Read them here: 1. The first Academy Awards were presented in 1929 at a private dinner of about 270 people. It was first televised in 1953, and now the Oscars ceremony can be seen in more than 200 countries.
2. Katharine Hepburn won a record four Academy Awards — all Best Actress Oscars — the last for “On Golden Pond” (1981), which starred another Hollywood legend, Henry Fonda.
3. The first Oscars were held at the famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Today, the ceremony takes place at the Dolby Theatre (around the corner from the Roosevelt), its tenth venue over the decades.
4. Only three women have received Best Director nominations, while Kathryn Bigelow is the lone winner for “The Hurt Locker” (2009). Interestingly, Bigelow beat out ex-husband James Cameron, who was nominated for the technological wonder “Avatar.”
5. “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Titanic” (1997), and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) are the most successful films in Oscar history, each winning a shocking 11 Oscars. “The Return of the King” is the only one to win every award for which it was nominated.
6. Only three films have won all of the “Big Five” Academy Award categories: “It Happened One Night” (1934), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). The “Big Five” categories are: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (either adapted or original).
7. The youngest Oscar winner was Tatum O’Neal, who won Best Supporting Actress for “Paper Moon” (1973) when she was only 10 years old. Shirley Temple won the short-lived Juvenile Award at 6 years old.
8. Oscar statuettes are technically property of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As a result, before an Academy Award winner or his estate can sell his Oscar, he must first offer to sell it to the Academy first for one dollar. This, of course, is to discourage winners from selling the award for financial gain. Oscars awarded before 1950, however, are not bound by this agreement. Orson Welles’s 1941 Oscar for “Citizen Kane” was sold at auction for over $800,000 in 2011!
9. Peter Finch (“Network”) and Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight”) are the only actors to be awarded an Academy Award posthumously. Ledger’s Oscar — and his entire fortune — was gifted to his young daughter, Matilda.
10. At 82, Christopher Plummer became the oldest person to win an Academy Award. He received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in “Beginners” (2010) opposite Ewan McGregor.
11. For the past 14 years, the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles has hosted the Academy Awards, which seats 3,400 people. All of them will walk the show’s red carpet to reach the venue, which stretches a whopping 500 feet (beating out the Golden Globes’ red carpet, which extends to around 437 feet). To spotlight the event’s long-running history, the red carpet is flanked by two pillars that bear the name of every Best Picture winner since the show’s inception. Incredibly, there’s enough room for the Academy to keep adding winners through 2071.
12. The only way for a regular Joe to score a seat to the Oscars is to work as a seat filler. But even then, he or she can’t be that “regular”: According to a seat-filler who worked at the 2003 show, the only way to score the (unpaid) gig is to know someone who works at the Academy or to be an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm entrusted with tallying the votes.
13. Nameplates for all potential winners are prepared ahead of time; in 2014, the Academy made 215 of them!
14. As part of being the only people on the planet who know the results prior to the show, the firm’s partners memorize the winners in all 24 categories. So if the wrong person is announced as the winner, they are authorized to go out onstage and stop the show.
15. In 1999, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench were both nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth in “Elizabeth” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Dench won Best Supporting Actress despite only appearing in the film for a total of eight minutes. Meanwhile, Blanchett lost the Best Actress Oscar to Gwyneth Paltrow — also for “Shakespeare in Love.”
16. Meryl Streep has been nominated a record 19 times. She has won three Best Actress Oscars — the last for “The Iron Lady” (2011).
17. When someone wins an Academy Award for the first time, the winner usually comments on heavy the statuette feels. There’s a reason for this: It stands at 13.5 inches and weighs 8.5 pounds. To give some perspective, clutching an Oscar feels like holding a gallon of milk.
18. Everyone knows the statuette as “Oscar,” but it actually has an official name: Academy Award of Merit. According to the Academy, the origin story can’t be confirmed, but it’s widely believed that the trophy received its nickname from Academy librarian Margaret Herrick, who said that the little gold man looked like her Uncle Oscar. The Daily News also has a connection to naming the famous statuette: The News’ Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky was the first person to refer to the award as an Oscar while covering the 1934 ceremony, writing that Katharine Hepburn was not present to “receive her Oscar.” In his 1975 memoir “Don’t Get Me Wrong, I Love Hollywood,” the columnist claimed he was the one to give the statuette its’ nickname, which he said he based on the vaudeville joke line, “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?”
