This Sunday marks the 87th Academy Awards. Known as the pinnacle of recognition for achievement in cinema, over the span of nearly a century, a number of rare, tragic and strage occurances have entrenched themselves in Oscar lore. We explore 10 Oscar tidbits that may not be on your radar.

World War II impacted the construction of the Oscar Statue

Due to a metal shortage during the Second World War, Oscars were made of painted plaster for three years. Following the war, the Academy invited recipients to redeem the plaster figures for gold-plated metal ones.

The Academy also utilized a strange material when it came time to award Edgar Bergen with an honorary Oscar. Known for his comedic stylings with his wooden dummy, Charlie McCarthy, he was given a statue to fit his sensibilities that was made of wood and had a movable mouth.

There has only been one "write-in" winner

When Hal Mohr took home the award for Best Cinematography for his achievement on A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1936, he earned the distinction of becoming the first and only recipient via "write in." The Academy later changed the Oscar rules, making write-in voting impossible. Further adding to his innovative achievements, in 1944, Mohr became the first person to win an Oscar for both black-and-white and color cinematography when he won his second Academy Award for The Phantom of the Opera.

Only three films have won the "Big Five" awards at one ceremony

The "Big Five" at the Academy Awards are the achievements in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. There have only been three films that have achieved this distinction: It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

George C. Scott and Marlon Brando refused their Oscars

Prior to his nomination for his role in Patton, George C. Scott told producers for a previous Academy Awards ceremony that if he were to win for his work on The Hustler, he would refuse the award. Ultimately, Scott didn't win in that instance. But when the 43rd Academy Awards rolled around, Scott's name was called - and to no one's surprise - he wasn't in attendance. He had been on record as saying, "the ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons."

Having already won an award for his 1954 film, On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando had a decidedly different approach to accepting the award when it came time to be honored for The Godfather. According to The Los Angeles Times, "when his name was announced by Liv Ullmann, the audience was shocked when activist-actress Sacheen Littlefeather, dressed in Native American garb, came on stage to tell them she was the actor's representative and he was turning down the Oscar: 'The reasons for this being are the treatment of the American Indians today.' Her statement was met by scattered boos and applause."

Linda Hunt is the only person to win an Oscar for playing a member of the opposite sex

Starring opposite Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously, Linda Hunt took on the role of "Billy Kwan" - a male dwarf - that served as Gibson's photographic contact in Jakarta.

The Academy Awards have been postponed three times

There have only been three instances when the show has been postponed. In 1938 - having already faced record breaking rainfall - Los Angeles was hit with a further deluge of precipitation that ended up killing 96 people across Southern California. Originally scheduled for March 3, the ceremony took place a week later.

In the aftermath of the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the 1968 show was postponed two days. According to Variety, "The announcement was made Saturday by Academy proxy Gregory Peck after an emergency meeting of the governors of the Academy. The 26 governors voted unanimously on the move after consulting with ABC, which will simulcast the ceremonies, and Eastman Ko- Co., sponsor. Peck said of the postponement and cancellation that 'we all felt it was the only proper and appropriate action to take.' He added that the show itself will remain as before, played strictly for entertainment, except for opening remarks he would make as president of the Academy."

Following the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, the ceremony was pushed back a day. Upon his arrest, would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. reportedly asked police if the news would disrupt the Academy Awards ceremony.

Walt Disney received 8 Oscars at once

When he was recognized for his achievement for introducing the world to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Walt Disney received  a traditional statuette, and seven miniature versions alongside it.

Midnight Cowboy was the only X-rated film to win Best Picture

When it took home the award for Best Picture in 1970 - as well as wins for its director, John Schlesinger, and its writer, Waldo Salt - Midnight Cowboy earned the distinction of being the first film with an X-rating to take home the industries top prize. As Schlesinger told Vanity Fair, "“You couldn’t make Midnight Cowboy now,” Schlesinger, who died in 2003, said in 1994. “I was recently at dinner with a top studio executive, and I said, 'If I brought you a story about this dishwasher from Texas who goes to New York dressed as a cowboy to fulfill his fantasy of living off rich women, doesn’t, is desperate, meets a crippled consumptive who later pisses his pants and dies on a bus, would you—’ and he said, ‘I’d show you the door.’”

The only other X-rated films to be nominated were Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris.

Tom Hanks is the last performer to win back-to-back Oscars

Only five actors/actresses have ever won back-to-back awards: Luise Rainer, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards and Tom Hanks - the latter having earned the distinction in 1993 and 1994 for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.

The Hustons and the Coppolas are the only families with three generations of winners

Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor in 1948, son Jon Huston won Best Director and Best Screenplay in 1948, and granddaughter Anjelica Houston won Best Supporting Actress in 1985.

Carmine Coppola won for Original Dramatic Score in 1974, son Francis Ford Coppola's first win was for Original Screenplay in 1970, and granddaughter Sofia Coppola won for Original Screenplay in 2003.

We Recommend
  • Dad Caps Are All the Rage & Here Are 10 You Should Cop Now
    • Style
  • 10 of Our Favorite Gum Sole Sneakers to Shop Right Now
    • Selects
  • 10 of the Best adidas Ultraboost to Buy Right Now
    • Sneakers
  • 10 Workwear Brands Every Highsnobiety Reader Should Know & Where To Buy Them
    • Style
  • 12 Italian Rappers You Need to Know in 2024
    • Culture
What To Read Next
  • Live From Indio: Coachella Weekend Two with YouTube & Highsnobiety
    • Culture
    • sponsored
  • Cartier's Green-as-Grass Tank Louis: An Earth Day Treat Like None Other
    • Style
  • What Denim Tears x Arthur Jafa Says About Tremaine Emory & Supreme
    • Style
  • Reasons to Invest in Some ROA Shoes This Season
    • Sneakers
  • Happy Earth day! 2024's Prime Picks for Eco-friendlier 'Fits
    • Style
  • Dude, Rihanna, Weed, LMAO
    • Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.