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Which Movie Won the Best Picture Oscar the Year You Were Born?

Jake Rossen
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
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Some people like to keep their first pair of baby shoes to commemorate their birth. But a real movie buff is probably more interested in which movie scored the Oscar for Best Picture when they finally dropped in on the planet. Take a look at which film received the Academy's biggest prize the year you were born. (While the prizes may have been handed out the following year, the date represents the film’s year of release.)

You can also check out the most popular movie the year you arrived.

The 1950s

Charlton Heston in 'Ben-Hur' is pictured
Charlton Heston in 'Ben-Hur.' / Umberto Cicconi/GettyImages

1950: All About Eve

The scathing drama about an actress (Bette Davis) whose young assistant threatens to topple her career scored a record 14 Oscar nominations, a feat matched only by 1997’s Titanic and 2016's La La Land.

1951: An American in Paris

Gene Kelly tapped into the hearts of moviegoers with this tale of a GI who lands in Paris to pursue an art career. Screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner had to put the finishing touches on the screenplay in a 12-hour marathon session the night before his wedding.

1952: The Greatest Show on Earth

This star-studded big top drama featuring Charlton Heston and Jimmy Stewart was also the year’s highest-grossing film. Director Cecil B. DeMille insisted that many of the actors learn some of the circus talents they were portraying, which meant Betty Hutton had to get on a trapeze.

1953: From Here to Eternity

This World War II drama about soldiers stationed in Hawaii just before the attack on Pearl Harbor is notable for being a comeback vehicle for Frank Sinatra, whose film career needed a boost.

1954: On the Waterfront

The mercurial Marlon Brando stars in Elia Kazan’s drama about the politics of the longshoremen’s trade. Brando was reportedly so disappointed in his own performance that he left the screening room. (He won an Oscar.)

1955: Marty

This charming character study starring Ernest Borgnine won over audiences and critics alike. At a lean 91 minutes, it’s one of the shortest Best Picture winners in history.

1956: Around the World in 80 Days

David Niven stars as Phileas Fogg, who wagers he can circumnavigate the world in, yes, 80 days. The film beat out The Ten Commandments for Best Picture.

1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai

David Lean’s epic about British POWs with a rebellious streak forced to construct a bridge earned seven Oscars total.

1958: Gigi

This Paris-set musical comedy starring Leslie Caron was originally offered to Audrey Hepburn.

1959: Ben-Hur

The grand Hollywood Biblical epic starring Charlton Heston cost a staggering $15 million in 1959 (or $146 million today) and enlisted as many as 8000 extras at a time.

The 1960s

A publicity still from 'West Side Story' is pictured
Rivals face off in 'West Side Story.' / United Archives/GettyImages

1960: The Apartment

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star in this Billy Wilder comedy about a lower-level executive who opens Pandora’s box when he allows his superiors to use his place for extramarital recreational purposes. The movie, which opened in New York the same week as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, was a hit, though it was sometimes derided for its salacious exploration of adultery.

1961: West Side Story

Jets, Sharks, and star-crossed lovers made this adaptation of the musical a beloved favorite, earning 10 Oscars that year.

1962: Lawrence of Arabia

Another David Lean epic (as if there could be any other kind) stars Peter O’Toole as the soul-searching T.E. Lawrence, navigating a panoramic World War I. O’Toole said he got a bit drunk for a scene involving a cavalry charge while riding a camel.

1963: Tom Jones

Albert Finney is the title character in this British comedy about an 18th century playboy. Finney traded his producing credit for profit participation, which paid off when the movie became a commercial hit.

1964: My Fair Lady

Audrey Hepburn stars in this adaptation of the hit musical, though her voice was dubbed for the singing portions (Marni Nixon is the voice you hear).

1965: The Sound of Music

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer appear in one of the most beloved movie musicals of all time, but it was no walk in the park. For the opening scene in which Andrews prances on a hill, the draft from the helicopter filming her kept knocking her over.

1966: A Man for All Seasons

The final years of Sir Thomas More made for a lauded film based on the Robert Bolt play. Bolt also wrote the screenplay.

1967: In the Heat of the Night

Racial tensions boil over in this tale of a cop (Sidney Poitier) forced to work with a close-minded colleague (Rod Steiger) to solve a murder in small-town Mississippi. Poitier later reprised the role of Virgil Tibbs for two sequels.

1968: Oliver!

