Monday, February 23, 2009


Eight months after I decided that my cable TV had to go, I now have had one night when I wished I had the right channels. Now, I get 2 channels and neither aired - The Oscars. When I heard that Oprah thought they were the best Oscars she had ever seen, and she has seen them for 44 years, I thought.. "Figures."

I did, of course, hear all the news when I went online later that evening. So I knew the winners. I could even read the acceptance speeches if I wanted.

Instead, what I did go and find was some curious facts about the Oscars...

Posthumous Award

Heath Ledger was the second actor who won the award after he died. The first was Peter Finch, who won it for his 1976 role in Network. Though the Academy Award was to go to Ledger's 3-year-old daughter, Matilda, she is underage and so cannot sign the legal agreement that the Academy requires all winners or their heirs, promising to sell their Oscar back to the Academy should they decide they no longer want it. So until she is 18, the Oscar is going to be held in trust by her mother.

Gold? Statue

The Oscar statuette isn’t made of gold - it’s made from an alloy called Britannia, which is 93% tin, 5% antimony, and 2% copper. It is only plated with gold. It weighs 8 l/2 pounds.

Missing Oscars

In 2000, 55 Oscar statuettes were stolen en route to the Award show. Fifty two were recovered next to a trash bin and one was found years later in a drug bust but two are still missing. Willie Fulgear, the guy who found and turned in the Oscars, was given $50,000 and two tickets to the show. Ironically, burglars broke into his flat afterwards and stole most of his prize money.

Oscar Revenge

Expecting to be nominated for 1962's Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, Joan Crawford was most put out that she wasn't, and furious that her co-star and deadly rival Bette Davis was. Seeking gloriously malicious revenge, Crawford then wrote to the other four nominees, saying that if they won but were unable to attend the ceremony, she'd happily accept the award on their behalf. So, Anne Bancroft won for The Miracle Worker, couldn't attend, and Crawford went up to claim the prize, leaving Ms Davis seething in her seat.

As for me, while my travels of the day didn't take me to Hollywood, I went to the Slocan Valley for a Storytelling Festival. Which is essentially what the Oscars celebrate. Storytelling.

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