Ooh, Interesting! - Oscars Fascinating Facts

February 26, 2016

We had the BRIT Awards on Wednesday night and the BAFTAs before that, but now it’s the big one, the granddaddy of them all, the one that carries more prestige than all the others (well, if you’re into film and the world of celebrity) is undoubtedly the Oscars. Yes, the darling in the crown of the movie industry, it’s where the great and the good from the world of Hollywood all get together and celebrate the sort of films they never make for the other eleven months of the year. Wonderful. Now let’s make things more interesting by presenting you with a few Academy Awards facts  - it is Awards Month on the blog after all - that you might never have heard before!

You Can’t Sell Your Oscar

This is actually a lie (great start to the blog) because you can sell it but you have to give first dibs to the Academy, who can buy it back for $1. This clause actually runs on and on into eternity seemingly so if, in a hundred years’ time, the family of Meryl Streep are particularly hard up for some cash, they’ll only make $3 by selling their great grandmother’s statuettes. An interesting thing to note however, is that this contract has only been in place since 1950 (winners are made to sign the agreement or they don’t get their award), which might explain why David Copperfield owns 1943 Best Director Oscar for Casablanca, which he bought in 2003 for $232,000.

The Youngest and Oldest Winners are Separated By 72 years

The youngest winner of an Oscar was 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal who won a Best Supporting Actress award for her turn in the brilliant Paper Moon in 1973, where she acted alongside her real-life father Ryan O’Neal. The oldest winner was only a few years ago in 2010; Christopher Plummer picked up the award for his lovely performance in Beginners at the tender age of 82.

Not All Oscars Are Metal

Oscars come in three different forms. The original statuettes were solid bronze, which was then gold-plated. The current version is made from a pewter-like alloy, which is then plated in copper then nickel silver and finally, 24-carat gold. But the most interesting Oscars are the ones produced during three years of World War II. Due to a metal shortage, winners were presented with figures made of painted plaster. Following the war, recipients were invited to redeem the plaster Oscars for a gold plated metal one. Presumably there is still one of these out there somewhere…

The LA Times Ruined the 1940 Oscars Ceremony

Back in 1940, the LA Times somehow found out who had won each and every award for the Oscar prior to the ceremony itself, publishing the details within their newspaper. Breaking the Academy’s embargo brought in the sealed envelope approach that is still used to this day, with only two accountants at Pricewaterhouse Coopers knowing the winners ahead of the awards ceremony. This year, the job falls to Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan. Keep those lips sealed, you two!

One Man’s Entire Filmography Was Nominated for Best Picture

Actor John Cazale was a shining light on Broadway but only ever made five films before succumbing to lung cancer at the age of just 42. Prior to his death, Cazale appeared in The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II (the only sequel to ever win Best Picture), Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Remarkably, Cazale’s character of Fredo Corleone appeared in archival footage in The Godfather Part III in 1990 and as luck would have it, that too was nominated for Best Picture. The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and The Deer Hunter all ended up winning the award.

Be a Minnelli

Presumably Liza Minnelli grew up wanting to be a star. Her mother Judy Garland had won an honorary award in 1939, whilst her father own Best Director for Gigi in 1958. It must be nice to see such successful parents and see that winning an award is achievable. Sure enough, it was! Minnelli won the Best Actress Oscar for Cabaret in 1972. It helps to keep it in the family!

The 88th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday February 28th and you can catch all the action by tuning in at a yawn-inducing time of 1.30am on Sky Movies Oscar (yes, that’s really a channel).

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By Henry Fosdike