner: Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich")
    Best Actor winner: Russell Crowe ("Gladiator")
    Top grossing film: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" ($317,575,550)

    Erin Brockovich-Ellis, on whom "Erin Brockovich" is based, got sick from the chromium poisoning she was investigating. Director Steven Soderbergh left that out of the film, fearing it would make her out to seem like a martyr. During post-production of "Gladiator," 2,000 actors became a computer-generated crowd of 35,000. J.K. Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" novels, handpicked Alan Rickman to play Snape and gave him details of Snape's backstory, which weren't released until the final novel.

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    75/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    2002

    Best Picture winner: "A Beautiful Mind"
    Best Actress winner: Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball")
    Best Actor winner: Denzel Washington ("Training Day")
    Top grossing film: "Spider-Man" ($403,706,375)

    "A Beautiful Mind" was shot in sequence so Russell Croweas John Nash, on whom the film is basedcould develop a consistent manner of behavior. The equations seen on the classroom chalkboards were actual equations Nash wrote. Tobey Maguire, who played "Spider-Man," experienced real problems in the upside-down kissing scene filmed in driving rain—his sinuses kept filling up with water.

  •  R.P. Productions
    76/ R.P. Productions

    2003

    Best Picture winner: "Chicago"
    Best Actress winner: Nicole Kidman ("The Hours")
    Best Actor winner: Adrien Brody ("The Pianist")
    Top grossing film: "Finding Nemo" ($380,529,370)

    Richard Gere took three months of tap-dancing lessons for "Chicago." His tap dance scene was shot in a half day. During the shooting of "The Pianist" in Krakow, director Roman Polanski met a man who helped Polanski's family survive the war. Polanski's parents were sent to different concentration camps during the war, and his father survived.

  • New Line Cinema
    77/ New Line Cinema

    2004

    Best Picture winner: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
    Best Actress winner: Charlize Theron ("Monster")
    Best Actor winner: Sean Penn ("Mystic River")
    Top grossing film: "Shrek 2" ($441,226,247)

    Gene Hackman retired from acting this year with the film, "Welcome to Mooseport." The dead Oliphaunt carcass used in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" is reported to be the largest prop ever built for a movie. The battle scenes, which comprised of more than 200,000 digital participants, were so huge that an extra room had to be added to the digital effects company's facilities to house all the computer equipment needed to facilitate the scenes.

  •  Bob Yari Productions
    78/ Bob Yari Productions

    2005

    Best Picture winner: "Crash"
    Best Actress winner: Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby")
    Best Actor winner: Jamie Foxx ("Ray")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith" ($380,270,577)

    "Crash" Director Paul Haggis was carjacked himself, which helped inspire the movie. He used his own house and car for several scenes to stay in the film's $6 million budget. Several studios rejected "Million Dollar Baby," even when Clint Eastwood signed on as actor and director, delaying production for years. Ray Charles was given a copy of the script of "Ray" in Braille for his approval.

  • Warner Bros.
    79/ Warner Bros.

    2006

    Best Picture winner: "Million Dollar Baby"
    Best Actress winner: Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line")
    Best Actor winner: Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote")
    Top grossing film: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" ($423,315,812)

    Two ships—The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman—were built for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" and subsequent installments of the "Pirates" franchise. Directed by, scored, and starring Clint Eastwood, "Million Dollar Baby" featured co-star Hilary Swank who underwent extensive boxing and weight room trainingnearly five hours a dayand gained 19 pounds of muscle for the role.

  •  Warner Bros.
    80/ Warner Bros.

    2007

    Best Picture winner: "The Departed"
    Best Actress winner: Helen Mirren ("The Queen")
    Best Actor winner: Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland")
    Top grossing film: "Spider-Man 3" ($336,530,303)

    Emma Stone's comedic movie career kicked off this year with "Superbad." Mark Wahlberg based his performance in "The Departed" on the police officers who had arrested him multiple times in his youth and on his parents' reactions when they used their grocery money to bail him out.

  • Warner Bros.
    81/ Warner Bros.

    2008

    Best Picture winner: "No Country for Old Men"
    Best Actress winner: Marion Cotillard ("The Passionate Life of Edith Piaf")
    Best Actor winner: Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood")
    Top grossing film: "The Dark Knight" ($533,345,358)

    Heath Ledger hid in his motel room for about six weeks to thoroughly delve into the psychology of his character, The Joker, in "The Dark Night." Ledger died in 2008 following an accidental prescription drug overdose. Marian Cotillard, who played "Edith Piaf," shaved back her hairline and eyebrows to better resemble the singer.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    82/ Twentieth Century Fox

    2009

    Best Picture winner: "Slumdog Millionaire"
    Best Actress winner: Kate Winslet ("The Reader")
    Best Actor winner: Sean Penn ("Milk")
    Top grossing film: "Avatar" ($760,507,625)

    The Nikon D90 digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) became the first to shoot video at film standards in High Definition with little quality difference compared to traditional film. Technological advances could mean DSLRs may soon overtake film cameras as industry standard. The production of "Avatar" was delayed until digital advances allowed for photorealistic computer-generated characters using motion-capture animation technology.

