Awards Timeline
Behind the Awards
The Trophy
Did You Know
Record Holders
Memorable Moments
2009 Nominees
Hangman Game
1. What's in a Name? There are several legends attributed to the "Oscar®" nickname. Betty Davis, claimed to have dubbed the statue with the name because it's backside reminded her of Harmon Oscar® Nelson, her husband. Another story claims the Academy's first librarian, Margaret Herrick, named the award because it reminded her of her uncle Oscar®. In yet another tale, columnist Sidney Skolsky lays claims to making a vaudeville reference when he coined the name in the press. Regardless of its origins, the Academy began officially calling the award Oscar® in 1939.
2. The Academy at War: During WWII, (between1941-1944) the Oscar® statuettes were made out of plaster to conserve metal for the war effort. However, The recipients were allowed to exchange them for metal ones after the war ended.
3. But, who's counting? The Academy began numbering the award statues back in 1949, starting with the number 501.
4. Anonymous Accolades: Statues presented at the award ceremony are unmarked. The Academy takes the award back, engraves the winners' names on them and sends them to the winners.
5. Tuning In: The Academy Awards® were first broadcast over the radio in 1944 then televised in black and white in 1952 on NBC, and in color in 1967. ABC began broadcasting the ceremony in 1975 and is contracted to do so until 2014.
6. The Show Must Go On: The Academy Awards® ceremony were postponed for a week in 1937 due to heavy rains and flooding; for 2 days in 1968 out of respect for the assassination of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.; and again in 1980 for one day, due to the shooting of then President Ronald Reagan.
7. A Private Affair: The first Academy Awards® ceremony was held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929 with tickets costing $0 apiece. Two hundred and fifty people attended, including the 36 founding members of the Academy.
8. Introductions: "And the winner is..." was replaced by the phrase "And the Oscar® goes to..." during the ceremony the 1989 Academy Award® ceremony.
9. And the Oscar® goes to. ... the highest bidder: The Academy frowns upon the sale of Oscar® statues and in 1950 began requiring award winners to sign an agreement preventing them from selling the Oscar® to anyone else except the Academy, and for the price of one dollar. Pre-Fifties Oscar®s make it to the auction block every now and then and in 1999 Michael Jackson shelled out $1.54m to Sotheby's for producer David O. Selznick's 1939, Gone With The Wind Oscar®.
10. The Winner Doth Protest Too Much: Only three people have ever openly refused the Academy Award®. In 1936, when Dudley Nichols won Best Screenplay for The Informer he boycotted the Academy Awards® ceremony because of conflicts between the Academy and the Writer's Guild. In 1971 George C. Scott won Best Actor for Patton and refused the award, declaring the award ceremony to be "a two-hour meat parade". In 1973 Marlon Brando refused his award for Best Actor for The Godfather, because of the U.S. discrimination and mistreatment of Native Americans.
11. No Shows: Despite being nominated 12 times, Katharine Hepburn has only attended the Academy Awards® ceremony only once—in 1974 to present the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to Producer Lawrence Weingarten. Woody Allen is the most nominated screenwriter and has also only attended the Academy Awards® only once—in 2002, in the wake of 9/11 to present a clip about films made in New York and to urge filmmakers to continue productions in New York.
12. A Wooden Performance: Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was presented with an honorary Academy Award® made out of wood for his "outstanding comic creation".
13. Silence is Golden: Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda, Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker, John Mills in Ryan's Daughter, Holly Hunter in The Piano, all won Academy Awards® for non-speaking roles.
14. It's in the Genes: There are only two families that have three generations of Academy Award winners: the Hustons - John, his daughter Angelica, and his father Walter, and the Coppolas - Francis Ford, his daughter Sofia and his father Carmine.
15. In Living Color: 1956 was the first year that all of the Best Picture nominees were in color.