Previously posted on June 15, 2010. Click it here.
Here are fun facts about Academy Awards, as far as I know:
1. The first film to win Best Picture was titled ‘Wings’, awarded in 1929.
2. The last film to win it was ‘The Hurt Locker’. Also the first film in which a female director won Academy Award for Best Director for the first time, ever, in history of Oscars. I have watched this movie, and I found it, in some occurences, a bit boring, meanwhile, in other occurences, the scenes were totally breathtaking, as if life and death was at stake. It deeply portrays the psychological effects some of the troops are undergoing through Iraqi War. A lot of ‘f’ words may appear in the dialogues. And, more over, it’s dark. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
3. The youngest actor to win Academy Award for Best Actor is Adrien Brody, after his great performance in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist. He won it by the time he was 30 years old. I have also watched The Pianist, and overall, it is one of the best films I have ever seen in my lifetime. Based on a true story, it tells about how a Jewish-Polish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, portrayed by Brody, had to survive during the atrocities of Holocaust and the Second World War. He played it very well from all aspects. He grew his hair longer, he thinned his body, and he let his beard grew as a part of improvisation. He played the piano well, and he acted it very well. The setting was nearly perfect on which I hardly found any mistakes in the movie, about how the atrocities the Jews were suffering during the period of NAZIs ruling over Poland, about the grievances, about the poor, about the insane, about the rich, and about the battles. Surprisingly, I was almost speechless. This is truly Mr.Polanski’s masterpiece. I would rate it 5 out of 5 stars.
4. Martin Scorsese was nominated 6 times for Best Director, and only won one in a police-gangster drama ‘The Departed’. They were ‘Taxi Driver’, a crime drama about an emotionally unstable ex-Vietnam War veteran now turning into a taxi driver, ‘Raging Bull’, a bio-pic about a life-in-ruin boxer based on a true story, ‘Goodfellas’, a bio-pic, also a brutal crime about an NY-based mobster, ‘Gangs of New York’, a street-war epic set in 19th-century New York City about wars between gangs (I have also watched this movie. It was a bit boring, a bit cold-blooded, and it focused more on the historical aspects. Not a totally entertaining movie, but they portrayed their roles well, at least. I would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars), ‘The Aviator’, an ambitious, large-scale bio-pic about the life of Howard Hughes, the eccentric aviation pioneer and a big-budgeted movie director, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, and this movie, at last.
5. There are 3 directors who subsequently, and were immediately awarded Best Director initially after their directorial debut: Richard Attenborough for his debut ‘Gandhi’ in 1983 (it was about the life of Mahatma Gandhi), Kevin Costner for his debut ‘Dances With Wolves’ in 1991 (the 3-hour film was a drama about a friendship between an American soldier and a group of Red Indian tribesmen during the Civil War), and Sam Mendes for ‘American Beauty’ in 2000 (a drama about a troubled family. Beware, those under 17 are not allowed to watch this movie for some scenes of nudity). Additonally, all of these movies were also awarded Best Picture.
6. In 1978, Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture, was the highest-grossing film at that time (app. 770 million US$ against the 11-million budget), but was initially lost to Woody Allen’s romantic comedy drama Annie Hall. In 1983, E.T., another sci-fi picture like Star Wars, was nominated for Best Picture, was again the highest-grossing film at that time, surpassing that of Star Wars (app. 800 million US$ against the 10-million budget), but was again lost to Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. Finally, in 2010, Avatar, the most ambitious sci-fi until now, was nominated for Best Picture, was the highest-grossing film until now (app. 2.75 billion US$ against the 500-million budget), but was eventually lost to Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘The Hurt Locker’.
7. There were 2 X-rated films nominated for Best Picture, one of them won: Midnight Cowboys and A Clockwork Orange. Midnight Cowboys was awarded Best Picture in 1971. It was a cowboy, gay film starring Dustin Hoffman, about a cowboy who attempts to earn more money by having sex with other cowboys. He won Best Actor through his performance as a gay cowboy. Another one, A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick. The movie was a dystopian fantasy about an authoritarian version of Great Britain. It was rated X due to its overwhelming brutal scenes, sex scenes, and many other scenes those under 21 may not see. A Clockwork Orange was nominated for Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
8. Oliver! was the only G-rated film to be awarded Best Picture, in 1970, only one year before the X-rated Midnight Cowboy won it.
9. Two animation films were nominated for Best Picture, which were Beauty and The Beast (1993) and Up (2009).
10. Ang Lee was the only American filmmaker of Chinese descent to be awarded for Best Director in his gay picture Brokeback Mountain. (Warning: those under 17, like me, are not allowed to watch this movie due to the portrayal of sex scenes between man and man, man and woman in this movie). Others of his movies are Hulk, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Sense & Sensibility, and adult-only picture Lust, Caution.
11. M. Night Shyamalan was the only American filmmaker of Indian descent to be nominated for Best Director in his psychological horror-thriller The Sixth Sense. He has directed, produced, and penned other movies, like Signs, Lady in The Water, The Happening, and now to be released in leaps and bounds, The Last Airbender.
12. The Hurt Locker is the lowest-grossing movie compared with the other movies winning Best Picture. Budgeted at 15 million US$, it grossed approximately 40 million US$ worldwide.