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New York Times corrects article about '12 Years a Slave' -- 161 years later

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 6:32 PM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Chiwetel Ejiofor appear in "12 Years a Slave," which won the Oscar for best picture in 2013. For more than 80 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been designating one film the best motion picture of the year. Some of the winners have become classics, while others have been forgotten by all but trivia diehards. Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Chiwetel Ejiofor appear in "12 Years a Slave," which won the Oscar for best picture in 2013. For more than 80 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been designating one film the best motion picture of the year. Some of the winners have become classics, while others have been forgotten by all but trivia diehards.
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A history of Oscar-winning best pictures
'Wings' (1927)
'The Broadway Melody' (1929)
'All Quiet on the Western Front' (1930)
'Cimarron' (1931)
'Grand Hotel' (1932)
'Cavalcade' (1933)
'It Happened One Night' (1934)
'Mutiny on the Bounty' (1935)
'The Great Ziegfeld' (1936)
'The Life of Emile Zola' (1937)
'You Can't Take It With You' (1938)
'Gone With the Wind' (1939)
'Rebecca' (1940)
'How Green Was My Valley' (1941)
'Mrs. Miniver' (1942)
'Casablanca' (1943)
'Going My Way' (1944)
'The Lost Weekend' (1945)
'The Best Years of Our Lives' (1946)
'Gentleman's Agreement' (1947)
'Hamlet' (1948)
'All the King's Men' (1949)
'All About Eve' (1950)
'An American in Paris' (1951)
'The Greatest Show on Earth' (1952)
'From Here to Eternity' (1953)
'On the Waterfront' (1954)
'Marty' (1955)
'Around the World in 80 Days' (1956)
'The Bridge on the River Kwai' (1957)
'Gigi' (1958)
'Ben-Hur' (1959)
'The Apartment' (1960)
'West Side Story' (1961)
'Lawrence of Arabia' (1962)
'Tom Jones' (1963)
'My Fair Lady' (1964)
'The Sound of Music' (1965)
'A Man for All Seasons' (1966)
'In the Heat of the Night' (1967)
'Oliver!' (1968)
'Midnight Cowboy' (1969)
'Patton' (1970)
'The French Connection' (1971)
'The Godfather' (1972)
'The Sting' (1973)
'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)
'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975)
'Rocky' (1976)
'Annie Hall' (1977)
'The Deer Hunter' (1978)
'Kramer vs. Kramer' (1979)
'Ordinary People' (1980)
'Chariots of Fire' (1981)
'Gandhi' (1982)
'Terms of Endearment' (1983)
'Amadeus' (1984)
'Out of Africa' (1985)
'Platoon' (1986)
'The Last Emperor' (1987)
'Rain Man' (1988)
'Driving Miss Daisy' (1989)
'Dances With Wolves' (1990)
'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
'Unforgiven' (1992)
'Schindler's List' (1993)
'Forrest Gump' (1994)
'Braveheart' (1995)
'The English Patient' (1996)
'Titanic' (1997)
'Shakespeare in Love' (1998)
'American Beauty' (1999)
'Gladiator' (2000)
'A Beautiful Mind' (2001)
'Chicago' (2002)
'Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' (2003)
'Million Dollar Baby' (2004)
'Crash' (2005)
'The Departed' (2006)
'No Country for Old Men' (2007)
'Slumdog Millionaire' (2008)
'The Hurt Locker' (2009)
'The King's Speech' (2010)
'The Artist' (2011)
'Argo' (2012)
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The article, published more than 160 years ago, misspelled Solomon Northup's name
  • The New York Times issues a correction, saying a Twitter user pointed out the article
  • Northup's memoir, "12 Years a Slave," won best picture at this year's Oscars

(CNN) -- It's a correction more than 160 years in the making.

In its Tuesday edition, The New York Times published a correction for an article that ran on January 20, 1853.

The newspaper has Hollywood and Twitter to thank for bringing the error to light.

The Times explained that the article in question told the story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

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Northup's memoir, "12 Years a Slave," was turned into a movie that won the best picture Oscar at this year's Academy Awards on Sunday.

Opinion: Why you should see '12 Years a Slave'

The problem was that the 1853 article spelled Northup's name wrong, in two different ways. It appeared as Northrop in the body of the article and Northrup in the headline.

As the Oscars focused attention on "12 Years a Slave," a Twitter user unearthed the old article from The Times archives, and it spread quickly on social media.

"The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives," the correction said.

One of the Twitter users who spotted the mistake is Rebecca Skloot, the author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

After the correction ran, Skloot tweeted, "The irony, of course, is that I'm a terrible speller and proofreader."

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