Oscar trivia: Fun facts from Academy Award history

In this Feb. 4, 2019 photo, an Oscar statue appears at the 91st Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File)
WTOP's Jason Fraley offers Oscar triva

The 92nd annual Academy Awards are just three days away!

So before we make our predictions, it’s time for some Oscar trivia.

Here are some fun facts to impress your friends on Oscar night.

Which three films are the only to win the Big Five Oscars?

“It Happened One Night” (1934), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) stand atop the Oscar mountain as the only three films to ever win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay. It truly is an amazing feat if you stop and think about it. While Best Picture and Best Director often share wins, it is insanely hard to have an iconic leading male performance and an iconic leading female performance in the same movie. But that’s exactly what these films did with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, and Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

Which movie won the most Oscars?

The record of 11 wins is shared by a trio of beloved epics: “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), all of which won Best Picture. The only other film to notch double digits wins is the musical classic “West Side Story” (1961) with 10.

The next closest are “Gigi” (1958), “The Last Emperor” (1987) and “The English Patient” (1996) with nine wins apiece, while multiple films have won eight: “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “On the Waterfront” (1954), “My Fair Lady” (1964), “Cabaret” (1972), “Gandhi” (1982), “Amadeus” (1984) and “Slumdog Millionaire” (2012).

Which films earned the most Oscar nominations?

“All About Eve” (1950), “Titanic” (1997) and “La La Land” (2016) are tied for the most total nominations with 14 each. “All About Eve” ultimately won six, “Titanic” ultimately won 11, and “La La Land” ultimately won six, but while “All About Eve” and “Titanic” both won Best Picture, “La La Land” remains the most-nominated film ever to lose the top prize. Overrated?

Which film won Best Picture after the wrong winner was announced?

No one will ever forget the night that “Moonlight” (2016) shockingly, yet deservedly won Best Picture after presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally read the wrong winner due to an infamous envelope gaffe that was endlessly dissected in the weeks to come. When the record was corrected two-and-a-half minutes later, Barry Jenkins took the stage as “Moonlight” became the lowest-budget film ever to win Best Picture.

Which movie earned the most nominations without winning any?

This dubious honor is shared by Herbert Ross’ “The Turning Point” (1977) and Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” (1985), which each entered their respective ceremonies with 11 nominations but walked away empty-handed. You can only imagine the filmmakers’ wave of excitement going in, only for their balloons to be completely deflated on the way out.

Which is the only franchise to win Best Picture twice?

While “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) pulled off a Best Picture win as a sequel, none of its other installments took the top prize. That leaves Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster masterpiece as the only franchise to win the top prize twice for “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather: Part II” (1974). Years later, “The Godfather: Part III” (1990) was also nominated for Best Picture, but it lost to “Dances with Wolves” (1990) in a year that should have crowned “Goodfellas” (1990).

Who has the most Oscar wins and nominations? 

Walt Disney leads the all-time list with 22 wins and 59 nominations for his array of cartoon shorts, animated features and nature documentaries. John Williams is currently in second place with 52 nominations, including this year for composing the score to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Who has won Best Actress the most?

Katharine Hepburn won Best Actress a whopping four times for “Morning Glory” (1933), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), “The Lion in Winter” (1968) and “On Golden Pond” (1981), though ironically not for her four best movies: “Bringing Up Baby” (1938), “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), “Adam’s Rib” (1949) and “The African Queen” (1951).

Meryl Streep leads with 21 total nominations, including three wins: Best Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979) and Best Actress for both “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and “The Iron Lady” (2011). Ingrid Bergman also has three wins, earning Best Actress twice for “Gaslight” (1944) and “Anastasia” (1956) before bagging her third Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974).

Several others have won Best Actress twice: Bette Davis for “Dangerous” (1935) and “Jezebel” (1938), Luise Rainer for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937), Vivien Leigh for “Gone with the Wind” (1939) and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), Olivia de Havilland for “To Each His Own” (1946) and “The Heiress” (1949), and Elizabeth Taylor for “Butterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966).

More recent double Best Actress winners include Glenda Jackson for “Women in Love” (1970) and “A Touch of Class” (1973), Jane Fonda for “Klute” (1971) and “Coming Home” (1978), Sally Field for “Norma Rae” (1979) and “Places in the Heart” (1984), Jodie Foster for “The Accused” (1988) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), Hilary Swank for “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), and Frances McDormand for “Fargo” (1996) and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017).

