Saturday, February 25, 2012

The skinny on Oscar

From the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (always a mouthful) come the following factoids:
Official Name: Academy Award® of Merit
Height: 13½ inches Weight: 8½ pounds
Awards Presented So Far: 2,809
First Recipient: Emil Jannings, Best Actor for The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh in 1929
Design: A knight holding a crusader’s sword, standing on a reel of film. The reel's five spokes represent the five original branches of the Academy (actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers).
Designer: Cedric Gibbons, chief art director, MGM
Sculptor: LA artist George Stanley 
"The statuettes presented at the initial ceremonies were gold-plated solid bronze. Within a few years the bronze was abandoned in favor of britannia metal, a pewter-like alloy which is then plated in copper, nickel silver, and finally, 24-karat gold. Due to a metal shortage during World War II, Oscars® were made of painted plaster for three years. Following the war, the Academy invited recipients to redeem the plaster figures for gold-plated metal ones."
The first film to sweep Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay was It Happened One Night—and it didn't happen again until One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Silence of the Lambs.
Clark Gable & Colette Colbert in Capra's 1934 comedy
What are your favorite/least favorite Oscar moments? Vanessa Redgrave's political rant? Roberto Begnini vaulting across the seats? Denzel Washington and Halle Berry hoisting Best Actor/Actress awards the same year? Bjork's swan dress? Cher's Bob Mackie kitsch couture? After 82 years, Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to win Best Director? Below are a few of mine.
At the 11th Academy Awards, Shirley Temple presented Walt Disney with an honorary Oscar for the first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (with seven mini-Oscars to boot!) Below, Charlie Chaplin received a Lifetime Achievement award and an unparalleled 12-minute ovation in 1972 after being persona non grata in Hollywood for 20 years because of a certain senator named Joe McCarthy.

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