Posted in film

Best Picture Oscar Winners 1990s-2010s

The Oscars. The longest award show there is. When you just want to go to bed but you have to wait up to find out what film won Best Picture. Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds an awards ceremony where they recognize excellence in cinema achievement.  A man named George Stanley originally sculpted the award that is officially known as the “Academy Award of Merit.” We simply call it the Oscar. 

The very first Academy Awards was held on May 16, 1929 at a private dinner that took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  For that first ceremony, winners were announced in advance.  That event was not broadcast.  However, the event had so much public interest that the next year, the Academy allowed it to be broadcast over radio. During the second year of the awards, winners did not know ahead of time that they were receiving an award.   In 1941, the sealed envelope system was first used for announcing the winners.  In 1953 at the 25th Academy Awards, the event was first broadcast on television.  In 1966, the ceremony was broadcast in color for the first time.  History has been made in more recent times as well, Just last year in 2020 actually, history was made when the film Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win best picture. 

While movie fans everywhere dream about what it would be like to win an Oscar, there are several instances where actors have declined their awards.   At the 1971 awards ceremony, actor George C. Scott became the first actor to refuse his Academy Award when winning Best Actor for his role in the film Patton. He said that the politics surrounding such awards was “demeaning” and described the Oscar ceremony as “a two-hour meat parade”.  

In 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather but he declined the award.  According to History.com “The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place, stating that the actor “very regretfully” could not accept the award, as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film.”

Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars in her career but never showed up to accept any of them. She has been quoted as saying “As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.”  Those are just a few people that turned down their award. 

In more recent years, some actors have boycotted the ceremony. In 2016 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith refused to attend. Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott of the Academy Awards when she learned that the nominations, for the second year in a row featured no actors of color. Her husband “Will Smith vowed not to attend the Oscars in protest of a lack of diversity. For the second year in a row, all 20 acting nominees were white.  Spike Lee joined them in their boycott. 

One of the most cringe worthy moments at the Oscars happened at the 2017 ceremony when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made a huge blunder accidentally announcing the wrong winner’s name for Best Picture.  They announced that the film La La Land won Best Picture when really it was supposed to be the film Moonlight.  I cringe when I re-watch a clip of the incident. How awful that the team from La La Land actually came on stage and started thanking people then had to go sit down.

In recent years, a lot of people have stopped watching the Oscars.  At the 2020 ceremony, viewership hit an all time low.  To give you an example, in 2004 when Billy Crystal hosted the event, viewership that night was 43.5 million.  In 2020 there was no host and viewership was 23.6 million. It will be interesting to see if people even tune in to this year’s event. 

In this episode of Trivia Rewind, I will give you ten trivia questions about movies that have won Best Picture Oscars from the 1990s to the 2010s.  After I ask you the ten questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie.  Stick around to the end because I’ll tell you about this year’s Oscar ceremony and how things may be a little different. 

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

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Trivia Rewind Episode 38 –  Best Picture Oscar Winners

[00:00:00] Audio Clip: [00:00:00] And the Oscar goes to…

[00:00:19] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:19] This episode of Trivia Rewind is all about the Oscars, the longest award show there is. When you just want to go to bed, but you have to wait up to find out what the Best Picture winner is. I’m Debi Jenkins the host of Trivia Rewind. Let me first give you a little recap about this award.

[00:00:43] Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds an award ceremony where they recognize excellence in cinema achievement. A man named George Stanley originally sculpted the award that is officially known as the [00:01:00] Academy Award of Merit. We simply call it the Oscar. The very first Academy Awards was held on May 16th, 1929 at a private dinner that took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

[00:01:17] For that first ceremony, winners were notified in advance and that event was not broadcast. However, the event had so much public interest that the next year, the Academy allowed it to be broadcast over radio. During the second year of the awards, winners did not know ahead of time that they were receiving an award.

[00:01:41] In 1941, the sealed envelope system was first used for announcing the winners. In 1953 at the 25th Academy Awards the event was first broadcast on television. In 1966, the ceremony was [00:02:00] broadcast in color for the first time. History has been made in more recent times as well. Just last year in 2020 actually, history was made when the film Parasite became the first foreign language film to win Best Picture.

