The Oscars A-Z

by Michael Clancy

It’s that time of the year again. One of the biggest events of the awards season, and the film year, is taking place this Sunday in Hollywood. To get you in the mood for the 85th Academy Awards here is a selection of facts and trivia from the last 85 years of the Oscars.

A is for Adaptation – This Spike Jonze film from the early noughties is the only film for which a fake person, Charlie Kaufman’s fictitious brother Donald Kaufman, has received an Oscar nomination.

B is for the Big Five – The Big Five refers to the awards for best picture, actor, actress, director, and writing. Only three films have received the Big Five – It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

C is for Child and Cooper – In 1931, Jackie Cooper became the youngest actor to receive a nomination, at the age of nine.

D is for Declined – During 84 years of the Oscars, only three actors have declined to accept awards, they are: George C. Scott, Marlon Brando, and Dudley Nichols.

E is for Eleven – Three films, to date, have received eleven Oscars. They are; Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), with The Return of the King being the only film to win every award it received a nomination for, and the first fantasy film to win Best Picture.

F is for Five thousand, seven hundred and fifty-five – this is the number of Academy members who vote for winners by secret ballot.

G is for George – The oldest actor to receive an Oscar was George Burns, who received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the age of 80.

H is for Hepburn – Katherine Hepburn holds the record for most Oscars received by any actor or actress for acting, receiving four Oscars during her lifetime.

I is for An Inconvenient Truth – An Inconvenient Truth is the only documentary film to win an Oscar for Best Original Song. It received the Oscar for the Melissa Etheridge song ‘I Need to Wake Up’.

J is for Jessica – While George Burns was the oldest actor to win an Oscar, the oldest actress was Jessica Tandy, who won an Oscar at the age of 81 for Driving Miss Daisy.

K is for Kathryn – In 2010, director Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for best director – winning for her film The Hurt Locker.

L is for Lowest – Speaking of The Hurt Locker, it is the lowest grossing film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

M is for The Muppets – Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are expected to be presenting an award at the ceremony this weekend.

N is for Newman – Musician Randy Newman holds the record for most nominations before actually receiving an award. He was nominated 15 times before he won Best Original song in 2002. He went on to win a second time in 2011.

O is for Oscar – The statuette weighs 6.75 pounds and is 13.5 inches in height. The name Oscar earned it’s name after Academy librarian Margaret Herrick said that it looked like her uncle Oscar. This is disputed, however, with some claiming that it was in fact Bette Davis who named the golden statuette.

P is for Postponed – During it’s long history, the Academy Awards ceremony has only been postponed three times, the first time was in 1938 because of flooding in L.A.; the second time in 1968, due to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; and the third time in 1981 after an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

Q is for Quite Long – The red carpet in front of the Kodak Theatre, where the awards take place, is 500 feet in length.

R is for Razzy – The Golden Raspberries are a corresponding awards ceremony honoring the worst in film during the preceding year. The ceremony usually takes place the day after the Academy Awards, however, this year the ceremony will take place on the 1st April. Sandra Bullock is the only actress to win both Best Actress and Worst Actress awards in the same year, for The Blind Side and All about Steve respectively.

S is for Streep – Acting powerhouse Meryl Streep has been nominated 17 times for an acting award, the latest nomination being for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. She has been nominated for an acting Oscar more times than any other actor.

T is for Tatum – At the age of 10, Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actress to win an Oscar. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Paper Moon (1974).

U is for Unlucky – By far the unluckiest nominee is sound re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell who has been nominated 20 times…with no wins.

V is for Vito – Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro both won Best Actor Oscars for portraying Don Vito Corleone, in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, respectively. This is the only instance of two actors both winning Best Actor awards for playing the same character in two different movies.

W is for Walt – Walt Disney received 59 Academy Award nominations in his lifetime, of which he won 22. This makes him the person to have received the most nominations and awards.

X is for X-Rated – Midnight Cowboy was the first X-rated film to receive an Oscar for Best Picture.

Y is for Youngest – While Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actress to win an award. Shirley Temple, at the age of 5, was the youngest person to receive an honorary Oscar.

Z is for Zero – Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick were both nominated for numerous Oscars over their careers but won none of them.


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