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HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

25 Memorable Photos from Oscar Ceremonies Past

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HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images

The 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony is just a few days away. While critics and fans each have their favorites to win in any given category, there are no guarantees in terms of who will take those coveted Oscar statuettes home. But one thing film fans can count on is that the evening is sure to produce a handful of memorable moments. In anticipation of Hollywood's biggest night, we're taking a photographic stroll back down the red carpets of yesteryear.

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When Kate Winslet walks the red carpet this weekend, she'll be one of the night's true veterans. Her Best Supporting Actress nomination, for Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, marks her seventh nomination in 20 years. But back in 1996 (as seen above), she was a first-time nominee for her work in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility.

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In what remains one of the Oscars' most mocked moments, director James Cameron declared himself "King of the World" after Titanic won 11 Oscars in 1998, including Best Director.

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Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood strike a pretty pose at the 1962 ceremony in Santa Monica.

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Quentin Tarantino could hardly contain his excitement when he and his Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary won for Best Original Screenplay in 1995.

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In 1997, Tom Cruise was a Best Actor nominee for Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire, and the longtime spouse of Nicole Kidman.

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Tom Cruise's co-star fared much better that night. "Overjoyed" would be one way to describe Cuba Gooding, Jr., who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire.

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Halle Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first black woman to earn a Best Actress Oscar.

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In 1994, Steven Spielberg broke his Oscar losing streak when he brought home two Academy Awards—Best Director and Best Picture—for his groundbreaking Schindler's List.

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Audrey Hepburn was a relative newcomer in 1954, when she was named Best Actress for her work in Roman Holiday.

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Long before there was "Brangelina" or "conscious uncoupling" became a thing, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow were Hollywood's golden couple. In 1996, the pair attended the 68th Academy Awards together, where Pitt was up for Best Supporting Actor for Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys.

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Brad Pitt lost that aforementioned Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Kevin Spacey, who won for his work on The Usual Suspects.

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Paul Newman looks effortlessly cool while attending the Oscars in Hollywood.

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Though Casino star Sharon Stone didn't go home with the gold in 1996, she grabbed most of the night's headlines when she dared to wear a Gap turtleneck on the red carpet.

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South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone paid homage to memorable red carpet dresses of the past (specifically: ones worn by Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow) when they attended the 2000 Academy Awards, where a song from their movie, South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, scored a nod.

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Robin Williams won his first (and only) Oscar at the 70th Academy Awards in 1998 for playing Matt Damon's psychotherapist in Good Will Hunting.

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In 1994, Anna Paquin became the second youngest actor to win an Oscar when she was named Best Supporting Actress for The Piano. Only Tatum O'Neal—who was 10 when she won an Oscar for Paper Moon—was younger.

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Though he never earned a competitive award, Bob Hope won five honorary Oscars throughout his long and storied career. Which only seems fair, considering he hosted the ceremony a record 19 times.

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Though he's considered one of Hollywood's greatest actors, Al Pacino has only ever won a single Oscar—in 1993, for Scent of a Woman.

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In a photo that could only have been taken in the 1980s, Tom Selleck and Diana Ross smile for the cameras at the 1985 Academy Awards.

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Winning can work up a thirst, as Tom Hanks demonstrated in 1995, after being named Best Actor for Forrest Gump.

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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were little-known actor/writers before winning a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting in 1998. They brought their moms as their dates.

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Michael Douglas planted one on his dad, Kirk, as Burt Lancaster looked on during the 57th Academy Awards in 1985.

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Before Lady Gaga, Cher was the actress/musician viewers could always count on to wear something wild to award shows.

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Gene Hackman is a happy man indeed as he poses between Raquel Welch and Cloris Leachman in 1972. That year, Hackman one Best Actor for The French Connection and Leachman won Best Supporting Actress for The Best Picture Show.

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In 1986, Lionel Richie had a two in five shot at winning Best Original Song—and he won for "Say You, Say Me," from White Nights. No word on whether he spent the night dancing on the ceiling in celebration.

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When the FBI Investigated the 'Murder' of Nine Inch Nails's Trent Reznor
Karl Walter, Getty Images
Karl Walter, Getty Images

The two people standing over the body, Michigan State Police detective Paul Wood told the Hard Copy cameras, “had a distinctive-type uniform on. As I recall: black pants, some type of leather jacket with a design on it, and one was wearing combat boots. The other was wearing what looked like patent leather shoes. So if it was a homicide, I was thinking it was possibly a gang-type homicide.”

Wood was describing a puzzling case local police, state police, and eventually the FBI had worked hard to solve for over a year. The mystery began in 1989, when farmer Robert Reed spotted a circular group of objects floating over his farm just outside of rural Burr Oak, Michigan; it turned out to be a cluster of weather balloons attached to a Super 8 camera.

When the camera landed on his property, the surprised farmer didn't develop the footage—he turned it over to the police. Some local farmers had recently gotten into trouble for letting wild marijuana grow on the edges of their properties, and Reed thought the balloons and camera were a possible surveillance technique. But no state or local jurisdictions used such rudimentary methods, so the state police in East Lansing decided to develop the film. What they saw shocked them.

A city street at night; a lifeless male body with a mysterious substance strewn across his face; two black-clad men standing over the body as the camera swirled away up into the sky, with a third individual seen at the edge of the frame running away, seemingly as fast as possible. Michigan police immediately began analyzing the footage for clues, and noticed the lights of Chicago’s elevated train system, which was over 100 miles away.

It was the first clue in what would become a year-long investigation into what they believed was either a cult killing or gang murder. When they solved the “crime” of what they believed was a real-life snuff film, they were more shocked than when the investigation began: The footage was from the music video for “Down In It,” the debut single from industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, and the supposed dead body was the group's very-much-alive lead singer, Trent Reznor.

 
 

In 1989, Nine Inch Nails was about to release their debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, which would go on to be certified triple platinum in the United States. The record would define the emerging industrial rock sound that Reznor and his rotating cast of bandmates would experiment with throughout the 1990s and even today on albums like The Downward Spiral and The Slip.

The band chose the song “Down In It”—a track with piercing vocals, pulsing electronic drums, sampled sound effects, and twisted nursery rhyme-inspired lyrics—as Pretty Hate Machine's first single. They began working with H-Gun, a Chicago-based multimedia team led by filmmakers Eric Zimmerman and Benjamin Stokes (who had created videos for such bands as Ministry and Revolting Cocks), and sketched out a rough idea for the music video.

Filmed on location among warehouses and parking garages in Chicago, the video was supposed to culminate in a shot with a leather-jacketed Reznor running to the top of a building, while two then-members of the band followed him wearing studded jumpsuits; the video would fade out with an epic floating zoom shot to imply that Reznor's cornstarch-for-blood-covered character had fallen off the building and died in the street. Because the cash-strapped upstarts didn’t have enough money for a fancy crane to achieve the shot for their video, they opted to tie weather balloons to the camera and let it float up from Reznor, who was lying in the street surrounded by his bandmates. They eventually hoped to play the footage backward to get the shot in the final video.

Instead, the Windy City lived up to its name and quickly whisked the balloons and camera away. With Reznor playing dead and his bandmates looking down at him, only one of the filmmakers noticed. He tried to chase down the runaway camera—which captured his pursuit—but it was lost, forcing them to finish shooting the rest of the video and release it without the planned shot from the missing footage in September of 1989.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the band, a drama involving their lost camera was unfolding in southwest Michigan. Police there eventually involved the Chicago police, whose detectives determined that the footage had been filmed in an alley in the city's Fulton River District. After Chicago authorities found no homicide reports matching the footage for the neighborhood and that particular time frame, they handed the video over to the FBI, whose pathologists reportedly said that, based on the substance on the individual, the body in the video was rotting.

 
 

The "substance" in question was actually the result of the low-quality film and the color of the cornstarch on the singer’s face, which had also been incorporated into the press photos for Pretty Hate Machine. It was a nod to the band's early live shows, in which Reznor would spew cornstarch and chocolate syrup on his band members and the audience. “It looks really great under the lights, grungey, a sort of anti-Bon Jovi and the whole glamour thing,” Reznor said in a 1991 interview.

