Oscar Best Picture winners by year

Oscar-winning best pictures

'Spotlight' (2015) – "Spotlight" - a film about Boston Globe investigative reporters digging into a sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests - won best picture at the 88th annual Academy Awards. Here's a look back at all of the past winners for best picture:

'Wings' (1927) – The first Academy Awards were given out at a dinner on May 16, 1929. The best picture winner was 1927's "Wings, " a film about World War I pilots starring Clara Bow, right, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, left, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper. Even today, the silent film's aerial sequences stand out as some of the most exciting ever filmed. Another film, "Sunrise, " was given an Oscar as most "unique and artistic production, " an honor that was eliminated the next year. The academy didn't begin using a calendar year for awards until movies made in 1934 (with ceremonies held in 1935).

'The Broadway Melody' (1929) – The musical "The Broadway Melody" was the first sound film to win best picture. The film stars Charles King, Anita Page and Bessie Love.

'All Quiet on the Western Front' (1930) – "All Quiet on the Western Front, " best picture of 1929-30, was the film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel. The film stars Lewis Wolheim and Lew Ayres and was directed by Lewis Milestone.

'Cimarron' (1931) – "Cimarron, " based on the Edna Ferber novel, is best remembered for its portrayal of the 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush, which literally featured a cast of thousands. Richard Dix and Irene Dunne star in the film.

'Grand Hotel' (1932) – The all-star cast of "Grand Hotel, " including Greta Garbo and John Barrymore (pictured), portrayed characters in a mix of plot lines at a Berlin hotel. The film won just the one Oscar, but has been immortalized for one of Garbo's lines of dialogue: "I want to be alone."

'Cavalcade' (1933) – "Cavalcade, " based on a Noel Coward play, won the 1932-33 prize for best picture. The film follows a London family from 1899 to 1933 and stars, left to right, Una O'Connor, Diana Wynyard and Clive Brook.

'It Happened One Night' (1934) – "It Happened One Night" was one of the great underdog winners. Its studio, Columbia, wasn't considered one of the majors at the time, and neither Clark Gable nor Claudette Colbert, its stars, were excited about the project. But it became the first film to sweep the five major categories of picture, actor, actress, director and screenplay. To this day, only two other films - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) - have pulled off the same trick.

'Mutiny on the Bounty' (1935) – Clark Gable was in the best picture winner the next year as well, playing Fletcher Christian in the 1935 version of "Mutiny on the Bounty." Charles Laughton plays Captain Bligh.

'The Great Ziegfeld' (1936) – Luise Rainer stars in "The Great Ziegfeld." She picked up an Oscar for best actress, though William Powell, who played the title figure, came up empty (although he was nominated for another movie, "My Man Godfrey").

'The Life of Emile Zola' (1937) – "The Life of Emile Zola" won three Oscars, including best picture. The film is a biography of the famed French author. Star Paul Muni was nominated for best actor but lost to Spencer Tracy ("Captains Courageous").

'You Can't Take It With You' (1938) – "You Can't Take It With You" is one of the rare comedies to win best picture. The film, based on the George Kaufman and Moss Hart play, stars James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore. It also won a best director Oscar for Frank Capra, Capra's third in five years.

'Gone With the Wind' (1939) – Still considered one of the great Hollywood epics, 1939's "Gone With the Wind" won 10 Oscars, including best picture and best actress for star Vivien Leigh, right. Though Clark Gable was nominated for best actor, he lost to Robert Donat ("Goodbye, Mr. Chips") in one of the great Oscar upsets.

'Mrs. Miniver' (1942) – Hollywood's war effort went full throttle with William Wyler's "Mrs. Miniver" starring Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson as a heroic couple whose family endures German air raids during the Battle of Britain. Garson also won the best actress award and received much flak for a lengthy acceptance speech that became the stuff of Hollywood legend.

'Going My Way' (1944) – Hollywood's favorite crooner became its favorite priest. Bing Crosby, left, won the best actor award as Father Chuck O'Malley in "Going My Way." He encountered resistance from a crusty old priest (Barry Fitzgerald) when he tried to help an impoverished church parish.

'The Lost Weekend' (1945) – With World War II coming to an end, Hollywood turned to dark subject matter, such as alcoholism in Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend." Star Ray Milland, left, won the best actor award as a writer on a binge. Howard Da Silva was the bartender.

'The Best Years of Our Lives' (1946) – Veterans Fredric March, pictured, Dana Andrews and Harold Russell returned home to adjust to life in post-war America in this William Wyler classic. Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and Cathy O'Donnell were the women in their lives who also found the world much more complicated with the war's end. Russell, a real vet, lost both hands in World War II.

'Gentleman's Agreement' (1947) – Elia Kazan's "Gentleman's Agreement" continued Hollywood's exploration of more serious subject matter, this time anti-Semitism. Gregory Peck, right, plays a reporter who goes undercover posing as a Jew, making his girlfriend (Dorothy McGuire) face uncomfortable truths about her upper class WASP life. A young Dean Stockwell played Peck's son.

'Hamlet' (1948) – A British film took home the best picture Oscar when Laurence Olivier directed himself in an Oscar-winning role as Shakespeare's famous Danish prince who cannot make up his mind. Olivier trimmed the play's text and chose to do Hamlet's famous soliloquy ("To be, or not to be, that is the question") as a voice-over. Jean Simmons was Ophelia.

'All the King's Men' (1949) – Unlike the 2006 remake with Sean Penn, this adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was a critical and box-office success. Star Broderick Crawford also won the best actor award for his role as Willie Stark, a cynical politician who rises to become governor. Any resemblance to Louisiana's Huey Long was mere coincidence.

'All About Eve' (1950) – Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's screenplay about an aging actress (Bette Davis, right) battling a scheming newcomer (Anne Baxter) remains one of the most quotable movies ever almost 65 years after its release. "All About Eve" held the record for a movie with the most Oscar nominations (14) until "Titanic" tied it in 1997. A young Marilyn Monroe, center, also attracted attention in an early role. As Margo Channing (Davis' character) would say, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be bumpy night!"

'An American in Paris' (1951) – This MGM musical with Gene Kelly as an aspiring artist who falls for Leslie Caron in the City of Light faced stiff competition at the Oscars. But "An American in Paris" scored a major upset when it beat dramatic heavyweights "A Place in the Sun" and "A Streetcar Named Desire" for best picture.

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