Who has won Best Actor the most?

Daniel Day-Lewis has won Best Actor three times for “My Left Foot” (1989), “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Lincoln” (2012). Jack Nicholson also has three Oscars to his name: Best Actor twice for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “As Good As It Gets” (1997), as well as Best Supporting Actor for “Terms of Endearment” (1983).

Other double Best Actor winners include Spencer Tracey for “Captain Courageous” (1937) and “Boys Town” (1938), Frederic March for “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde” (1931) and “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946), Gary Cooper for “Sergeant York” (1941) and “High Noon” (1952), Marlon Brando for “On the Waterfront” (1954) and “The Godfather” (1972), Dustin Hoffman for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979) and “Rain Man” (1988), Tom Hanks for “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994) and Sean Penn for “Mystic River” (2003) and “Milk” (2008).

Who was the first African American to win Best Actor?

After Hattie McDaniel’s groundbreaking win for Best Supporting Actress in “Gone with the Wind” (1939), Sidney Poitier made history as the first African American to win Best Actor for “Lilies of the Field” (1963). He should have won again for his iconic role as Virgil Tibbs in “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), but his nomination instead went to co-star Rod Steiger. The feat tragically — and tellingly — wasn’t repeated until Denzel Washington won Best Actor for “Training Day” (2001), cementing Denzel’s legacy after previously winning Best Supporting Actor for “Glory” (1989).

Which director has won the most Oscars?

John Ford has won Best Director four times for “The Informer” (1935), “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) and “The Quiet Man” (1952). Ironically, none of them were westerns, which he pioneered with “Stagecoach” (1939), “My Darling Clementine” (1946), “The Searchers” (1956) and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962).

Second place is a tie between William Wyler and Frank Capra, who each won Best Director three times. Wyler won for “Mrs. Miniver” (1942), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) and “Ben-Hur” (1959), but not for “Roman Holiday” (1953) or “Funny Girl” (1968). Capra won for “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936) and “You Can’t Take it With You” (1938), but ironically not for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) or “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946).

Let’s also remember that Billy Wilder earned six Oscars and Francis Ford Coppola earned five, but theirs came across a variety of categories for writing, directing and producing. Wilder’s six wins came for “The Lost Weekend” (1946), “Sunset Blvd.” (1950) and “The Apartment” (1960), but ironically not for “Double Indemnity” (1944) or “Some Like it Hot” (1959). Coppola’s five wins came for “Patton” (1970), “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather: Part II” (1974), but ironically not for “The Conversation” (1974) or “Apocalypse Now” (1979).

How many times did Alfred Hitchcock win Best Director?

Zero. That’s right, arguably the greatest director in all of film history never won the directing prize, despite a prolific body of work that includes “Notorious” (1946), “Rear Window” (1954), “Vertigo” (1958), “North By Northwest” (1959), “Psycho” (1960) and “The Birds” (1963). However, his first Hollywood picture “Rebecca” (1940) did win Best Picture.

Who directed his own father and his own daughter to an Oscar?

John Huston directed his father Walter Huston to an Oscar for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948), for which he also won Best Director. He later directed his daughter Anjelica Huston to an Oscar for “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985). I dare you to watch the above video without smiling.

Which movie first won the Oscar for Best Animated Film?

The first winner of Best Animated Film was “Shrek” (2001). The category did not previously exist, so it was practically invented for the DreamWorks hit. However, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) won an honorary Oscar (and seven little statuettes) as “a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field.” Other Disney films have also won Oscars in music categories.

Which Broadway star got the sweetest Oscar revenge?

Julie Andrews won a Tony as Eliza Doolittle in Broadway’s “My Fair Lady,” but she was deemed not famous enough to star in the 1964 film version. Instead, the studio went with Audrey Hepburn, whom Andrews defeated for Best Actress thanks to “Mary Poppins” (1964). The rest is history.

How did Richard Attenborough make up to Steven Spielberg?

When the late Richard Attenborough’s biopic “Gandhi” won Best Picture over Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), Attenborough ultimately admitted that “E.T.” was the better movie. How did he make it up to Spielberg? By agreeing to star as the theme park owner in “Jurassic Park” (1993). That’s right, “E.T. phone home” eventually became “We have a t-rex.” I guess some things work out for the best.

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