  •  Alcon Entertainment
    83/ Alcon Entertainment

    2010

    Best Picture winner: "The Hurt Locker"
    Best Actress winner: Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side")
    Best Actor winner: Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart")
    Top grossing film: "Toy Story 3" ($415,004,880)

    With the assistance of a voice coach, Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell did their own singing in "Crazy Heart." Nearly 200 hours of footage was shot using three or more hand-held 16-millimeter cameras in documentary style for "The Hurt Locker." Sandra Bullock thought her Oscar award-winning acting in "The Blind Side" was so bad she considered dropping out.

  • See-Saw Films
    84/ See-Saw Films

    2011

    Best Picture winner: "The King's Speech"
    Best Actress winner: Natalie Portman ("Black Swan")
    Best Actor winner: Colin Firth ("The King's Speech")
    Top grossing film: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" ($381,011,219)

    "The King's Speech," as delivered in the movie, is only two-thirds the length of the original. In "Deathly Hallows: Part II," Bellatrix Lestrange always stands to Voldemort's right side, which is traditionally considered to be the position of the most loyal and trusted follower. Harry's lightning-bolt scar makeup was applied 5,800 times.

  •  DJ Films
    85/ DJ Films

    2012

    Best Picture winner: "The Artist"
    Best Actress winner: Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady")
    Best Actor winner: Jean Dujardin ("The Artist")
    Top grossing film: "The Avengers" ($623,279,547)

    Lauren Bacall's movie career ended with this year's release of "The Forger." Meryl Streep spent months watching broadcasts of Margaret Thatcher to learn her speech and mannerisms for the main role in "The Iron Lady." While Streep never met Thatcher, she attended a Thatcher speech at Northwestern University where Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer was a student.

  •  Warner Bros.
    86/ Warner Bros.

    2013

    Best Picture winner: "Argo"
    Best Actress winner: Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook")
    Best Actor winner: Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln")
    Top grossing film: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" ($424,668,047)

    The director of photography in "Argo" gave 8-millimeter cameras out to certain people in the crowd to make the riot in the opening scene appear like actual footage. Director Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") spent 12 years researching for the film to faithfully recreate Lincoln's executive office. Spielberg also used Lincoln's actual pocket watch for the ticking of the watch in the film. It was the watch Lincoln carried with him on the day of his assassination.

  •  Truth Entertainment (II)
    87/ Truth Entertainment (II)

    2014

    Best Picture winner: "12 Years a Slave"
    Best Actress winner: Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine")
    Best Actor winner: Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club")
    Top grossing film: "American Sniper" ($350,126,372)

    Screenwriter Craig Borten ("Dallas Buyers Club") interviewed Ron Woodroof, the HIV/AIDS victim on whom the film is based, to create the screenplay. Borten’s research included hours of interviews and access to Woodroof's personal journals. Woodroof died a month after the interviews. Robin Williams' last film, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," was released this year.

  •  Working Title Films
    88/ Working Title Films

    2015

    Best Picture winner: "Birdman" (or "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance")
    Best Actress winner: Julianne Moore ("Still Alice")
    Best Actor winner: Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens" ($936,662,225)

    Co-writer and director Richard Glatzer for "Still Alice" suffered from ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig's disease—and couldn't speak. He did his direction on an iPad text-to-speech app. Stephen Hawking, on whom "The Theory of Everything" is based, lent his copyrighted voice, Companion of Honor medal, and his signed thesis to use as props in the film.

  •  Regency Enterprises
    89/ Regency Enterprises

    2016

    Best Picture winner: "Spotlight"
    Best Actress winner: Brie Larson ("Room")
    Best Actor winner: Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant")
    Top grossing film: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" ($532,177,324)

    "The Revenant," based on the horrors experienced by a real-life frontiersman left for dead after a grizzly attack, gave actor Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar. The Boston Globe approved the costume design, actors, actresses, and script for "Spotlight." Brie Larson isolated herself in her home for a month, following a strict diet and having no phone or internet access to get a sense of what Ma and Jack were experiencing in "Room."

  • A24
    90/ A24

    2017

    Best Picture winner: "Moonlight"
    Best Actress winner: Emma Stone ("La La Land")
    Best Actor winner: Casey Affleck ("Manchester by the Sea")
    Top grossing film: "Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi" ($620,181,382)

    Due to a visa problem, Naomie Harris had only three days to shoot her role in "Moonlight," which covered 15 years of her character's life. The scenes were filmed out of sequence. Ryan Gosling spent two hours a day, six days a week, in piano lessons for "La La Land" and was able to play all the piano sequences by the time filming started.

  • Marvel Studios
    91/ Marvel Studios

    2018

    Best Picture winner: "The Shape of Water"
    Best Actress winner: Frances McDormand ("Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri")
    Best Actor winner: Gary Oldman ("Darkest Hour")
    Top grossing film: "Black Panther" ($699,747,193)

    Writer and director Martin McDonagh wrote "Three Billboards" with Frances McDormand in mind for the lead role. Ironically, John Hurt was sick with cancer as he was set to portray Neville Chamberlain, Britain's former prime minister, who was dying of cancer in 1940. "Darkest Hour" was dedicated to Hurt, since it would have been his final cinematic project.

     

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