Charles Dickens gets the musical treatment as little Oliver navigates Fagin’s crime school for boys. The film scored a total of 11 nominations.

1969: Midnight Cowboy

This dark tale of two street hustlers (Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman) became the first (and only) X-rated movie to win Best Picture.

The 1970s

A publicity still from 'The Godfather' is pictured
'The Godfather' films were a touchstone of '70s cinema. / United Archives/GettyImages

1970: Patton

George C. Scott commands the screen in this tale of General George S. Patton. Scott, however, declined to appear in person for the ceremony, asserting that he disliked the idea of an actors being in competition with one another.

1971: The French Connection

Gene Hackman is Popeye Doyle, a rough-hewn cop on the trail of a major drug smuggling operation. The film was based on the nonfiction book of the same name; the famous car chase sequence was shot without permits.

1972: The Godfather

Brando and Al Pacino star in Francis Ford Coppola’s classic adaptation of the Mario Puzo novel. The cat Brando strokes in some scenes was actually a stray who had wandered onto the set and took a liking to the star.

1973: The Sting

Paul Newman and Robert Redford re-teamed after 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for this con comedy about two 1930s grifters. Thanks to the film’s success, the ragtime music featured wound up on the Billboard charts.

1974: The Godfather Part II

Pacino and Coppola returned for another chapter in the Corleone saga, this time with Robert De Niro as a young Don Vito. Coppola actually suggested Martin Scorsese direct the film, but Paramount wanted Coppola.

1975: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Jack Nicholson navigates life in a 1960s psychiatric hospital while tormented by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). Kirk Douglas had previously played R.P. McMurphy, Nicholson’s role, on stage and wanted to turn the Ken Kesey novel into a film, but never managed to get it off the ground, His son, Michael, ended up producing it.

1976: Rocky

Sylvester Stallone knocked out the competition with this underdog story of a street-smart boxer who finds himself matched up with heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). The famous scene where Rocky and Adrian (Talia Shire) get to know one another in an empty ice rink was done out of necessity: The production couldn’t afford to pay any extras.

1977: Annie Hall

Woody Allen romances Diane Keaton in this comedy. Allen originally had a subplot about the two witnessing and then investigating a murder, which he excised and later reworked for 1993’s Manhattan Murder Mystery.

1978: The Deer Hunter

De Niro continues his run of ‘70s classics with this sobering story of Vietnam veterans who struggle both on and off the field of combat. While the scenes of De Niro and Christopher Walken playing Russian Roulette with guns are what people often remember about the film, there don’t appear to be any records of such an activity occurring during the war.

1979: Kramer vs. Kramer

Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep get involved in a domestic drama when their divorce leads to consequences over how best to parent their young son. The Streep part was first offered to Kate Jackson of Charlie’s Angels fame, but Jackson couldn’t take time off from the series.

The 1980s

Ben Kingsley is pictured with an Academy Award
Ben Kingsley with his Oscar for 'Gandhi.' / George Rose/GettyImages

1980: Ordinary People

Robert Redford directs this drama about a fractured family dynamic following the death of the clan’s oldest son in a sailing accident. To help young actor Timothy Hutton feel as isolated as his character—the younger brother of the deceased—Redford told the cast and crew to avoid speaking to him.

1981: Chariots of Fire

This British sports drama, which is centered on the 1924 Olympics, is best known for its haunting theme by Greek composer Vangelis. Producer David Puttnam (who is also a former member of the House of Lords) got the idea for the movie after seeing a book about the Olympics while staying in a rented house.

1982: Gandhi

Ben Kingsley disappears into the role of pacifist Mahatma Gandhi in this celebrated biopic. Kingsley’s father actually came from the same region in India as Gandhi.

1983: Terms of Endearment

Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger star as a mother-daughter duo in James L. Brooks’s portrait of a generational squabble. Burt Reynolds was originally cast in the part of astronaut Garrett Breedlove. When he dropped out, the role went to Jack Nicholson, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the part.

1984: Amadeus

The musical rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri was originally a play, one version of which starred Mark Hamill as Mozart. While he wanted the feature film role, director Miloš Forman thought the actor was too closely associated with Luke Skywalker to pull it off. Mel Gibson and even Mick Jagger auditioned for the role before it went to Tom Hulce, who earned a Best Actor nomination for the part—but ultimately lost to F. Murray Abraham, who played his on-screen rival.

