The Red Carpet is laid out and the stars are aligning for the 87th annual Academy Awards. Talented actors, directors and screenwriters will gather to reward the year’s biggest hits such as “The Imitation Game,” “Birdman” and “Selma” for excellence in the film industry.
Although we only really care who walks home at the end of the night with the coveted trophy, the extravagant ceremony itself is extravagant for a reason. The Oscar is one of the most sought after awards in Hollywood, giving the show itself a rich history filled with some incredible moments, snubs and winners. To help you prepare for the big night, below are some fun facts and history about the Academy Awards.
1. The only movie to ever completely sweep the show by winning every award it was nominated for was “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at the 76th annual Academy Awards. It is tied for the most wins of all time with “Ben-Hur” and “Titanic.”
2. Only two actors have been awarded an Oscar posthumously. The first was Peter Finch at the 49th annual award show in 1977 when he won for best actor in "Network." The second was in 2008 when Heath Ledger won best supporting actor for his portrayal of The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
3. At 10 years old, actress Tatum O’Neal was the youngest Oscar winner in history when she accepted the trophy for best supporting actress for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon” in 1973.
4. Only three movies have ever swept the top “big five” major awards (best picture, actor, actress, director and screenplay). Those films were, “It Happened One Night" (1934), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “The Silence of the Lambs" (1991).
5. “Gone With the Wind” (1939) was the first film to win best picture that wasn’t in black and white.
6. Walt Disney was the most decorated person at any single Academy Award ceremony. In 1953, he took home trophies for best documentary feature, best documentary short subject, best cartoon short subject and best two-reel short subject.
7. The first person to ever refuse an Oscar was Dudley Nichols, in 1935 for his win for best screenplay in “The Informer.” In 1973, Marlon Brando famously refused to accept his award for “The Godfather” and sent a young Native American woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to read a prepared statement in his place.
8. Whoopi Goldberg was both the first female and the first African-American Oscar host when she took over the show for Billy Crystal in 1994.
9. “The Godfather Part 2” (1974) is still the only sequel to ever receive a win for best picture.
10. Although it was controversial, “Beauty and the Beast” (1991( was the first animated movie to ever receive a best picture nomination. Since that time, movies like “Toy Story 3” (2010) and “Up” (2009) have received the accolade as well.
11. Neil Patrick Harris, who is hosting the 2015 Awards for the first time, has hosted the Tony Awards four times and the Primetime Emmy Awards twice.
12. While Walt Disney is the most decorated, Jack Nicholson is the most honored male actor with 12 nominations and 3 wins.
13. According to Empire Online, an Oscar trophy weighs 3kg and stands 34cm tall. The thing is really heavy.
14. Mental Floss notes that some actors have misplaced their awards over the years. Among these winners are Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Marlon Brando and Angelina Jolie.
15. A truck driver stole 52 Oscar trophies in 2000. They were later found in the trash.
16. In 1940, the Los Angeles Times printed an accurate list of the Academy winners. Many arrived at the ceremony already aware they’d won. Since then, there’s much more secrecy surrounding the results.