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Religious Affiliation of the Winners of the
Academy Award for Best Picture

Related pages:
    - Religious Affiliation of Winners of the Academy Award for Best Director
    - Religious Affiliation of the Directors of AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture annually since 1928. This is the most prestigious award that a film can receive.

Originally the award was called "Best Production." Originally the award was presented to a production company (i.e., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), but since 1951 the Best Picture Academy Award has been awarded to the producer(s) of the winning film. The table below also lists the director of each winning film, although the Best Picture Academy Award is not presented to a film's director. Sometimes a director also served as one of the producer, and hence wins the award anyway. Often the director of a Best Picture Oscar winner will receive that year's Best Director Academy Award.

Film (Year)DirectorReligious Affiliation
of Director
Academy Award Recipents
Religious Affiliation
of Producers/
Award Winners
Million Dollar Baby (2004)Clint Eastwoodraised Protestant; agnosticClint Eastwood
Albert S. Ruddy
Tom Rosenberg
raised Protestant; agnostic
The Lord of the Rings:
  The Return of the King (2003)
Peter Jackson Barrie M. Osborne
Peter Jackson
Fran Walsh
Chicago (2002)Rob Marshall Martin Richards 
A Beautiful Mind (2001)Ron HowardProtestant (Methodist?)Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Protestant (Methodist?)
Gladiator (2000)Ridley Scott David Franzoni
Branko Lustig
Douglas Wick
American Beauty (1999)Sam Mendes Bruce Cohen
Dan Jinks
Shakespeare in Love (1998)John Madden David Parfitt
Donna Gigliotti
Harvey Weinstein
Edward Zwick
Marc Norman
Titanic (1997)James Cameronvaguely Protestant backgroundJames Cameron
Jon Landau
vaguely Protestant background
The English Patient (1996)Anthony Minghella Saul Zaentz 
Braveheart (1995)Mel Gibsontraditionalist CatholicBruce Davey
Mel Gibson
Alan Ladd Jr.
traditionalist Catholic
Forrest Gump (1994)Robert ZemeckisJewishWendy Finerman
Steve Starkey
Steve Tisch
Schindler's List (1993)Steven SpielbergJudaismBranko Lustig
Gerald R. Molen
Steven Spielberg
Latter-day Saint
Unforgiven (1992)Clint Eastwoodraised Protestant; agnosticClint Eastwoodraised Protestant; agnostic
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)Jonathan Demme Ron Bozman
Edward Saxon
Kenneth Utt
Dances with Wolves (1990)Kevin CostnerBaptistKevin Costner
Jim Wilson
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)Bruce Beresford Lili Fini Zanuck
Richard D. Zanuck
Rain Man (1988)Barry LevinsonJewishMark Johnson 
The Last Emperor (1987)Bernardo BertolucciCatholic (lapsed); FreudianJeremy Thomas 
Platoon (1986)Oliver StoneJewish father; Catholic mother;
raised Episcopalian;
Tibetan Buddhism (convert)
Arnold Kopelson 
Out of Africa (1985)Sydney PollackJewishSydney PollackJewish
Amadeus (1984)Milos FormanJewish father; Protestant motherSaul Zaentz 
Terms of Endearment (1983)James L. BrooksJewishJames L. BrooksJewish
Gandhi (1982)Richard Attenborough Richard Attenborough 
Chariots of Fire (1981)Hugh Hudson David Puttnam 
Ordinary People (1980)Robert Redford Ronald L. Schwary 
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)Robert Benton Stanley R. Jaffe 
The Deer Hunter (1978)Michael CiminoCatholicMichael Cimino
Michael Deeley
John Peverall
Barry Spikings
Annie Hall (1977)Woody AllenJewish (raised Orthodox); agnosticCharles H. Joffe 
Rocky (1976)John G. Avildsen Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
One Flew Over
  The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Milos FormanJewish father; Protestant motherMichael Douglas
Saul Zaentz
The Godfather Part II (1974)Francis Ford CoppolaCatholic (non-practicing)Francis Ford Coppola
Gray Frederickson
Fred Roos
Catholic (non-practicing)
The Sting (1973)George Roy Hill Tony Bill
Julia Phillips
Michael Phillips
The Godfather (1972)Francis Ford CoppolaCatholic (non-practicing)Albert S. Ruddy 
