Friday, March 4, 2011

Oscar's Best Picture "Lasts"

In my previous post, I wrote about Ocar’s Best Picture Firsts. Now that the Academy Awards have come and gone and the Oscar went to 2011’s Best Picture – yes, the “King’s Speech,” Raining Acorns thought it would be a good idea to follow that post with a list of “lasts” in the same vein. Lest we forget, these are the things that we won’t be seeing again when the Best Picture is awarded in the future:

The first film appearing on my list of Best Picture "firsts" also happens to be the first one here. “Wings”, in 1927, was the first, last and only silent movie to win Best Picture.

When “The Great Ziegfield” won in 1936, it was the last time that all of the Best Picture nominees were filmed in black and white.

The last year that the Academy Awards ceremony was held in a hotel was when the Oscar for Best Picture was presented to “Casablanca” in 1943 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

In 1946, Best Picture winner “The Best Years of Our Lives” was the last (and only) competitive Oscar that producer Samuel Goldwyn would ever win.

“All About Eve” was the last film for which the Academy gave the Best Picture Academy Award to the studio which produced the film. That Oscar went to MGM, in 1951.

The last time a foreign language film was awarded an Oscar as a special achievement Honorary Award was in 1955: the Japanese film “Jigokumon.” The Best Foreign Language Film category was introduced the following year.

The last entirely black and white film to win the Best Picture Oscar was “The Apartment,” in 1960 (although 1993’s winner, “Schindlers List” was filmed almost entirely in black and white.)

John Wayne appeared at the Oscars for the last time in 1979, when he presented the Academy Award for Best Picture to “The Deer Hunter.” He died later that year.

The last film to win for Best Original Musical was “Purple Rain” in 1984. Though not officially retired, this particular award category has not been used since, due to “continuous insufficient eligibility.”

The last (and only) hand-drawn full feature animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture before the Academy added a Best Animated Feature Film category (in 2001) was “Beauty and the Beast,” in 1991.

The last year that there were 5 Best Picture nominees was in 2008 when “Slumdog Millionaire” took the top prize. In 2009, the Academy returned to featuring 10 Best Picture nominees.

Curiously, this year was the first time that a well-worn curse word was used in an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards - hopefully it will be the last time that censors find it necessary to remove that same word from a pivotal scene in a movie, in order to grant a PG-13 rating - in this case, 2011’s Best Picture “The King’s Speech.”


  1. I must admit that at first I wondered what a piece about Oscar's "lasts" would contain? But this is very entertaining - thank you!

    Kudos for finding an uncensored clip of Melissa Leo's speech. I can't believe 2011 was the first year the f-bomb was unleashed at the oscars!

  2. So many interesting "factoids" here--in its own way, offering signposts to changing times. Particularly poignant, for me, was to be reminded of hand-drawn animation. Is this a lost art, I wonder, or does it flourish in some odd little corner of the world? This reminds me of the years when I represented writers and graphic artists working at CBS. The graphic artists, at that time, were all highly accomplished illustrators who, in short order, lost out completely to outside digital graphic firms. So, even the Oscars provide vivid evidence of technology and its dislocations. The Machine in the Garden at work once again.

  3. You ARE having fun.
    Did you remind yourself of the films themselves as well? I really must go to the cinema more often, I usually wait for the films to be shown on TV. Even going to the pictures is an effort here, unless I go to 'flicks in the sticks' in the village hall, where they have an intermission with an ice cream or a cup of tea while the DVD man does something to his projector.

  4. What a highly informative posting and I thank you for sharing all these interesting 'lasts'. And I know that your superb posts have a lasting effect on me.
    Of course, when it comes to a certain swear word, it came as a surprise to me, that on network television, here in Britain, after 9:00 P.M., it is not usual to here someone state the 'F' word.
    May you have a most enjoyable weekend and thanks again for this excellent posting.
    With respect, Gary :-)

  5. I loved all these facts, fascinating!

  6. Dear Carol-Ann,
    I'm absolutely sure that I have written a comment - sometimes strange things happen in blog-land (on my own website I have a complicated way to leave a comment, because the letters are so difficult to decipher - and the website managers are not able to change that). From now on I will make a copy - just in case - so I don't have to write long remarks again :-) But this time I will not repeat, but only say: I loved your post!


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