Wednesday, February 03, 2010

10 Things you should know about the Oscars

The nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards are in and I'd thought I would provide a little background on the "little golden man" so many people have their eye on.

1. During the first ten years of the Academy Awards, the results were provided to newspapers the night of the ceremony so the might could be published the next day. In 1940, the LA Times decided to publish the results before the ceremony, resulting in the sealed envelopes we see today.

2. Upon winning, many people remark on the weight of the award. In reality, the statue weighs 8.5 pounds and is composed of 92.5% tin and 7.5% copper and is only plated in gold.

3. The Oscar statuette is done in an art deco style, holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The spokes represent the original branches of the Academy, Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Technicians.

4. The Oscar statuette is modeled on a real person. Cedric Gibbons, MGM's art director, supervised the design of the award but needed a model. His wife Dolores del Rio introduced him to Mexican film director Emilio "El Indio" Fernández. Fernández was eventually convinced to pose nude and the result is the current statue.

5. During WWII, in support of the war effort and because of the shortage of metal, the Oscars were made of plaster. Actors could then turn these in to the Academy for the real deal after the war.

6. Since 1950 all winners and their heirs are legally bound from selling their awards without first offering it to the Academy for $1US. If a winner refuses to sign this agreement, the Academy keeps the award. Prior to 1950, Oscars have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

7. Not everyone votes for every award. Technicians vote for the technical awards, Directors vote for Best Director but everyone votes on Best Picture.

8. Only three people in the history of the awards have refused their Oscar. In 1935, Dudley Nichols, a writer for The Informer, refused because the Writers Guild was on strike.

George C. Scott won in 1971 for Patton but said the ceremony was "a two-hour meat parade."

Marlon Brando won in 1972 for The Godfather and refused his Oscar because of the poor depiction of First Nations in movies.

9. In the 82 years since the ceremony began, some awards have gone missing and have even been stolen. Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress in Gone with the Wind and when she died she willed her Oscar to Howard University. But the Oscar went missing during racial unrest on campus in the 1960s. So far, the Academy has refused to reissue the Oscar to the University.

Other Oscar winners Several Oscar winners had their statuettes stolen: Alice, Brady, Whoopi Goldberg, William Hurt, and Orson Weles. Margaret O’Brien got her stolen statue back after it went missing for 20 years.

10. Before 1950, child actors like Shirley Temple, have received miniature Oscars called Juvenile Awards. When Walt Disney won for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he recieved one regular size Oscar and seven little ones. Edgar Bergen, a well known ventriloquist, received an honourary Oscar made of wood with a moveable mouth.

1 comment:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love this post - it's so fun - I didn't know the Oscars looked so Art Deco-esque close up.

And by the way, I never have been able to leave a comment before using Safari, and then tonight just to be daring I decided to try Firefox, and now I can do it. Interesting.....