The French Connection (1971)William FriedkinJewishPhilip D'Antoni 
Patton (1970)Franklin J. Schaffner Frank McCarthy 
Midnight Cowboy (1969)John SchlesingerJewishJerome Hellman 
Oliver! (1968)Carol Reed John Woolf 
In the Heat of the Night (1967)Norman Jewison Walter Mirisch 
A Man for All Seasons (1966)Fred ZinnemannJewishFred ZinnemannJewish
The Sound of Music (1965)Robert Wise Robert Wise 
My Fair Lady (1964)George CukorJewishJack L. WarnerJewish
Tom Jones (1963)Tony Richardson Tony Richardson 
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)David LeanQuakerSam Spiegel 
West Side Story (1961)Robert Wise
Jerome Robbins
Robert Wise 
The Apartment (1960)Billy WilderJewishBilly WilderJewish 
Ben-Hur (1959)William WylerJewishSam Zimbalist 
Gigi (1958)Vincente MinnelliCatholicArthur Freed 
The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)David LeanQuakerSam Spiegel 
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)Michael Anderson Mike ToddJudaism
Marty (1955)Delbert Mann Harold Hecht 
On The Waterfront (1954)Elia KazanGreek Orthodox (lapsed);
Sam Spiegel 
From Here to Eternity (1953)Fred ZinnemannJewishBuddy Adler 
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)Cecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalianCecil B. DeMilleEpiscopalian
An American In Paris (1951)Vincente MinnelliCatholicArthur Freed 
NOTE: Prior to 1951, the Best Picture Award was awarded to the production company, not the producer.
We have noted the names of producers here (in parentheses) to provide information.
All About Eve (1950)Joseph L. MankiewiczJewish parents; atheist father(Darryl F. Zanuck)
20th Century-Fox
All the King's Men (1949)Robert RossenJewishRobert RossenJewish
Hamlet (1948)Laurence OlivierAnglicanJ. Arthur Rank
Two Cities Films
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)Elia KazanGreek Orthodox (lapsed);
(Darryl F. Zanuck)
20th Century-Fox
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)William WylerJewishSamuel GoldwynJewish
The Lost Weekend (1945)Billy WilderJewish(Charles Brackett)
Going My Way (1944)Leo McCareyCatholic(Leo McCarey)
Casablanca (1943)Michael CurtizJewishWarner Bros. 
Mrs. Miniver (1942)William WylerJewish(Sidney Franklin)
(William Wyler)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)John FordCatholic(Darryl F. Zanuck)
20th Century-Fox
Rebecca (1940)Alfred HitchcockCatholic(David O. Selznick)
Selznick International Pictures
Gone With The Wind (1939)Victor FlemingChristianity(David O. Selznick)
Selznick International Pictures
You Can't Take It With You (1938)Frank CapraCatholic; Christian Science(Frank Capra)
Catholic; Christian Science
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)William Dieterle (Henry Blanke)
Warner Bros.
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)Robert Z. LeonardJewish(Hunt Stromberg)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)Frank Lloyd (Albert Lewin)
(Irving Thalberg)
It Happened One Night (1934)Frank CapraCatholic; Christian Science(Frank Capra)
(Harry Cohn)
Catholic; Christian Science
Cavalcade (1932-33)Frank Lloyd (Frank Lloyd)
(Winfield R. Sheehan)
Grand Hotel (1931-32)Edmund Goulding (Paul Bern)
(Irving Thalberg)
Cimarron (1930-31)Wesley Ruggles (William LeBaron)
(Wesley Ruggles)
RKO Radio
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-30)Lewis MilestoneJewish(Carl Laemmle Jr.)
The Broadway Melody (1928-29)Harry Beaumont (Irving Thalberg)
(Lawrence Weingarten)
Wings (1927-28)William A. Wellman (Lucien Hubbard)
Paramount Famous Lasky
Sunrise (1927-28)*F.W. Murnau (William Fox)

* In the very first year of the Academy Awards, there were two awards giving for outstanding productions. An award for "Best Production" went to "Wings." Additionally, "Sunrise" won for the award for "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production." The "Unique and Artistic Production" award was dropped the next year.

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Webpage created 6 July 2005. Last modified 14 May 2007.