90 years at the Oscars - we look back at the key moments of each year since 1929
Tonight the world of film will come together to mark nine decades of the Academy Awards. Paul Whitington looks back at some of the key moments of 90 years at the Oscars.
1929 The First Academy Awards ceremony is held in Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel. It’s a private dinner for 270 industry insiders, but there is no suspense involved as the winners had been announced months earlier. Emil Jannings wins the first Best Actor award, and in 1945 will be seen pathetically waving his Oscar at American troops as they invaded his native Germany.
1930 On April 3, 300 guests cram into the Ambassador Hotel’s Coconut Grove to see just seven statuettes presented. It is all over in a flash — if only it was so brief these days.
1930 Because of a scheduling change, a second Oscar ceremony is held in November of 1930, with Lewis Milestone the big winner for his anti-war classic, All Quiet on the Western Front.
1931The first child star to receive a nomination, nine-year-old Jackie Cooper, is so exhausted by the experience that he falls asleep on the shoulder of Best Actress-winner Marie Dressler.
1932The Greta Garbo vehicle Grand Hotel wins Best Picture, while an expanded roster of categories sees the young animator Walt Disney honoured for his Mickey Mouse shorts.
1934 The 6th Academy Awards sees Hollywood newcomer Katherine Hepburn win Best Actress for Morning Glory. She will go on to win three more Best Actress gongs — a record that still stands.
1935 Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night becomes the first film to sweep all of the top-five Oscar categories, which makes up for the embarrassment the Italian-American director suffered the previous year when he bounded to the stage thinking he’d won Best Director, only to be told it was a different Frank — Frank Lloyd. Morto.
1936 In the last year when the public were allowed to vote by post, Bette Davis is the runaway winner of the Best Actress award, for Dangerous.
1937 Known as the ultimate ‘Oscar victim’, Austrian actress Luise Rainer wins the first of two consecutive Best Actress Oscars in 1937, but back-to-back wins created unsustainable expectations and her Hollywood career lasted just three years.
1938 The original version of A Star is Born is the first colour film to be nominated for Best Picture, but the literary biopic Life of Emile Zola wins.
1939 The awards had been broadcast on radio since 1930, but in 1939 a ban was enforced. But that doesn’t stop one intrepid Los Angeles radio reporter from locking himself into a booth and transmitting for a few minutes before he was discovered.
1941 Rebecca wins Best Picture, James Stewart bags Best Actor for The Philadelphia Story and the secret ballot and sealed envelope are finally introduced, after one too many press leaks.
1942 In a bizarre decision, How Green Was My Valley wins Best Picture ahead of Citizen Kane, and when Joan Fontaine wins Best Actress for Suspicion, she revives a family feud by apparently rejecting her sister Olivia de Havilland’s attempts to congratulate her.
1943 At a time when most winners had the good manners to say thank you and scram, Best Actress winner Greer Garson waffles on for six minutes, prompting the Academy to introduce a time limit which has not always been respected.
1944 Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca wins Best Picture and Best Director, and the guests aren’t fed in deference to war-time austerity.
1945 Irish actor Barry Fitzgerald is nominated in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories, for the same role, in Going My Way. He won Best Supporting Actor.
1947 Olivia de Havilland gets her own back on Joan Fontaine when she wins the Best Actress gong for To Each His Own and snubs her sister backstage.
1948 A man who invades the ceremony dressed as a gorilla causes the most interest at the 20th Academy Awards. It was a dull year.
1949 Laurence Olivier wins Best Picture and Best Actor for Hamlet, but the failure to nominate Humphrey Bogart for his fine turn in Treasure of the Sierra Madre is dimly viewed
1950 Olivia de Havilland wins again. Her sister knows better than to try and congratulate her. This was the last year where all five Best Picture nominees were in black and white.
1951 In a high-quality year, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard is pipped in most of the big categories by Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, though Bette Davis is not impressed at losing out to Judy Holliday’s comic turn as a gangster’s moll in Born Yesterday.
1952 Humphrey Bogart finally gets his Oscar, winning Best Actor his his portrayal of a drunken sailor in African Queen.
1953 The first televised Oscars is broadcast from two
locations, with Bob Hope holding down the fort in Hollywood, and Frederic March hosting in New York.
1954 When William Holden wins Best Actor for Stalag 17, he is only allowed to say “thank you” before the TV broadcasters cut him off. He later takes out an ad in the trade papers thanking everyone who’d helped him.
1956 Ernest Borgnine is the surprise winner of the Best Actor award for his portrayal of a middle-aged bachelor oppressed by his mother in Marty, which also wins Best Picture and Director.
1957 When Robert Rich wins Best Story for The Brave One, he isn’t available to receive it. That’s because Rich is a pseudonym for Dalton Trumbo, who’s been blacklisted in the witch-hunts.
1958 The first live TV Academy Awards broadcasts feature lots of hosts, including Bob Hope, David Niven, James Stewart and Jack Lemmon, and lots of Oscars for David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai.
