The annual Academy Awards spectacle coming up in Tinsel Town always reminds me that it’s probably a good time to take a shot at some movie trivia.
This year, the Civil War saga, Lincoln, leads the movie-pack with 12 nominations, including best picture, director for Steven Spielberg and acting honours for Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
Winners of the 85th Oscars will be announced February 24 at a ceremony aired live on ABC-TV from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.
So, with Oscar being topical at the moment, try this timely test of your movie memory (answers follow):
1. How many westerns have won the Oscar for best picture?
2. Who was the youngest performer to win the best actress Oscar?
3. Who was the first actor to be nominated for an Oscar posthumously?
4. Who was the first actor to be nominated and win an Oscar posthumously?
5. Which three performers won Oscars for playing characters who never spoke? And by the way, we’re not referring to “silent” movies.
6. What performer has received the most Oscar nominations?
7. What Academy record does the 1972 film Cabaret hold?
8. Who is the all-time Oscar champ?
9. Who was the first black to win an Oscar?
10. What was the first film to sweep all the major Academy Awards?
1. When you think of all the wonderful westerns that have filled the screen down through the years, it would seem logical that a great many would have grabbed the big one for best picture, but only three westerns have snagged that award. Now, I suppose you'll want me to look up which three westerns were best picture winners? I know, I know, you’ll lose sleep if you don’t find out, and I will too, so let's see:
• In 1931, it was Cimarron.
• In 1990, Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves.
• In 1992, Clint Eastwood’s The Unforgiven.
2. In 1986, 21-year-old Marlee Matlin, broke the record set by the very first best Actress winner, Janet Gaynor, who in 1929 was 22 years old.
3. James Dean was the first actor nominated posthumously. He was killed in a car accident in 1954, shortly after completing East of Eden.
His last performance was nominated, but the best actor winner in 1955 was Ernest Borgnine for Marty.
4. Peter Finch was named Best Actor posthumously in 1976 for his terrific performance as the crazed newscaster in Network.
5. Jane Wyman won the 1948 best actress Oscar for playing a deaf-mute in Johnny Belinda. Sir John Mills was a supporting actor winner in 1970 for his role as the village idiot in Ryan’s Daughter. And Holly Hunter won the best actress Oscar in 1993 for her role in The Piano.
In case you’re wondering about Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God, she actually did speak at one point in that movie.
6. The performer with the most nominations at 12 is Katherine Hepburn. The four Oscars sitting on her mantle also mean that she has won more than any other performer.
7. Cabaret won the most Oscars of any picture that did not win the best picture award. In 1972, it won eight.
The best picture that year was The Godfather.
How’s that for Academy logic?
8. The person who has won the most Oscars? Walt Disney. It figures, doesn’t it?
Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney personally collected a staggering 26 Academy Awards. Since his death, of course, his studio has won many, many more. Walt would be pleased.
9. The first black to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel, who won the best supporting actress award in 1939 for her memorable role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
10. The first film to win all the major awards on Oscar night was It Happened One Night, which took the 1934 awards for best film, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay (adaptation). The major Oscar sweep was not duplicated until One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975.