Skip to main content

The 70th Academy Awards Memorable Moments

70th Oscars

Best Picture: Titanic

Titanic also won Academy Awards for Art Direction-Set Decoration (Peter Lamont and Michael Ford), Cinematography (Russell Carpenter), Costume Design (Deborah L. Scott), Directing (James Cameron), Film Editing (Conrad Buff, James Cameron, and Richard A. Harris), Music – Original Dramatic Score (James Horner), Music – Original Song (“My Heart Will Go On,” James Horner, music, and Will Jennings, lyrics), Sound (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Gary Summers, and Mark Ulano), Sound Effects Editing (Tom Bellfort and Christopher Boyes), and Visual Effects (Robert Legato, Mark Lasoff, Thomas L. Fisher, and Michael Kanfer).

“Titanic” received 14 nominations, which tied it with 1950’s “All about Eve” for the most nominations ever earned by a single film.

“Titanic” won 11 Academy Awards, which tied the record for wins set by “Ben-Hur” in 1959.

For only the third time in Academy history, the year’s Oscar-winning song (“My Heart Will Go On”) was from the movie that won Best Picture. The two previous instances were “Swinging on a Star” from “Going My Way” in 1944 and “Gigi” from “Gigi” in 1958. 

Billy Crystal was the host. For the second year in a row, he had himself edited into some of the key scenes of the year’s movies.

The show pulled the largest audience of any Oscar telecast to date with an estimated 87 million people watching in the United States.

Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress for “As Good as It Gets,” marking the seventh time in 70 years that the leading actor and actress from the same film received the Oscars. 

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won Oscars for their original screenplay for “Good Will Hunting.” 

As a special salute to the Academy’s 70th anniversary year, 70 previous winners of Academy Awards for acting were gathered together on stage.

On January 23, 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State.

On March 22, 1997, 14-year-old Tara Lipinski became the youngest women’s world figure skating champion.

On April 27, 1997, Andrew Cunanan killed Jeffrey Trail by bludgeoning him in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thus began a murderous rampage that claimed the lives of five people, including designer Gianni Versace. On July 23, Cunanan killed himself on a houseboat in Miami Beach.

On May 1, 1997, Labour Party leader Tony Blair was elected prime minister of Great Britain, ending 18 years of control by the Conservative Party. At 43 years old, Blair was the youngest prime minister since 1812.

In June 1997, J.K. Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in the U.K. 

In July 1997, the F.W. Woolworth Company announced that it was closing its remaining U.S. stores after 117 years of business.

On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed during an early morning car accident in Paris. She was 36 years old. On September 6, over a million people gathered in London to watch her coffin being transported to Westminster Abbey, where Elton John sang a revised version of “Candle in the Wind,” the song he co-wrote with Bernie Taupin. An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide watched televised broadcasts of the service.

On November 19, 1997, Bobbi McCaughey gave birth to septuplets in the second known case where all seven babies were born alive, and the first in which all survived infancy.

Honorary Award

To Stanley Donen in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation.