#1 – All in the Family
February 26, 2012
The Corleone crime saga "The Godfather Part II" (1974) was the first sequel to win Best Picture, along with five other Oscars including Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, making him the first man to win for a role spoken primarily in a foreign language – in this case, Italian. The first woman to do so, Sophia Loren in "Two Women" (1961), also spoke Italian.
#3 – A Sweeping Desert Epic
February 24, 2012
The classic "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) took home seven Oscars including Best Picture and Directing for David Lean. He had accomplished the same feat with his previous film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), which won the same number of awards.
#4 – "Silence" Is Golden
February 23, 2012
The thriller "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) was the third film in Oscar history to sweep the Best Actor, Best Actress, Directing, Writing and Best Picture categories. It was also memorably parodied at the Oscar ceremony by host Billy Crystal, who made his entrance dressed as Hannibal Lecter.
#5 – Halle Makes History
February 22, 2012
Halle Berry won Best Actress for "Monster's Ball" (2001) and delivered a tearful and impassioned speech as she became the first African-American woman to win the award. Her next film, "Die Another Day" (2002), also made her the only Best Actress winner to play the female lead in a James Bond film.
#6 – A Violet Diamond
February 21, 2012
After three previous nominations, Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress for "Butterfield 8" (1960), mere weeks after suffering a near-fatal illness. She won again for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) and received a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 65th Awards ceremony in 1993.
#7 – Hello, Gorgeous!
February 20, 2012
Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand became the only performers to tie in the Best Actress category when they both won Oscars at the 41st Academy Awards, for "The Lion in Winter" and "Funny Girl" respectively. Only Streisand was present at the ceremony, and as seen in this video, she greeted her Oscar with a familiar phrase from her film.
#8 – An Icon's Comeback
February 19, 2012
Movie icon Joan Crawford earned her first Oscar nomination and win for Best Actress in the title role of "Mildred Pierce" (1945) after working in Hollywood since the silent era. Confined to bed and unable to attend the ceremony, she famously posed with her statuette at home after the film's director, Michael Curtiz, accepted for her.
#9 – Two Records in One
February 18, 2012
Twenty-one-year-old Marlee Matlin became the youngest Best Actress winner for "Children of a Lesser God" (1986). She is also the only deaf actor to win a competitive acting Oscar – and is the third person (after Louise Fletcher and Jane Fonda) to accept the same award in sign language.
#10 – The Elegance of Audrey
February 17, 2012
After starring in the Broadway version of "Gigi," Belgian-born Audrey Hepburn shot to stardom and won Best Actress for her role as Princess Anne in "Roman Holiday" (1953). She was nominated four more times and received a posthumous Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 65th Awards ceremony in 1993.
#11 – A Tribute to Heath Ledger
February 16, 2012
The family of the late Heath Ledger accepted his Supporting Actor award for his performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" (2008). He was the second person to win a posthumous acting Oscar and was also nominated for Best Actor for his performance in "Brokeback Mountain" (2005).
#12 – They Call Him Mr. Poitier
February 15, 2012
Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win a leading acting Oscar, for "Lilies of the Field" (1963). He went on to star in some of the decade's most socially important films, including "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."
#13 – Sally Opens Her Heart
February 14, 2012
Sally Field delivered an often-quoted (and misquoted) acceptance speech when she won Best Actress for "Places in the Heart" (1984), an award she had won previously for "Norma Rae" (1979). She got her start on the TV shows "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun" and released a record that included a version of the theme song for the latter show.
#15 – An Epic Winner
February 12, 2012
The first film to win a record-breaking 11 Oscars, "Ben-Hur" (1959), also earned a first-time Best Actor award for Charlton Heston. "Titanic" (1997) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003) were the other Best Picture winners to accumulate 11 total wins each.
#16 – Bob's Big Surprise
February 11, 2012
At the 38th Academy Awards in 1966, host Bob Hope was caught off guard when Best Picture presenter Jack Lemmon and Academy President Arthur Freed halted the ceremony to present him with an Honorary Award. In total Hope hosted the Academy Awards a record-breaking 19 times.
#17 – Billy Rides High
February 10, 2012
With nine appearances as host (including the 84th Academy Awards), Billy Crystal has become known for his elaborate opening monologues and show departures. In one famous moment seen in this video, he exited the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991 astride a horse to tie in with his film "City Slickers."
#18 – Wild About Whoopi
February 9, 2012
Whoopi Goldberg hosted the Oscars four times between 1994 and 2002, including an iconic entrance as Queen Elizabeth I in 1999. She also won Supporting Actress for her role in "Ghost" (1990) and appeared regularly on the TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
#19 – A Wild and Crazy Host
February 8, 2012
Actor, comic, writer, musician and accomplished juggler Steve Martin made his first of three appearances as an Oscar host at the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony, held in 2001. Seen in this video is his opening monologue from his first show.
#20 – Chris Rocks the House
February 7, 2012
Popular stand-up comedian Chris Rock became the first African-American man to host the Oscars solo, at the 77th Academy Awards ceremony held in 2005. Initially a performer on "Saturday Night Live," he has gone on to a career in film, television and on Broadway.
#21 – A Streak of Wit
February 6, 2012
Co-host David Niven was quick on his feet at the 46th Academy Awards when a surprise streaker interrupted him before Elizabeth Taylor’s presentation of Best Picture to "The Sting." Watch the video for his classic reaction.
#23 – A Dancing Duo Reunites
February 4, 2012
With ten feature films including "Top Hat" and "Swing Time," Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are one of the most recognizable teams in movie musicals. Eighteen years after their last film, they made their only appearance together at the Oscars at the 39th Academy Awards ceremony, held in 1967.
#24 – A Grande Dame
February 3, 2012
Bette Davis won the first of her two Best Actress awards for "Dangerous" (1935) at the 8th Academy Awards and became a supporter of American troops during World War II, helping to open the Hollywood Canteen and performing for African-American troops alongside Lena Horne.
#25 – An Acting Stretch
February 2, 2012
The first and only person with an Oscar for playing a character of the opposite sex, Linda Hunt won Supporting Actress for playing male photographer Billy Kwan in "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1983). She can most recently be seen on the TV series "NCIS: Los Angeles."
Photos and documents from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library, one of the world's most comprehensive research collections on the subject of motion pictures.