Top trivia about the Oscars

Best picture The only film to win all the Oscars it was nominated for is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which got all 11. Ben-Hur won 11 out of 12 and Titanic won 11 out of 14. The Color Purple and The Turning Point were nominated for 11 awards, but won none. The longest winner is Gone With The Wind at 3 hours 54 minutes and the shortest is Marty at 1 hour 28 minutes.

Best director John Ford has the most awards (4), although William Wyler has the most nominations (12). In 2004, Clint Eastwood became the oldest winner, at 74, for Million Dollar Baby.

Best actor With two awards each, it’s a tie between Spencer Tracey, Frederic March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson has the most acting nominations (12). The oldest winner was Henry Fonda, at 76, and the youngest Adrien Brody at 29 (although Jackie Cooper was nominated at the age of 9).

Best actress Katharine Hepburn has 4 wins from 12 nominations. Meryl Streep has the most nominations (Doubt this year brings her to 15). Jessica Tandy was the oldest winner, at 80, and the youngest was Marlee Matlin, at 21 (Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated at 13) Kate Winslet now has five nominations and yet hasn’t won.

The Big Five Only three films have achieved the feat of winning Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Writing or Screenplay: It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs.

Surprising people who’ve never won one Don’t take it for granted that your favourite star has been honoured by the Academy. But take heart, as they’d join the following: Peter O’Toole (8 nominations and honorary award in 2003); Richard Burton (7 nominations); Deborah Kerr (6 nominations and honorary award in 1994); Alfred Hitchcock (5 nominations but got the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1968); Kate Winslet (5 nominations); Tom Cruise (3 nominations); Fred Astaire (1 nomination and an honorary award in 1950); Gene Kelly (1 nomination and honorary award in 1952); Noel Coward (1 nomination and honorary award in 1943); Leslie Howard, Judy Garland and Richard Harris with 2 nominations; and Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard with one each.

Mrs Miniver beat Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon to the Best Picture Oscar in 1943. 

And who has the most? Walt Disney, who has 22 competitive awards, not counting the seven miniature Oscars he got for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. He also has four honorary Oscars, one for creating Mickey Mouse.

Frequent fliers Composer John Williams is the most nominated person alive, with a tally of 45 (he’s won 5). Sound re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell holds the record for the most nominations without a win (19).

It’s never too late The oldest set of Acting Oscar winners took to the podium in 1981: Katharine Hepburn (72), Henry Fonda (77), John Gielgud (77) and Maureen Stapleton (56).

Oscar firsts Charles Laughton was the first British winner (in 1934). Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet was the first British film to win Best Picture (1949). Hattie McDaniel was the first black star to win an Oscar (for best Supporting Actress in (1940), Sidney Poitier took Best Actor in 1964 and Halle Berry won Best Actress (2002). In 1958, Miyoshi Umecki became the first Asian actress to win an Academy Award. Emma Thompson is the only person nominated as an actress and for a screenplay (she won for screenplay – but already had a Best Actress award). Sophia Loren was the first person to win for a role in a non-English film. Midnight Cowboy is the only X-rated film to win Best Picture. The Best Actress award tied for the first time in 1968 (Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand). Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only actors to be recognised for playing the same character (for Vito Corleone in 1972 and 1974 respectively).

Was it that good? Harold Russell is the only person to have won two Academy Awards for the same performance – Best Supporting Actor and an honorary award for The Best years of Our Lives.

Just say no Only two people have declined to accept their acting Oscars – George C. Scott in 1970 (for Patton), who claimed that acting shouldn’t be competitive, and Marlon Brando in 1972, who sent Sacheen Littlefeather to accept it on his behalf to protest America’s treatment of indigenous peoples. Dudley Nichols refused his Best Writing award in 1935.

He can’t be with us tonight James Dean is the only actor to receive two posthumous nominations, for East of Eden in 1956 and Giant in 1957. He was killed in 1955.

Honourable mention Bob Hope has no fewer than 4 honorary Oscars (including one for his ‘contribution to the laughter of the world, his service to the motion picture industry and his devotion to the American premise’), plus the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. It obviously pays to present the awards show!