It’s arguably the most important date in Hollywood’s diary, when the A-list elite mingle with fresh-faced rising stars on the red carpet before hoping and praying that tonight will be the night they get their hands on an iconic statuette.
For us civilians – as we wait with baited breath for the 87th Academy Award nominations to be announced – it’s a world we can only dream off. What we can do, is impress our friends/colleagues/popcorn vendor with our insider knowledge on film’s most prestigious ceremony.
It’s time to brush up on your Oscars general knowledge. And the award for most fascinating Academy Award fact goes to…
1. The award’s official name is Academy Award of Merit.
2. An Oscar statuette weighs 8.5 pounds and is 13.5 inches tall.
3. 2,947 Oscar statuettes have been presented since the first Academy Awards.
4. It takes three to four weeks for R. S. Owens & Company in Chicago to manufacture 50 statuettes each year.
5. The origins of the nickname Oscar is unclear, but a popular story is that Academy librarian Margaret Herrick remarked that the statue resembled her Uncle Oscar.
6. Due to a metal shortage during World War II, Oscars were made of painted plaster for three years.
7. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on 16th May 1929 with 270 attendees. Winners were announced three months earlier.
8. The Oscars ceremony was televised for the first time in 1953, shown in colour for the first time in 1966 and broadcast internationally from 1969.
9. The ceremony has been postponed three times, once due to flooding in LA in 1938, a second time in 1968 out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated a few days earlier and a third time in 1981 because of a the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
10. The first ever recipient of an Oscar statuette was Emil Jannings, named best actor for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh in 1929.
11. Ben-Hur, Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King jointly hold the record for the most awards won by a single film. They’ve all picked up 11 gongs.
12. Titantic and All About Eve have received the most nominations, with 14 each.
13. Walt Disney was nominated a total of 59 times, and picked up 22 Oscars, more than any other man. He also won the most Oscars in one year: four in 1954.
14. Emma Thompson is the only person to win an Academy Award for acting AND writing.
15. With four trophies, Katherine Hepburn has won the most best actress awards while Daniel Day-Lewis holds the record for the most best actor wins, with three.
16. Meryl Streep holds the record for the actor with the most acting nominations, with 18. (That’s 19, after today’s announcement!)
17. James Dean is the only actor to receive two posthumous nominations, for Giant and East of Eden.
18. Most nominated actor with no statuette to show for it is Peter O’Toole. He was unsuccessfully nominated eight times before picking up an honorary gong in 2003.