Special Report

Why the ‘Oscars’ and Other Little Known Fun Facts About the Academy Awards

John Phillips / Getty Images

The popularity of the Academy Awards has declined in recent years. The ceremony ins 2018 was the one of the least-watched Oscars broadcast, with nearly half as many people tuning in as four years prior. The show will not have a host for a third year in a row.

Yet, despite the recent troubles, the Oscars are still the most anticipated awards ceremony in entertainment.

Oscar fans tend to have favorite portions or aspects of the show. Some tune in to see what Hollywood’s biggest stars will be wearing on the red carpet. Others watch for the musical performances or for the annual reflections on those who passed. Of course, we have all also come to expect the unexpected from the show, and many look forward to each year’s most newsworthy happenings. These are 25 of the Oscars’ most egregious snubs.

For all the elements of the show we love and enjoy, there are numerous facts about the Oscars that are unknown. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded 94 years ago, and in this time it has developed a rich history. 24/7 Tempo has identified 30 little known facts about the nation’s most popular entertainment event – including just why the iconic trophy is called an “Oscar” in the first place.

Click here to see why it’s called the ‘Oscar’ and other fun facts

Source: Carlo Allegri / Getty Images

1. Why is it called ‘Oscar?’

According to the academy, one of the most popular explanations for the name “Oscar” dates back to at least 1934. Prior to her position as executive director, then-academy librarian Margaret Herrick remarked upon first seeing the statue that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. It wasn’t until five years later that the academy adopted the nickname.

The trophy’s official name, however, is the Academy Award of Merit.


Source: Mike Windle / Getty Images

2. Hidden in plain view

Kate Winslet claims to keep her Oscar in her bathroom, where her guests are sure to encounter it. Winslet won the best actress award in 2009 for her role in “The Reader.”

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

3. What about Brando?

Marlon Brando, on the other hand, claimed to have lost — or never received — his two Oscars for best actor, which he was awarded for his work in “On the Waterfront” and “The Godfather.”

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

4. Breaking boundaries

1969’s “Midnight Cowboy,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, is the only X-rated film to ever win best picture.


Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

5. A shooting star

Actor John Cazale appeared in only five feature films before passing away at age 42 from lung cancer. Each of the movies he appeared in — “The Godfather” (1972), “The Conversation” (1974), “The Godfather: Part II” (1974), “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975), and “The Deer Hunter” (1978) — was nominated for an Oscar.

Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

6. Take five

Only three films have ever taken home all five of the most coveted Oscars: best picture, actor, actress, director, and writing. Those films are: “It Happened One Night” (1935), “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1976), and “The Silence Of The Lambs” (1992).


Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

7. Bad luck streak

Sound re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell was nominated for an Oscar 20 times without winning once, setting the record for most nominations without a win. This changed in 2017, when he won the award for best achievement in sound mixing for his work on “Hacksaw Ridge.”

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

8. All in the family

Liza Minnelli, who won best actress for her work in “Cabaret” (1972), is the only Oscar winner whose parents — Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli — also won Oscars.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

9. Where dreams come true

Walt Disney is the most honored person in academy history. Disney was nominated 59 nominations and won 26.


Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

10. Something for the kids

Until it was discontinued in 1962, the academy would periodically award the pint-sized Academy Juvenile Award for most outstanding child talent. The first winner of this award was Shirley Temple in 1935. Other winners included Judy Garland and Hayley Mills.

Source: Kristian Dowling / Getty Images

11. Oscar for sale-not

Oscar winners are technically allowed to sell their trophies — with only one catch. They must first offer it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for just $1, per academy rules.


Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

12. In glorious technicolor

The first color film to win best picture was “Gone With the Wind” in 1940. At 234 minutes, it’s also the longest film to win the much coveted award.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

13. Pathfinder

Hattie McDaniel, the daughter of freed slaves, won the Oscar in 1940 for best supporting actress, the first Academy Award won by an African-American actor.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

14. Breaking news

The Oscar winners’ names used to be given to the press ahead of the ceremony, with the understanding that they wouldn’t publish the winners until after the ceremony. This changed in 1940, when the “Los Angeles Times” published the winners in its evening edition — before the ceremony had even begun.


Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

15. Scott’s principled rejection

In 1971, George C. Scott refused to accept his award for best actor in “Patton.” The actor cited his disagreement with the academy’s voting process and the reduction of acting to a competition.

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

16. Without peer

Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar more than any other actor in academy history.


Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

17. Every man Jack

Jack Nicholson is the most nominated male performer, with 12 nominations. He’s won three times.

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

18. Denzel’s distinction

Denzel Washington is the only African-American actor to win two Academy Awards. He won a best supporting actor award for his work in “Glory” in 1989, and received won a best actor Oscar for “Training Day” in 2001. He’s been nominated nine times, more than any other African-American actor.

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

19. Making it look easy

Katharine Hepburn has won four Oscars, the most of any actress, taking home awards for her work in the movies “Morning Glory” (1933), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), and “On Golden Pond” (1981). She was nominated a total of 12 times.


Source: Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

20. The quiet man

When it comes to directing, John Ford is king. The director won the award for best director four out of the five times he was nominated. He won for his films “The Informer” (1935), “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “How Green Was My Valley” (1941), and “The Quiet Man” (1952).

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

21. The strong, silent type

Three actors have won Oscars for playing characters with no spoken lines. Jane Wyman won best actress for her portrayal of a deaf mute in “Johnny Belinda” (1948), Sir John Mills won best supporting actor for his role as a mute in “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970), and Holly Hunter won best actress for her portrayal of a mute in “The Piano” (1993).


Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

22. By popular demand

Cinematographer Hal Mohr is the only person to win an award via write-in votes, as opposed to being nominated and then selected by voters. Even though he was not officially nominated, Mohr took home the award for best cinematography at the 1936 Academy Awards for his work on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

23. An offer they couldn’t refuse

Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster epic “The Godfather: Part II” (1974) is the only sequel to have won the Academy Award for best picture.

Source: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

24. Better with age

The oldest actor to ever win an Oscar was Christopher Plummer, who won the award for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for his work in “Beginners.” At the time he was 82. Plummer, who was nominated for the same award at 88 for his work in “All the Money in the World,” is the oldest nominated actor as well.


Source: Express / Getty Images

25. The wrong man

Alfred Hitchcock, the acclaimed director of films such as “Rear Window” (1954) and “Psycho” (1960), was nominated for best director five times, yet never won.

Source: Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

26. Popular music

With a total of 51 nominations, composer John Williams has been recognized by the academy more than any other living person. His most recent nomination was last year for his “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” score.


Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

27. Gone too soon

Heath Ledger and Peter Finch are the only actors to receive an Academy Award posthumously. Ledger won for best supporting actor in “The Dark Knight” (2008) and Finch won for best actor for “Network” (1976).

Source: Z Arthur / Wikimedia Commons

28. And the Oscar goes to …Oscar

Composer Oscar Hammerstein II is the only person named Oscar to win an Oscar. He won for his song “The Last Time I Saw Paris” in the movie “Lady Be Good” (1941).

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

29. Coming up empty

In Oscar history, two movies tied for the record of the most nominations without a win. “The Turning Point” (1977) and “The Color Purple” (1985) both got 11 Oscar nominations but failed to win.


Source: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

30. A class by himself

Daniel Day-Lewis is the only person to have three best actor Oscars. He won for “My Left Foot” (1989), “There Will Be Blood” (2007), and “Lincoln” (2012).

Take This Retirement Quiz To Get Matched With An Advisor Now (Sponsored)

Are you ready for retirement? Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, that’s why it could be a good idea to speak to a fiduciary financial advisor about your goals today.

Start by taking this retirement quiz right here from SmartAsset that will match you with up to 3 financial advisors that serve your area and beyond in 5 minutes. Smart Asset is now matching over 50,000 people a month.

Click here now to get started.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.