Academy Awards
Best Picture Milestones



1990s
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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
1990 (63rd)

Orion

Dances With Wolves (1990)
d. Kevin Costner
Awards: 7
Nominations: 12

A nineteenth-century soldier learns to respect and then love the Lakota way of life.

1991 (64th)

Orion

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
d. Jonathan Demme
Awards: 5
Nominations: 7

Damaged FBI agent trainee Clarice Starling takes on one sociopathic serial killer with the help of a deranged, cannibalistic psychiatrist.

  • the third of only three films to win every major Academy Award (the Big Five), including Best Picture; the other two films were It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
  • the only true horror film to win Best Picture
  • the first Best Picture nominee to have been commercially-available on videotape before its win
  • to date, the last Best Picture winner to win both Best Actor and Best Actress
  • in the same year, Beauty and the Beast (1991), the first - and only - hand-drawn feature-length animated film to be nominated for Best Picture [it would be another ten years before a special Oscar category for animated films would be created - Best Animated Feature Film]
1992 (65th)

Warner Bros.

Unforgiven (1992)
d. Clint Eastwood
Awards: 4
Nominations: 9

Retired gunslinger Bill Munny picks up his gun for a good cause but soon remembers why he put it down.

  • the third of three western films to win Best Picture (the first was Cimarron (1930/31), and the second was Dances With Wolves (1990))
1993 (66th)

Universal/Amblin

Schindler's List (1993)
d. Steven Spielberg
Awards: 7
Nominations: 12

An apparently ordinary German businessman saves 1,000-plus Polish-Jewish refugees during WWII.

  • the first - and only - B/W Best Picture winner since The Apartment (1960) (although it had some color sequences)
  • in the same year, The Fugitive (1993), the first - and only - Best Picture nominee to be based on a popular TV series
  • Jane Campion was the first (and only) woman to have directed a Best Picture nominee (The Piano (1993)) and to have received a Best Director nomination for herself
1994 (67th)

Paramount

Forrest Gump (1994)
d. Robert Zemeckis
Awards: 6
Nominations: 13

The upheavals of the American sixties and seventies are seen through the perspective of a childlike young man.

1995 (68th)

Paramount

Braveheart (1995)
d. Mel Gibson
Awards: 5
Nominations: 10

Thirteenth-century Scot Sir William Wallace takes up the sword to defend his people against the English.

  • the only Best Picture nominee this year that didn't have an acting nomination; 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, 1987, and 1958
  • in the same year, Il Postino (1995) was the second sub-titled film in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Picture (the first was in 1969)
1996 (69th)

Miramax

The English Patient (1996)
d. Anthony Minghella
Awards: 9
Nominations: 12

The complexities of WWII are explored through the flashbacked adventures and romance of a horribly burned flyer.

  • nine Oscar wins for the Best Picture winner made it the third most-awarded film in Academy history - and tied it with two other films with nine wins: Gigi (1958), and The Last Emperor (1987). Only two other films from the past had more wins: West Side Story (1961) (with ten), and Ben-Hur (1959) (with eleven)
  • the British-produced Best Picture-winning film with the most Oscar wins - nine
  • for the first time in Oscar history, none of the major Hollywood studios (including Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros., UA, Fox, Columbia, Universal, or Disney's Buena Vista) were represented among the Best Picture-nominated films for 1996. All the pictures nominated for Best Picture were low-budget, independent films - with the sole exception possibly being Tri-Star's Jerry Maguire (1996), the closest nominee to a major, mainstream Hollywood studio
1997 (70th)

Paramount/20th Century Fox

Titanic (1997)
d. James Cameron
Awards: 11
Nominations: 14

A rich girl and poor boy defy convention and fall in love during the 1912 maiden voyage of the ill-fated ship.

  • the first Best Picture winner to be produced, directed, written and edited by the same individual - James Cameron
  • the first Best Picture winner to gross over $1 billion worldwide (approx. $1.8 billion); and it was the most expensive Best Picture ever made with a budget of approximately $200 million -- until Cameron's own Avatar (2009)
  • the second of only two films to receive 14 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture (the first was All About Eve (1950))
  • the second of only three films to win 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture (the other two films were: Ben-Hur (1959) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003))
  • to date, the last film to win Best Picture without a Screenplay nomination (Adapted or Original); the previous Best Picture winner to not have its screenplay nominated was The Sound of Music (1965)
  • in the same year, to date, As Good As It Gets (1997), the last Best Picture nominee to receive Best Actor and Best Actress wins
1998 (71st)

Miramax

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
d. John Madden
Awards: 7
Nominations: 13

Romance and heartbreak inspires young Will Shakespeare's new play: Romeo and Juliet.

  • the Best Picture-winning film was a hybrid blend, but could be considered the first romantic comedy to win Best Picture since Annie Hall (1977)
  • the Best Picture-winning film has the most Oscars (7) without a Best Director win
  • to date, it was the last comedy to win Best Picture
  • only two other films in Oscar history have had more nominations: Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) - each with 14
  • it joined 5 other films before the decade of the 2000s with 13 nominations, two of which did not win Best Picture (Mary Poppins (1964) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)): Gone With the Wind (1939), From Here to Eternity (1953) and Forrest Gump (1994)
  • in the same year, Life is Beautiful (1998) was the third sub-titled film in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Picture (the first two were in 1969 and 1995); it was also the first foreign language film to receive seven nominations - the most-honored foreign-language film in Oscar history up to that time, and the winner of the Best Foreign Language film Oscar
1999 (72nd)

DreamWorks

American Beauty (1999)
d. Sam Mendes
Awards: 5
Nominations: 8

An ordinary American family is torn apart by internal stresses and personal demons.

  • in the decade of the 1990s, it was the first non-historical epic (or non-period film) to win the top honor since The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • it was the fourth instance (in the past five years) that the Best Picture-winning film was based on an original screenplay

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