Film buffs who want to beat everybody else to the punch when it comes to the most extensive and comprehensive knowledge of movie award trivia would do well to get a copy of Variety’s “Movie Awards” compilation, edited by Tom O’Neil.
It spans movie honors handed from 1922 to 1999 by leading award groups like the Oscars, Golden Globes, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, separate critics’ groups, Independent Spirits, Sundance Film Festival—etc.!
Aside from the basic historical record of cinematic honors that the 800-page tome provides, it’s a good source of interesting highlights and sidelights that delight nerds and buffs.
For instance, we learn that the “most awarded” films of all time in the Oscars derby are “Ben Hur” and “Titanic,” both with 11 trophies. Other standouts include “West Side Story,” “Gigi,” “The Last Emperor,” “The English Patient,” “Amadeus,” “Cabaret,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Gandhi,” “Gone With the Wind,” “My Fair Lady” and “On the Waterfront.”
The avid film buff would therefore do well to take his cue from this “most awarded” list and get copies of these movies to further develop his cinematic “literacy.”
Other tantalizing trivia: Most awarded actors—Katharine Hepburn, four Oscars for Best Actress; Walter Brennan, two for Best Actor, one for Best Supporting Actor; Jack Nicholson, two for Best Actor, one for Best Supporting Actor.
Directors with the most number of Oscar trophies—John Ford with four, and Frank Capra and William Wyler, both with three.
What about the biggest losers? “The Turning Point” and “The Color Purple” both got 11 nominations—but went home with no trophies at all! —Ooh, that must’ve hurt.
As for the actors with the most nominations who didn’t win even a single trophy, the biggest losers were Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole, each with seven “unfulfilled” or “unrequited” nominations!
Only three movies have won all of the top five awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay)—“It Happened One Night,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”
The only star who won the Best Actor trophy for his film debut was Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi”). His female counterparts are Shirley Booth (“Come Back, Little Sheba”), Barbra Streisand (“Funny Girl”) and Marlee Matlin (“Children of A Lesser God”).
Directors who’ve won for their film debuts: Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”), Delbert Mann (“Marty”), Jerome Robbins (“West Side Story”), Robert Redford (“Ordinary People”), James L. Brooks (“Terms of Endearment”), Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”).
Really trivial trivia: Why has the Academy Award been given the nickname, Oscar? First theory: Academy librarian Margaret Herrick named it after her uncle, Oscar Pierce; second, show biz columnist Sidney Skolsky was responsible; third, Bette Davis said the naked golden statue’s behind reminded her of her husband’s posterior. —Take your pick!
The Oscar statuette takes $400 to manufacture—but, it can be worth a lot more to winners whose careers and “market value” are greatly enhanced by their victories.
The most money ever paid for an Oscar statuette: $1.5 million, paid at an auction for the Best Picture trophy won by “Gone With The Wind!”
Finally, only three films with a “serious funnybone” have won the Best Picture Oscar—“Annie Hall,” “Terms of Endearment” and “Shakespeare in Love.” —Ambitious filmmakers, take your cue from that!