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Quick - what were the last 10 Oscar winners?

By PHILIP BOOTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 20, 2003

The Oscar nomination hoopla remains deafening in Hollywood and will no doubt intensify in the days before and after the 75th annual Academy Awards ceremony, on March 23. But will anyone, aside from the winners and the nominees, remember who won 10 years from now? Five years from now? Next year?

Assuming not, here are the last 10 years' worth of best picture Oscar winners:

A Beautiful Mind (released in 2001) -- The brilliant mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) triumphs over the demons of mental illness, with the help of a beautiful, loyal wife (Jennifer Connelly, winner for best supporting actress). Hollywood loved the concept so much -- never mind the tawdry real-life details bleached out of the story -- that director Ron Howard went home with an overdue trophy, too. Crowe, however, lost to Denzel Washington in Training Day.

Gladiator (2000) -- It's swords and sandals on a grand scale, with stunning battle sequences and high drama as a Roman general (Crowe again) gets his revenge after being betrayed. Crowe won a best actor statuette.

American Beauty (1999) -- Dysfunction, American style is the theme of this dark comic drama about a man (Kevin Spacey) facing a midlife meltdown. His wife (Annette Bening) is demanding and unfaithful, and his rebellious daughter (Thora Birch) is in love with the weird kid next door (Wes Bentley). Spacey and director Sam Mendes won Oscars, too.

Shakespeare in Love (1998) -- The Bard (Ralph Fiennes) suffers writer's block, but gets over it with the help of a beautiful, wealthy young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow), who disguises herself as a boy so that she can find work as an actor. It's all smart, comic, literary-minded fun, with a cast to die for. Paltrow (actress), Judi Dench (supporting actress) and Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (screenplay) scored awards.

Titanic (1997) -- The big ship sinks, and a love affair blooms between a poor boy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and an upper-class girl (Kate Winslet). James Cameron's $200-million-plus, 197-minute box office smash was as big as they come; his trophy for best director was one of 11 Oscars bestowed on the movie.

The English Patient (1996) -- The elegantly told wartime love story concerns a nurse (Juliette Binoche), her physically and emotionally scarred charge (Ralph Fiennes), and, seen in flashback, his married lover (Kristin Scott Thomas). The cast also includes Willem Dafoe, Naveen Andrews and Colin Firth. Director Anthony Minghella won an Academy Award, as did Binoche, for supporting actress.

Braveheart (1995) -- Mel Gibson does triple duty as actor, director and producer in this tale of 13th-century Scottish warrior William Wallace (Gibson) and his revolt against the Brits. Gibson won for best director.

Forrest Gump (1994) -- Tom Hanks, as the sweet but addled title character, won for best actor, director Robert Zemeckis landed a trophy, and the film landed at No. 71 on the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the greatest American movies of all time.

Schindler's List (1993) -- Steven Spielberg's frighteningly evocative tale of one man's heroism amid the horrors of the Holocaust got the director an Oscar and a No. 9 position on the AFI list.

Unforgiven (1992) -- Clint Eastwood is an aging gunman, and Gene Hackman is a tough sheriff in this tale of how the West was really won. Eastwood won for best director and Hackman for best supporting actor. The film was number 98 on the AFI list.

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