[00:02:16] While movie fans everywhere dream what it would be like to win an Oscar, there are several instances where actors have declined their awards. At the 1971 award ceremony, actor George C. Scott became the first actor to refuse his Academy Award when winning Best Actor for his role in the film Patton. He said that the politics surrounding such awards was demeaning and described the Oscar ceremony as a two hour meat parade. In 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather, but he declined the award. According to History.com, the Native American actress,  [00:03:00] Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place stating that the actor “very regretfully could not accept the award as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film.” Katherine Hepburn won four Oscars in her career but never showed up to accept any of them.

[00:03:22] She has been quoted as saying, “As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.” Those are just a few people that turned down their award. In more recent years, some actors have boycotted the ceremony. In 2016 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith refused to attend. Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott of the Academy Awards when she learned that the nominations for the second year in a row featured no actors of color. Her husband Will Smith vowed not to attend the Oscars in protest of a [00:04:00] lack of diversity. For the second year in a row all 20 acting nominees were white. Spike Lee joined them in their boycott.

[00:04:09] One of the most cringe-worthy moments at the Oscars happened at the 1989 ceremony when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made a huge blunder accidentally announcing the wrong winner’s name for Best Picture. They announced that the film La La Land won Best Picture when really it was supposed to be the film Moonlight. I cringe when I rewatch a clip of the incident. How awful that the team from La La Land actually came on stage and started thanking people then had to go sit down.

[00:04:42] If you want to relive that uncomfortable moment, I’ll post a link to it on TriviaRewind.com. In recent years, a lot of people have stopped watching the Oscars. At the 2020 ceremony viewership hit an all time low. To give you an example, in [00:05:00] 2004, when Billy Crystal hosted the event, viewership that night was 43.5 million. In 2020, there was no host and viewership was 23.6 million. It will be interesting to see if people even tune in to this year’s event.

[00:05:18] So now that I’ve given you a little bit of history on the Oscars, let’s get to the 10 trivia questions about movies that have won Best Picture Oscars from the 1990s to the 2010s. After I ask you the 10 questions, I’ll go back and review the questions and give you the answers plus some fun facts about each movie. Stick around to the end, because I’ll tell you about this year’s Oscar ceremony and how things may be a little different. Are you ready?

[00:05:48] Here’s question one. In what 1992 movie does Clint Eastwood play the character Will Munny, a once notorious outlaw?

[00:06:00] [00:06:00] Question two. What 2013 movie is about Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery?

[00:06:13] Question three. In what 2008 film does Jeremy Renner play Sergeant First Class William James, the new team leader for a US Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in the Iraq War?

[00:06:31] Question four. What 2003 film starts out with two friends fishing and one of the friends discovers a piece of jewelry in the river which causes the other friend to kill him in order to get it?

[00:06:48] Question five. In what movie from 2000 does Russell Crowe play a man that is forced into fighting and was called Maximus the Merciful at one point in the [00:07:00] film?

[00:07:01] Question six. In what 2001 American biographical drama does Russell Crowe’s character develop paranoid schizophrenia?

[00:07:14] Question seven. In what 1995 movie does Mel Gibson play a Scottish warrior set on helping the Scots win their freedom from England?

[00:07:26] Question eight. In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, in what state is the film set?

[00:07:37] Question nine. In the 1993 film Schindler’s List what actor plays Oskar Schindler?

[00:07:47] And question 10. In the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling interviews Hannibal Lecter in hopes of catching a serial killer [00:08:00] by what name?

[00:08:02] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back review, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:08:08] Question one. In what 1992 movie does Clint Eastwood play the character Will Munny a once notorious outlaw? That movie was Unforgiven. The film not only starred Clint Eastwood, he was also the director and producer. Unforgiven was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four. It won for Best Picture, Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman and Best Film Editing. At the time this was only the third time a western film had won the Best Picture Oscar. The two that came before it were the 1931 film Cimarron and the 1990 film Dances With Wolves. And amazingly enough, after starring in dozens of movies, [00:09:00] this was only the first time that Clint Eastwood had been nominated for an Oscar.

