The 78th Annual Academy Awards®
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The 78th Annual Academy Awards®
The 78th Annual Academy Awards®
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Brits Through The Years

Oscar-winning script writer Colin Welland memorably gushed "the British are coming" after Chariots of Fire scooped four Academy Awards in 1982.

You could forgive the bullish Lancastrian for his optimism - the movie about two athletes' dreams of glory had also been nominated for another three, including best director.

Things looked even better the following year when Gandhi clocked up a stunning eight awards, including a best actor Oscar for Ben Kingsley and director for Sir Richard Attenborough.

It seemed that the north Atlantic shipping lanes would be clogged by Oscar-hungry luvvies flooding west for a piece of the Academy action.

And then...well, nothing much. The threatened torrent turned to a trickle with just Croydon's Dame Peggy Ashcroft stepping up for a best supporting actress for Passage to India in 1984.

Two years later Michael Caine continued his well-worn path of Oscar underachievement (he's never landed a best actor statuette despite being nominated three times) when he won best supporting actor for Hannah and Her Sisters (he won it again for Cider House Rules in 2000).

Sean Connery kept our end up in 1987 for best supporting actor in The Untouchables, Daniel Day-Lewis kept optimism's fires burning with My Left Foot in 1989 and Jeremy Irons took home a best actor award for his icy portrait of Claus Von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune.

However, despite Colin's rallying cry, the British certainly weren't coming in numbers for the big awards but in a slow if steady stroll on stage at the Tinseltown ceremony.

Jonathan Demme's slick horror-thriller Silence of the Lambs wiped the floor in 1991, allowing Sir Anthony Hopkins to pick up a best actor gong for the role of Hannibal Lecter.

The following year Emma Thompson landed a best actress Oscar for Howard's End and things took a turn for the better when Isle of Wight wunderkid Anthony Minghella was named best director for The English Patient.

All the while, ace animator Nick Park was achieving plasticine miracles during the 90s with his Aardman creations, scooping three Oscars for Creature Comforts and two Wallace & Gromit outings.

In 1998, Dame Judi Dench dame was named best supporting actress for Shakespeare in Love but it was left to Brit directors to lead the way.

Mr Kate Winslet, Sam Mendes, exploded onto the Hollywood scene with American Beauty, which netted five awards including best actor for Kevin Spacey and one for Mendes himself as best director.

Geordie Ridley Scott directed the Oscar-winning Gladiator in 2000 and there were smaller supporting actor triumphs for Jim Broadbent (Iris) and Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago) to keep our hopes alive.

However, last year the British were certainly coming. Coming back empty-handed. Kate Winslet, Imelda Staunton, Clive Owen and Mike Leigh all travelled in hope...only to return with just their duty-free.
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The 78th Annual Academy Awards®