1993 – Steven Spielberg avoids becoming the next Martin Scorsese (the greatest director to never win an Oscar). Though he was 0-4 in his first four attempts at the best director award, he finally wins for “Schindler’s List.” Spielberg would go on to win the award again in 1999 for “Saving Private Ryan” and is nominated this year for “Munich.”
1995 – Having won the previous year for “Philadelphia,” Tom Hanks becomes the first in history to win back-to-back best actor awards for his title role in “Forrest Gump.” Opting to avoid the sentimental nature of his previous speech, Hanks declared, “I think if I’m nominated for anything next year, there’ll be a wave of suicide jumpers from the third tier of the Chandler Pavilion.” Oddly enough, his acclaimed performance in “Apollo 13” the next year did not garner a nomination.
1997 – Best supporting actor winner Cuba Gooding Jr. goes a little long in his acceptance speech, but screams over the sound of building music, determined to finish thanking everyone.
1997 – The most expensive movie ever made and the highest-grossing film of all time, “Titanic,” tied the record with 14 nominations (Jim Mullen of Entertainment Weekly joked that the film received one nomination for each lifeboat). The James Cameron helmed epic went on to win a record-tying 11 awards.
1999 – An ecstatic Roberto Benigni leaps, jumps and twirls his way onto the stage in perhaps the most authentically exuberant acceptance ever. Benigni became the first actor in a non-English-language role to win the best actor award, and his “Life is Beautiful” was also named best foreign language film.
2004 – Long to be remembered as one of the most successful night for a single film in Oscar history, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” wins every one of the 11 awards for which it is nominated, including best director (Peter Jackson) and best picture.