19. Jack Nicholson is the most-nominated male actor, receiving 12 Oscar nominations beginning with 1969’s “Easy Rider.” His three wins tie him with Walter Brennan and Daniel Day-Lewis.
20. When a front-runner loses the Academy Award, there are often cries that he or she was “robbed.” But the Academy was actually robbed in 2000, when two men stole packing crates filled with 55 Oscar statuettes. All but three of the trophies were recovered after the crates were found in the trash. (The third one was eventually discovered by FBI agents during a drug investigation three years later.)
21. The winners of the very first Academy Awards, which took place on May 16, 1929 and honored films released from 1927 to 1928, were announced three months before the ceremony.
22. In 1940, the LA Times broke the Academy’s embargo and published the names of all the Oscar winners prior to the ceremony. As a result, the Academy introduced the sealed envelope tradition that is present to this day.
23. The Oscars are Hollywood’s glitziest and most exclusive star-studded event, but the very first ceremony in 1929 was a private affair held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – and a ticket cost just $5.
24. Although “Boyhood” (2014) was filmed over 12 years, it only took a total of 39 days to film.
25. At the fourth Academy Awards, Norma Shearer found herself the announcer of the Best Actress category—which she was also nominated in. Shearer lost to Marie Dressler (star of MGM’s Min and Bill), so the situation didn’t get awkward, but after that, actors and actresses weren’t presenters for categories they were also nominated in.
26. The legendary Alfred Hitchcock was nominated five times for Best Director, but never took home the Oscar.
27. The first tie occurred at the fifth Academy Awards ceremony, when Wallace Beery (The Champ) and Fredric March (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) both won for Best Actor. Technically, Beery had lost by one vote, but according to the rules at the time, that counted as a tie.
28. The first Best Actor awards were given to Emil Jannings for “The Last Command” and “The Way of All Flesh”.
29. For its first six ceremonies, the Academy was celebrating films released in the previous two years. Starting with the seventh Academy Awards in 1935, the nominated selections and the ceremony were in accordance with the calendar year.
30. Composer John Williams is the most-nominated living person, having earned 49 Oscar nominations throughout his storied career, beginning with 1967’s “Valley of the Dolls.”
31. The 1938 Academy Awards was postponed due to rain and flooding. The ceremony was rescheduled for a week later, and almost no one could make it. Even the chosen host, George Jessel, wasn’t there; he was sick. A comic named Bob “Bazooka” Burns hosted instead.
32. Bob Hope hosted the ceremony a whopping 19 times, making him the most frequent Oscar host.
33. In 1941, FDR became the first president to address the Academy Awards ceremony. He spoke mostly about World War II, which the United States wouldn’t officially enter until December. “I do not minimize the importance of the motion picture industry as the most popular medium of mass entertainment,” he said. “But tonight, I want to place the chief emphasis on the service that you can render in promoting solidarity among all the peoples of the Americas. For all of this, and for your splendid cooperation with all who are directing the expansion of our defense forces, I am glad to thank you.” You can listen to his full address here.
34. The longest Oscar acceptance speech ever given was five and half minutes by 1943 Best Actress winner Greer Garson (“Mrs. Miniver”).
35. At the 1944 Academy Awards, winners in the supporting categories took home a full-sized statuette for the first time (before that, they had been awarded a smaller, plaque-mounted version).
36. With a Best Actor nomination for “American Sniper,” Bradley Cooper has now been nominated for an acting Oscar three years in a row. If he’s nominated in 2016, Cooper will tie Marlon Brando for the most consecutive acting nods.
37. The Academy Awards were shown on TV for the first time on March 19, 1953, on NBC.
38. Oscar statuettes were made from painter plaster during World War II due to metal shortages. After the war ended, these Oscars were replaced with the traditional statues.
