The 2014 Oscars will be the 86th Academy Awards ceremony held. In its long history, the Oscars have accrued a number of strange facts and little known secrets.
In 1940, several big news publications were given advanced notice of the winners. The Los Angeles Times accidentally published the list early, the morning before the ceremony was held. The practice of offering advanced notice of the winners was discontinued permanently thereafter.
Three winners have rejected their titles: Dudley Nichols, due to a Screen Writers Guild strike; Marlon Brando, in protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film; and George C. Scott, because he won the award for portraying George S. Patton, who he despised, although Scott was also famously critical of the ceremony, calling it a, “two-hour meat parade.”
What’s in an Oscar
The famous statue has gone through a few different incarnations. Originally, Oscar statuettes were made of brass. During the second World War, they were made of plaster in order to conserve metals, although replacements were issued on request after the war. Currently, they are composed of a pewter-type alloy called Britannia, made primarily of tin with traces of copper and antimony.
Martin Luther King was assassinated just a couple of days before the Oscars in 1968. The ceremony was postponed for the funeral and out of respect for Dr. King. This was one of only three times the Oscars were ever delayed. In 1938, severe flooding caused the show to be put off for a full week and it was held off for a day in 1981 after President Ronald Reagan was shot. Some consideration was put into delaying the Oscars in 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq a few days before the big event. The show eventually went on as planned, although press access to the red carpet was extremely limited.
Oscars for Sale
A few statuettes are floating around on the open market, including the Best Picture award for “Gone With the Wind,” which Micheal Jackson purchased, and Orson Welles’ Best Screenplay award for “Citizen Kane.” However, Oscar winners must sign an agreement prior to accepting their statues, stating that they will not sell them to anyone until they’ve offered to sell them back to the Academy for the price of only $1.
Who Is Oscar?
The original model for the Oscar statuette was Mexican filmmaker Emilio Fernández. Director of the Academy Margaret Herrick gave the award its classic nickname when she commented that the statue resembled her “Uncle Oscar.”