It’s that time of year again. Oscar season is in full swing, and cinephiles everywhere are enthusiastically discussing the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards.
Following another outstanding year of cinema, it was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 1917 and The Irishman that stood out as some of the biggest contenders, each earning 10 nominations, with Marriage Story, South Korean thriller Parasite and Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit all earning six.
However, the greatest success story this year is undoubtedly Todd Philips’ Joker, which has nabbed 11 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix) to become the most nominated comic book movie of all time.
With its 11 nods, Joker has overshadowed the competition and practically taken over this year’s Academy Awards, although it remains to be seen how many of those nominations will be converted into wins.
While we await the results on the 9th of February, here are seven other films that dominated their respective awards ceremonies…
1. All About Eve (1950)
The 23rd Academy Awards in 1951 was all about All About Eve. This cherished classic from the golden age of Hollywood stars Bette Davis as accomplished Broadway star Margo Channing. Her life is put into a spin when she meets her adoring fan Eve (Anne Baxter), who slowly inveigles her way into Margo’s inner circle.
One of the first films selected for preservation in Congress’ National Film Registry, it swept the Oscars, totting up six wins including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders), and Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) out of 14 nominations. It’s also the only film in history to receive nominations for all four of its principal female actors (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress).
2. Ben-Hur (1959)
A landmark film in cinema history, Ben-Hur was the most expensive, grand and ambitious movie of its time. With a runtime exceeding three and a half hours, this cinematic epic chronicles the titular character’s (Charlton Heston) journey to freedom after he’s betrayed and sent into slavery. The film's stupendously staged chariot race is still impressive to this day.
At the Academy Awards in 1960, all the effort paid off, with the ambitious movie taking home 11 of its 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor (Heston) and Best Music (Miklós Rózsa). However, it missed out on winning Best Adapted Screenplay to Room at the Top. Not even Ben-Hur can win them all.
3. West Side Story (1961)
Two years after Ben-Hur, Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise’s West Side Story came singing and dancing into the spotlight, winning 10 Oscars out of 11 nominations. It currently holds the record for the most Oscar wins for a musical.
Adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical, itself inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story takes us to 1957 Manhattan where street gangs the Jets and the Sharks are locked in rivalry. Tensions rise even higher when Tony (Richard Beymer), a Jet, falls head-over-heels for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks’ leader.
The film earned Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars. But can Steven Spielberg’s 2020 remake make as big an impression on next year’s awards season?
4. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II stands as one of the greatest sequels ever made. It’s a continuation of the first film’s grandiose and emotional mobster saga, interweaving two parallel narratives to spellbinding effect.
In the present day, the ruthless Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) asserts his criminal grip, while flashbacks introduce us to his younger father, Vito (Robert De Niro), as he arrives in New York and establishes what will become known as the Corleone crime family.
The movie took home six Oscars, beating the first film’s three wins. This included Best Picture (the first sequel to do so), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (shared by Coppola and original Godfather author Mario Puzo), and Best Supporting Actor (De Niro).
5. Titanic (1997)
James Cameron’s colossal Titanic recaps the tragic, ocean-going love story between young, wealthy aristocrat Rose (Kate Winslet) and poor artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), their romance set against the backdrop of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Cameron’s spectacular blockbuster reigned supreme at the box office as the highest-grossing film of all time for over a decade until it was beaten by Cameron’s own Avatar (which has now been toppled by Avengers: Endgame).
Although neither Winslet or DiCaprio took home the gold (DiCaprio wasn’t even nominated), Titanic did win 11 of its 14 nominations, including Best Picture. When receiving the Best Director Oscar, Cameron quipped: “So does this prove that size really does matter?”
6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The third and final entry in Peter Jackson’s monumental adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King proved to be the most successful of the trilogy.
Whereas The Two Towers earned two Oscars, and The Fellowship of the Ring took home three, Return of the King blew them all away with a magnificent 11 wins from 11 nominations, subsequently becoming the biggest clean sweep of wins in the history of the Oscars.
The total amount of awards taken home by Return of the King was equalled only by the earlier Ben-Hur. With Joker also up for 11 awards, will it be able to repeat the feat and become the third film to earn 11 Oscars?
7. La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle’s musical spectacular La La Land is now forever associated with that notorious Oscars blunder, in which the Best Picture Oscar actually went to director Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. However, Oscars ineptitude shouldn’t overshadow just how wonderful this colourful love letter to Hollywood really is.
Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as love-struck Tinseltown dreamers, La La Land nabbed six Oscars, including Best Director and Best Music for Justin Hurwitz, and earned Stone her first Oscar out of a sizeable 14 nominations. What a lovely night, indeed.
Will Joker dominate the 92nd Academy Awards on the 9th of February? Let us know your thoughts @Cineworld. And don't forget to check out our Oscars video on this year's essential front runners.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow him on Twitter.