For nearly a century, the Academy Awards or better known as the Oscars, have been the main award in the American film industry, honouring cinematic excellence and outstanding acting performances. The first ever ceremony was held in May 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the most recent in February 2017 at the current venue, the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Fun Fact: The first ever Oscar ceremony in 1929 lasted 15 minutes only, the latest one in 2017 surpassed four hours.
Year after year, celebrities, movie stars, film directors and other guests from the high society gather on the most important evening in the film industry to find out who of the contenders will receive the coveted awards. The categories have been extended over the years to a total of 24 awards, including now categories such as Best Foreign Language Film (1957) and Best Animated Feature (2002). The award itself is a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit” but is commonly known as Oscar.
Fun Fact: The statuettes are made of gold-plated Britannium , an alloy composed of tin, antimony and copper. They are 34.3 cm tall, weigh 3.856 kg and depict a knight holding a crusader's sword while standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Directors, Producers, Technicians and Writers.
The event has reached such a globally acclaimed scale, that bookmakers offer odds on the winners of each category, with some very profitable results. Individuals with a favourite actor, actress of movie can take bets, basing their decisions on rumours and the competition at the time. Although not every casino or betting house will be able to provide these bets, many of the top casinos do. So the next time you see someone performing an Oscar-worthy role in a movie, check them out. Chances are, they will offer advantageous odds to add thrills to the Oscar night.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) with approximately 6,000 members is the organization nominating every year’s contenders for the Oscars. In late December the nominees are sent out to the voting members to allow sufficient time to have the results in February when the ceremony is held.
Controversies arose in the last decade as to whether the Academy is voting one sided. Fact is that actors and directors of colour are underrepresented in the voting panel as well as in the nominations. This was acknowledged in the last years with the promise to make changes in the future. So far, not much has been done as the Oscar nominations and winners are still predominantly white.
It is every aspiring actor’s highest goal to be one of the Oscar winners, bringing them prestige, bragging rights and monetary bonuses added to their payment deals for their next movies. Astonishingly, many well-known greats of the industry have never received an Oscar, among them being Michelle Pfeifer, Catherine Deneuve, Glenn Close, Annette Benning, Sigourney Weaver, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Will Smith, Alan Rickman and Harrison Ford.
Fun Fact: The actor and actress with most nominations but no Oscar to their names are Peter O’Toole with eight and Glenn Close with six nominations. The actors with most Oscars are Katherine Hepburn with four while Jack Nicholson clinched three in his career spanning a few decades.
This only shows that it can be a long road to becoming an Oscar nominee and an even longer one to actually win one. Being a great actor or director does not guarantee an award, although some surely are not too much bothered to have that feather missing on their head. Multi million movie deals certainly help to quench the tears. The most recent and prominent example is Leonardo di Caprio, who needed six nominations to finally hold an Oscar in his hands. He received it at the 2017 awards for best actor in the 2016 movie “The Revenant”.
One Oscar rule caught my eye. Holders of the coveted statuettes are legally bound that neither themselves nor their heirs can turn the statuettes into cold cash without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for US$1. One dollar, certainly a great deal for the Academy, since some could sell for thousands or even millions of dollars.
Fun Fact: In 2004, the Orson Welles’ heirs sold his 1941 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay of “Citizen Kane” at an auction for a whopping US$861,542 . One of only a handful of Oscars being sold to this date. Most statuettes end up indeed back at the Academy where they are preserved in their treasury.
The movie with the most nominations and awards is no other than the “Titanic” blockbuster, an epic creation by James Cameron about the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912. In 1997, it clocked up nominations in fourteen categories of which it won eleven, unsurpassed until and since then. Titanic went on to become a cult classic, spawning slots and merchandise, not to mention the theme song by Celine Dion which remains until this day an evergreen hit. It went on to become the second of only two movies that surpassed the $2 Billion mark in gross revenue worldwide after “Avatar”.
Fun Fact: On rare occasions, low budget movies make it into the headlines for being overly successful considering the production budget. The most notable one is the 1999 The Blair Witch Project with a $60,000 budget grossing some $250 million at the box offices worldwide.
With 2017 turning on to the final stretch and having devoured the latest blockbusters, it is worth taking a sneak peek at the possible 2018 nominations. One movie that is expected to receive a few nominations is “Wonder Woman”. Forty years after the first “Superman” film it was time for a female super hero. Having crossed the $700 million mark at the global box office this summer with a rare combo of female lead actor and a female director makes it a prime suspect to receive nominations in a few categories.
Other contenders are “Get Out”, “The Big Sick”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Boss Baby”, “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Alien: Covenant”. Among the actors predicted to be nominated are Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Robert Pattinson, Salma Hayek, Patrick Stewart, Nicole Kidman, Kumail Nanjiani and Denzel Washington.
The results will be out in February 2018 when yet again millions of viewers around the world will be glued to their television sets to see whether their favourites will be crowned as the next Oscar winners. Some of those favourites will be holding their fingers and toes crossed that it is their turn in the spotlight, just like Leonardo di Caprio at this year’s ceremony. While we know this is a pretty exciting event, we reckon you won’t exactly be sitting on your seat behind the screen the whole time. When those feature-length, interminable commercials hit, it’s best if you have something to help you bear through. Our suggestion? Mr Gamez will not only keep you entertained, but may also make you feel like you won the Oscar too.
That Hollywood has become synonymous with entertainment is not news – but it takes something like the Oscar awards to really separate the good stuff from the trash we are sometimes fed at the cinema. For many movie-goers, they have become the standard by which they rate what they see, a significant event as it sets the tone for possible revenues to be generated.