Tomorrow night’s Oscars ceremony marks the Academy Awards’ 89th year of celebrating the best in moviemaking. While some hold Oscar viewing parties similar to those of football fans’ Super Bowl parties, (yes, Meryl Streep, we know you can like both movies and football), here are a few of the lesser known Academy Awards tidbits to help you brush up on your Oscars conversational skills.
Only one person has won an Oscar whose parents were also both Oscar winners.
In 1972, Liza Minelli took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in Cabaret. Minnelli’s Academy Award win was significant in that both her mother, Judy Garland, and father, Vincente Minnelli, each had Oscars of their own.
Judy Garland’s award came in the form of an honorary Oscar in 1940 in what was known as the “Academy Juvenile Award,” recognizing up and coming youth in film. That particular Oscar was only given to 12 actors in 25 years, its last recipient being Hayley Mills in 1960. Garland was nominated for two other Academy Awards for her roles in A Star is Born and Judgment at Nuremberg, but lost both times. Ironically, Garland’s Oscar loss for Judgment was a win for Patty Duke, a child actress at the time. Had the Academy Juvenile Award still been in play, it’s possible Garland could’ve won a grown up Oscar.
Liza’s father, Vincente Minnelli, won in the Best Director category for Gigi in 1958. Vincente was also nominated for the Best Director Oscar for An American in Paris but failed to bring home the gold. To this date, Liza Minnelli is the only person to have won an Academy Award as the child of two Oscar winners.
Only three films have taken all of the top five categories.
There have only been three films to take home all of the Oscars in the five most prominent categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. Those three Academy Award darlings are It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Silence of the Lambs. There’s a slim chance that this year could see another film join this distinction as La La Land has been winning awards left and right.
The most nominated person in Oscar history isn’t an actor.
According to Us Weekly, Walt Disney holds the record for having the most Oscar nods with an astounding 59 nominations. Of those nominations Mr. Disney took home an Oscar 22 times and also received multiple Honorary Academy Awards. While on pace to possibly match Walt for nominations, composer John Williams has been nominated for an Oscar 50 times, according to People. The likelihood that Williams will beat or even match Walt Disney’s feat, however, is probably unlikely. He is 85-years-old and there just aren’t that many Star Wars films on the horizon.
Only one Oscar winner received two Academy Awards for his role in one film.
While a couple of actors have won more than one Oscar for playing a recurring role, there is only one actor who received two Academy Awards for his role in a single film. Actor Harold Russell was an Army instructor who lost both of his hands in an explosives accident while making a training film for his fellow soldiers. Russell sought out a career in films after graduating from Boston University and was cast as Homer Parrish, a Navy sailor who had lost both hands in the war, in the film The Best Years of Our Lives.
Many were moved by Harold’s performance and felt that his recovery was so inspiring he deserved an honorary Oscar. Russell was given the honorary Academy Award for “bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” Though Harold was nominated for Best Supporting actor for his portrayal of Homer, few expected Russell to take home the win. As fate would have it, however, Harold’s name was called and he claimed the 1946 Best Supporting Oscar, too.
The Oscars weren’t originally known as the Oscars.
The Oscars were originally known as the Academy Award of Merit, but the origin of referring to the award as an “Oscar” is less clear. The rumor is that the Academy’s librarian remarked quite often that the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. The moniker reportedly gained some steam in 1934 when, according to The Hollywood Reporter, writer Sidney Skolsky referred to the Katherine Hepburn’s “Oscar” win in a column. The Academy made the name official in 1939.
[Featured image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP.]