On February 18, 1929, the First Academy Awards were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Here are 5 crazy facts you never knew about the history of this prestigious award...
It’s Unclear Why the Statue Is Named “Oscar”
Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. Where the “Oscar” got its name seems to be shrouded in mystery. However, pop culture seems to credit Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick. Apparently when Herrick first saw the little statuette, she remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar – and the name stuck! The Academy officially adopted the nickname in 1939.
The First Academy Award Ceremony Lasted Only About 15 Minutes
The first award recipients’ names were printed on the back page of the academy’s newsletter. A few days later, Variety published the information–on page seven. The ceremony was then held in May, and it was a far cry from the glamour surrounding the Oscars today: Earlier this month, the Academy Awards ceremony lasted around three hours and thirty-five minutes, which is much longer than the 15 minutes it took to hold the first one on May 16, 1929. Of course, back in 1929, there were only 12 award categories, and there are 25 categories now. The Academy Award for Best Picture in 1929 went to Wings, a $2 million dollar silent movie about pilots during World War I.
Walt Disney Has Been Awarded More Oscars Than Anyone Else Over the years, Walt Disney won 22 Oscars at the Academy Awards in addition to four awards that were honorary. Furthermore, Disney holds the record for the person who has received the most nominations, with an astounding 59 of them. Disney’s first win was in 1932 for his technicolor cartoon, “Flowers and Trees,” and an honorary award was also given to him that year for his cartoon character Mickey Mouse.
Only One Oscar Winner Had Parents Who Both Won the Award Actress and singer Liza Minelli, who won an Academy Award in 1972 for Best Actress for her role in Cabaret, is the only winner of an Academy Award whose parents were also winners of the prestigious statuette. Her mother, Judy Garland, was given an honorary award in 1939. Her father, Vincente Minelli, won an Oscar in 1958 as Best Director for Gigi.
A Limit Was Eventually Placed on the Time Allowed for Acceptance Speeches Actress Greer Garson, who won a Best Actress Oscar in 1942 for her role in Mrs. Miniver as an unassuming English housewife during World War II, talked on and on for almost six minutes in her acceptance speech. Apparently the Academy decided this was far too long and created a speech guideline limiting remarks by an Oscar winner to 45 seconds. Winners of the Oscar still disregard this guideline frequently.