It looks like my Uncle Oscar...
On February 24, cinema’s elite will gather at the Dolby Theatre on the corner of Hollywood and Highland for The Oscars ®. Some will walk away holding the iconic gold statuette while others will dutifully say it was an honor just to be nominated.
The Academy Awards® started in 1929 when the first winners were honored at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, three months after their awards were announced. In 1929 the Oscars bore only a slight resemblance to what they are today. There were only 12 awards. Winners were selected for their work in a specific film, for their work in several films or for their body of work for the year. That year’s Best Actress, Janet Gaynor, won for 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise. There were also two best director awards, one for Directing (Comedy Picture) and the other for Directing (Dramatic Picture). There was even a writing award for the titles used in silent films. The winner for Outstanding Picture was Wings, the first and only silent film to win (unless you count last year’s The Artist).
Here is a little Oscar trivia: The Oscar statuette is 13.5 inches high and is officially named “The Academy Award of Merit.” How the award got its nickname, Oscar, is a matter of speculation. Some stories say it was coined by Bette Davis whose husband’s name was Harmon Oscar Nelson. The most common story is that the award was named by the Academy’s librarian Margaret Herrick who saw the statuette and reportedly remarked “it looks just like my uncle Oscar.” No matter its origin, the name stuck and has been officially used by the Academy since 1939.
Fast forward to 2013 Oscar trivia.
- All five best supporting actor nominees (Alan Arkin in Argo, Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln and Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained are previous Oscar winners.
- Silver Linings Playbook is the first film since Warren Beatty's 1981 epic Reds to earn spots in all four acting categories as well as best picture, director and screenplay.
- Daniel Day-Lewis is the second actor to get a Best Actor nomination for portraying Abraham Lincoln. The first was Raymond Massey in 1941.
- Nine year old Quvenzhané Wallis is the youngest actor ever nominated in a lead role for her work in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Wallis is competing against the oldest ever Best Actress nominee, 85-year old Emmanuelle Riva, who is nominated for Amour.
- Les Misérables is the first musical nominated for Best Picture since Chicago won in 2002. As a genre, the musical is no longer a surefire Oscar bet. Before Chicago, the last musical to win was Oliver in 1968, but between 1958 and 1968 five of the best pictures were musicals.
- It runs in the (Coppola) family – The co-writer of Moonrise Kingdom, Roman Coppola, is the sixth member of this Hollywood clan to be nominated for an Oscar. He follows in the footsteps of Francis Ford Coppola, Talia Shire, Nicolas Cage, Carmine Coppola and Sofia Coppola.
- Steven Spielberg is the first person ever nominated for best director in five different decades. Amazingly, no actor or actress has ever won an Oscar in a Spielberg film, but that is likely to change at this year’s awards.
By the time the clock chimes midnight on February 24 the winners of the 85th Academy Awards, except maybe Wallis and Riva if they win, will be making the rounds to all the post-Oscar festivities and posing with their newfound “BFF.” The rest of us will be headed off to bed so we can get to work the next morning and discuss with our co-workers if Seth MacFarlane was an Oscar-worthy host.
Don’t miss... The Oscar Experience! Milwaukee is one of only 46 cities in the US hosting an officially sanctioned Oscar watching party. The Oscar Experience in Milwaukee is a charity benefit for COA (Children’s Outing Association) Youth and Family Centers that will be held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center on February 24. For more information visit: http://www.coa-yfc.org/
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