Skip to main content

10 Interesting Facts About the Oscars

In anticipation to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, which will be held on April 25, I have decided to write a series of articles related to the most prestigious awards in the movie industry. Two weeks ago I talked about the birth of the Academy Awards, and last week I wrote about Wings (1927), the first ever Best Picture winner. For this week, I bring you 10 interesting facts about the Oscars. (Well, at least I hope they're interesting.)
 

 
1. The least and most expensive winners

Barry Jenkins' Moonlight (2017) stands as the lowest-budgeted film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, with a budget of $1.5 million. In contrast, James Cameron's Titanic (1997) is the most expensive winner, with a budget of $200 million.

Bonus fact: Moonlight is also the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.

 
2. Dual nominations for the same role 

Barry Fitzgerald is the only person in history to be nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor (which he ultimately won) for his performance in Leo McCarey's Going My Way (1944). Shortly after this occurrence, the Academy changed the voting rules in order to prevent further dual acting nominations for the same role.

Bonus fact: An avid golfer, Fitzgerald later accidentally decapitated his Oscar while practicing his golf swing. At the time, because of metal shortages brought about by World War II, Oscar statuettes were made of plaster instead of gold-plated bronze. The Academy proceeded to provide him with a replacement statuette.

 
3. The longest acceptance speech 

After being named Best Actress for her performance in Mrs. Miniver (1942), Greer Garson delivered the longest acceptance speech in Oscar history, running for nearly six minutes. She expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome she had received in Hollywood, and said that winning an Academy Award was «the opportunity of a lifetime.»

Bonus fact: Garson's long speech prompted the Academy put a time limit on speeches.

 
4. Nominations in all acting categories

Gregory La Cava's My Man Godfrey (1936) was the the first film to be nominated in all four acting categories, in the first year that supporting categories were introduced. The nominees were William Powell for Best Actor, Carole Lombard for Best Actress, Mischa Auer for Best Supporting Actor and Alice Brady for Best Supporting Actress.

Bonus fact: My Man Godfrey is also the only film in Academy Award history to receive a nomination in all four acting categories and not be nominated for Best Picture.

 
5. The longest winner

At 234 minutes, Gone with the Wind (1939) is the longest of all movies to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The statuette was given to David O. Selznick, the film's producer.

Bonus fact: Gone with the Wind was also the first colour film to win Best Picture.


6. Most foreign language wins

Italy is the country with the most number of wins for Best Foreign Language Film. Since the category was introduced in 1956 as a competitive award, Italy has taken home 11 statuettes. The winning films include 8 1/2 (1963), Cinema Paradiso (1988) and Life is Beautiful (1997).

Bonus fact: Between 1947 and 1955, when the award for Best Foreign Language Film was honorary, Italy won three additional Oscars in that category.


7. Youngest nominee

At just eight years old, Justin Henry received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the son of divorced parents in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). He still remains the youngest actor to be nominated in any category at the Academy Awards.

Bonus fact: Justin Henry is the only actor ever nominated in the same decade as their birth.

 
8. Most acting wins for a single film

To date, no film has won all four of the Academy Awards for acting, but two pictures have received three Oscars in acting categories: Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden all won for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), while Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight won for Network (1976). Since Finch died just two months before the ceremony, his wife, Eletha Barret, accepted the statuette on his behalf.

Bonus fact: Peter Finch was the first of two actors to win a posthumous Academy Award, the other being Heath Ledger for his performance in The Dark Knight (2008).


9. Three-generation winning families 

Two families of filmmakers have become Oscar royalty: the Hustons and the Coppolas. John Huston won Best Director and Best Screenplay for The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948), which also gave his father, Walter Huston, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. His daughter, Anjelica Huston, won Best Supporting Actress for Prizzi's Honor (1985). In turn, Francis Ford Coppola first won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Patton (1970); his father, Carmine Coppola, won for Best Original Dramatic Score for The Godfather: Part II (1974), while his daughter, Sofia Coppola, won for Best Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation (2003).

Bonus fact: Walter Huston and Anjelica Huston's Academy Award-winning performances were both directed by John Huston.


10. A non-English language winner

Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (2019) was the first wholly non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It was also the first South Korean production to be recognized by the Academy.

Bonus fact: Parasite is the only film to have won the Academy Award for both Best Picture and Best International Feature Film.



