There is so much trivia available on the prestigious Academy Awards, particularly regarding the stats and figures of winners/nominees over the show’s 86-year history. But how much do you know about the actual ceremony itself? Let’s forget, briefly, about the people for whom the Oscars were created. Instead, here are five interesting facts on the background of the famous awards show.
He’s tall, proud, and heavy. Meet Oscar!
The golden statuette is officially called the Academy Award of Merit, but we know him by his nickname, Oscar. The story goes that when the Academy librarian saw the trophy for the first time, she declared that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. Standing 13.5 inches tall and weighing 8.5 pounds, Oscar is the image of a knight with a crusader’s sword, standing on a film reel. There are five spokes within that film reel; each spoke represents an original branch of the Academy (actors, directors, writers, producers, and technicians).
The first Academy Awards was neither broadcasted nor a surprise for the winners.
The inaugural presentation of awards was a black-tie dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Without any kind of media presence, awards were handed out in 12 categories (plus two special awards for which there was no category). However, all of the winners were already known before the dinner even took place. The recipients were announced three months prior.
The 2nd Academy Awards decreased the number of categories and increased coverage…and kept the winners secret.
Instead of 12 categories, the Academy recognized only seven categories of cinematic excellence during the second awards ceremony in 1930 (but the categories gradually increased after that). In addition, the winners remained a secret until the actual presentation. Perhaps it was this secrecy, in addition to public interest, that prompted a Los Angeles radio station to broadcast the event live for one hour. The awards show has been broadcast every year since.
Thus far, only three times in Academy history has the awards ceremony been postponed.
And all with good reason. There was flooding in Los Angeles in 1938 that caused a one-week delay of the Academy Awards. Thirty years later, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (and subsequent funeral) pushed the awards ceremony back a few days. Finally, the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981 postponed the ceremony for 24 hours.
This year’s winner may get last year’s trophy.
The Academy doesn’t know the exact number of statuettes that will be handed out during any given ceremony. So if there is an excess of trophies at the end of the night, those Oscars are stored in the Academy’s vault until the next year.