Cinema is an essential flair of life. From the raw reality of the society to the indulging fantasies cinema gives us all. It alluringly influences us all and never fails to inform and entertain. Art definitely needs recognition and no matter how many awards come and go, the Academy Awards seem to be the pinnacle. Yes! The Oscars are the big fish in the sea and the hype gets bigger every time the shimmering lights are switched on for the big global event.
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The ebbs and flows of controversies, the Red Carpet, the drama behind the scenes, the absolutely ecstatic victories and the agonizing defeats make the Oscars one extravaganza of an event that is unforgettable. The 95th Oscar Awards are ruling the roost and took place in Los Angeles on the 12th of March 2023. And, with the world now celebrating cinema once again, here are 15 unknown facts that you will find amusing about the history of the Oscar Awards:
1. Not too many at the beginning:
The first ever Academy Awards ceremony was held at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, in 1929, with only 270 people in attendance. The awards were broadcast through radio in 1930 and later on television in 1953.
2. No surprise, surprise:
The very first Oscar Award for Best Actor was awarded to Emil Jannings in 1929. As Jannings couldn’t attend the award ceremony, he was shockingly given the award before the ceremony. In those days, the winners were announced three months before the ceremony. That kind of takes the surprise doesn’t it?
3. The nuances of the Oscars:
Over the years, the Oscar Awards has had many categories and accolades. Currently, there are 24 artistic and technical categories of awards although the number of awards constantly change. Several categories were proposed and rejected due to various reasons.
4. Beyond Gold:
The Oscar Award statuettes were first made of gold-plated solid bronze. The Academy however switched to Britannia metal, an alloy plated in nickel, copper, silver, and 24 karat gold. Surprisingly, during World War II, the awards were made of painted plaster due to a shortage of metals.
Hattie McDaniel would have won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1940, but the racial intricacies she faced in the process proved how unjust society was at the time. They had to convince the hosts to let her in, let alone make her sit at a separate table and away from her white co-stars.
The Oscar Awards were never short of revolutionary moments and trending the #OscarsSoWhite was one among them. In 2015, when the nominations for films only included white actors in major categories, several actors and fans took to social media and exhibited their disappointment. Stalwarts like Will Smith and Spike Lee even threatened to boycott the awards.
7. Age, just a number, not a testimony:
10-year-old Tatum O’ Neal was the youngest Oscar winner when she won the Best Supporting Actress award for her astonishing performance in Paper Moon in 1973, while Sir Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor award for The Father at 83 in 2021.
8. Oscars aplenty:
With her four Academy Award victories, Katherine Hepburn holds the record for most wins in a single performance. Meryl Streep was nominated for a record 21 times having won 3 Awards. Walt Disney was the most honored person in the history of Oscars with 59 nominations throughout the course of his celebrated career.
9. Actions speak for themselves:
When actress Brie Larson was called upon the stage to present the award for the Best Actor at Oscars 2016, her bizarre reaction was one to notice. Larson seemed to be disturbed when she opened the envelope and saw Casey Affleck’s name and didn’t clap for him. Before the ceremony, Casey had been sued for sexually harassing two women. When inquired about her reaction, Larson said: "Whatever I did on stage kind of spoke for itself..."
10. Cero Premios:
Actress Glenn Close was nominated 8 times for the Academy Awards, but is yet to win even once. It was so near yet so far for her.
11. Draw the game:
A tie in the voting count is incredibly rare, but it did happen in 1969. The Award for Best Actress was shared by Katherine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand for their roles in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl, respectively. Ingrid Bergman was shell-shocked when he opened the envelope. However, since Katherine couldn’t attend the ceremony, the stage belonged to Barbra Streisand.
12. Duck, duck, Donald Duck:
Donald Duck in 1958 made history by becoming the first ever non-human host of the Academy Awards. This was actually before CGI technology was available. Riveting, isn’t it?
13. A year without you:
In its rich traditional history, 1933 remains the only year to not have an award ceremony. The Academy changed its qualifying schedule so that movies released from January 1 through December 31 now qualify for recognition. Hence, 1934 was a year when films of the past seventeen months were recognized and awarded.
14. I just pipped ya:
Katherine Bigelow won the Best Picture and the Best Director awards for The Hurt Locker in 2009. She was the first female director to win in either category. Interestingly, her ex-husband James Cameron’s Avatar was also nominated.
15. It happened one night!:
It Happened One Night (1934) was the first film that swept five major Academy Awards. The film not being a front-runner before the Oscars surprised the audience and shone brightly.