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Oscars 2012: 15 Icons Recount the Night That Changed Their Lives Forever

They all went home with a little gold man -- and now reveal what happened that night and how the win affected their career.

Joe Pugliese

This story originally appeared in the March 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

THR’s explores the historic past of the annual Academy Awards with photographs and interviews with some of Oscar’s most legendary winners recounting their big nights.

PHOTOS: 15 Oscar Icons

Michael Douglas recounts stepping out of the shadow of his iconic father by reaching the Oscar stage as a producer on best picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Helen Mirren explains the first-time nominee mistake she made in 2007, when she won best actress for playing Elizabeth II in The Queen. Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Cameron Diaz chat about Shrek, the cartoon movie that got its fairytale ending when it became the first winner of the best animated film category in 2002.

The icons who work behind the camera also share their unexpected paths -- and often unexpected feelings --on the Oscar stage. Ang Lee, who became the first (and still only) non-Caucasian filmmaker to win best director, reveals that his heart sank when his film was beat by Crash for best picture. Similarly, scribe Robert Towne said he felt "nothing but guilty" when he claimed gold on Oscar night in 1975 for best screenplay for Chinatown, since the Roman Polanski-helmed project lost in all the other categories it was nominated in.

With less than one week until the 84th Academy Awards, THR takes a trip down memory lane with some of film's greatest icons.

  1. The Legacy

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  2. The Crown Jewel

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  3. The Trailblazer

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  4. The Storytellers

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  5. The War Buddies

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  6. The Underdogs

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  7. The Green Team

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