Back to 1998: When Titanic was King of the Oscars - 30 James Street

Back to 1998: When Titanic was King of the Oscars

Widespread fascination and passion surrounding James Cameron’s Titanic was truly one of a kind, and it’s no surprise that the fixation has stood the test of time. For teenagers then and now, watching the film for the first time was an unforgettable experience. From the tragic realities behind the film’s story, to Jack Dawson’s infamous “I’m the king of the world!”, there are few films that hold such commonplace influence.

Generation after generation have found themselves unable to step on boats ever since without recreating the “I’m flying” scene in heartfelt jest.  And while it’s costumes successfully transported audiences back to the 1912 voyage, the filming itself has a 1990s charm that would arguably be lost with advances in film today.


So, with the 2017 Oscars ceremony stealing the news this week, we thought we’d take a step back in time to 1998, when  James Cameron’s Titanic blockbuster was truly the king of the Oscars.

It was the era that magazines were the ultimate source for pop culture gossip and mobile phones were chunkier than ever. And once our screens were graced by a fresh faced Kate Winslet and floppy haired Leonardo DiCaprio, the frenzy surrounding Titanic began.

Though many had expressed doubts over Cameron’s CGI filled film, its premiere proved a great success, and Titanic spent a striking fifteen consecutive weeks at the top of the box-office charts. Fans were enthralled by every part of it, from its costume design to its soundtrack.

Not forgetting, the dynamic duo’s chemistry certainly didn’t fade after the final cut. Kate and Leo became an additional speculation, fuelling more questions and fixation by attending the Golden Globe Awards as a couple in 1998. Twentieth Century Fox estimated that just five weeks into the film’s showings, 7 per cent of teenage girls in the U.S had seen it twice.

Titanic was only the start of their budding friendship, which audiences have witnessed grow both on-screen and off-screen over the years.  Arguably the driving force behind the pop culture phenomenon, the public had been swept off their feet by Jack and Rose’s love story, and they were rooting for the talented two to receive the awards they deserved.


Of course, the fictional tale of Jack and Rose’s ill-fated romance ignited a fresh, modern fascination with the ocean liner’s voyage. In February 1998, people were keen to get their hands on Titanic memorabilia. A collection of distress signals from the Titanic sold for a staggering $123,500.

More widespread public interest was also evident  in March 1988, when nine books about the ship itself, the movie or Leonardo Dicaprio sky-rocketed to the top of The New York Times’ top 25 nonfiction list.  The UK also saw travel company Wildwings jump on the phenomenon. Holiday goers could embark on a Titanic-themed holiday, travelling 12,460 feet into the ocean to see the infamous wreckage.

titanic’s Record-breaking nominations

This year, La La Land made history with 14 Oscar nominations, joining Titanic and All About Eve in their successes.

While Kate Winselt was nominated for Best Actress, Leonardo DiCaprio was seemingly snubbed. And with audiences so invested in its cast, it’s no surprise that many expressed outrage over the actor’s lack of recognition.

More than 200 fans contacted the Academy, demanding a recount on behalf of Leo. An academy spokesman shared: “The calls did not just come from teenagers. One older woman called and said the whole state of Florida was upset.”


Of course, we couldn’t leave out one of the most important features of the film;Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture sold over 30 million copies.

Celine Dion memorably performed ballad My Heart Will Go On quite fittingly at the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony, and it was the best-selling single of the year. Meanwhile, late composer James Horner picked up two Oscars for Best Score and Best Original Song.

Horner’s music powerfully captured the joy, decadence and tragedy associated with RMS Titanic’s fateful voyage, commemorating the reality of the tragedy while maintaining respect. Music was one of the most central sources of entertainment aboard the ship, and Horner paid tribute to both the ocean liner’s classical songbook and the playful compositions of Irish passengers on the Poop Deck.

TITANIC’S Best Picture Win At the Oscars

To the delight of fans, when the big night arrived, the film won a stunning 11 of its nominations, including the Academy award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design.

While excitement around most films fades over time, it’s safe to say that Titanic became a modern classic, and its emphasis on the voyage fuelled further interest in the ship’s unique history.

At 30 James Street Hotel – Home of the Titanic, we offer visitors the chance to stay in Liverpool and experience the city’s extensive maritime history. We’re dedicated to preserving the story of RMS Titanic, and located in Liverpool’s former White Star Line headquarters, there’s a unique sense of character and history surrounding the hotel that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere.

If you’d like to find out more about us, you can call our friendly team for a chat on 0151 601 9833.





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