What’s special about the Oscars?
You can probably name at least a handful of Best Picture and Best Actor winners, but do you know why the Oscars are considered the ultimate in movie accolades? Or why they are even called the Oscars? The Academy Awards, as they are officially known, is the oldest worldwide entertainment awards ceremony. So, basically, it was the biggest, first. Of course, it matters that the academy in question – the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – is LA-based, and most of its approximately 8,000 members (the list itself is unpublished) reside in the US; there’s nothing like winning on home turf, especially when that turf is Hollywood.
The story of why the awards got their nickname is less clear cut. One story is that Bette Davis, who was once a president of the Academy – coined the term for her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson. Another tale says that a newspaper reporter overheard Margaret Herrick, the Academy’s then librarian, saying that the statuette reminded her of her uncle Oscar, and published a story exhorting the moniker. Wherever it came from, it has certainly stuck.
Prolific winners and standout moments
Some of the most memorable Oscar moments have occurred in recent years: who can forget Ryan Gosling’s suppressed laughter as the cast and crew of La La Land discovered, while on stage to accept the award for best film in 2017, that the winner was in fact Moonlight? Then there was the 2014 selfie to beat all selfies, when host Ellen DeGeneres snapped herself with Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o (plus her brother, Peter Nyong’o). Go back a little further, to 1974, and the Oscars witnessed its very own streaker, as activist Robert Opel ran across the stage nude in front of presenter Elizabeth Taylor. And in 1972, Charlie Chaplin received the longest-ever standing ovation – an incredible 12 minutes.
In terms of winners, there have only been six tied votes during the history of the ceremony, one of the most memorable being when Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn shared the honors in 1969, for Funny Girl and The Lion in Winter respectively. Hepburn is also the recipient of the most Oscars for acting, with four wins and a total of 12 nominations – Meryl Streep is just behind her on three wins and a whopping 21 nominations. But Walt Disney holds the record for taking home the most Oscar statuettes – 26 wins from an impressive total of 59 nominations.
Who rules the red carpet?
There are too many to mention here, but special commendations go to: Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, 1954; Grace Kelly in Edith Head, 1955; Julia Roberts in vintage Valentino, 2001; Charlize Theron in Gucci, 2004; Vanessa Paradis in vintage Chanel, 2004; Michelle Williams in Vera Wang, 2006; Marion Cotillard in Jean Paul Gaultier, 2008; Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford, 2012; Halle Berry in Versace, 2013; Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, 2013; Lupita Nyong’o in Prada, 2014; Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein, 2018.
Who are the Oscars 2019 contenders?
It’s hard to call the Best Picture race, which pits musical movies Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born against tender tales Roma and Green Book, depictions of power struggles in Vice, and Spike Lee’s civil rights exploration BlacKkKlansman. If it came to a fight between the ladies of regal drama The Favourite and blockbusting action film Black Panther, who do you think would win?
As for the women to root for, Lead Actress sees Yalitza Aparicio and Glenn Close shortlisted for Roma and The Wife respectively, while Lady Gaga for A Star is Born and Melissa McCarthy for Can You Ever Forgive Me? are also in the running. Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman might just be The Favourite though (it’s the movie moniker that keeps on giving this awards season). Colman’s co-stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are both nominated in the Supporting Actress category, competing against Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk, Amy Adams for Vice and Roma’s Marina de Tavira. Tough call.
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