If you are interested, you can also learn 20 interesting facts about the Oscars.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Golden Couples: Gary Cooper & Patricia Neal

It was April 1948 when director King Vidor spotted 22-year-old Patricia Neal on the Warner Bros. studio lot. A drama graduate from Northwestern University, she had just arrived in Hollywood following a Tony Award-winning performance in Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest . Impressed by Patricia's looks, Vidor approached the young actress and asked if she would be interested in doing a screen test for the female lead in his newest film, The Fountainhead (1949). Gary Cooper had already signed as the male protagonist, and the studio was then considering Lauren Bacall and Barbara Stanwyck to play his love interest.          Neal liked the script and about two months later, she met with the director for sound and photographic tests. Vidor was enthusiastic about Patricia, but her first audition was a complete disaster. Cooper was apparently watching her from off the set and he was so unimpressed by her performance that he commented, « What's that!? » He tried to con

Golden Couples: Henry Fonda & Barbara Stanwyck

In the mid- and late 1930s, screwball comedy was in vogue and practically every actress in Hollywood tried her hand at it. Barbara Stanwyck never considered herself a naturally funny person or a comedienne per se , but after delivering a heart-wrenching performance in King Vidor's Stella Dallas (1937), she decided she needed a « vacation » from emotional dramas. In her search for a role, she stumbled upon a « champagne comedy » called The Mad Miss Manton (1938), originally intended as a Katharine Hepburn vehicle. Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda as Melsa and Peter in The Mad Miss Manton .   Directed by Leigh Jason from a script by Philip G. Epstein, The Mad Miss Manton begins when vivacious Park Avenue socialite Melsa Manton finds a corpse while walking her dogs in the early hours of the morning. She calls the police, but they dismiss the incident — not only because Melsa is a notorious prankster, but also because the body disappears in the meantime. Sarcastic newspaper editor

Films I Saw in 2020

For the past four years, I have shared with you a list of all the films I saw throughout 2016 , 2017 , 2018 and 2019 , so I thought I would continue the «tradition» and do it again in 2020. This list includes both classic and «modern» films, which make up a total of 161 titles. About three or four of these were re-watches, but I decided to include them anyway. Let me know how many from these you have seen. As always, films marked with a heart ( ❤ ) are my favorites. Sherlock Jr. (1924) | Starring Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire and Joe Keaton The Crowd (1928) | Starring James Murray, Eleanor Boardman and Bert Roach Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) | Starring Henry Fonda, Alice Brady and Marjorie Weaver Brief Encounter (1945) | Starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard and Stanley Holloway The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) | Starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman The Girl He Left Behind (1956) | Starring Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood Gidget (1959) | Starring Sandra Dee, Cliff Robertson an

Wings of Change: The Story of the First Ever Best Picture Winner

Wings was the first ever film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since then, it has become one of the most influential war dramas, noted for its technical realism and spectacular air-combat sequences. This is the story of how it came to be made.   A man and his story The concept for Wings originated from a writer trying to sell one of his stories. In September 1924, Byron Morgan approached Jesse L. Lasky, vice-president of Famous Players-Lasky, a component of Paramount Pictures, proposing that the studio do an aviation film. Morgan suggested an «incident and plot» focused on the failure of the American aerial effort in World War I and the effect that the country's «aviation unpreparedness» would have in upcoming conflicts. Lasky liked the idea, and approved the project under the working title «The Menace.»   LEFT: Byron Morgan (1889-1963). RIGHT: Jesse L. Lasky (1880-1958).   During his development of the scenario with William Shepherd, a former war correspondent, Morga

80 Reasons Why I Love Classic Films (Part II)

I started this blog six years ago as a way to share my passion for classic films and Old Hollywood. I used to watch dozens of classic films every month, and every time I discovered a new star I liked I would go and watch their entire filmography. But somewhere along the way, that passion dimmed down. For instance, I watched 73 classic films in 2016, and only 10 in 2020. The other day, I found this film with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. that I had never heard of — the film is Mimi (1935), by the way — and for some reason it made me really excited about Old Hollywood again. It made me really miss the magic of that era and all the wonderful actors and actresses. And it also made me think of all the reasons why I fell in love with classic films in the first place. I came with 80 reasons, which I thought would be fun to share with you. Most of them are just random little scenes or quirky little quotes, but put them together and they spell Old Hollywood to me. Yesterday I posted part one ; here i

