Oscars fast facts
The shortest Oscar ceremony ever was the first, held in 1929; it lasted only about 15 minutes as all the winners had been announced three months earlier.
The longest Oscar awards ceremony was in 2000, running for 4 hours and 16 minutes – beating a previous record by 16 minutes.
Bob Hope has hosted the Oscars 18 times; Billy Crystal is in second place with 8 times.
Tom Hanks is the youngest recipient of the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received in 2002 at age 45.
Kate Winslet received four Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 30. Elizabeth Taylor received four Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 28.
Gone with the Wind, at 3 hours and 56 minutes, was the longest film to have won a Best Picture Oscar; it was also the first film in color to win Best Picture.
The 1968 movie, War and Peace, was the longest film (431 minutes) to an Academy Award – for best Foreign picture.
Julia Phillips was the first female producer to win Best Picture award, for The Sting (1973). The first female to win the Best Director award was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008).
Henry Fonda was first nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1941 for his role in The Grapes of Wrath but had to wait 41 years before he finally achieved a win in 1982 for his role in On Golden Pond. At 76, he is the oldest actor yet to have received the Best Actor award.
The oldest actress to win an Oscar is Jessica Tandy – at 81 she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1990 for her performance in Driving Miss Daisy.
Anthony Quinn’s performance as painter Paul Gaugin in Lust for Life (1956) is the shortest ever to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, his second Oscar. He was on screen for only 8 minutes. (He won a similar award in 1952 playing opposite Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s Viva Zapata!)
The shortest-ever winning performance for Best Supporting Actress belongs to Beatrice Straight, who won an Oscar in 1976 for her 5 minutes 40 seconds appearance as devastated wife Louise Schumacher in Network. Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar in 1998 for less than 8 minutes of screen time playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.
The shortest-ever Best Actor Oscar-winning performance was awarded to David Niven in 1958, having appeared for only 15 minutes and 38 seconds in Separate Tables. The second-shortest winning appearance was made by Anthony Hopkins in 1992, for less than 16 minutes of screen time as Dr Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
In 1948, Jane Wyman won Best Actress award without uttering a word; she played the role of a deaf -mute person in the movie Johnny Belinda. The fewest lines actually spoken by an Oscar-winning actress won Patty Duke a Best Actress in a Supporting Role portraying the deaf and blind Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. In the role she speaks only one word in the last scene: “Wah-wah” (for “water”). In 1993, Holly Hunter won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as a deaf person in the movie The Piano but she narrated a few scenes and does speak (although her face is covered) in the last scene of the film.
The films with the most Oscar wins are Ben-Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, each winning 11 Oscars from 12, 14 and 11 nominations respectively. See more in the lists of Oscar winners.
In total, the Middle-earth series (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) – and the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) won 17 Oscars out of 33 nominations.
William Wyler has directed more actors to Academy Award success than any other, with 34 nominations and 14 wins.
Jack Nicholson leads the Best Actor Academy Award category with wins from 11 nominations, followed by Laurence Olivier, nominated 10 times and receiving one Best Actor award, and then Spencer Tracy with nine nominations resulting in two awards.
Daniel Day-Lewis has won the most Best Actor awards, with 3 awards (1989, 2007, 2012).
Meryl Streep had more Best Actress nominations than any other actress; 14 in total, leading to 3 awards. Katharine Hepburn received 12 nominations for Best Actress and won 4 Academy Awards.
Shirley Temple is the youngest performer to receive an Academy Award; in 1934 she received a Special Award when she was only five years old.
Groucho Marx was the oldest Academy Award winner – in 1973 he received a Honorary Award at the age of 83.
The first posthumous Oscar winner was Sidney Howard, for the screenplay of Gone with the Wind.
Mutiny on The Bounty (1935) was the only film to have had three nominees for Best Actor Oscars (Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone) but won only the Best Picture award.
The only tie for Best Actor was between Wallace Beery for The Champ and Fredric March for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in 1932.
The only films to win Best Picture and Best Song are Gigi, Going My Way and Titanic.
The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, in 1991. The award went to Silence of the Lambs but Beauty and the Beast won 2 Oscars: Best Original Score and Best Original Song.
In 1937 Disney won a special Oscar for the first full-length animation: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Two families have three generations of Oscar winners in their ranks:
The Huston family:
Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre); John Huston won Best Director, The Treasure of Sierra Madre in 1948, and Anjlica Huston won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Prizzi’sHonorin 1985.
The Hustons and the Coppolas are two families where the grandfather, father and daughter won Oscars.
The Coppola family:
Carmine Coppola won Best Original Dramatic Score, The Godfather in 1974; Francis Ford Coppola won Best Original Screenplay for Patron (1970), Best Adapted Screenplay, The Godfather (1970), Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, The Godfather: Part II (1974), and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation won for Best Original Screenplay in 2004; Nicholas Cage, Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, won Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas, in 1995.
The Minnelli family:
Liza Minnelli is the only Oscar winner with two Oscar winning parents: her mother Judy Garland, received a honorary Oscar as Outstanding Juvenile Performer for The Wizard of Oz and her father, Vincente Minnelli, won Best Director for Best Picture, Gigi (1958).
The Epstein family:
The only twins to win Oscars are Julius J Epstein and Philip G Epstein, who shared the Best Screenplay award s with Howard Koch for Casablanca (1942).
12 actors to win an Oscar for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Awards ceremony:
Patty Duke playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962)
Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938)
Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941)
Jason Robards for playing Benjamin Bradlee in All the President’s Men (1976)
Robert De Niro for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980)
Sissy Spacek for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995)
Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996)
Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000)
Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001)
Jennifer Connelly for playing Alicia Nash in Beautiful Mind (2001)
Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006)
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Updated: March 2013