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Oscar Trivia: 50 Fun Facts To Prepare You For The 85th Academy Awards

Oscar Trivia: 50 Fun Facts To Prepare You For The 85th Academy Awards

If there’s anything we love, it’s pointless trivia. And with Oscar night on the way (and, if you’re anything like us, an Oscar viewing party), if there’s one thing that it’s important for you to have, it’s a fistful of Academy Award-related trivia for you to bore impress your friends with on Sunday night.

Well, look no further! Below are 50 Oscar-related facts that are guaranteed* to win you friends and influence when you drop them during the commercial breaks throughout the ceremony. Read on and contribute your own Oscar trivia and thoughts in the comments section.
* not legally binding

1. Domestically, “Lincoln” is the top grossing Best Picture nominee, with over $180 million. Worldwide, it’s “Life of Pi,” with $576 million…and still going. If ‘Pi’ were to win, it would be, unadjusted, the fourth biggest Best Picture winner of all time (behind “Forrest Gump,” “The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King” and “Titanic“). And it’s the thirteenth biggest film nominated for Best Picture in history.

2. Domestically, the films have taken a total of $918 million combined (an average of $102 million each), and worldwide, a total of $2.035 billion (averaging $226 million each). Who said quality doesn’t make money?

3. That’s way up from last year, when the nine films took $622 million domestically (an average of $69 million), and $1.245 billion worldwide (averaging at $139 million per film). But 2012’s batch still pales in comparison to the ten films in 2010, which made $1.355 billion domestically (av: $135 million each), and $3.342 billion worldwide (av. $334 million each), and 2009, where the films took a domestic total of $1.7 billion ($170 million each, on average), and a worldwide total of $4.68 billion ($468 million each). Grossly inflated by megahits like “Avatar,” “Up,” “Inception” and “Toy Story 3“? Sure. But worth bearing in mind. 

4. If George Clooney wins an Oscar for producing “Argo“,  he’ll be the second person to win for both acting and producing (Michael Douglas did it first, winning Best Actor for “Wall Street” in 1988, and Best Picture for “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1976).

5. Clooney’s nomination for “Argo” saw him break the record, and become the individual nominated in the most separate categories: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay and now Best Picture. Warren Beatty, John Huston and Kenneth Branagh were all nominated in five separate categories, though Branagh has never won an Oscar.

6. The only film this year nominated and capable of winning the Big Five (picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay) is “Silver Linings Playbook.” Only three films have achieved the feat before — “It Happened One Night,” “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Silence Of The Lambs.”

7. “Argo” is the frontrunner to win Best Picture, and if it does, it’ll be the first film to manage it without a directing nomination since “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1990.

8. On the flipside, no film has won Best Director without a nomination for Best Picture since the 2nd ever Oscars ceremony in 1930, when Frank Lloyd won for “The Divine Lady.”

9. If Steven Spielberg wins Best Director, he’ll tie William Wyler and Frank Capra for the second most Oscars won by a filmmaker. John Ford will still hold the record, however, with four (from only five nominations).

10. Spielberg also currently shares third place for most nominations in the category, with Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Fred Zinnemann and David Lean, who’ve all had seven. Billy Wilder is second, with eight, and William Wyler has the most, with twelve.

11. If Michael Haneke wins, he’d be the only director to take the prize for a film entirely in a foreign language.

12. He’s also the first Austrian director to be nominated since Fred Zinnemann in 1978 (for “Julia“). Unlike Haneke, Zinnemann was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

13. If Ang Lee win Best Director on Sunday, he’ll become the second non-caucasian to win in the category. The first… was also Ang Lee, for “Brokeback Mountain” in 2006.

14. At 30, Benh Zeitlin is the seventh youngest Best Director nominee in history (beaten only by John Singleton, Orson Welles, Kenneth Branagh, Claude Lelouch, M. Night Shyamalan and George Lucas). If he takes the prize, he’ll be three years younger than the current director who holds the record, Norman Taurog, who won for “Skippy” in 1931.