[00:09:05] Currently he is the oldest person to have ever won a Best Director Academy Award. Clint Eastwood is a man of many talents. Did you know that he is a pianist and a composer? The main theme song of Unforgiven, a song titled Claudia’s Theme, was composed by Clint Eastwood. In 2004, the Library of Congress added Unforgiven to their National Film Registry. According to their website, “Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant motion pictures to the registry.”

[00:09:50] In 2008, the film was ranked the Fourth Best American Western Film in The American Film Institute’s [00:10:00] AFI’s 10 top 10 list.

[00:10:03] Question two. What 2013 movie is about Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery? That movie was 12 Years A Slave. British Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor had the role of Solomon Northup in this film. In a BBC interview he said, “When I read the script, I thought it was an extraordinary story but I did feel the weight and the responsibility of it. I didn’t want to be the guy that messed it up.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. His first film role was in 1997 in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad.  A lot of this movie was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana at four historical plantations. To prepare for his [00:11:00] role Chiwetel Ejiofor learned to play the violin and immersed himself in Louisiana plantation culture.

[00:11:08] The film received nine Academy Award nominations and went home winning three, one of which was Best Picture.

[00:11:16] Question three. In what 2008 film does Jeremy Renner play Sergeant First Class William James, the new team leader for a US Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit in The Iraq War? That film was The Hurt Locker.

[00:11:35] Have you ever wondered what the term hurt locker means? Well, according to dictionary.com “Hurt locker is a slang term for a place of deep pain and discomfort. To be put in the hurt locker signifies that something profoundly troubling or painful has happened to you. Hurt locker comes from US military slang. It first emerged during the [00:12:00] Vietnam War. The screenplay was written by Mark Boal, who was actually embedded as a journalist in 2004 with a US Army EOD team in Iraq. He won an Academy Award for Best Writing Original Screenplay. His screenplay was fictional but based on events he saw while in Iraq. The Hurt Locker was nominated for nine Academy Awards.

[00:12:23] It won six and one was for Best Director. The Hurt Locker was directed by Kathryn Bigelow and she made history with her Oscar win. It remains the only Best Picture winner to have been directed by a woman. Before winning the Best Director Oscar, prior to this only three other women had ever been nominated for a Best Director Academy Award.

[00:12:48] Question four. What 2003 film starts out with two friends fishing and one of the friends discovers a piece of jewelry in the river which causes the other friend to [00:13:00] kill him in order to get it? That film was Lord of the Rings Return of the King. This film was directed by Peter Jackson. In a BBC interview, he says “The Return of the King is definitely the most emotional of the three films. It’s my favorite one of the three.” Peter Jackson also revealed his favorite character in the interview. He says, “I love the Hobbit. I love Bilbo Baggins. I really relate well to Bilbo.” This film set some major records at the 76th Academy Awards. Lord of the Rings Return of the King was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won all the categories for which it was nominated. This film and two others hold the record for highest Academy Award totals.

[00:13:53] The other two films are Titanic and Ben Hur. Return of the King also holds the record [00:14:00] for the highest clean sweep at the Oscars.

[00:14:04] Question five. In what movie from 2000 does Russell Crowe play a man that is forced into fighting and was called Maximus the Merciful at one point in the film? That film was Gladiator. Gladiator was directed by Ridley Scott, known for films like Alien, Blade Runner and Black Hawk Down. However, Gladiator was probably his biggest commercial success at the time. It ended up being the second highest grossing film of 2000. Mission Impossible 2 took the number one spot that year. Money aside, Gladiator took home Hollywood’s big award by winning the Best Picture Oscar. In 2011, the ABC network aired a special called Best in Film, the Greatest Movies of Our Time. In the Best Action Film category Gladiator took the number five spot. At the [00:15:00] 73rd Academy Awards, Gladiator was nominated for 12 Oscars. It won five, one of which was for Best Picture.

