Oscar fever is in the air! The dresses, the drama, the hysteria, the hype! Whether you’re stayeing up all night to watch the ceremony or you don’t really care about who won what, these Oscar facts are fascinating. There are even a few about South Africa.
*Don’t worry, we’ve made sure this article is spoiler free, so if you’re looking forward to watching the awards ceremony on TV tonight, this article is safe!
All about Oscar
1. Disappointingly, there has only been one Oscar winner named Oscar: Oscar Hammerstein II, a renowned theatre producer and director, won 2 awards for best song, the first in 1941 and the other in 1945.
2. No one really knows where the nickname for the golden Academy Award statue came from, but popular culture gives credit to Academy Award librarian and future Director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick. She thought the golden man looked like her Uncle Oscar, and the term stuck. The official name for the statue is the Academy Award of Merit.
3. An Oscar is almost 35cm high and weighs just shy of 4kg. It’s made from a metal alloy and plated in 24-carat gold, which means this year’s statue is worth around $696 (close to R9000).
4. During World War II because of wartime metal shortages, the awards were made from painted plaster. But don’t worry, after the war the winners were given a chance to swap their plaster statues for gold-plated ones.
5. For the last 2 years, the Oscars have been made by a small fine art foundry in New York state. It took 3 and a half months to make the 50 statues required for this year’s event and apparently all 80 employees had a part to play in producing them.
Show me the money!
6. It’s Jimmy Kimmel’s second time hosting the Academy Awards this year, and he also hosted the Emmys in 2016, making Jimmy the first person to host the Emmys and the Oscars in the same awards cycle. And his fee for getting dressed up and cracking jokes? Around $15 000 or just over R193 000.
7. If you’d like your advert to appear on TV during the live broadcast of the annual show, you’ll have to fork out $2.1 million (or R27 million!) for just 30 seconds.
8. Apparently the entertainment extravaganza that is the Academy Awards ceremony cost around $42.8m to produce this year (that’s a cool R552 million).
9. The first Oscars ceremony (May 16 1929) was over in just 15 minutes! It holds the record for the shortest ceremony, and there were 12 categories (now there are 25). Tickets cost $5 (around $75 or just under R1000 in today’s money). That first Best Picture winner was Wings, a silent movie about World War One pilots directed by William Wellman. It cost $2 million to produce — making it the most expensive movie of its time.
10. Rocky had one of the smallest budgets for an Oscar winning movie. It cost around $1m to make and has earned around $225m so far – a return of around 11 000 per cent! It won 3 Oscars in 1977 including the coveted Best Picture title.
11. 2017 was the first year in which black actors have been nominated in every acting category.
12. Walt Disney holds the title of most Academy Awards won by an individual — he racked up 22 Oscars and 4 honorary awards. He is also the most nominated person with 59 nominations!
13. Composer John Williams has more Academy Awards nominations than any other living person. With an astounding 50 nominations (and five wins) to his name, he is an Oscar veteran. If you’re wondering who he is, he composed the iconic scores for films like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones.
14. Katherine Hepburn holds the record for most number of acting Oscars won by a single person. She won Best Actress for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1982). She was nominated 12 times in total.
15. The actor with the most Oscar nominations is Meryl Streep — she has won 3 times and has been nominated for an incredible 20 awards!
16. There were 440,000 #Oscars tweets per-minute when Leonardo di Caprio won Best Actor last year for his performance in The Revenant.
17. After nabbing Best Actress for Cabaret (1972), Liza Minnelli became the only Acadamy Award winner with Oscar-winning parents. Her mom, Judy Garland, received an honorary award in 1939 and her dad, Vincente Minnelli, won Best Director for Gigi (1958). She still holds this title.
18. Last year, the musical La La Land was nominated for 14 awards, which means it shares the title of most nominated film with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950).
19. The coveted title of most Academy Awards won by a movie is also shared — 3 films have won 11 Academy Awards: Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The Return of the King is also the only movie to have won all 11 awards for which it was nominated, another Academy Awards record.
20. 10 musicals have won the prize for Best Picture – the last to win was Chicago in 2002.
21. An animated film has never won Best Picture. Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009) and Toy Story 2 (2010) were all nominated for Best Picture, but they didn’t win.
There’s no place like home
22. South Africa can take credit for 2 Oscar wins — 1 when Charlize Theron won Best Actress for Monster (2003) and the other when Tsotsi (2005) won the Best Foreign Language Film. Margaret Sixel (a South African-born Australian) also won for Best Editing in a Feature Film for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). We’re just going to go ahead and take credit for that one too.
23. South Africa submitted a film for the 2017 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category — but unfortunately, Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief) did not get a nomination. Set in the Cape Flats in the 60s, it tells the story of a young man who is going to be hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. Watch the trailer and see what you think:
24. The title of longest Oscar speech ever given goes to Greer Garson in 1942 after accepting the award for Best Actress. She spoke for nearly six minutes, and shortly afterwards the Academy created the 45-second acceptance speech guideline (which is still frequently disregarded).
25. The lowest rated Oscars ceremony happened in 2008 – with just 32 million viewers tuning in to watch Jon Stewart host the awards. The highest rated ceremony belongs to 1998. 55 million people watched Titanic take home 11 awards and Billy Crystal was the host.
26. Apparently, Donald Trump did not watch the Oscars last year. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had this to say on the topic: “I think the president will be hosting the Governors Ball that night. Mrs. Trump looks forward to putting on a phenomenal event … and I have a feeling that’s where the president and first lady are going to be focused on on Sunday night”
27. The longest film to win Best Picture was Gone with the Wind (1939). Including the credits, it runs for a whopping 238 minutes (just under 4 hours!).
28. The Academy Awards that took place in 2002 holds the dubious title of longest ceremony — clocking in at a marathon 4 hours and 16 minutes long.
29. The movie that has won the Best Picture category with the worst Rotten Tomatoes ranking is The Broadway Melody — which won Best Picture in 1929 and has a ranking of 35%. Rotten Tomatoes is a pretty reliable movie ranking site. And although it’s probably a bit harsh to judge such an old film by today’s standards, the internet is a tough place!
Senior digital editor at Caxton Digital – online guru, straight shooter behind the keyboard (and in real life) and a devoted lover of cake.