Valentine's Day 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most unlikely Oscar winners -- and equally unlikely Valentine's Day weekend movies -- in cinema history. ---
The Silence of the Lambs, an adaptation of Thomas Harris' second Hannibal Lecter novel by screenwriter Ted Tally and director Jonathan Demme, made it's debut on Feb. 14, 1991. It instantly became a pop-culture phenomenon, with an iconic performance by Anthony Hopkins as the culturally-refined, brilliant cannibal who helps FBI profiler Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) track down a serial killer. But it was hardly the kind of movie that one generally associates with Academy Awards success. A horror movie, getting the imprimatur of respectability from the tradition-bound Academy?
Yet not only did Silence earn a Best Picture win, it became only the third film in history -- and the most recent -- to sweep the Big Five categories of Picture, Director (Demme), Screenplay (Tally), Actor (Hopkins) and Actress (Foster). So in recognition of its accomplishments, celebrate your romantic dinner with that special someone tonight by offering a menu of liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti.