First awards: 1929
Called Oscar because in 1931 Margaret Herrick, the Academy librarian, remarked upon seeing the statuettes, "Why it looks like my Uncle Oscar!" Her uncle's full name was Oscar Pierce
The sealed envelope was introduced because the Academy used to give the results to the newspapers the night before on condition of secrecy, but in 1940 the Los Angeles Times announced the results beforehand.
The statuette is of a knight standing standing on a reel of film with 5 spokes. The 5 spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.
Since 1950, the statuettes have been awarded on condition that neither winners nor their heirs may sell the statuettes without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for one dollar.
If a winner refuses to agree to the stipulation as to the Academy’s buyback right for $1, then the Academy keeps the statuette. Oscars not protected by the above agreement have been sold in public auctions and private deals for six-figure sums.
During WW2 the statuettes were made of plaster, being traded in for gold ones after the war had ended
Most nominations without a win: Peter O’Toole (8 nominations)
Most nominations - Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep (16 nominations)
Most nominations – film: “All About Eve” (1951) and “Titanic” (1997), 14 nominations each.
Most Best Actress awards: Katherine Hepburn with 4, 1932, 1967, 1968 & 1981
Most Best Actor Awards: Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Fredric March, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks with 2 each.
Most Oscars received: Walt Disney, with 26
Only women ever nominated as Best Director: Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” (1976), Jane Campion for “The Piano” (1993) and Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation (2003)
Youngest male to win a Best Actor Oscar: Adrien Brody, 29, for “The Pianist in 2003
Youngest female to win a Best Actor Oscar: Keisha Castle-Hughes,13, for “Whale Rider” in 2003.
Youngest person to receive an Oscar: Shirley Temple, aged 5 in 1934 (an honorary Oscar).
Youngest person to be awarded a standard Oscar: Tatum O’Neal in 1974, aged 10, for “Paper Moon”.
Oldest winner: Jessica Tandy, aged 81, for “Driving Miss Daisy”
Longest interval between Oscar nominations for acting: Henry Fonda, with 41 years between his Best Actor nomination for “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) and his Actor in a Leading Role nomination (and win) for “On Golden Pond” (1981).
Films that have earned Oscars for Best Picture, Directing, Actor, Actress and Writing: “It Happened One Night” (1934); “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975); “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Films have won the most Academy Awards: “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Titanic” (1997), and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), 11 awards each.
At the 61st Academy Awards, held in 1989, the Academy decided to replace the trademark phrase "And the winner is..." with the phrase "And the Oscar goes to..."
The Academy’s rules require that to be eligible in a particular year, the film has to have screened in Los Angeles in that year. This rule resulted in Charlie Chaplin's movie “Limelight”, which was produced in 1952, winning an Academy Award in 1972 -- twenty years after its first release. This was because when “Limelight” finally played in Los Angeles in 1972, it became eligible for an award.
In 1974, Robert Opel streaked behind Oscars presenter David Niven, who remarked " Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?" Opel subsequently opened a gallery of gay male art and was murdered in 1979 during a robbery at the gallery. There is now evidence that the streaking incident was a planned and organised stunt, with Niven’s ad lib quote having been scripted and rehearsed.