5. From Here to Eternity (13 nominations, 8 wins)
The film that earned Frank Sinatra his Oscar couldn’t be out of this list. Besides the Ol’ Blue Eyes win in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category, the film also took the main prizes of the night: Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Donna Reed) and Best Screenplay (Daniel Taradash), plus three other technical awards.
It’s weird to think that neither Burt Lancaster nor Montgomery Clift, who were competing against each other for Best Actor in a Leading Role, won that year. They were toppled by William Holden’s performance in Stalag 17. Telling the story of an entanglement of romances and fiery sexual desires in 1941 Hawaii, with Pearl Harbor looming in the distance, From Here to Eternity was quality Oscar bait.
4. Gone with the Wind (13 nominations, 8 wins)
Besides the official 13 nominations, 8 wins Gone With the Wind got in the 1940 Oscar, the film was also awarded with two special Oscars, for pioneering technical achievements in the use of color and the coordinated equipment. Another box office phenomenon of its time, the Victor Fleming classic was recognized as the defining piece of cinematic art of its era. Best Picture, Best Director (Fleming) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh) was just the tip of the iceberg.
Gone with the Wind made Oscar history twice more when Hattie McDaniel (Best Actress in a Supporting Role) and Sidney Howard (Best Screenplay) won in their categories. McDaniel was the first African-American person to be nominated and win an Oscar, while Howard was the first person to receive his Academy Award posthumously.
3. La La Land (14 nominations, ? wins)
The most nominated musical of all time, Damien Chazelle’s film won the Academy voters’ hearts with its nostalgic marvel, so much so that it’s expected to swoop the technical categories for which it was nominated. Expect it to win in the Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Production Design and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), at least.
Barring any big surprises on the Academy’s part, the film has the potential to be one of the biggest winners in Oscar history, and for good reason. Chazelle’s film is wondrous, impeccably made and tells a delicious story about the importance of art, in all its artificiality and exaggeration.
2. All About Eve (14 nominations, 6 wins)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s show business noir, All About Eve, shared with Titanic the distinction of being the most nominated film ever, even if it won five less Academy Awards than Cameron’s film. The difference is All About Eve actually got an acting Oscar, for George Sanders as Best Actor in a Supporting Role – he plays theatre critic Addison DeWitt, the only one to see through young ingénue Eve Harrington’s Machiavellian plan to dethrone her rival and “idol”, aging diva Margo Channing.
Anne Baxter (Eve), Thelma Ritter (Birdie) and Bette Davis (Margo) all eventually lost their nominations, but deliver what are arguably their best performances. Among the Oscars that the film won: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (both for Mankiewicz), plus a few of the technical categories.
1. Titanic (14 nominations, 11 wins)
Clocking at 3 hours and 14 minutes, James Cameron classic romance and special effects extravaganzawas the biggest box office phenomenon in cinema history (until Avatar, which only got 9 nominations, by the way), so it’s fitting that it also became the biggest Academy Award nominee/winner ever. While Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart missed out on their acting nominations, the film took virtually everything else that year.
The only technical category that it lost was Best Hair & Makeup, which went to Men in Black, of all films. James Horner got two Oscars for his work in the original score and in “My Heart Will Go On”, the smash-hit original song performed by Celine Dion. Cameron also took two home, for Best Direction and Best Editing (shared with Conrad Buff IV and Richard A. Harris). There was no way the fellow nominees could compete with this mammoth of a movie.