39. In 1969, Academy rules stated that members couldn’t place an Oscar vote until two years after they’d released their first film. Academy president Gregory Peck broke this rule for Barbra Streisand, who made her screen debut in Funny Girl in 1968 and was allowed to vote in the 41st Annual Academy Awards before she’d even appeared in a movie. She was nominated for Best Actress for Funny Girl and, assuming she voted for herself, created the first exact acting tie winners in Academy history: Streisand and Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter) received 3030 votes each. At the April 14, 1969 ceremony, Streisand almost tripped on her way up to the podium to accept. Hepburn didn’t attend.
40. In 1977, Italian Lina Wertmuller was the first female filmmaker nominated for Best Director for her film Seven Beauties. The first American woman to be nominated was Sofia Coppola for 2003’s Lost in Translation. A woman wouldn’t win this trophy until Kathryn Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker in 2010.
41. At the 29th Academy Awards ceremony in 1957, the Best Foreign Language Film category was introduced. Previously, the best foreign language film was simply acknowledge with a Special Achievement Award.
42. The most-nominated person without a win? Sound mixer Kevin O’Connell, who has been nominated 20 times.
43. Cate Blanchett was the first person to win an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner; she portrayed Katharine Hepburn in 2004’s The Aviator.
44. Since 1929, 2,947 Oscar statuettes have been presented. That means that 25,049 1/2 pounds of Oscars have been collectively lifted by the most acclaimed people in the movie business.
45. The design of the Oscar statuette, by Cedric Gibbons, is a knight holding a crusader’s sword while standing on a film reel. There are five spokes on the reel representing the five original branches of the Academy: writers, technicians, producers, actors and directors.
46. The first televised Oscars show was on March 19, 1953. That year, Gary Cooper won the Oscar for best actor for High Noon (and it was accepted by John Wayne). Shirley Booth took home the best actress prize for Come Back, Little Sheba. The first color broadcast was in 1966, when The Sound of Music won best picture.
47. The best animated feature category was not added until 2001. Shrek won, because it has layers.
48. Other famous things that happen at the Dolby Theatre: the BET Awards, the ESPY Awards and the American Idol finals.
49. The more-than-5,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are the ones who choose the winners. Among that group, more than 1,000 are actors.
50. Woody Allen, having only one acting nomination, has been nominated 19 times for either writing or directing.
51. 81 year old Jessica Tandy, for DRIVING MISS DAISY in 1989. Gloria Stuart is the oldest nominee ever, nominated in 1997 for TITANIC at the age of 87.
52. Five individuals have won back to back Oscars one year after another. Luise Rainer was the first, in 1936 and 1937. Spencer Tracy won the lead acting Oscar two years in a row, 1937 and 1938. Katharine Hepburn won the Lead Actress Oscar two years in a row in 1967 and 1968, and then Jason Robards won the Supporting Actor Oscar two years back to back in 1976 and 1977. Most recently, Tom Hanks won back to back Oscars in 1993 and 1994 for two very different performances, a gay lawyer dying of AIDS in PHILADELPHIA, and a simple man making his way through life in FORREST GUMP.
53. The 74th Annual Academy Awards, honoring the films of 2001, ran some four hours and eighteen minutes. Before that, it was the 1999 telecast that ran four hours and eight minutes long, one of only three to run past four hours! The 1998 telecast ran four hours and two minutes.
54. Oscar’s most honored individuals: Jack Nicholson leads the pack, with 12 nominations and 3 Oscar victories, all happening since 1969. Laurence Olivier received 10 nominations, Spencer Tracy and Paul Newman were nominated 9 times, and a fine group of actors were nominated 8 times: Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, and Al Pacino. And poor Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton — they each were nominated 7 times, but never won.
55. Only five actors have managed the feat of winning back-to-back Oscars, in other words, winning Oscars two years in a row…they include Tom Hanks, Spencer Tracy, Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn, and Jason Robards.
56. Two directors have managed the feat of winning back-to-back directing Oscars. They were John Ford (for THE GRAPES OF WRATH and HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY in the early 40’s), and Joseph Mankiewicz for PEOPLE WILL TALK and ALL ABOUT EVE right around 1950.