[00:15:09] Question six. In what 2001 American biographical drama does Russell Crowe’s character develop paranoid schizophrenia? That film was A Beautiful Mind. The movie was based on the real life of American mathematician John Nash and his struggle with schizophrenia. Whenever a movie is made based on a book or a real person, there are people that aren’t happy with the results. Some said that A Beautiful Mind didn’t tell the whole truth about the John Nash story. A quote from an article in The Guardian titled A Beautiful Mind Hides Ugly Truths,

[00:15:50] it says “Nash’s mind and his life have been beautified according to Hollywood standards. The result is an effective piece of cinema but one [00:16:00] that has little faith in its audience’s intelligence.” With that being said, Ron Howard, the director has pointed out that they never set out to make a bio pic. The film was however, highly acclaimed and won many awards. This film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four. Russell Crowe was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film however Denzel Washington took home the Oscar instead for his role that year in Training Day. Not only did A Beautiful Mind win the Best Picture Oscar, Ron Howard won the Best Director Oscar. The film also won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and actress Jennifer Connelly took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

[00:16:46] About.com Movies interviewed director Ron Howard who offered a few interesting insights into the making of the movie. One was that his father Rance Howard had a role playing a schizophrenic who Nash [00:17:00] observes. Unfortunately for his father, Ron cut the scene out. However, in the DVD release you can find scenes that were cut from the theater release.

[00:17:11] Question seven. In what 1995 movie does Mel Gibson play a Scottish warrior set on helping the Scots win their freedom from England? That Epic film was Braveheart. Not only did Mel Gibson star in the film, he directed it as well. In the beginning, Gibson did not intend on acting in the movie, he wanted Brad Pitt to have the lead role. As we all know that didn’t happen. Supposedly budget discussions surrounding this film where no walk in the park. According to The Hollywood Reporter Paramount’s original offer for their share of the budget wouldn’t even cover the battle scenes.

[00:17:52] Plus Paramount was asking for a distribution fee of 25% of the movies theatrical revenue. Upon [00:18:00] hearing this, the article says, “Gibson was furious. He grabbed a large glass ash tray and threw it through the wall.” He was upset that he had turned down three movies and admitted that his reaction was a little over the top.

[00:18:15] In the end, everything worked out. Negotiations are just part of the movie business. Braveheart was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and ended up bringing home five. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Effects Editing.

[00:18:34] Question eight. In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, in what state is the film set? The film is set in the state of Alabama. Forrest hailed from Greenbow Alabama, a city that doesn’t even exist. We all love Tom Hanks as the lead in Forrest Gump but did you know that he wasn’t the first choice for the role? [00:19:00] Supposedly John Travolta was one person to have turned down the role. Instead, Travolta starred in Pulp Fiction.

[00:19:08] Tom Hanks’ daughter Emily and director Robert Zemeckis’ son Alexander both had small roles in this film. They were the mean kids on the bus that wouldn’t let Forrest sit by them. Tom Hanks’ brother Jim was a double for him in some of the running scenes.

[00:19:25] Forrest Gump was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six. Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor for Hanks, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. At the time, Forrest Gump was the fourth highest grossing film of all time. It was also director Robert Zemeckis’ highest grossing film to date.

[00:19:54] Question nine. In the 1993 film Schindler’s List, what [00:20:00] actor plays Oskar Schindler? That actor is Liam Neeson. Schindler’s List was directed by Steven Spielberg. Many actors came to Spielberg wanting to play Oskar Schindler but Spielberg’s first choice was always Liam Neeson. At one point Warren Beatty auditioned for the role. When asked about this in a Inside Film article, Steven Spielberg says, “I don’t think Warren would have ever really worked on the accent. I think Warren would have played it like Oskar Schindler through Warren Beatty but I don’t think Warren would have taken on the accent perhaps. Liam as you know is Irish but he took on the accent completely.”

