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Academy Awards Interesting Facts

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An Oscar statue arriving in Los Angeles before the award ceremony.

An Oscar statue is seen after arriving on 'The Flight of the Oscars' from Chicago at Los Angeles International Airport on March 14, 2003 in El Segundo, California.

(Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)

The Very First Oscar Winner
The very first person to receive an Academy Award didn't attend the first Academy Awards ceremony. Emil Jannings, the winner for Best Actor in the 1927-28 Academy Awards, had decided to go back to his home in Germany before the ceremony. Before he left for his trip, Jannings was handed the very first Academy Award.

The Only Oscar to Win an Oscar
Oscar Hammerstein II won the Oscar for his song, "The Last Time I Saw Paris," in the movie Lady Be Good (1941).

X-Rated
Midnight Cowboy (1969), the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, is the only X-rated movie to win an Oscar.

Brother and Sister
Ethel and Lionel Barrymore are the only brother and sister to ever win Academy Awards for acting. Lionel Barrymore won an Oscar for Best Actor in A Free Soul (1931). Ethel Barrymore won an Oscar for Best Actress in None But the Lonely Heart (1944).

First Color Movie to Win Best Picture
Gone With the Wind (1939) was the first movie filmed in color to win the Best Picture award.

Posthumous Nominations
There have been a number of people nominated for Academy Awards after their death. However, the first person to be nominated posthumously and actually win was screenwriter Sidney Howard for Gone With the Wind (1939). James Dean, on the other hand, has been the only actor to be nominated twice after death; once for Best Actor in East of Eden (1955) and again the following year for Best Actor in Giant (1956).

Wordless Winners
Three actors have won Academy Awards for playing characters that utter not a single word throughout the entire film. Jane Wyman won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Belinda, a deaf mute, in Johnny Belinda (1948). Sir John Mills played the mute village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970), for which he won the Best Supporting Actor award. Most recently, Holly Hunter won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of the mute Ada McGrath in The Piano (1993).

The Host With the Most
The list of hosts for the Academy Awards ceremony is dotted with such prestigious names as Will Rogers, Frank Capra, Jack Benny, Fred Astaire, Jack Lemmon, and David Letterman. However, one man has dominated Academy Award history; Bob Hope hosted a womping eighteen Academy Award ceremonies. Billy Crystal, who has hosted the ceremonies eight times, ranks second as the host with the most. Johnny Carson comes in third after hosting five Academy Award ceremonies.

Oscar's Name
The Oscar statuette's official name is the "Academy Award of Merit." The name "Oscar" is actually a nickname that has been around for decades with unclear beginnings. Though there are several different stories that claim to tell the origin of the nickname "Oscar," the most common attributes the nickname to a comment made by Margaret Herrick. Herrick, as the story goes, worked as a librarian at the Academy and upon first seeing the statuette, commented that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar. No matter how the nickname started, it became increasingly used to describe the statuette in the 1930s and was officially used by the Academy beginning in 1939.

A Winner Who Was Never Nominated
The only Academy Award winner who won but was never officially nominated was Hal Mohr for Best Cinematography for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935). Mohr was the first and only person to win via a write-in vote.

The Phrase "And the winner is..." Is Discontinued
At the 61st Academy Awards, held in 1989, the Academy decided to replace the trademark phrase "And the winner is..." with the phrase "And the Oscar goes to..." Did you notice?

The Streaker
During the Academy Awards ceremony held on April 2, 1974, a man named Robert Opal ran across the stage naked, flashing the peace sign. David Niven had been on stage to introduce the Best Picture category when the streaker ran behind him. Thinking quickly on his feet, Niven remarked, "The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping ... and showing his shortcomings.”

A 20-Year Wait
In a strange turn of events, Charlie Chaplin's movie Limelight, which was produced in 1952, won an Academy Award in 1972 -- twenty years after its first release. According to the Academy's rules at the time, a movie could not be considered for an Academy Award until it had played in Los Angeles. When Limelight finally played at a theater in Los Angeles in 1972, it became eligible for an award.

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