Are the days of the Oscar sweep gone with the wind?

At the 12th annual Academy Awards, the civil war romantic drama “Gone with the Wind” won an record eight Oscars from of its 13 nominations. It broke the record for number of wins set by Frank Capra‘s “It Happened One Night” five years earlier, when it claimed five Academy Awards (picture, director, lead actor and actress, and screenplay).

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Setting seven Oscars as the benchmark for our definition of a sweep, these were fairly common occurrences at the Academy Awards in the ensuing decades of the 20th century. There were two in the 1940s: 1944’s “Going My Way” (7 wins/10 nominations) and 1946’s “The Best Years of Our Lives” (7/8).

A staggering five films did this in the 1950s: 1953’s “From Here to Eternity” (8/13); 1954’s “On the Waterfront” (8/12); 1957’s “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (7/8); 1958’s “Gigi” (9/9), which set a new Oscar record for most wins.; and 1959’s “Ben-Hur” (11/12), which broke it.

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Sweep fever continued sporadically in the following two decades. There were three in the 1960s: 1961’s “West Side Story” (10/11) and 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia” (7/10,) 1964’s “My Fair Lady,” (8/12). And three in the 1970s: 1970’s “Patton” (7/10) and 1973’s “The Sting” (7/10) both number Best Picture among their wins while 1972’s “Cabaret” (8/10) was the belle of the Oscar ball until it lost the final award to “The Godfather.”

The 1980s and 1990s each had four sweeps: 1982’s “Gandhi” (8/11); 1984’s “Amadeus” (8/11); and 1985’s “Out of Africa,” (7/11) 1987’s “The Last Emperor” (9/9); 1990’s “Dances with Wolves” (7/12); 1993’s “Schindler’s List” (7/12); 1996’s “The English Patient” (9/12); and 1997’s “Titanic” (11/14), which equaled the record set by “Ben-Hur.”

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But since the turn of the century, only two films have accomplished the feat: 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (11/11), which matched the record of “Ben-Hur” and “Titanic”;  and 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire” (8/10). A few other films have come close, like 2002’s “Chicago” (6/13) and 2009’s “The Hurt Locker” (6/9). 2013’s “Gravity” (7/10) swept the technical categories (as well as Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón,) but lost Best Picture to “12 Years a Slave,” which went three for nine.

As for many of the other recent Best Picture winners, their awards total has been shockingly low. Look at 2005’s “Crash” (3/6); 2012’s “Argo” (3/7); 2015’s “Spotlight” (2/6); and 2016’s “Moonlight” (3/8). Others haven’t done much better such as 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind” (4/8); 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby,” (4/7); 2006’s “The Departed,” (4/5); 2007’s “No Country for Old Men” (4/8); and 2010’s “The King’s Speech” (4/12.) It’s good to be king – but it’s even better when the castle is filled with gold.

PREDICT the Oscar nominees now; change them until January 23

At the fifth annual Academy Awards, “Grand Hotel” received the Academy Award for Best Picture – and nothing else. (that’s because it wasn’t even nominated for anything else.) If the days of the Oscar sweep are truly over, it won’t be long before we see another film pull a “Grand Hotel” – and check out of the greatest awards show on earth with a single (but most significant) statuette.

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.

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