16 things you didn’t know about the Oscars

Oscar statue
In the lead up to this year’s Oscar ceremony and, of course, red carpet FQ uncovers some surprising details about the big awards…

1. The Oscar statuettes were officially named the Academy Award of Merit when the awards began in 1929. Shortly after Academy librarian Margaret Herrick changed entertainment history by remarking that the award resembled her Uncle Oscar. Margaret went on to become an executive director of the awards.

2. In 2013 Anne Hathaway changed her dress at the last minute to a pink Prada number. Marie Claire reported that this was to avoid wearing a Valentino dress she deemed too similar to the halterneck Alexander McQueen dress worn by Amanda Seyfried.

3. Is all that glitters gold? The very first Oscars were made of gold-plated solid bronze. The Oscars are now made of gold-plated britannium, a material mostly made of tin.

4. The design of the statuette is a knight holding a sword and standing on a reel of film. Cedric Gibbons, then art director of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), was the designer.

5. As heavy as it looks? The current golden knight weighs 3.5 kgs.

The 26th annual Academy Awards in 1954 (left) and the Oscar statue then and now.

The 26th annual Academy Awards in 1953 (left) and the Oscar statue then and now.

6. MSN News reported that 270 people attended the first Oscar ceremony in 1929 while a record 43 million people in the US watched the ceremony by broadcast in 2014.

7. Katharine Hepburn has the most Best Actress Oscars to date for four different films: On Golden Pond, The Lion In Winter, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Morning Glory.

8. Cate Blanchett became the first actress to win an Oscar for playing another winner, with the role of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.

9. According to Fustany magazine, black has been the most popular Oscar gown colour to date, followed by gold.

10. Industry experts speculate that 150 Oscars have been sold, even though the selling of statuettes was prohibited in 1950. According to Forbes, pre-1950s awards go for $1.5 million on the open market and a post-1950s Oscar rarely goes for less than $60,000 on the grey market.

11. The legendary Alfred Hitchcock was nominated five times for Best Director but never won an Oscar.

12. The longest Oscar speech ever recorded was five minutes and 30 seconds long. Greer Garson was the offender, who won Best Actress for Mrs Miniver in 1942.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior (left) and Judy Garland with a young Liza Minnelli.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior (left) and Judy Garland with a young Liza Minnelli.

13. Jennifer Lawrence has revealed that she tried on the infamous blush Dior ballgown on the morning of the 2013 Oscars for the very first time.

14. The Minnellis are the world’s only ‘Oscar family’. Vincente Minnelli won Best Director for Gigi in 1958, his ex-wife Judy Garland received an honorary award in 1939 and their daughter Liza Minnelli won Best Actress for Cabaret in 1972.

15. As reported by Esquire, “there have been only 32 African-American winners out of 2,900 candidates over the years”.

16. Though it’s rare for fantasy films to win Oscars The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King holds the record for most Oscars, winning all 11 of its nominations.

WATCH: 16 Things You Didn’t Know About The Oscars

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Words: Jessica-Belle Greer
Photos: Getty Images