Since 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized the best in the film industry with the Academy Awards of Merit. Better known as the Oscars, these gold statuettes have become the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry.
The very first Oscars event was held during a private dinner function at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, making the Oscars one of the oldest entertainment awards ceremonies in the world.
And its long history comes with a lot of fun facts you might not know! Here are some of the most surprising and most interesting facts about the Academy Awards that might just astonish you.
#1: Because some winners had been selling their awards, the Academy introduced a new stipulation in 1950: all potential winners must sign an agreement to offer the statuette back to the Academy for one dollar before trying to sell it to someone else. If they don't accept this, then they aren't allowed to keep the award.
#2: The various Oscars that were awarded between 1942 and 1945 were made of painted plaster because most of the metals were set aside and used for World War II. When the conflict ended, those statuettes were returned and replaced with metal ones.
#3: The longest standing ovation in Academy Awards history was 12 minutes long when Charlie Chaplin received an honorary Oscar in 1972.
#4: The films that have won the most Academy Awards throughout history are Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), with 11 Oscars each.
#5: Sequels haven't fared so well at the Oscars. In fact, the only sequels to win Best Picture have been The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
#6: Animated films have fared even worse. To this day, only three animated feature films have ever been nominated in the Best Picture category: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3 (2010).
#7: The first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008), which also took home the award for Best Picture. When Bigelow won, she beat her ex-husband James Cameron, who competed in the same category for Avatar (2009)!
#8: The sealed envelope tradition at the Oscars began in 1941 after The Los Angeles Times broke the Academy's embargo and published the names of all winners prior to the actual ceremony.
#9: The only one named Oscar to win an Oscar was Oscar Hammerstein II, who won Best Original Song in 1954.
#10: Liza Minnelli is the only Oscar winner whose parents were also Oscar winners. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Cabaret (1972), her mother Judy Garland received an honorary Oscar in 1939, and her father Vincente Minnelli won the Oscar for Best Director in 1958.
#11: The youngest person to win an Oscar was Tatum O'Neal, who won the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1973 at age 10.
#12: Even though the category of Best Animated Feature was created in 2001, Walt Disney has won the most Academy Awards (with 26 wins and 59 nominations). Most of his Oscars were for Best Animated Short Film.
#13: The woman who's won the most Oscars overall is Edith Head, who was nominated 35 times and won eight times, all for Best Costume Design. As a bonus fun fact, she was the inspiration behind the character of Edna Mode in The Incredibles.
#14: The person who's won the most Academy Awards in the acting categories is the legendary Katherine Hepburn, with four Oscars for Best Actress. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep holds the record for most nominations in the acting categories (21 of them, with three wins).
#15: Jack Nicholson holds the record for most acting nominations for a male actor, having received 12. He also holds the record for most acting wins by a male actor—tied with Daniel Day-Lewis and Walter Brennan— with three Oscar wins each.
#16: The first person born in the 21st century to win an Oscar was Billie Eilish, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "No Time to Die" in No Time to Die (2021) at age 20.
#17: The only films to win all top five awards (Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay) include It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
#18: The Oscar award has only been rejected three times, the most famous rejection being Marlon Brando's second Oscar win for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather to decline the award on his behalf and criticize the portrayal of Native Americans in Hollywood.
#19: The country that has won the most Best International Feature awards remains Italy (with 14 wins), while France holds the record for the most nominations in that category (with 37 of them).
#20: There have only been six ties in the history of the Academy Awards. The most famous tie happened in 1968 when Barbra Streisand and Katherine Hepburn both won the Oscar for Best Actress.