[00:20:44] Much of the movie was filmed at the actual sites mentioned in the movie. In an article from Inside Film, Steven Spielberg says, “We had the interior and exterior of Schindler’s apartment and the interior and exterior of his offices at the factory. [00:21:00] We had the interior of SS headquarters and the interior and exterior of the prison. Most every place was authentic.” They were unable to shoot inside Auschwitz-Birkenau so they shot just outside the gate house.

[00:21:15] A lot of the crew was Polish, Croatian and Austrian. Inside Film asked Steven Spielberg what he thought were some of the more difficult scenes. Spielberg said, “The most difficult part was putting the women into the showers, turning off the lights on them. That was tough.” It was so difficult for some of the actresses that they had complete breakdowns while filming the scene.

[00:21:38] When the topic of actors dressing up as Nazis came up, Spielberg said, “Many of them would come up to me before a take and tell me how disgusting it felt to have the uniform on. They would confess to me that their parents were involved in the war, in the military, and often they would just say to me, thank you for letting me resolve my secrets by playing [00:22:00] in your movie.”

[00:22:01] Schindler’s List was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven, one of which was Best Picture. Steven Spielberg won an Oscar for Best Director. Liam Neeson was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, but Tom Hanks won for his role in Philadelphia. On AFI’S 2007, 100 years, 100 movies, 10th anniversary edition, Schindler’s List ranked number eight.

[00:22:29] Question 10. In the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling interviews Hannibal Lecter in hopes of catching a serial killer by what nickname? The name of that serial killer was Buffalo Bill. Silence of the Lambs was based on a novel by Thomas Harris. Did you know that this wasn’t the first movie to feature Hannibal Lecter?

[00:22:54] The 1986 film Manhunter was based on the novel Red Dragon by [00:23:00] Thomas Harris and it included Hannibal Lecter as well. Actress Jodie foster played Clarice Starling. The director of the film. Jonathan Demme was extremely hesitant to cast her at first. At the 2014 Austin Film Festival, Demme said that he wanted to cast Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan and Laura Dern as the young FBI agent. Eventually the role was offered to Jodie Foster. The director ended up liking Foster so much that they named their production company Strong Heart Productions after Jodie’s sense of character. Anthony Hopkins wasn’t the first person to be offered the Hannibal Lecter role. Sean Connery turned down the role before Anthony Hopkins was offered the part.

[00:23:46] In 1991, Silence of the Lambs was the fifth highest grossing film worldwide. At the 64th Academy Awards, Silence of the Lambs was nominated for seven awards and came home with [00:24:00] five, one of which was for Best Picture. The film won what is known as the Big Five Academy Awards meaning it won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. At the time, this was only the third film in history to accomplish this. The other two films to hold this title are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

[00:24:28] Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown things off in the movie business. This year the 93rd Academy Awards will be held on April 25th, later than in years past. There’s still a lot of talk about how this will happen because when the Academy chose that date, they had hoped that the pandemic would be past us and theaters would be back open and thriving. That just isn’t the case yet. So the question is, what movies will be eligible? There haven’t been that [00:25:00] many movies released to theaters over the past year. In any normal year, with a few exceptions, movies must open in theaters where they need to run for at least a week in both New York and Los Angeles in order to be eligible for the Oscars.

[00:25:16] The theaters in New York have been closed for the past year. Well, due to the closure of theaters during the pandemic, the Academy changed its rules this year. According to an article on Vox.com, “The Academy shifted its rules to allow films that premiered only on streaming services to qualify for Oscar nominations provided they had planned to open in theaters before the pandemic prevented them from doing so.”

[00:25:45] While it doesn’t feel like there were that many new movies in 2020, the Vox article says “At least eight to 10 new films were released in the US every week in 2020.” The last I heard, the Oscars will be [00:26:00] held in person and broadcast from a few different locations. It will be interesting to see how many people actually tune into the show this year. My guess is that the viewership numbers will plummet compared to years past.

[00:26:15] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. You can find Trivia Rewind on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. All the links mentioned in this show can be found at triviarewind.com. Please subscribe and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening and I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind [00:27:00] .

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