I like to think I know Oscar pretty well, I’ve been watching and studying his history for the past 25 years. In that time, I’ve learned a few things. Here are a few of them:
* THE MOST TOYS
Meryl Streep has been nominated for acting more times than anyone else. Since 1978 she’s been nominated a whopping 19 times – fifteen times for Leading roles and four for Supporting. YET, her win ratio doesn’t come close to that. In 36 years she has won three times; first for Supporting Actress in 1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer. Then in 1983 for Sophie’s Choice and then again 29 years later for The Iron Lady. The man with the most Acting nominations is Jack Nicholson, who has 12.
* SPOILER ALERT!
For the first ten years of the Academy Awards, the winners were announced in advance, at the same time as the nominees.
* DOUBLE THE LOVE
Michael Douglas actually has two Academy Awards. Everyone knows that he won Best Actor in 1988 for Wall Street, but less known is that he received an Oscar for Best Picture as one of the producers of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Douglas is actually 2 for 2, he’s won both awards for which he’s been nominated. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
* SWEET MUSIC
John Williams was first nominated in 1968 for Valley of the Dolls and won two years later for Fiddler on the Roof. Williams is a living legend, of course, in nearly half a century composing some of the greatest music in movie history, he’s been nominated for the Oscar 50 times, more than any living person. He received his 50th nomination this year for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Yet, he’s only won five Oscars for Fiddler on the Roof (1972), Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), E.T. (1982) and Schindler’s List (1993).
* THE HAPPIEST OSCAR WINNER ON EARTH
Walt Disney received more Academy Awards then any single person with 28. In 1938, he was given a special award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, wherein he was presented with an Oscar and seven mini-Oscars.
* LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Winners are always asked “Where will you keep your Oscar?” Jennifer Lawrence didn’t feel right keeping her Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” in the house so she gave it to her mother. Most actresses report that they keep their Oscar in the bathroom. The most bizarre prize goes to Russell Crowe who said he keeps his Oscar for Gladiator in his chicken coop.
* HEIL OSCAR!
The very first Best Actor winner was German actor Emil Jannings who won the award for two films, The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh (in those days actors won for more than one film). That is what The Academy would like you to know. What they don’t want you to know is that when he got back to Germany he spent much of his later career making propaganda films for the Nazi Party.
* WALKING AWAY WITH THE AWARD
One Oscar was stolen during the show. At the 10th Annual Academy Awards, actress Alice Brady was unable to attend the ceremony due to a broken ankle, yet she won the award for her supporting role in the western drama In Old Arizona. During the ceremony an unidentified man walked up to the podium and accepted the award on her behalf. When she called the Academy to say that she had not received her Oscar, it was revealed that the man was had been an impostor who had crashed the party, accepted her award and walked off with it. Brady died of cancer before the Academy could issue a replacement. Neither the stolen Oscar nor the man who walked away with it were ever seen or heard from again.
The Oscar statue is 13.5 inches high and weighs 8.5 pounds. That’s about the same weight as a gallon of milk.
* TO BE A NOMINEE . . .
In order to qualify for an Academy Award for Best Picture, a film must have had a week-long run in a commercial movie theater in the county of Los Angeles between January 1st and December 31st , and must have a run time of more than 40 minutes. It must also have run in that commercial theater first; if it ran on television, it is disqualified.
* OSCAR BITES!
Sacheen Littlefeather, the 26 year-old Apache woman who went onstage at the 46th Annual Academy Awards to turn down Marlon Brando’s Oscar for The Godfather due to the treatment of American Indians by the film industry, was actually Maria Cruz, a half-Apache activist who had been protesting against the American government refusal to answer claims made by American Indians. Somewhere in all the activism however, she found time to be a contestant in the 1970 Miss American Vampire contest, which she won. Later, in need of money, she posed for Playboy.
* THANKS FOR NOTHING!
Kirk Douglas spent ten years trying to bring Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to the screen, even going so far as the buy up the rights with his own money. It wasn’t until 1974 that son Michael became one of the film’s producers that the film got the green light. With that, Kirk was sure that Michael would cast the old man in the lead, but the studio felt that the actor was too old and cast Jack Nicholson instead. Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas and the movie all won Academy Awards the following year.
* OH YES, THEY CALL HIM THE STREAK
The famous “Streaker,” the man who ran naked across Oscar’s stage at the 46th Annual Academy Awards was a man named Robert Opel who owned an art gallery in San Francisco. Opel had gained a backstage pass by pretending to be a journalist. Presenter David Niven was onstage when Opel appeared from stage right flashing a peace sign and, well, everything else. Niven was so casual about the incident that many wondered if the stunt wasn’t planned by the academy to liven a dull show. Openly gay, Opel was known around San Francisco for his flamboyant style, his Anita Bryant Look-a-like contests and would later streak at parties given by Rudolph Nureyev and Marvin Hamlisch. Nine years after his infamous stunt, Opel was murdered in his gallery by two men whom he supposedly owed drug money.