ARTS and SCIENCES
Best Pictures - Facts & Trivia
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Best Pictures Sections
Facts & Trivia (1) | Facts & Trivia (2) | Genre Biases | Winners Chart (part 1) | Winners Chart (part 2)
The 'Best Picture' Academy Award: Facts & Trivia
The Academy Awards®, affectionately known as the Oscars®, have been presented annually since 1927 (the first awards ceremony was held in May 1929) by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
The most outstanding or best picture category is one of the original categories of the awards, although this awards category has been identified with different names over the years: Outstanding Picture, Outstanding Production, Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture, and Best Picture. For the 1927/28 through the 1950 Awards, the nomination and 'Best Picture' Oscar went to the production company or studio that produced the film. [For example, Gone With the Wind's Best Picture Oscar was officially presented to Selznick International Pictures, not to David O. Selznick.] Thereafter, the 'Best Picture' Oscar was given to the producer(s).
For a ranking of the 20th Century's Best Picture Winners By Artistic Merit, from Entertainment Weekly's Special Oscar Guide 2001, click here.
Best Pictures - Facts and Trivia
The First Best Picture Winners:
In the first year of the awards, there were two "Outstanding Picture" winners: Wings for Best Production and Sunrise (1927) for Unique and Artistic Picture (a category that was immediately dropped).
[Three awards were given during the Academy's first year that were never given again: Best Artistic Quality of Production, Best Title Writing (for silent films), and Best Comedy Direction.] Obviously, the only silent film to win 'Best Picture' was Wings (1927/28).
The Top Best Picture Award Winners and Nominated Films:
Two Best Picture winning films, Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) both hold the record for the most nominations (14) earned by a single film. Five Best Picture films are tied for second place with 13 nominations (see below), and eight Best Picture films are tied for third place with 12 nominations (see below).
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Titanic (1997), Ben-Hur (1959) are the three Best Picture winning films with the most Oscars wins (11). (The closest Best Picture winning runner-up for most Oscar wins was West Side Story (1961) with 10 Oscars (out of 11 nominations).)
Titanic's awards included two sound awards and no acting prizes, and its screenplay wasn't even nominated. On the other hand, All About Eve (1950), also with 14 nominations, had one acting Oscar (Best Supporting Actor for George Sanders). And Ben-Hur (1959), with 11 Oscars from 12 nominations, lost only its screenplay nomination, plus it racked up two acting awards (Charlton Heston for Best Actor and Hugh Griffith for Best Supporting Actor) - and there was only one sound category in 1959. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) won Best Adapted Screenplay, but had no acting nominations in its clean-sweep win.
The Big Five: Only three films have won the top five awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay):
Clean Sweeps: Only four Best Picture winners have won every award for which they were nominated (the first was five for five, the next two were nine for nine, and LOTR was 11 for 11; except for the 1934 film, none of the films were nominated for acting awards):
Shut Outs: Two films hold the dubious distinction of being nominated eleven times without a single Oscar win. Other films with 8 or more competitive nominations are also included:
Best Pictures that Failed to Win Any Other Awards: All MGM productions
And Grand Hotel (1931/2) is the only Best Picture winner to receive only one nomination.
There are only eleven films that have won Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination:
Conversely, Best Picture-nominated films that have won the most Oscar awards without winning Best Picture include the following films:
Below are the films that received the most Oscar nominations - without a nomination for Best Picture:
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) holds the record for receiving the most nominations (9) without being nominated for Best Picture. Its sole Oscar win was Best Supporting Actor, for Gig Young. But They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) didn't have the most Oscar nominations in its year of competition. In the same year, Anne of a Thousand Days (1969) had more nominations (10), but it was nominated for Best Picture. Therefore, Dreamgirls (2006) with 8 nominations was the first-time ever in Academy history that the film with the most nominations in its year failed to earn a Best Picture slot.
Crash (2005) marked the first time a film-festival acquisition (after its premiere at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival) won Best Picture.