With no other easy options, and in order to generate any leads that might help them identify the victim seen in the video, the authorities distributed flyers to Chicago schools asking if anyone knew any details behind the strange “killing.”

The tactic worked. A local art student was watching MTV in 1991 and saw the distinctive video for “Down In It,” which reminded him of one of the flyers he had seen at school. He contacted the Chicago police to tip them off to who their supposed "murder victim" really was. Nine Inch Nails’s manager was notified, and he told Reznor and the filmmakers what had really happened to their lost footage.

“It’s interesting that our top federal agency, the Federal Bureau of [Investigation], couldn’t crack the Super 8 code,” co-director Zimmerman said in an interview. As for Wood and any embarrassment law enforcement had after the investigation: “I thought it was our duty, one way or the other, to determine what was on that film,” he said.

“My initial reaction was that it was really funny that something could be that blown out of proportion with this many people worked up about it,” Reznor said, and later told an interviewer, “There was talk that I would have to appear and talk to prove that I was alive.” Even though—in the eyes of state, local, and federal authorities—he was reportedly dead for over a year, Reznor didn’t seem to be bothered by it: “Somebody at the FBI had been watching too much Hitchcock or David Lynch or something,” he reasoned.

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ZUMA Press, Inc., Alamy
5 Fascinating Facts About Koko the Gorilla
ZUMA Press, Inc., Alamy
ZUMA Press, Inc., Alamy

After 46 years of learning, making new friends, and challenging ideas about language, Koko the gorilla died in her sleep at her home at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California on June 21, 2018. Koko first gained recognition in the late 1970s for her ability to use sign language, but it was her friendly personality that made her a beloved icon. Here are five facts you should know about the history-making ape.

1. SHE KNEW OVER 1000 SIGNS.

Francine "Penny" Patterson, then a graduate student at Stanford University, was looking for an animal subject for her inter-species animal communication experiment in the early 1970s when she found a baby gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo. Originally named Hanabiko (Japanese for "fireworks child," a reference to her Fourth of July birthdate), Koko took to signing quickly. Some of the first words Koko learned in "Gorilla Sign Language," Patterson's modified version of American Sign Language, were "food," "drink," and "more." She followed a similar trajectory as a human toddler, learning the bulk of her words between ages 2.5 and 4.5. Eventually Koko would come to know over 1000 signs and understand about 2000 words spoken to her in English. Though she never got a grasp on grammar or syntax, she was able to express complex ideas, like sadness when watching a sad movie and her desire to have a baby.

2. SHE CHANGED WHAT WE KNEW ABOUT LANGUAGE.

Not only did Koko use language to communicate—she also used it in a way that was once only thought possible in humans. Her caretakers have reported her signing about objects that weren't in the room, recalling memories, and even commenting on language itself. Her vocabulary was on par with that of a 3-year-old child.

3. SHE WASN'T THE ONLY APE WHO SIGNED.

Koko was the most famous great ape who knew sign language, but she wasn't alone. Michael, a male gorilla who lived with Koko at the Gorilla Foundation from 1976 until his death in 2000, learned over 500 signs with help from Koko and Patterson. He was even able to express the memory of his mother being killed by poachers when he was a baby. Other non-human primates have also shown they're capable of learning sign language, like Washoe the chimpanzee and Chantek the orangutan.

4. SHE HAD FAMOUS FRIENDS.

Koko received many visitors during her lifetime, including some celebrities. When Robin Williams came to her home in Woodside, California in 2001, the two bonded right away, with Williams tickling the gorilla and Koko trying on his glasses. But perhaps her most famous celebrity encounter came when Mr. Rogers paid her a visit in 1999. She immediately recognized him as the star of one of her favorite shows, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and greeted him by helping him take off his shoes like he did at the start of every episode.

5. SHE WAS A LOVING CAT MOM.

Koko was never able to have offspring of her own, but she did adopt several cats. After asking for a kitten, she was allowed to pick one from a litter for her birthday in 1985. She named the gray-and-white cat "All Ball" and handled it gently as if it were her real baby, even trying to nurse it. She had recently received two new kittens for her 44th birthday named Ms. Gray and Ms. Black.

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