February 27, 2014 11:07 am
Updated: March 2, 2014 4:56 pm

Oscar night trivia: 12 fun facts about the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards will be handed out on March 2.

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TORONTO — The 86th Academy Awards take place Sunday in Hollywood — and movie lovers and celebrity watchers around the world will be tuning in to see the winners and losers.

Before the big show, here are some fun facts that will make you the hit of any Oscar party:

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— American Hustle is the only movie at this year’s Academy Awards with nominations in all four acting categories. No film has ever won all four acting awards but two have come close — A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Network (1976) won three each.

— If Jennifer Lawrence wins an Oscar this year for her work in American Hustle, she will be only the sixth person to win consecutive Oscars and the first since Tom Hanks in 1993 and 1994. Lawrence won an Oscar in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. Six months before attending the Academy Awards as a Best Actress nominee (for Winter’s Bone), Lawrence was in Metcalfe, Ont. filming the thriller House at the End of the Street.

— The first colour movie to win Best Picture was Gone with the Wind (1939) but the last black and white film to win Best Picture was 72 years later (2011’s The Artist).

Liza Minnelli, who is performing on this year’s Academy Awards, is the only Oscar winner (Best Actress in 1972 for Cabaret) whose parents both earned Oscars. Her mother Judy Garland got an honourary award in 1939 and father Vincente Minnelli won Best Director for 1958’s Gigi.

— Composer Thomas Newman is nominated this year for Original Score (Saving Mr. Banks). It is his 12th nomination and the 88th for his family — which includes Alfred Newman, Emil Newman, Lionel Newman, Randy Newman and David Newman.

— Canada has been nominated seven times in the Best Foreign Language Film category but has only won once (for Denys Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions). Canada is not nominated this year.

— Canadian actor Ryan Gosling was the seventh youngest Best Actor nominee in Oscar history. He was 26 years and 72 days old when his name was read as a nominee for 2006’s Half Nelson. He is almost tied with James Dean (26 years, 10 days) and Orson Welles (26 years, 279 days). Halifax native Ellen Page is the sixth youngest Best Actress nominee (for 2007’s Juno) and Winnipeg-born Anna Paquin is the sixth youngest Best Supporting Actress nominee — and second-youngest winner (for 1993’s The Piano).

— Canadian Christopher Plummer holds the fourth and fifth spots on the list of oldest Best Supporting Actor nominees. He was 82 years and 42 days old when nominated for 2011’s Beginners and 80 years and 51 days old when nominated for 2009’s The Last Station. Plummer is the oldest Best Supporting Actor winner (for Beginners), beating George Burns (The Sunshine Boys) by about two years.

— In 1930, Toronto-born Mary Pickford won Best Actress for 1929’s Coquette, her first “talkie.” She won an honourary Oscar in 1976. Pickford was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

— Only 11 Best Picture nominees in Oscar history were directed by women — of which only three earned Best Director nods. In fact, only one woman has ever won Best Director — Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Only 23 per cent of Academy voters are female.

— Halle Berry is the only woman of colour to win Best Actress (2001’s Monster’s Ball). Only six men of colour have won Best Actor. In the last decade, no Oscars in acting categories have gone to people of Latino, Asian or Native American descent.

— Some movies have won plenty of Oscars without winning Best Picture. Cabaret (1972) earned eight golden statues but failed to take the top prize (it lost to The Godfather). Star Wars (1977) won six awards but lost Best Picture to Annie Hall. More recently, 2012’s Life of Pi won four Oscars but lost Best Picture to Argo.

UPDATE: Thank you for the readers who commented below about two errors in the original version of this article. Jennifer Lawrence was indeed nominated for Best Actress for Winter’s Bone, not Supporting Actress; The Barbarian Invasions did, indeed, win Best Foreign Language Film.

However, not all “errors” readers pointed out were, in fact, errors:

Kmac – Jennifer Hudson won Best Supporting Actress, not Best Actress.

Warren Lukinuk – The article clearly states “in the last decade.” 1958 was 56 years ago!

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