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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.


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