Quirky Facts about 2006 Oscars

The following is a collection of fun facts about the Academy Awards, the 78th edition of which will be held at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday.

Oscar Producer Gil Cates (R), AMPAS President Sid Ganis (C) and Director Louis Horvitz (L) address the media outside the Kodak Theatre 03 March 2006 in Hollywood, California the site of the 78th Academy Awards (AFP Photo)

  -- Even if this year's frontrunner "Brokeback Mountain" wins all eight of the Oscars for which it is nominated, its achievement would fall far short of the record of the 11 statuettes each claimed by 1959's "Ben-Hur" (out of 12 nominations), 1997's "Titanic" (out of 14 nominations), and by 2003's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (out of 12 nods).

   -- Screen heart-throb George Clooney this year became the first person in Oscars history to be nominated as best director and in an acting category for different films in the same year. Clooney, 44, won his directing nod for "Good Night, And Good Luck" and his best supporting actor nod for "Syriana." 

   -- If 26-year-old Australian Heath Ledger wins the best actor award on Sunday, he would become its youngest-ever recipient, displacing the current record-holder Adrien Brody, who was 29 when he won in 2003 for "The Pianist."  

   -- If Britain's Keira Knightley, 20, wins the best actress Oscar for her role in "Pride and Prejudice," she would become the youngest ever person to win that award.  

   -- The oldest winner of a competitive Oscar was Jessica Tandy, who won best actress for "Driving Miss Daisy" when she was 80 in 1989.  

   -- The youngest ever winner of a competitive Oscar was Tatum O'Neal, who snatched the best supporting actress award for "Paper Moon" when she was just 10 in 1973.  

   -- This year marks the first time in 25 years that the five best picture nominees are a perfect match with the best director shortlist. The last time Academy members nominated all the directors of the films nominated for best picture was in 1981, when "Chariots of Fire" ended up winning best picture while Warren Beatty won best director for "Reds".  

   -- Legendary US movie composer John Williams is up for two best original score Oscars: one for "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the other for "Munich", making him the most nominated musician in Oscars history with 45 nods.

 With the double nomination, Williams, 73, surpassed the record of the late Alfred Newman -- known for his scores in classics "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Seven-Year Itch" -- for the most lifetime nominations in the music categories.

Williams has already taken home five golden statuettes for "Schindler's List" (1993), "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" (1981), "Star Wars" (1977), "Jaws"  (1975) and "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971).

The two fresh Oscar nominations also make him the second most-nominated

The five Academy Award nominated directors of the Foreign Language Film Award Category (L-R) French director Christian Carion, Palestine director Hany Abu-Assad, Italian director Cristina Comencini, German director Marc Rothemund and South African director Gavin Hood pose with an Oscar Statue outside the Kodak Theatre 03 March 2006 (AFP Photo)

person in Academy Awards history after Walt Disney, who notched up 59 nods.  

   -- Taiwan-born director Ang Lee, 51, whose "Brokeback Mountain" leads this year's nominations, received his first Oscar nod for 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which was nominated for 10 Oscars including best director and best picture. "Crouching Tiger" eventually took home four awards, for art direction, cinematography, foreign language film and music.  

   -- A total of 14 of this year's nominees are first-time Academy Award nominees, while six have previously been on the shortlist for cinema's highest honours.

   Of those six, four ultimately won Oscars: William Hurt for playing a gay leading character in "Kiss Of the Spider Woman" (1985), Judi Dench for best supporting actress in 1998's "Shakespeare In Love", Charlize Theron for best actress in "Monster" (2003) and Frances McDormand for best actress in "Fargo" (1996).  

   -- This year marks the first time since the best animated feature category was introduced in 2002 that none of the nominees were produced primarily by computer-generated imagery. The three films up for the award this year are: "Howl's Moving Castle" by Hayao Miyazaki, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" and Nick Park and Steve Box's "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit".  

   -- Animation pioneer Walt Disney holds two Oscars records: He won more Oscars than any other person (26 statuettes) and with 59 Oscar nods, he retained the title of the most nominated person in history.  

   -- Actresses Meryl Streep and Katharine Hepburn are the most nominated actors in Oscars history with 12 nods apiece.  

   -- The person to win the most Oscars for acting was Katharine Hepburn again, with four awards for leading actress.  

   -- In the best foreign language film category, France holds the record for the most nominations (34, including this year's "Joyeux Noel") , while Italy holds the record for the most wins with 10 statuettes to its credit.  

  Source: AFP

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