1985: Out of Africa

Robert Redford and Meryl Streep find romance in early 20th century Africa. Though Redford and Streep got along offscreen, Streep appeared to be somewhat peeved when Redford arrived for their first meeting one hour and 15 minutes late.

1986: Platoon

Oliver Stone’s potent snapshot of Vietnam (in which he served) won accolades. Eventual star Charlie Sheen auditioned for Stone years earlier, but Stone preferred Sheen’s brother, Emilio Estevez, for the part. When the director finally got the green light, he found Sheen had grown into the role and cast him instead. Winning!

1987: The Last Emperor

Bernardo Bertolucci directs this epic about Puyi, first emperor of China. The film was later converted to 3D for a re-release screening at Cannes in 2013.

1988: Rain Man

Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise made for one of the few buddy pictures to earn Best Picture gold. When the film was shown on airplanes, airlines cut scene of Raymond Babbitt (Hoffman) fretting about crash statistics.

1989: Driving Miss Daisy

Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy are the driver and passenger, respectively, in this look at class and racial disparity in mid-century Georgia. Freeman had played the chauffeur role in the Alfred Uhry stage play on which the movie was based.

The 1990s

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are pictured
Steven Spielberg winning for 'Schindler's List.' / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

1990: Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner’s epic about a Civil War lieutenant who falls in with a tribe of Sioux people was an Oscar darling. When the movie ran $3 million over its allotted $15 million budget, Costner paid for the overruns out of his own pocket. It was worth it: The film netted a total seven Oscars, including a Best Director statuette for Costner.

1991: The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins made for one of the all-time best screen villains as Hannibal Lecter in this celebrated adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel. Gene Hackman was originally going to direct and star, but ultimately opted against it.

1992: Unforgiven

Clint Eastwood summed up his own long career in the Western genre with this tale of an aging gunslinger. Eastwood had been thinking of doing the movie for years but wanted to wait until he was old enough for the role.

1993: Schindler’s List

The true story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi party member who spared more than 1000 Jewish people from certain death by employing them, was turned into an unforgettable movie by Steven Spielberg. The director deferred his salary so it could be used to found and support the USC Shoah Foundation, which is devoted to preserving the memories of Holocaust survivors.

1994: Forrest Gump

This Tom Hanks fairy tale about a simple man who finds himself embroidered into 20th century history was a critical and commercial success. It earned Hanks his second Oscar in a row, after a win for 1993’s Philadelphia.

1995: Braveheart

Mel Gibson directs and stars in this epic about Scottish hero William Wallace. Some genuine members of the Wallace clan appear as extras.

1996: The English Patient

Famously derided on an episode of Seinfeld for being an arthouse bore, The English Patient nonetheless scored the Best Picture Oscar. The Michael Ondaatje novel might also be adapted as a BBC miniseries in the future.

1997: Titanic

James Cameron’s sensational depiction of the famous disaster scooped up both money and Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio’s “I’m king of the world!” line was improvised—and later repeated by Cameron when he accepted his trophy.

1998: Shakespeare in Love

Following William Shakespeare’s attempts to overcome writer’s block and finish Romeo and Juliet, this film was an awards favorite. Its win, however, was considered a major upset over the odds-on favorite, Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.

1999: American Beauty

Kevin Spacey’s turn as a suburban father in a midlife crisis headlines this darkly comic drama, which won a total of five Oscars. Director Sam Mendes actually storyboarded the entire film before shooting.

The 2000s

Russell Crowe is pictured onscreen in 'Gladiator'
'Gladiator' was a Hollywood throwback. / Elisabetta A. Villa/GettyImages

2000: Gladiator

Are you not entertained? Oscar voters were. This Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe sword-and-sandals epic was a throwback to classic Hollywood epics—with CGI tigers—but it wasn’t easy: Scott started with just 32 pages of completed script.

2001: A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe scored another notch on his belt for his portrayal of troubled Nobel Prize-winning math genius John Nash. Tom Cruise was reportedly circling the role before Crowe got involved.

2002: Chicago

Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Renée Zellweger appear in this adaptation of the 1975 Bob Fosse stage musical that depicts a charming band of criminal minds in 1920s Chicago. Britney Spears toyed with appearing in a small role, but it didn’t materialize.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Peter Jackson won some celebratory gold for the final film in his The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson originally conceived the final Frodo and Gollum confrontation with Frodo killing the creature, but cooler heads prevailed.

