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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
Producers/
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
?
?
Jewish
?
?
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
Judaism
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
Baptist
?
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
Catholic
?
?
?
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
half-Jewish
?
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
 
Jewish
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);
Communist
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
Methodist
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);
Communist
(Darryl F. Zanuck)
20th Century-Fox
Methodist
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)William WylerJewishSamuel GoldwynJewish
The Lost Weekend (1945)Billy WilderJewish(Charles Brackett)
Paramount
 
Going My Way (1944)Leo McCareyCatholic(Leo McCarey)
Paramount
Catholic
Casablanca (1943)Michael CurtizJewishWarner Bros. 
Mrs. Miniver (1942)William WylerJewish(Sidney Franklin)
(William Wyler)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
?
Jewish
How Green Was My Valley (1941)John FordCatholic(Darryl F. Zanuck)
20th Century-Fox
Methodist
Rebecca (1940)Alfred HitchcockCatholic(David O. Selznick)
Selznick International Pictures
Jewish
Gone With The Wind (1939)Victor FlemingChristianity(David O. Selznick)
Selznick International Pictures
Jewish
You Can't Take It With You (1938)Frank CapraCatholic; Christian Science(Frank Capra)
Columbia
Catholic; Christian Science
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)William Dieterle (Henry Blanke)
Warner Bros.
 
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)Robert Z. LeonardJewish(Hunt Stromberg)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
 
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)Frank Lloyd (Albert Lewin)
(Irving Thalberg)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
?
Jewish
It Happened One Night (1934)Frank CapraCatholic; Christian Science(Frank Capra)
(Harry Cohn)
Columbia
Catholic; Christian Science
Jewish
Cavalcade (1932-33)Frank Lloyd (Frank Lloyd)
(Winfield R. Sheehan)
Fox
 
Grand Hotel (1931-32)Edmund Goulding (Paul Bern)
(Irving Thalberg)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
?
Jewish
Cimarron (1930-31)Wesley Ruggles (William LeBaron)
(Wesley Ruggles)
RKO Radio
 
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-30)Lewis MilestoneJewish(Carl Laemmle Jr.)
Universal
Jewish
The Broadway Melody (1928-29)Harry Beaumont (Irving Thalberg)
(Lawrence Weingarten)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Jewish
?
Wings (1927-28)William A. Wellman (Lucien Hubbard)
Paramount Famous Lasky
 
Sunrise (1927-28)*F.W. Murnau (William Fox)
Fox
Jewish

* 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.