1959 The Academy are finding live TV tricky, and after the producer starts cutting musical routines to make sure the awards don’t run over, they finish too early and host Jerry Lewis is left stranded telling old jokes.
1960 Biblical epic Ben-Hur sweeps the board and wins 11 of the 12 Oscars in which it is nominated, including Best Actor for Charlton Heston, which might sound like a contradiction in terms but there you go.
1961 Elizabeth Taylor apparently hated playing a high-class prostitute in Butterfield 8, and was bullied into doing it by her studio, but it wins her the Best Actress Oscar. Elsewhere, a tearful Jimmy Stewart accepts a lifetime achievement award on behalf of old friend Gary Cooper, who has been diagnosed with cancer and would die just weeks later.
1962West Side Story is the big film this year, as the ceremony drags on over the two-hour mark for the first time and lax security allows a New York taxi driver to mount the stage and present host Bob Hope with a fake Oscar statue.
1963 Lawrence of Arabia wins Best Picture, Gregory Peck wins Best Actor for To Kill a Mockingbird, and security try to stop host Frank Sinatra from entering the building because they don’t like the look of him. I can see their point.
1964There are loud cheers when Sidney Poitier becomes the first black man to win the Best Actor Award, for Lilies of the Field, but not everyone is pleased, and when Anne Bancroft gives him a congratulatory peck on the cheek, southern conservatives are outraged.
1965 Julie Andrews is suddenly a star after she wins Best Actress for her charming performance in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins.
1966 As the Academy Awards are broadcast in colour for the first time, Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music share the major awards.
1967 A TV technicians’ strike is settled at the last minute to allow the Academy Awards broadcast to go ahead, and Liz Taylor wins again for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1968 Katharine Hepburn wins her second Best Actress award for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but doesn’t show up to receive. Her longtime lover Spencer Tracy, who was also nominated, died the previous year.
1969 Katharine Hepburn has to share the Best Actress award with Hello Dolly star Barbra Streisand, who soaks up the limelight in Hepburn’s absence.
1970 While John Wayne finally wins an Oscar, for True Grit, the 42nd Oscars are marred by demonstrations by black musicians upset over orchestra quotas, and Latinos upset about racist portrayals in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
1971 After winning Best Actor for his salty performance in Patton, George C Scott becomes the first artist ever to turn an Oscar down. The Academy Awards, he said, were “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons”. Hard to argue with that logic.
1972French Connection wins Best Picture, Best Director for William Friedkin, and Best Actor for Gene Hackman. And Charlie Chaplin madkes an emotional return to Hollywood to accept a special award.
1974 ‘Tis the age of the streak, and when a man pelts naked across the stage behind David Niven, the suave host makes a joke about the poor fellow’s “shortcomings”.
1975 Francis Ford Coppola wins Best Picture and Best Director for Godfather II, and his father, Carmine, wins the Best Original Score Oscar.
1976 Jack Nicholson, whose Ray Bans and blinding grin will become such a fixture at the Academy Awards, wins his first Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which also won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actress.
1977 Rocky wins Best Picture ahead of Taxi Driver and All the President’s Men. What!?
1978 When Annie Hall wins Best Picture and Best Director, Woody Allen decides to stay in New York and play jazz or something. Which seemed kind of cool at the time.
1979 Now that it’s safe to do so, Hollywood starts having a pop at the Vietnam War. Deer Hunter wins Best Picture and Best Director, and Jon Voight and Jane Fonda win Best Actor and Actress for Coming Home. During her acceptance speech, the artist formerly known as ‘Hanoi Jane’ breaks into sign language. And John Wayne appears to present an award just months before his death.
1980 Meryl Streep, who will become the most-nominated actor of all time (she’s up again this year), wins her first Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer.
1981Robert Redford scoops Best Picture and Best Director for Ordinary People, and Robert De Niro wins Best Actor for Raging Bull, but the awards are postponed for a day following the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.
1982 Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn roll back the years by winning Best Actor and Actress in On Golden Pond. Fonda dies later that year.
1983 Gandhi wins Best Picture, Ben Kingsley wins Best Actor, and Meryl Streep is Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice.
1984 Terms of Endearment is nominated in 11 categories and wins five, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson, and Best Actress for Shirley MacLaine.
1985 Amadeus wins eight Awards, but it’s Sally Field’s mortifying acceptance speech that everyone remembers. She’s won the Best Actress award for the second time with Places in the Heart, and is clearly pretty psyched about it. “The first time I didn’t feel it,” she gushes, “but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”
1986 Nominated in 11 categories, Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa wins seven Oscars, but the story of the night is the baffling shut-out of Steven Spielberg’s Color Purple, which also got 11 nominations but wins nothing.
1987 After seven unsuccessful nominations, Paul Newman finally bags an Oscar for reprising the role of pool sharp Fast Eddie Felson in Martin Scorsese’s Color of Money.
