Oscar Trivia – Facts and History of the Academy Awards

Throwing an award show party? Trivia makes a great game at any party, but playing some trivia at an Oscars party is a great way to see who knows their Hollywood facts. Impress your guests with Oscar trivia tidbits on the beginnings of this great award show.

Oscar Trivia Facts

1. The “Oscars” are officially known as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards. They were inaugurated in 1928 as part of Hollywood’s drive to improve its less-than-respectable image. Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick once remarked that the statuette resembled her uncle Oscar, and the nickname has stuck ever since.

2. Membership in the Academy (currently over 3,000) is by invitation only, with members divided into 13 branches. Each branch selects up to five nominees for awards in its area of expertise; the entire membership makes “Best Film” nominations and then votes on all the categories. Major awards are: Best Director, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress.

3. The first ceremony was the only Academy Awards, which was not broadcast over the airwaves. 250 people attended and it was, held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Tickets were for sale to the general public for $10. Today, no tickets are available for public sale and attendance at the event is strictly by invitation only.

4. The tradition of the Academy Awards dates back over 80 years, when the first “talkie” debuted in 1927 called The Jazz Singer.

5. Until 1940, the winners were announced to newspapers so that they would be ready for publication in the late edition. Los Angeles Times published the results early in 1940 and guests were able to find out who won before the ceremony. The next year the sealed-envelope system was implemented and has been used ever since. Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) has handled the ballots since 1934.

6. While the Oscars began as banquet affairs with dinner and dancing before the awards presentation, in 1942 the event altered its design and moved to a theater in order to accommodate a larger audience. The 16th Academy Awards ceremony, in 1943, was held in Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and was broadcast by network radio, and sent overseas for the first time. NBC-TV and radio covered the first televised broadcast, the 25th Academy Awards, live in 1952, with Bob Hope as host. It wasn’t until 1965 that Oscar first appeared to the American public in color, and in 1969, the Oscars were broadcast on television worldwide.

7. Today, hundreds of millions of people in over 100 countries watch the show.

8. The Academy Awards have been held at Graumen’s Chinese Theater (1928-1946), the Shrine Civic Auditorium (1947-1948), Melrose Avenue Theater (1949), RKO Pantages Theatre (1950-1960), Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (1961-1968), and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (1969-1987). For two dozen years the event was shuttled between venues until 2002, where it has settled once again between the Kodak Theater and the Highland Center in Hollywood.

9. Oscar winners don’t actually own their statues! Upon being presented with their award, winners must sign an agreement stating that they should they wish to sell their statuettes they must first offer them to the Academy for $1. If they refuse, they cannot keep their trophy.

10. There has only been one Oscar winner named Oscar: Oscar Hammerstein IIwho won two for best song.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this important piece of Hollywood history and these Oscar trivia facts! If you’re hosting a party for the occasion, check out PurpleTrail’s tips for planning the perfect Award Show party. Cheers!

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