If you are reading this, you already know what the Academy Awards are. However, do you know who was awarded the first statue? Did you know prominent actors have declined the award? Did you know it went full frontal? Either way, it is fun to expand our experience and knowledge with some little known facts and trivia of its past and present.
The Statues Are NOT for Sale.
The prestige’s award winners are contractually encouraged to not sell their statues. In fact, winners are obligated to sign an agreement that basically says if they want to sell the statues, that they have to first offer it back to the Academy for a whopping $1, or else they cannot receive the award. Of course, a few have tried and some succeeded at selling the statue. However, the awards often find their way back to the Academy Archive from donation or legal battle.
Official statue Info HERE
So Who Won the First One?
Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award in 1929. He received it for Best Actor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of the Flesh (yes two roles, they used to do that).
Academy’s entire list of first year winners HERE
Rejection of the Award
Only three people have refused the award. Most notably Marlon Brando refused the award in 1973 for Best Actor in his most well-known role for The Godfather. He did so in protest to what he considered a mistreatment of Native American actors and actresses in the industry. In his place, he sent an actress and activist (dressed traditionally) known as Sacheen Littlefeather. The other rejecters were George C.Scott (1971) and Dudley Nichols (1935).
Official Littlefeather acceptance speech HERE
Unofficial Best Nudity Award
Robert Opel successfully streaked the stage during the 46th Award show in 1974. Fully nude and flashing a piece sign, the photographer, who posed as a journalist, jogged behind English actor David Niven during his intro to Elizabeth Taylor.
Official streak video HERE
Why Is the Award Named Oscar?
There are a few conflicting stories circulating about the origins of the name. However, it seems the dominate theory is that it was named by Margaret Herrick. She was the Academy Librarian and in the ’30s and ’40s (the Library now holds her name). It is said she commented on the statue looking like her Uncle (guess his name) in the ’30s. The name was officially recognized in 1939 by the Academy. It was originally known as the Academy Award of Merit.
More on Margaret at the Academy site HERE
Hopefully something here expanded your interest or knowledge for watching the event. Much more info (including past winners and current nominees) can be found at the Academy’s Official Site.