15. Conversely, if Michael Haneke wins, he’d become the second oldest winner of the category in history, beaten only by Clint Eastwood for “Million Dollar Baby.

16. No Steven Spielberg film has won an Oscar since “Saving Private Ryan” fifteen years ago.

17. According to the LA Times, Warner Bros. and Disney each spent at least $10 million on the Oscar campaigns for “Argo” and “Lincoln,” respectively. But with a front page ad in Variety alone costing $80,000, that’s hardly surprising. Meanwhile, to boost “Les Miserables,” Universal sent every Critics Choice Awards voter an iPod Shuffle with the soundtrack pre-loaded.

18. If he wins, Daniel Day-Lewis would be the first person to land an Oscar for playing a U.S. President.

19. One other actor has been nominated for playing Abraham Lincoln — Raymond Massey for “Abe Lincoln In Illinois,” in 1940. He lost to Jimmy Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story.”

20. Day-Lewis would also be the first actor to win an Oscar for a Steven Spielberg film (Tommy Lee Jones or Sally Field could also manage the feat this year).

21. He’d also be the first actor to win three Best Actor trophies. Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan each have three Oscars in total, but one of Nicholson’s was in Supporting Actor, and all of Brennan’s.

22. Robert De Niro, Sally Field and Denzel Washington would all join the three-Oscar club if they win this year. Only five perfomers hold the honor at present: Katherine Hepburn (with four), Nicholson, Brennan, Ingrid Bergman and, as of last year, Meryl Streep.

23. Every nominee in the Best Supporting Actor field has already won an Oscar. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the only one who hasn’t won in the same category.

24. Denzel Washington plays an alcoholic in “Flight,” making him the 19th actor to be nominated for playing a drunk.

25. Most notably, in 1983, all five nominated actors (Michael Caine in “Educating Rita,” Robert Duvall in “Tender Mercies,” Tom Conti in “Reuben Reuben” and Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney in “The Dresser“) played drunks or alcoholics to one degree or another.

26. “Silver Linings Playbook” is the first film since “Reds” in 1981 to get nominations in each of the four acting categories. But only Maureen Stapleton took home a trophy that year.

27. Only two films have won three acting Oscars — “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Network.” None have won all four.

28. Before Hugh Jackman, only one Best Actor nominee in the last thirty years had been nominated for starring in a musical — Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd” (the last before that was Roy Scheider in “All That Jazz“). And no actor has won for a musical since Rex Harrison for “My Fair Lady” in 1964.

29. Only one actor has even been nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in the same year, for the same performance — Barry Fitzgerald, for “Going My Way” in 1944 (he won Best Supporting Actor, while Bing Crosby took Best Actor for the same film). Two actors — Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx — have picked up nominations in both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in the same year, but for different performances. Both won Best Actor.

30. None of the Best Actress nominees have won an Oscar before, the only category this year in which that’s the case.

31. If Quvenzhane Wallis takes the prize, she’d become only the sixth person to win for their first screen performance. Shirley Booth in 1952’s “Come Back, Little Sheba,” Audrey Hepburn in 1953’s “Roman Holiday,Julie Andrews in 1964’s “Mary Poppins,” Barbra Streisand in 1968’s “Funny Girl” and Marlee Matlin in 1986’s “Children Of A Lesser God” have all done it previously.

32. Similarly, if her director Benh Zeitlin were to win, he’d become only the seventh debut director to take the prize for a feature debut after Delbert Mann for “Marty” in 1955, Jerome Robbins for “West Side Story” in 1961, Robert Redford for “Ordinary People” in 1980, James L. Brooks for “Terms of Endearment” in 1983, Kevin Costner for “Dances With Wolves” in 1990, and Sam Mendes for “American Beauty” in 1999.