Top 10 Favourite Christmas Films

Christmas has always been a source of inspiration to many artists and writers. Over the years, filmmakers have adapted various Christmas stories into both movies and TV specials, which have become staples during the holiday season all around the world. Even though Christmas is my favourite holiday, I haven't watched a lot of Christmas films. Still, I thought it would be fun to rank my top 10 favourites, based on the ones that I have indeed seen. Here they are.  10. Holiday Affair (1949) Directed by Don Hartman, Holiday Affair tells the story of a young widow (Janet Leigh) torn between a boring attorney (Wendell Corey) and a romantic drifter (Robert Mitchum). She's engaged to marry the boring attorney, but her son (Gordon Gebert) likes the romantic drifter better. Who will she choose? Well, we all know who she will choose.   Holiday Affair is not by any means the greatest Christmas film of all time, but it's still a very enjoyable Yule-tide comedy to watch over the holi

The Gotta Dance! Blogathon: Gene Kelly & Judy Garland

In 1940, up-and-coming Broadway star Gene Kelly was offered the lead role in Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's new musical Pal Joey , based on the eponymous novel by John O'Hara about an ambitious and manipulative small-time nightclub performer. Opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Christmas Day of that year, the show brought Gene his best reviews up to that date. For instance, John Martin of The New York Times wrote of him: «A tap-dancer who can characterize his routines and turn them into an integral element of an imaginative theatrical whole would seem to be pretty close, indeed, to unique .»   One of Gene's performances in Pal Joey was attended by established Hollywood star Judy Garland , who requested to meet him after the show. Gene agreed and then accompanied Judy and her entourage, which included her mother Ethel and several press agents, to dinner at the newly-opened Copacabana nightclub, at 10 East 60th Street. They sang and danced until 3 a.m., after whi

Films I Saw in July & August

In the past five years, I shared a year-end list of the films I saw throughout 2016 , 2017 , 2018 , 2019 and 2020 . For 2021, I decided to do this monthly and share a list of the films I saw during each month of the year. These are the films I saw in July and August, which make up a total of 18 titles. As always, films marked with a heart ( ❤ ) are my favourites.   Resistance (2011) | Starring Andrea Riseborough, Tom Wlaschiha and Michael Sheen Siberian Education [Educazione siberiana] (2013) | Starring Arnas Fedaravi čius The Last of Robin Hood (2013) | Starring Kevin Kline and Dakota Fanning The Water Diviner (2014) | Starring Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko and Yılmaz Erdoğan Holding the Man (2015) | Starring Ryan Corr, Craig Stott and Anthony LaPaglia The Last King [Birkebeinerne] (2016) | Starring Jakob Oftebro and Kristofer Hivju The Pass (2016) | Starring Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene Access All Areas (2017) | Starring Ella Purnell, Edward Bluemel and Georgie Henle

The Sinatra Centennial Blogathon: Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly

  In January 1944, MGM chief Louis B. Mayer happened to see a young crooner by the name of Frank Sinatra perform at a benefit concert for The Jewish Home for the Aged in Los Angeles. According to Nancy Sinatra, Frank's eldest daughter, Mayer was so moved by her father's soulful rendition of « Ol' Man River » that he made the decision right then and there to sign Frank to his studio. Sinatra had been on the MGM payroll once before, singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the Eleanor Powell vehicle Ship Ahoy (1942), although it is very likely that Mayer never bothered to see that film. Now that Frank was «hot,» however, Metro made arrangements to buy half of his contract from RKO, with the final deal being signed in February of that year. Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in  Anchors Aweigh Being a contract player at the studio that boasted «more stars than there are in the heavens» gave Frank a sudden perspective regarding his own talents as a film performer. The «g

Films I Saw in May & June

In the past five years, I shared a year-end list of the films I saw throughout 2016 , 2017 , 2018 , 2019 and 2020 . For 2021, I decided to do this monthly and share a list of the films I saw during each month of the year. These are the films I saw in May and June, which make up a total of 16 titles. As always, films marked with a heart ( ❤ ) are my favourites.   Pelle the Conqueror [Pelle Erobreren] (1987) | Starring Pelle Hvenegaard The Elementary School [ Obecná škola] (1991) | Starring Václav Jakoubek Female Agents [Les Femmes de l'ombre] (2008) | Starring Sophie Marceau Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe [Vor der Morgenröte] (2016) | Starring Josef Hader ❤ Cold War [Zimna wojna] (2018) | Starring Tomasz Kot, Joanna Kulig and Borys Szyc Dreamland (2019) | Starring Finn Cole, Margot Robbie, Travis Fimmel and Garrett Hedlund Mr Jones (2019) | Starring James Norton, Vanessa Kirby and Peter Sarsgaard Official Secrets (2019) | Starring Keira Knightley, Matt Smith an