2004: Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood scored another trip to the Oscar podium with this drama about a determined female boxer (Hilary Swank) who finds almost unimaginable consequences while pursuing her goals; Eastwood is her crusty trainer and friend. Screenwriter Paul Haggis got his start writing for Scooby-Doo and other cartoons.

2005: Crash

This divisive ensemble film about racial tensions in Los Angeles was another win for Million Dollar Baby's Haggis. This time, however, he both co-wrote and directed the Best Picture winner. The drama was a tough sell in Hollywood but managed to get off the ground in part due to Brendan Fraser, who agreed to appear in the film and whose marquee value at the time, because of his starring role in The Mummy franchise, helped Crash get a greenlight.

2006: The Departed

Martin Scorsese’s remake of 2002’s Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs drew an impressive cast including Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jack Nicholson. Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan both said they didn’t watch the original before starting production on their version.

2007: No Country for Old Men

The Coen Brothers direct this crime thriller about a man (Josh Brolin) who comes upon a stash of money and the sociopath (Javier Bardem) who wants to retrieve it. Brolin actually broke his shoulder in a motorcycle accident prior to shooting. Having fought for the part, he tried to downplay the injury, which was made easier by his character’s own shoulder wound.

2008: Slumdog Millionaire

This charming Danny Boyle film about a young man (Dev Patel) who wins a game show in India was an audience favorite. The  movie nearly slid under the radar when Warner Bros. briefly considered releasing it direct-to-video.

2009: The Hurt Locker

Jeremy Renner first rose to national attention with this drama about American bomb squad officers in war-torn Iraq. Director Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director.

The 2010s

Guillermo del Toro is pictured
Guillermo del Toro holds up his Oscar for 'The Shape of Water.' / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

2010: The King’s Speech

Colin Firth is King George VI, who needs to overcome a speech impediment in order to make a crucial public address. He takes lessons from Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), bonding with his teacher in the process. Screenwriter David Seidler was himself a stutterer, owing to his wartime experiences and subsequent stress as a child. He was able to procure notes from the real Logue on his treatment of the royal patient.

2011: The Artist

A nearly-silent black and white homage to the classic films of the pre-talkies era got a warm Oscar reception. Because no dialogue needed to be recorded, the crew could actually talk during shooting. That came in handy when the trainer for Uggy, the Jack Russell Terrier, needed to bark commands at his furry performer.

2012: Argo

Ben Affleck continued his career resurrection with this true story about a CIA plot to pose as a movie production in order to free hostages being held in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1980. The CIA didn’t admit its role in the rescue until 1997.

2013: 12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup’s account of being a slave in 1840s Louisiana was turned into this Best Picture winner starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. Northup’s story was previously filmed for a 1984 PBS American Playhouse presentation with Avery Brooks in the leading role.

2014: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton sends up his Batman credentials in this irreverent movie about an actor trying to distance himself from a superhero past. And no, in case you were wondering, director Alejandro González Iñárritu is not a fan of the superhero genre.

2015: Spotlight

A sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood is the focus of this true-life tale about a group of dogged Boston Globe reporters searching for the truth. The real investigative team earned a Pulitzer Prize for their work.

2016: Moonlight

Director Barry Jenkins made a lot of history with his celebrated Moonlight, which became the lowest-budgeted movie to win a Best Picture Oscar. (It cost just $1.5 million to make, less than the $2.2 million it would have cost to place an advertisement during the Oscars broadcast.) Star Mahershala Ali was also the first Muslim actor to earn a trophy.

2017: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro turned his fishy tale of a woman who falls for a humanoid sea creature into an Oscar winner. Doug Jones, who played the amphibious individual, said he studied dogs to pick up their nonverbal body language cues.

2018: Green Book

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali co-star in this true story about pianist Don Shirley in the 1960s South, who is escorted to gigs by the rough-hewn Frank Vallelonga. The real Vallelonga later became an actor, appearing in Goodfellas and The Sopranos; his son Nick wrote the film’s screenplay.

2019: Parasite

Director Bong Joo Ho’s film about a working class South Korean family that infiltrates the home of a wealthy clan became the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

The 2020s

Chloé Zhao is pictured
Chloé Zhao made Oscar history. / Handout/GettyImages

2020: Nomadland

Chloé Zhao’s depiction of a roving band of transient workers struck a chord with audiences and Oscar voters, the latter of whom made her the first Asian woman—and only the second woman, period—to take home a Best Director trophy.

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