Best Picture: Braveheart
Braveheart also won Academy Awards for Cinematography (John Toll), Directing (Mel Gibson), Makeup (Peter Frampton, Paul Pattison, and Lois Burwell), and Sound Effects Editing (Lon Bender and Per Hallberg).
All four of the year’s acting winners were first-time Academy Award winners. Nicolas Cage won Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas, Susan Sarandon won Best Actress for Dead Man Walking, Kevin Spacey won Best Supporting Actor for The Usual Suspects, and Mira Sorvino won Best Supporting Actress for Mighty Aphrodite.
Whoopi Goldberg was the host.
Emma Thompson won the award for adapted screenplay for her script of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” She said, “I went to visit Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral to pay my respects…and to tell her about the grosses. I don’t know how she would react to an evening like this, but I do hope, I do hope she knows how big she is in Uruguay.”
Christopher Reeve, who in 1995 had been paralyzed from a horseback riding accident, made a surprise appearance on the show. From his wheelchair on stage, he introduced a selection of film clips that dealt with social issues. He challenged filmmakers “to do more, to take risks, to tackle the issues.”
In February 1995, Stapleton Airport closed in Denver, Colorado, and was replaced by the new Denver International Airport.
On March 16, 1995, Mississippi ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery.
On March 31, 1995, singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was killed by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh set off a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The blast collapsed one side of the nine-story building, killing 168 people. He was arrested on April 21.
In June 1995, O.J. Simpson was asked during his trial to try on a pair of bloodstained gloves, one of which had been found at the crime scene where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were killed. The other was found outside Simpson’s home. The gloves appeared to be too tight, which caused defense attorney Johnnie Cochran to utter the famous line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” during his closing arguments. On October 3, Simpson was acquitted.
In July 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
In September 1995, eBay was founded in California.
On September 19, 1995, a manifesto by the Unabomber, an anti-technology terrorist, was published by The New York Times and Washington Post in the hope that someone would recognize the person who, for 17 years, had been sending homemade bombs through the mail that had killed and maimed innocent people around the United States. After reading the manifesto, David Kaczynski linked the writing style to that of his older brother Ted, who was later convicted of the attacks and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
On October 16, 1995, more than 400,000 African-American men met on the Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Million Man March. The event was conceived by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and remains one of the largest gatherings in D.C. history.
In November 1995, Buena Vista Pictures released Pixar’s “Toy Story,” the first feature-length, computer- animated film. John Lasseter received a Special Achievement Award from the Academy for his inspired leadership that resulted in the movie.
In December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle, suffered a massive stroke and was left with a condition called locked-in syndrome. Bauby’s memoir about his life after the stroke, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, was published in 1997.
Special Achievement Award
To John Lasseter, for his inspired leadership of the Pixar “Toy Story” team, resulting in the first feature-length computer-animated film.
To Kirk Douglas, for fifty years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.
To Chuck Jones, for the creation of classic cartoons which have brought worldwide joy for more than half a century.