Steven Spielberg Tom Hanks

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Click on one of these decades to read about the major stars and movies of the time:

Intro | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Films are listed as winners in the year the ceremony was held

British cinema had a productive decade - nine films received best film nominations in seven years, among them The Full Monty, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Secrets and Lies and The Crying Game.

In 1999, Shakespeare in Love won best picture, beating the favourite Saving Private Ryan.

Although there have been many upsets in Oscar history, many commentators felt the aggressive film studio lobbying for Shakespeare in Love marked a new low in the competition for trophies. Aggressive lobbying has since become the rule rather than the exception.

Kevin Costner revitalised the Western genre when his 1991 film Dances with Wolves won the best picture Oscar. Remarkably, despite the popularity of the genre, it was only the second western ever to win the best picture award. Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven later became the third Western to win in 1992.

Martin Scorsese was further overlooked in the 1990s. The director of Goodfellas lost out to Kevin Costner.

The most successful director of all time, at least financially, Steven Spielberg was finally honoured by the Academy in 1994 for a best director award for his film Schindler's List.

The film had 12 nominations and seven wins and altered the view of many people that Spielberg was only able to make populist, adventure movies.

Tom Hanks established himself as the Spencer Tracy of his generation. He won two Oscars in the decade - back to back in 1994 and 1995 for roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.

In 1997 independent movies in the US came of age when for the first time not one major Hollywood studio had a film nominated for best picture. Anthony Minghella's The English Patient reigned supreme but Hollywood had the last laugh.

The following year Titanic, almost the ultimate Hollywood film, swept all before it. The film won 11 out of its 14 nominations, matching Ben Hur and also cleaning up at the box office.

Historical epics were still favoured by the Academy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart won best film and best director in 1996.


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