1988 The Last Emperor wins nine Oscars, but Cher steals the show by taking to the stage to receive her Best Actress award for Moonstruck wearing a sheer, webbed dress that leaves nothing to the imagination. She trips over her shawl on the way up and loses an earring, but the singer recovers her poise impressively.
1989 Rain Man is the big winner this year (it hasn’t dated well), but the evening is marred by an ill-advised opening act that includes the ghastly spectacle of Rob Lowe singing ‘Snow White’.
1990 Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture, and Irish fans are thrilled by the success of Jim Sheridan’s Christy Brown biopic My Left Foot, which wins Daniel Day-Lewis his first Best Actor Oscar and Brenda Fricker the Best Supporting Actress award.
1991 Kevin Costner’s sentimental western Dance with Wolves wins Best Picture, Best Director and five other awards.
1993 Al Pacino wins his first Oscar for Scent of a Woman, one of his worst films, while Clint Eastwood’s sombre western Unforgiven wins Best Picture and Director.
1994 Whoopi Goldberg hosts, and Steven Spielberg wins Best Picture and Director for Schindler’s List Incredibly, these are his first Oscars.
1995 Forrest Gump nets six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Tom Hanks.
1996 Braveheart takes Best Picture and Director, Nicholas Cage’s hammy portrayal of a hopeless drunk in Leaving Las Vegas somehow wins him Best Actor, and Kevin Spacey (remember him?) gets Best Supporting actor for Usual Suspects.
1997 Frances McDormand is the Best Actress winner for Fargo, and may triumph again this year. And when Cuba Gooding accepts his Best Supporting Actor gong for Jerry Maguire, he defies the rising orchestra (the traditional hint to wrap up your thank-yous pronto) to shout out the rest of his speech over the music. It doesn’t look good.
1998 Titanic wins 11 Oscars, and two stringy kids from Boston win Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck charm the Academy crowd.
1999 Roberto Benigni is so thrilled by his Best Foreign Language Film win that he climbs over the backs of seats to get to the stage and announces that he would like to make “love to everybody”.
2000 American Beauty is the film to see this year, and wins five Academy Awards including Best Actor for Kevin Spacey, though Annette Bening’s superb portrayal of a long-suffering wife is overlooked.
2001 Gladiator gets Best Picture and Best Actor, for Russell Crowe, while Julia Roberts fails to strike a humble tone when she wins the Best Actress Award for Erin Brockovich.
2002 Denzel Washington becomes only the second black actor to win a Best Actor award for his superb performance in Training Day. And while Halle Berry’s reaction to winning
Best Actress for Monster’s Ball has goes down as one of the most embarrassing speeches in Academy history, she does dedicate her win to “every nameless, faceless woman of colour”.
2004 Peter Jackson’s trilogy-concluding Lord of The Rings: Return of the King wins 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Director.
2005 74-year-old Clint Eastwood becomes the oldest ever winner of the Best Director award, for Million Dollar Baby. “I’m just a kid,” Eastwood says, “I’ve got a lot of stuff to do yet.”
2006 Presenter Jack Nicholson looks shocked when he opens the Best Picture envelope and finds the mediocre and messy Crash has won instead of the hot favourite Brokeback Mountain.
2007 Martin Scorsese’s Departed nabs the two big awards, Forest Whitaker wins Best Actor for Last King of Scotland, Helen Mirren is Best Actress for The Queen.
2008 In a very strong year, the Coen Brothers win Best Picture and Best Director with their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men, Daniel Day-Lewis is Best Actor for There Will be Blood, and Marion Cotillard’s extraordinary portrayal of legendary Parisian torch singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose earns her the Best Actress Oscar.
2009 The most moving moment is when Heath Ledger’s sister Kate accepts his posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Dark Knight, and then goes on to dedicate the award to Ledger’s young daughter, Matilda.
2010 Kathryn Bigelow makes history as the first woman to win the Best Director Award, pipping ex-husband James Cameron’s Avatar to the Best Picture and Director gongs with her nail-biting Iraq drama The Hurt Locker.
2011 Melissa Leo says the F-word on live television when she wins Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter, while Colin Firth threatens to break into a dance when he’s awarded Best Actor for The King’s Speech.
2012 Michel Hazanavicius’s black-and-white silent movie The Artist wins Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
2014 Gravity wins seven Oscars, 12 Years a Slave is Best Picture and Ellen DeGeneres takes the most famous selfie in history, which crashes Twitter after 37 million people have a look.
2015 Birdman wins Best Picture and Best Director but not, somewhat controversially, Best Actor, as Michael Keaton loses out to Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything.
2016 As the #OscarsSoWhite controversy rages, host Chris Rock delivers a hilarious opening monologue. “I’m here at the Academy Awards,” he says, “otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realise if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
2017 In the cock-up of all Oscar cock-ups, Warren Beatty announces La La Land has won Best Picture before realising that the excellent Moonlight is the real winner.