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The sealed envelope dates back to 1941. In 1940 the LA Times broke the Academy's embargo and published the names of all the winners before the ceremony.


Since 1950, winners have signed a form promising not to sell their statuette without first offering it back to the Academy for a dollar. Pre-1950 winners can do so, though. In 1992 Harold Russell sold his for $60,500 to pay his wife's medical bills.


It's worth keeping an eye on eBay just in case… or, better yet, your local auction house. Back in 1996 Steven Spielberg collected his first Oscar when he bought Clark Gable's Best Actor gong for $550,000. He gave it straight back to the Academy.


The Best Director gong has been shared twice. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins won for West Side Story in 1961, the Coens shared the spoils for No Country For Old Men (2008).


The first black actress to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel. The Kansan won Best Supporting Actress for Gone With The Wind in 1940.


Sidney Poitier, overlooked for In The Heat Of The Night and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, became the first black actor to win an Oscar when he collected for Lilies Of The Field in 1963.


Number of thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank yous in Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar speech: 23.


Number of plants that could be watered from Gwyneth Paltrow's tears: 657.


The longest speech in Oscar history was given by Greer Garson, winner of Best Actress for Mrs Miniver. Garson rattled on for nearly seven minutes. She was nominated again on four occasions but never repeated her success. Strange, that.


The shortest? Alfred Hitchcock and William Holden both greeted their awards with a simple, "Thank you".


These days a 45-second limit is imposed on speeches. Anyone straying past that mark is played off by the orchestra.


Number of references to, "the majestic glow of a new tomorrow" in Laurence Olivier's 1979 acceptance speech: 1.


The greatest Oscar injustice is a matter of opinion of course, but the years have not been kind to the decision to award Best Director to Robert Redford for Ordinary People over Martin Scorsese and Raging Bull in 1981.


...or the Best Picture pick of the jolly-but-slight Around The World In 80 Days over The Searchers in 1957.


...or Rosalind Russell's omission for His Girl Friday in 1941. There've been a few, basically.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 Fact #18
Posted on Tuesday February 28, 2012, 12:34 by sparkyjcs
Surely Return of the King is a SEQUEL to The Two Towers and Fellowship of the Ring. Didn't that win Best Picture also? Read More

2 #19
Posted on Saturday February 25, 2012, 22:07 by oceandwellers
Are you not forgetting One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Read More

3 number 51
Posted on Saturday February 25, 2012, 11:51 by Dropje
I count seven names, not six. Read More

4 meryl
Posted on Saturday February 25, 2012, 08:06 by nz_louise
meryl has 17 nominations to date not 14 Read More

5 No. 43 and 44
Posted on Friday February 24, 2012, 18:37 by hcasner
Raymond Massey was nominated for Abe Lincoln in Illinois; and Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for the same role twice, the same in different categories, but the same role. Read More

6 @ #31
Posted on Friday February 24, 2012, 18:02 by wordscrawl
wings wasn't produced by howard Hughes. that was Hells Angels (1930) i was super excited to read this list, but this is like the 4th wrong fact I've found so far. boo Read More

7 40?
Posted on Thursday February 23, 2012, 22:30 by Pixaroholic
John Williams has 47, not 40, nominations, right?? Read More

8 Spielberg
Posted on Thursday February 23, 2012, 19:19 by sonofliberty1
72 - Spielberg collected his first Oscar in 1987 when he won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and then again in 1994 for Schindler's List Read More

9 FACT 101
Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012, 22:59 by sjessep
Most nominations before winning: Randy Newman won with his 16th nomination before winning for Monsters Inc. He's since won again with Toy Story 3, his 20th nomination. Read More

10 Christopher Plummer
Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012, 20:31 by Evil_Bob
I suppose you're right Christopher Plummer would be the oldest person to win an Oscar if he wins this year. Although I'm not exactly sure why you're ignoring Max von Sydow who's nominated this year in the same category and is about 8 months older than Plummer. Oh and Return of the King is a sequel. I'm not going with Scream 2's definition of a sequel nor should a respected film magazine. (although arguably Silence of the Lambs is also a sequel) Read More

11 And Godfather II is also technically part-prequel...
Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012, 19:14 by Porter
...so LOTR: The Return of the King is the only outright sequel winner! God I hate pub quizzes! Read More

12 how can Godfather Part II be the only best picture winning sequel...
Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012, 19:12 by Porter
...surely LOTR: The Return of the King is a sequel too? And don't give me any of that "it's the concluding part of the same story" horseshit. It's a damn sequel!!! Read More

13
Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012, 17:15 by tonyjoedeeks
Judy Garland never won a competative Oscar- she received a special award for The Wizard of Oz.. An Academy gift, not a competative win.. Read More

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