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Academy Awards Fast Facts

Here is some background information about the Academy Awards, also known as the “Oscars.”

April 25, 2021 – The 93rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony airs.

February 9, 2020 – The 92nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony airs.

2021 Winners (selected)

Best Picture
“Nomadland”

Actor in a Leading Role
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

Actress in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Director
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

The full list of winners

2020 Winners (selected)

Best Picture
“Parasite”

Actor in a Leading Role
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Actress in a Leading Role
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Brad Pitt, “Once upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Director
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”

The full list of winners

Other Facts

PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm has tallied the ballots since 1934. Newspaper headlines announced the winners before the ceremony until 1941, when the sealed envelope system was put in place. Prior to a PwC envelope mix-up in 2017, when an error was made during the award announcement for Best Picture, only two partners from the firm knew the results until the envelopes were opened. After 2017, new procedures were adopted, which include adding a third balloting partner to also memorize the list of winners. The third partner sits with Oscar producers in the control room while the other two balloting partners are posted on opposite sides of the stage. Additionally, the PwC partners are prohibited from using cellphones and social media backstage during the show.

Walt Disney is the most honored person in Oscar history. He received 59 nominations and 26 competitive awards throughout his career.

Composer John Williams is the most nominated living person – 51 nominations (including 5 wins).

Meryl Streep is the most nominated performer in Academy history with 21 nominations.

Jack Nicholson is the most nominated male performer in Academy history with 12 nominations.

Katharine Hepburn had the most Oscar wins for a performer, with four.

Daniel Day-Lewis is the only person to have three Best Actor Oscars.

Tatum O’Neal is the youngest person to ever win a competitive Oscar at 10 years, 148 days old.

Only three films have won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing: in 1934, “It Happened One Night”; in 1975, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”; and in 1991, “The Silence of the Lambs.”

No one film has ever taken home all six top prizes, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress.

Scientific and Technical Awards are given out in a separate ceremony for methods, discoveries or inventions that contribute to the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

Timeline

May 16, 1929 – The first Academy Awards are held in the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Tickets cost $5.

1929 – The first Best Picture award goes to “Wings.”

1929 – The first statuette ever presented is to Emil Jannings, for his Best Actor performance in “The Last Command.”

1937 – The first presentation of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is given to Darryl F. Zanuck.

1938 – Due to extensive flooding in Los Angeles, the ceremony is delayed for one week.

March 19, 1953 – First televised ceremony is from the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

1966 – The awards are first broadcast in color.

1968 – Due to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the ceremony is moved forward two days as the original date is the day of King’s funeral.

1976-present – ABC broadcasts the Oscars.

1981 – Due to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, the ceremony is postponed 24 hours.

2001 – The Best Animated Feature Film category is added.

June 23, 2009 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that beginning in 2010, 10 films will receive nominations in the Best Picture category, instead of five.

June 26, 2009 – The Academy announces that beginning in 2010, new rules governing the Best Song category may eliminate that category in any given year. Also, the Irving G. Thalberg and Jean Hersholt honorary awards will be given at a separate ceremony in November.

June 14, 2011 – The Academy announces new rules governing the Best Picture category, the number of movies nominated may vary from 5 – 10 in any given year and will not be known until the nominees are announced. The new rule goes into effect in 2012.

November 9, 2011 – Eddie Murphy drops out as host of the Oscars in February 2012, one day after producer Brett Ratner quits the show, because of a remark he made that was considered homophobic.

January 18, 2016 – Following criticism two years in a row about the lack of diversity with Oscar nominees, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy, issues a statement saying that “in the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

January 24, 2017 – The romantic musical, “La La Land,” picks up 14 Oscar nominations, tying the record held by “All About Eve” and “Titanic.” After complaints in 2016 about a lack of diversity, six Black actors receive nominations for their performances, a record.

February 26, 2017 – Following the moment “La La Land” is mistakenly announced as best picture, “Moonlight” becomes the first film with an all-Black cast to win the Academy Award for best picture. Additionally, Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win best supporting actor.

August 8, 2018 – In a letter to members, the Academy announces that it is adding a new category in 2019 for outstanding achievement in popular film. The letter doesn’t specify the criteria for a “popular” film.

September 6, 2018 – The Academy announces that it is rethinking the decision to add a popular film category. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson says in a statement, “There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members.”

December 6, 2018 – Kevin Hart steps down from hosting the Oscars after past homophobic tweets surface.

February 5, 2019 – ABC confirms that the Academy Awards will be hostless. This will be the first time in 30 years that the ceremony will be without a host.

February 9, 2020 – “Parasite” becomes the first non-English film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. It is also the first film to win both Best International Feature and Best Picture.

February 9, 2020 – The 92nd Academy Awards draws an average of 23.6 million views, the lowest ratings in the show’s history.

June 15, 2020 – For the first time in 40 years, the Academy postpones the 93rd Oscars. The last time the Oscars were postponed was in 1981, when the ceremony was delayed 24 hours because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. In addition to the delay, the Academy agrees to extend the eligibility window for films, which usually corresponds to the calendar year. For the 2021 Oscars, the new window will be extended until February 28, 2021.

September 8, 2020 – The Academy announces that movies must meet certain criteria in terms of representation in order to be eligible for the Academy Award for best picture beginning in 2024. Introduced under an initiative called Aperture 2025, the organization says the goal is to “encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.”

April 25, 2021 – Yuh-jung Youn is named best supporting actress for her role in “Minari” and becomes the first Korean actress to win an Oscar. Chloe Zhao is named best director for “Nomadland” and becomes the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian descent to earn the award. She is also only the second woman to win.

May 27, 2021 – The Academy announces that the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 27, 2022, a month later than originally scheduled.

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