Academy Award Winners That Defined a Decade

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Academy Award Winners; Films That Defined a Decade

The Academy Awards are one of the most distinguished awards ceremonies in the world, having taken place since 1929. Many of the films that have won Best Picture Oscars have become iconic, cultural milestones and helped to define their respective decades. This article will list some of the most significant Oscar-winning films that became synonymous with their decade.

1930’s: All Quiet on the Western Front

Released in 1930, All Quiet on the Western Front was not just the Academy Award winning Best Picture of the 1930’s, it was a landmark movie that challenged war movies that preceded it. It tells the story of World War I from the perspective of German soldiers and is particularly remembered for its harsh and realistic depiction of war and the human consequences of it. Its Oscar win proved to be revolutionary for the war genre and All Quiet on the Western Front had a tremendous influence on future films in this genre.

1940’s: Rebecca

The 1940’s Best Picture award went to the British-American classic, Rebecca. In this iconic film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, a young woman comes to live in an intimidating estate with her domineering husband. Rebecca is remembered for its moody atmosphere and its characters with hidden secrets. The film has been praised for its classic Gothic romanticism and has become associated with the 1940’s.

1950’s: The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth is the 1950’s Best Picture winner. It is an epic action movie centered around the trials and tribulations of circus performers. The movie is most remembered for its action-packed sequences and its star cast featuring actors such as Betty Hutton, Gloria Grahame, Cornel Wilde, and Charlton Heston, among others. The Greatest Show on Earth had a huge financial success, and revitalized the circus genres.

1960’s: West Side Story

The 1960’s Best Picture winner was the beloved, musically-charged classic, West Side Story. The film, which is a contemporary adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, tells the story of two rival gangs in New York, a contemporary urban setting. It was praised for its dance sequences and impressive soundtrack which included some of the Broadway’s most iconic tunes, such as “Maria” and “America”. West Side Story stands as a testament to the power of the modern musical, and has become a timeless classic.

1970’s: The Godfather

The sensational crime saga The Godfather took home the Best Picture Oscar of the 1970’s. It tells the story of a fictional crime family, the Corleones, and chronicles the gradual rise and fall of the Don. The Godfather revolutionized the crime genre and, apart from its Academy award, it won three more Oscars, including Best Actor for Marlon Brando, who immortalized the character Don Vito Corleone.

1980’s: Chariots of Fire

The British drama Chariots of Fire grabbed the Best Picture Oscar in the 1980’s. This uplifting movie tells the true story of two athletes who compete against each other in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Chariots of Fire won four Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Score. The iconic theme song became so popular that it was chosen by Queen Elizabeth II during the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony.

1990’s: Titanic

The epic romance and drama Titanic ended up winning the Best Picture of the 1990’s. The movie portrays the fictional love story of Jack and Rose, passengers on the ill-fated cruise liner. Despite its huge budget and long running time, Titanic shattered box office records and won eleven Oscars. It also secured its place in 90’s pop culture, with its iconic theme song and catchphrases.

2000’s: The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King dominated the Oscar ceremony in the 2000’s, winning all eleven categories that it was nominated for. This concluding chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is particularly celebrated for its special effects, score, and amazing action set pieces. The movie has since become a timeless classic, and its success solidified it as the defining movie of the 2000’s.

Throughout the decades, the Academy Awards have honored some of the most iconic cinematic experiences ever produced. Many of these movies helped to define the culture of the corresponding decades and achieved a permanent place in the popular culture. As such, these films remain milestones in modern cinema and continue to inspire generations of filmmakers and moviegoers alike.

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