The Oscars were first televised in 1953. Ever since, they have been the preeminent award show in film. However, Hollywood doesn't nail it every year, and some Oscar years are simply better than others when it comes to overall quality of content. Which years were best for the Academy Awards was the best? Film buffs often squabble about which movies really deserved the treasured Oscar statue. Time affords cinema fans the opportunity to look back on all of the Academy’s decisions to see which films remain a relevant part of cinema history - as well as which years simply fielded the strongest groups of nominees.
The most memorable Oscars feature heavyweight battles between great films and breathtaking performances. All About Eve versus Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown versus The Godfather II, and Robert DeNiro versus Jack Nicholson are just a few of the big moments. Some years were rife with major Oscar snubs while in other years the nominations were on the mark. What was the best year for the Oscars? Vote up the years below that had the strongest groups of nominees and vote down the years where the Academy was really stretching.
The Godfather II (Best Picture)
Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather II, Best Director)
Robert De Niro (The Godfather II, Best Supporting Actor)
Robert Towne (Chinatown, Best Original Screenplay)
Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Best Actress)
Chinatown (Best Picture)
Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Best Director)
Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, Best Actor)
Dustin Hoffman (Lenny, Best Actor)
Al Pacino (The Godfather II, Best Actor)
Art Carney took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Harry Coombes in Harry and Tonto. Carney somehow beat out multiple historic acting performances, including Dustin Hoffman in Lenny, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, and Al Pacino in The Godfather II.
This was the only time in the history of the Academy Awards that different people won Oscars for playing the same role. Robert De Niro won for playing a young Vito Corleone in The Godfather II. Marlon Brando took home an Oscar for playing the same role in The Godfather two years earlier.
Forrest Gump (Best Picture)
Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Best Actor)
Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Best Director)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Best Original Screenplay)
Pulp Fiction (Best Picture)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Best Director)
The Shawshank Redemption (Best Picture)
The ceremony was packed with Best Picture selections that could have won the Oscar in any other year. Pulp Fiction became a seminal movie that sparked the independent film movement of the 1990s. The Shawshank Redemption is often cited as one of the best movies ever made, enjoying a top three spot on Ranker's best movies of all time list.
All About Eve (Best Picture)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Best Director)
Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday, Best Actress)
José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac, Best Actor)
Sunset Boulevard (Best Picture)
Born Yesterday (Best Picture)
Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, Best Director)
Bette Davis (All About Eve, Best Actress)
John Huston (Blackboard Jungle, Best Director)
Carol Reed (The Third Man, Best Director)
George Cukor (Born Yesterday, Best Director)
Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard, Best Actress)
There may not have been a better race for Best Actress than the one at the 23rd Academy Awards, and somehow Judy Holliday beat out Bette Davis - one of the most acclaimed Hollywood actresses of the day.
Braveheart (Best Picture)
Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Best Director)
Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Best Actor)
Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, Best Supporting Actor)
Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking, Best Actress)
Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite, Best Supporting Actress)
Elizabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Best Actress)
Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, Best Supporting Actor)
Apollo 13 (Best Picture)
Mel Gibson's uber-violent Braveheart took home five Academy Awards and had a total of ten nominations.
Kevin Spacey opened up his acceptance speech with the memorable line, "Well, whoever Keyser Soze is I can tell you he is going to get gloriously drunk tonight."