9 Things you definitely didn’t know about the Oscars

 

1. The first Oscars ceremony was a very private affair.

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Ok, so they still aren’t open to the general public, sorry movie fans, but back in the day, 1929 to be more specific, tickets to the show cost just $5! The first ceremony, which was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was a private dinner with just 270 people in attendance. A total of just 15 statues were awarded and the ceremony was a mere 15 minutes! Today it is a royal affair, with people glued to their television screens to not only see who takes home the titles, but what the stars are wearing and who they arrived with.

2. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King made the largest sweep in movie history.

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Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King made the largest sweep in Oscars history when it won every award it was nominated for. The 2003 installment of the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy won all 11 categories for which it was nominated. These included: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Makeup, Costume Design, Original Score, Original Song, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects and Film Editing. It shares the record for most Academy Awards won for a single film alongside Ben Hur and Titanic. The film even went on to pick up four Golden Globes, five BAFTAs, two MTV Movie Awards, two Grammy Awards, and nine Saturn Awards.

3. Two actors received Oscars after their death.

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English actor Peter Finch passed away from cancer aged 60. At the time of his death he was nominated and won the award for Best Actor for his work in The Network at the 49th annual Academy Awards show in 1977. The second occurrence was in 2008 when Australian superstar Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for his critically acclaimed portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Other posthumous nominations include Jeanne Eagels who was nominated for Best Actress in The Letter and James Dean who was nominated for Best Actor for his work in East of Eden.

4. The youngest Academy Award honoree was just 6 years old!

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A bright-faced little Shirley Temple is the youngest honoree in Oscars history. In 1935, the then 6-year-old Shirley Temple was honored with the very first Juvenile Award to honor her contributions to the film industry during the year in 1934. The youngest official winner of an Academy Award however, is Tatum O’Neal who took home the award for Best Actress in a Supporting role for her work in Paper Moon when she was just 10 years of age! Despite other - younger -  nominees breaking onto the scene, O’Neal has successfully held onto this record for 41 years!

5. The award was named by a librarian.

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The name 'Oscar' was given to the Academy Award statuette by a woman named Margaret Herrick. Herrick was the Academy librarian. Upon first seeing the statuettes, in 1931, she remarked "Why it looks like my Uncle Oscar!" Margaret Herrick later went on to become the Director of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Famed columnist Sidney Skolsky claims to have been there when she stated this and would later write in a New York Daily News Article that “Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette ‘Oscar’”, thus releasing the moniker into the public mindset.

6. Marlon Brando REFUSED his Oscar for The Godfather.

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In 1972, Marlon Brando took on the role Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor, won and refused to claim it. Instead, he sent a young Native-American woman by the name of Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to read a prepared statement.  In 1974, Robert De Niro, portrayed the same character of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II. They are the only two actors who played the same character in two separate films and both earned an Academy Award for their performances. The Godfather Part II and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers are also the only sequels to ever receive a win for Best Picture.

7. If a winner wants to sell their trophy they must first offer it to the Academy…for $1!

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When an Oscar winner is presented with their award, they must first sign an agreement which states that if they wish to eventually sell their statuette(s) they must first offer them to the Academy for just $1. If they refuse to sign this agreement, they cannot keep their trophy. This odd rule has been in effect since 1950. This means that sometimes older statues can appear on the open market. Staying true to his word, in 2001, Steven Spielberg bought Bette Davis' Oscar for $578,000 and donated it back to the Academy. Michael Jackson also purchased an award for more than $1 million in 1999.

8. The Oscar statuette is covered in real 24-carat gold!

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The Academy Award statuette, better known as the Oscar, stands at 13.5 inches (34.29 cm) tall and weighs 8.5 pounds (3.8 kgs). Although the name, Oscar, only came about in 1931, the statuette itself has existed since the first awards ceremony in 1929. The official full name though is the Academy Award of Merit. The Oscar trophy is made up of tin, copper and antimony, with a thick covering of 24-carat gold. During World War II, however, Oscar winners were awarded statuettes that were made from plaster instead of gold, in public recognition of the ongoing war effort. 

9. Oscars winners used to be announced BEFORE the ceremony!

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In the early days of the Academy Awards, the Academy kept the results completely under wraps. The only ones allowed to know the winners are the newspapers in order for them to be able to accurately publish the list of winners at 11 p.m. on the night of the awards ceremony. However, in 1940, The Los Angeles Times published the results in advance of the awards show, thus spoiling the winners before the ceremony even had the chance to get underway. The Academy, furious at the betrayal, responded by sealing the results in envelopes from then on, with their content kept completely secret until they are opened on stage by the announcers during the show.