33. Quvenzhane Wallis is the first acting nominee to have a Q in her name.

34. At 9, she’s also the youngest ever nominee for Best Actress

35. At 85 years old, Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest ever Best Actress nominee.

36. Riva’s birthday is on February 24th, which means she’ll be celebrating her 86th at the Oscars.

37. Thus, Riva will be exactly a year older than the Oscars, and one of a handful of recent acting nominees older than the insitution itself. The last five were Hal Holbrook (“Into The Wild”) and Ruby Dee (“American Gangster”), 82 and 83, respectively, at the 80th ceremony in 2008; Paul Newman (“Road to Perdition”), 78 at the 75th ceremony in 2003; Richard Farnsworth (“The Straight Story”), 79 at the 72nd ceremony in 2000; and Gloria Stuart (“Titanic”), 87 at the 70th ceremony in 1998.

38. Amy Adams has four Best Supporting Actress nominations and no wins. She comes second to Thelma Ritter who had six nominations in the same category without a win.

39. Jessica Chastain is the only acting nominee this year to have also been nominated for a performance last year (though Clooney had acting and screenplay nominations last year, and Best Picture this year). She’s got a way to go before catching up with the record shared by Bette Davis and Greer Garson; they each managed five nominations in a row, from 1938 to 1942 for the former, and 1941 to 1945 for the latter.

40. John Williams‘ nomination for his “Lincoln” score was his 48th; the most for a living person.

41. “Skyfall” composer Thomas Newman has been nominated eleven times and never won. The film’s DoP, Roger Deakins, has ten nominations without taking the prize. Their first nominations came on the same film, 1994’s “The Shawshank Redemption.”

42. Adele‘s “Skyfall” is the first Bond theme to be nominated for an Oscar since “For Your Eyes Only” in 1981. If it wins, it’d be the first Bond film ever to win Best Song.

43. The song was also the first Bond theme ever to debut in the Billboard Top 10, and in the U.K., tied “A View To A Kill” as the highest-charting Bond theme when it reached number two on October 14th.

44. With five nominations, “Skyfall” beats “The Spy Who Loved Me” (which had three) as the most nominated Bond movie. In total, Bond films have won two Oscars (sound for “Goldfinger,” visual effects for “Thunderball“), and been nominated for a further twelve, including the “Skyfall” nods.

45. Before “Chasing Ice,” the only documentary film to get a Best Song nomination was “An Inconvenient Truth.”

46. “The Dark Knight Rises” failed to get a single Oscar nomination this year. In total, the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy has two Oscar wins (both for “The Dark Knight“) and nine nominations (only one for “Batman Begins“) to its name. “The Avengers” managed one nomination, for Visual Effects. In total, the Marvel movies so far have had four nominations, and no wins. No Marvel movie without Robert Downey Jr. has managed an Oscar nomination.

47. “No” is the first ever film from Chile to earn an Oscar nomination.

48. John Goodman is fast becoming a bit of a mascot for Oscar hopefuls. The actor starred in “The Artist” last year, and this year features in “Argo,” the likely Best Picture winner. It’s not actually so long since an actor managed the feat. Guy Pearce was in both “The Hurt Locker” and “The King’s Speech.” Before him, it was Russell Crowe, with “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind.”

49. But the record for appearing in most Best Picture winners goes to character actor Franklyn Farnum, who had roles in six: 1937’s “The Life Of Emile Zola,” 1945’s “The Lost Weekend,” 1947’s “Gentleman’s Agreement,” 1950’s “All About Eve,” 1952’s “The Greatest Show On Earth” and 1956’s “Around The World In 80 Days.” As far as currently working actors go, Nigel Davenport, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Morgan Freeman, Beth Grant, Bernard Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Talia Shire have all appeared in three Best Picture winners. If “Les Miserables” or “Silver Linings Playbook” were to win this year, Russell Crowe and Robert De Niro would join them.

50. Only two other people before Seth MacFarlane have been nominated the same year that they hosted: Paul Hogan (Best Original Screenplay, for “Crocodile Dundee,” in 1987), and James Franco (Best Actor, for “127 Hours,” in 2011).

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