The new century was the era when computer generated imagery (CGI) finally came of age. It gave studios the confidence to return to the major epic, such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and one of the decade's first big winners, Roman epic Gladiator.
The decade began with the emergence of a new talent. British theatre director Sam Mendes transferred successfully to film, winning the best director Oscar for American Beauty.
Ridley Scott evoked memories of Ben Hur when Gladiator took the main honours at the 2001 ceremony. The film received 12 nominations and won five awards, including best picture and best actor, for Russell Crowe.
Scott himself lost out on the best director Oscar to Steven Soderbergh, who won for Traffic.
In 2002 Halle Berry made history by becoming the first black woman to win a best actress Oscar. At the same ceremony Denzel Washington became only the second black man to win a best actor trophy.
The acting awards almost overshadowed the big wins for Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind.
Chicago proved the musical was back in fashion in 2003 when it won six Oscars.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a blockbuster at the box office, but the Academy Awards waited until the final film to lavish honours upon it.
The Return of the King took 11 out of 11 possible awards in 2004, including best picture and director for Peter Jackson.
Clint Eastwood stole the show in 2005 with boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, which won him best film and best director. Two of its stars, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, won acting honours, although Jamie Foxx was voted best actor for Ray.
The following year provided a shock when the best picture award went to Crash, while Ang Lee won best director for Brokeback Mountain. Philip Seymour Hoffman collected best actor for Capote, while Reese Witherspoon's turn in Walk the Line won her the top actress honour.
US mob drama The Departed won four Oscars in 2007, including best film and best director for Martin Scorsese. The veteran director had missed out on the Academy Award on five previous occasions.
It was also the year Dame Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker were crowned king and queen of Hollywood, when Dame Helen collected the best actress Oscar for her regal role in The Queen, and Whitaker was honoured for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.