Academy Awards
Best Picture Milestones



1980s
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Oscars - Best Picture Milestones
Year of Awards (No.) Production Company Best Picture Winner/Year and Director
Number of Awards/Nominations and Milestones
Film Poster
1980 (53rd)

Paramount

Ordinary People (1980)
d. Robert Redford
Awards: 4
Nominations: 6

A son's suicide reveals the unhappiness beneath the surface of an apparently perfect family.

  • Robert Redford won two Oscar awards (his first wins) for Best Director and Best Picture for his directorial debut. Redford became the first major acting star to take a turn at directing in order to win the top Oscar - for his first film
  • this year marked the first (of two instances) in which nominated director Martin Scorsese lost his Best Director bid (for Raging Bull (1980)) to an actor making his directorial debut; the second occurrence was ten years later (Dances With Wolves (1990), Kevin Costner)
  • the last Best Picture winner without a Film Editing nomination
1981 (54th)

The Ladd Co./Warner Bros.

Chariots of Fire (1981)
d. Hugh Hudson
Awards: 4
Nominations: 7

The fates of two Olympic runners, one Christian and one Jewish, reflect the prejudices of twenties England.

  • this UK win signaled the start of another mini-British renaissance of film awards for this year and the next - with Gandhi (1982) soon breaking all British film Oscar records; it had been 13 years since another British-made film had won Best Picture, Oliver! (1968)
  • the second sports film to win Best Picture (the first was Rocky (1976))
  • the first of four historical biopic films to win the top award during the 1980s, joining Gandhi (1982), Amadeus (1984), and The Last Emperor (1987)
  • in the same year, Reds (1981) was the last Best Picture nominee to date to receive nominations in all four of the acting categories
1982 (55th)

Columbia

Gandhi (1982)
d. Richard Attenborough
Awards: 8
Nominations: 11

This biopic focuses on the revered political activist's efforts to end Britain's colonial occupation of India.

  • the Best Picture winner won the largest number of Oscar awards (8) for any British film up to that time - although the film was financed by Columbia Studios
  • to date, it was the second-most winningest British-produced film with 8 Oscars (tied with Slumdog Millionaire (2008)), when UK-produced The English Patient (1996) won 9 Oscars
1983 (56th)

Paramount

Terms of Endearment (1983)
d. James L. Brooks
Awards: 5
Nominations: 11

A mismatched mother and daughter live, love, and fight like wildcats until fate forces reconciliation.

  • the Best Picture winner was a film that blended comedy and 'tearjerker' melodrama, similar to the Best Picture-win experienced by the two family dramas three and four years earlier, Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Ordinary People (1980)
1984 (57th)

Orion

Amadeus (1984)
d. Milos Forman
Awards: 8
Nominations: 11

The story of prodigy Mozart and his forgotten contemporary Salieri poses questions of fate and fairness.

  • one of only three Best Picture-winning films that were not in the weekend box-office Top 5 after rankings began to be recorded in 1982 (joined by The English Patient (1996) and The Hurt Locker (2009))
  • the 7th of 8 Best Picture-winning films in Oscar history to win exactly eight Oscars

 

1985 (58th)

Universal

Out of Africa (1985)
d. Sydney Pollack
Awards: 7
Nominations: 11

Isak Dinesen's autobiographical writings inspired this story of romance in colonial Africa.

  • in the same year, the first independent film to be nominated for Best Picture - Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
  • in the same year, the first PG-13 rated film to be nominated for Best Picture - The Color Purple (1985)
  • in the same year, The Color Purple (1985), the first African-American, Quincy Jones, to be nominated as producer for a Best Picture nominee
  • in the same year, The Color Purple (1985), with the most Best Picture nominations (11) without a director nomination
  • in the same year, the second of only two Best Picture nominees to receive the most nominations (11) without winning a single Academy Award (the first was The Turning Point (1977))
1986 (59th)

Orion

Platoon (1986)
d. Oliver Stone
Awards: 4
Nominations: 8

America's Vietnam experience is dramatized via the relationship between a young private and two hardened officers.

  • in the same year, Children of a Lesser God (1986) was the first female-directed film (Randa Haines) to be nominated for Best Picture
1987 (60th)

Columbia

The Last Emperor (1987)
d. Bernardo Bertolucci
Awards: 9
Nominations: 9

This lavish spectacle views the birth of twentieth-century China through the unique life of emperor Pu Yi.

  • the only film produced outside of America or Britain to have received the ultimate award for Best Picture; it was not considered a foreign-language film, however, and therefore was not nominated for Best Foreign Language Film
  • the second of only three partly foreign language films (English/Mandarin) to win Best Picture (the other two were in 1974 and 2008)
  • it was one of only ten films in all of Academy history that won Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination - other notable examples were in 2008, 2003, 1995, and 1958
  • the first PG-13-rated film to win Best Picture
  • only one other Best Picture film, the musical Gigi (1958), also scored nine Oscars from nine nominations
  • the film's nine Oscar wins was the largest victory since West Side Story (1961) - with ten wins
1988 (61st)

United Artists

Rain Man (1988)
d. Barry Levinson
Awards: 4
Nominations: 8

A shallow ne'er-do-well is changed for the better by meeting his autistic-savant brother.

1989 (62nd)

Warner Bros.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
d. Bruce Beresford
Awards: 4
Nominations: 9

The long-running relationship between an elderly white woman and her black chauffeur illuminates American race relations.

  • to date, the last Best Picture winner with a PG rating
  • this Best Picture winner was the second of only two Best Picture winners to have been adapted for the screen from plays which won the Pulitzer Prize (the other was You Can't Take It With You (1938))
  • to date, only the third film in Academy history to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director; the first was Wings (1927/28) and the second was Grand Hotel (1931/32)
  • the film's co-producer, Lili Fini Zanuck became the second woman in Oscar history to receive an award for co-producing the Best Picture (this first occurred in 1973)

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