Under the Influence

Only these three movies have won all five major Oscars

It's an exclusive club, with one member from an unexpected genre.
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs.” (MGM Home Entertainment/Library of Congress/Associated Press)
Listen to the full episode27:28

The movie The Silence of the Lambs holds a very unique distinction in Hollywood.

It is the only horror movie to ever win a Best Picture Oscar.

In the film, Jody Foster plays an FBI agent named Clarice Starling who is trying to find a serial killer - so she taps the mind of an imprisoned serial killer named Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins.

The Silence of the Lambs has another distinction.

It is one of only three movies in history to win all five of the top Oscars:

1. Best Picture.

2. Best Actress.

3. Best Actor.

4. Best Director.

5. And Best Adapted Screenplay.

The other two are the 1934 film It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

This week, we explore how business can be won or lost with spontaneous off-hand remarks. Not all advertising business is conducted in a boardroom or in commercials. Sometimes somebody says something in an elevator, or in a speech or in a doorway that leads to winning an account - or losing it. Talk ain’t cheap. Hope you’ll join us. 0:57

The Silence of the Lambs has yet another distinction: a prop in the film was influenced by NHL hockey.

A still from the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, wearing the infamous mask. (20th Century Fox)

The famous mask worn by Hannibal to curb his "cannibal" tendencies was made by a man named Ed Cubberly. Ed has made dozens of masks for NHL goaltenders. When the studio called and told him what they needed, Ed whipped up a design in five minutes. He basically cut a regular mask in half, put metal bars in the mouth area and left the fiberlass unpainted.

It was perfect. And terrifying.

But what people remember most about The Silence of the Lambs is the dialogue between Clarise Starling and Hannibal Lecter.

It was disturbing, eerie and unforgettable.

It could be argued the remarkable chemistry between Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins is the reason the film took in that haul of Academy Awards.

There was just something mesmerizing about their conversations. Clarice Starling trying to tease out vital insights from Lecter. And Lecter trying to expose a plush treasure trove of insecurities from Starling.

The film has one more revealing distinction.

Jody Foster never talked to Anthony Hopkins during the entire filming of the movie. They did their lines together, but they never had a conversation away from the cameras.

When Foster was asked why, she said she avoided Hopkins. Adding "He just scared me." And there was the subtext filmgoers felt so viscerally.

Their conversation was so riveting on screen because they never talked off-screen.


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Under the Influence is recorded in the Terstream Mobile Recording studio, a 1969 Airstream trailer that's been restored and transformed into a studio on wheels, so host Terry O'Reilly can record the show wherever he goes.

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The Terstream Mobile Recording Studio. (Image Credit: Sidney O'Reilly)