The Academy Awards By the Numbers

The Academy Awards is one of the oldest televised award ceremonies, first presented on May 16, 1929 to honor distinctive achievement in the movie industry. In the first year, 270 industry insider attended a private brunch at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, at a cost of $5 per person. The first Academy Awards was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William deMille. Fourscore and five years later, the event is a media frenzy, with its own venue (the recently renamed Dolby Theatre), attended by more than 3,300 movie insiders, viewed by more than 30 million Americans, and broadcast to more than 100 countries. Although much has changed over 8 decades, one thing has not changed: people tune in to watch the most dignified, composed actors break down emotionally, ramble incoherently, and stumble over a long thank-you list. Apparently, when you win an Oscar, there is no shame in embarrassing yourself; it is up to the conductor to start up the music and put the actor (or audience, depending on your perspective) out of his or her misery. Male viewers will be tuning in to see how Angelina Jolie will strike a pose — last year she showed off her tattoo-free right leg (the leg’s Tweeter feed accrued 12,000 followers within a few hours); this year, who knows? And now, without further ado, we present the Academy Awards by the numbers:

Films that have won the most Academy Awards:
Ben-Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings: 11

Films that has received the most nominations:
All About Eve, Titanic: 14

Most awards won by a person, no longer living:
Walt Disney: 22

Most awards won by a person, still living:
Dennis Muren: 9

Director that has won most awards:
John Ford: 4

Actor that has won most awards:
Katherine Hepburn: 4 (all for best actress)
Daniel Day-Lewis: 3 (all for best actor)

Movies that won the Big Five Academy Awards (best picture, director, actress, actor, and screenplay):
It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Silence of the Lambs

Most consecutive awards (any category):
Walt Disney: 10 awards over 8 consecutive years (1931-39)

Most Frequent Host of the Academy Awards:
Bob Hope: 18

Longest delay in Academy Award nomination:
Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight: 20 years
Although first released in 1952, Academy rules required that a film play in Los Angeles. The film finally played in Los Angeles in 1972, and was eventually nominated, winning an Oscar for best original score.

Read related post: Why is it Called the Oscar?

For further reading: The American Film Institute Desk Reference by Melinda Corey and George Ochoa, DK (2002).
Behind the Oscar by Anthony Holden, Simon & Schuster (1993)
The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History by Jim Piazza and Gail Kinn, BDL (2002)


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