How To Use TRIVIA To Handicap Your OSCAR BETS: 2012 Edition REDUX, with Answers to Last Week’s 25 Trivia Questions…

The 2012 Oscars will begin in a few hours. Lets pause for a moment to consider the Kodak Theater. This will likely be the last time we will see The Oscars presented in a theater named for one of the core elements of filmmaking. Kodak’s current bankruptcy woes are expected to force them to end their lease with this beautiful theater. The doors only opened in 2001, but despite it being such a damn cool theater, it struggled against other venues to find its footing. The Pantages and Ahmanson theaters were the choice venues for big musicals and plays. The Chandler Pavillion and Disney Hall were the venues for opera, classical music and ballet. Concerts tours had multiple options all over town. In 2003 I saw Prince play a phenomenal 3 hour show in the Kodak, and then go upstairs to The Highlands to play a 2 hour after party. Legendary nights like that were too few and far between though; very often this outstanding theater with great acoustics and sight lines sat dark. In the past year, The Kodak has been given a new lease on life. I urge you to check it out if you ever have the opportunity.

One week ago I placed my bets, made my personal picks, and issued a trivia challenge. Below are the answers to the 25 trivia questions.

1. Which Best Picture winner had the shortest running time?
“Marty” (1955) 91mins
2. What was the first color film to win Best Picture?
“Gone With The Wind” (1939)
3. What was the only animated feature nominated for Best Picture before the inclusion of a separate category for Best Animated Feature?
“Beauty & The Beast” (1991)
4. On 3 occasions The Oscars have been postponed by at least 1 day. In which years did this occur?
1938, 1 week for flooding in L.A.; 1968, 2 days for the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.; 1981, 1 day for attempted assassination of President Reagan.
5. In which year were the awards first televised?
The 25th Awards in 1952 on NBC.
6. Name the youngest nominee for Best Director.
John Singleton, “Boyz N The Hood” (1991)
7. For which film did Alfred Hitchcock win Best Director?
Trick question, he didn’t. He won the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1968.
8. Name the only Oscar winner who also held a Nobel Prize.
George Bernard Shaw, Best Screenplay “Pygmalion” (1938), won Nobel Prize for literature in 1925.
9. Who went off-script while presenting an award in 1990 to decry the lack of a Best Picture nomination for “Do The Right Thing?”
Kim Basinger
10. “Churchill’s Island” (1941) has the distinction of winning the first award in which category?
Best Documentary
11. Who has hosted the most Academy Awards ceremonies?
Bob Hope, 19 times.
12. How long are winners currently given for their acceptance speeches?
45 seconds.
13. Who sang the show-stopping comical duet “It’s Great Not To Be Nominated” in 1958?
Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas
14. How tall is Oscar?
13.5 inches, and weighs 8.5lbs
15. Who was at the podium when the awards were notoriously “streaked” by a naked man running across the stage?
David Niven (1974)
16. Who is the only person to ever refuse an Oscar?
George C. Scott, Best Actor “Patton” (1970). Marlon Brando boycotted attending the ceremony when he won Best Actor for “The Godfather,”(1972) but he still sent Sacheen Littlefeather to receive the award and make a prepared statement.
17. Name the two actors who won Best Director and Best Picture for their directorial debuts.
Robert Redford, “Ordinary People” (1980); Kevin Costner, “Dances With Wolves” (1990), beating out Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” respectively.
18. Which two families have three generations of Oscar winners?
First, the Huston’s: Walter, Best Supporting Actor “Treasure of Sierra Madre” (1948) and John, Best Director, same; Angelica, Best Supporting Actress “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985). Second, the Coppola’s: Frances Ford Coppola and his father Carmine won Best Director and Composer for “The Godfather: Part 2” (1974) and Francis’ daughter Sofia won Best Original Screenplay for “Lost In Translation” (2004).
19. Who has received the most nominations for Best Actress?
Meryl Streep, 16.
20. To whom did Marlon Brando lose his first nomination for Best Actor for his performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire?”
Humphrey Bogart, “The African Queen” (1951)
21. Name the only character that two different performers in different films have won acting awards for playing.
Don Vito Corleone. Marlon Brando, Best Actor “The Godfather” (1972). Robert DeNiro, Best Supporting Actor “The Godfather Part 2” (1974)
22. What was the most recent film to win every award for which it was nominated?
“Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King” (2003) 11 noms/11wins
23. What was the first non-English language film nominated for Best Picture?
“Grand Illusion,” France (1938)
24. Which composer has won the most Oscars for Best Original Score?
Alfred Newman, 9 wins.
25. What was the first animated film to win the Oscar for Best Original Song?
“Pinocchio” (1940) “When You Wish Upon A Star”

If you want to read more fun trivia, check out the American Movie Classics site. What follows is my earlier post from February 19, 2012…

One week from tonight, the 84th Academy Awards will be handed out at the Kodak Theater. As with 2011, I have not made any bets on this year’s ceremony.We have a pretty interesting field this year, and by interesting I mean I still don’t know what to make of it, a dilemma for anyone looking for a safe office pool bet. Though THE ARTIST has shown some steam recently with the BAFTAs, the critics’ awards in previous weeks were anybody’s game. Critical awards in some cities heavily favored THE ARTIST or HUGO or THE DESCENDANTS, while others spread the love more evenly. It is also notable that many of those critics observed in their top 10 lists that 2011 was a particularly weak year for movies. I’m not certain I agree with that. I think every year is a great year for movies; the problem is that so many strong movies never find an audience. I don’t love this years list of Oscar nominees.

Hell, even if I cobbled together a personal list from the 2012 nominees for Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards, I would still have a few favorite films that were snubbed across the board. Among those, the best movie I saw last year was China’s CITY OF LIFE & DEATH. The only appreciation from an American body it received was last year from the L.A. Film Critics Association. CITY OF LIFE & DEATH premiered in China in 2009, played the American festical circuit in 2010, and received limited general release in 2011. Who’s to say what year it even belongs in for American awards?! Similarly, Ralph Fiennes’ outstanding directorial debut CORIOLANUS was made in 2010, is listed on IMDb as 2011, and is only being released outside of New York and Los Angeles this month! I understand that Academy rules focus on the NY and LA releases, which would put it in the running for the 84th Oscars, but among U.S. awards it went roundly ignored (except for a few awards for Jessica Chastain, which were more for her collective films in 2011 than CORIOLANUS in particular). And why is DRIVE only up for Sound Editing?!

Enough about what wasn’t nominated. Lets focus on where we’re going to place out bets! It helps me to make two lists — the list that I really want to see win needs to be gotten out of the way first. Once it’s down, I can ignore it and guesstimate how I think the consensus will vote. Never bet on the movies you love, unless you know everyone else loved it as much as you did.

CATEGORY – – WHO I’D BET ON – – WHO I’D VOTE FOR
Best Picture — The Artist — Drive (not nominated)
Director – – Michel Hazanavicius – – Terrence Malick
Actress — Michelle Williams — Glenn Close
Actor – – George Clooney – – Demian Bichir
Supporting Actress — Jessica Chastain — Janet McTeer
Supporting Actor – – Christopher Plummer – – Kenneth Branagh
Documentary Feature — Hell & Back Again — Paradise Lost 3
Animated Feature – – Rango – – Chico & Rita
Foreign Feature — A Separation — City of Life & Death (not nominated)
Adapted Screenplay – – The Descendants – – Moneyball
Original Screenplay — The Artist — Midnight in Paris

It helps me to examine the history of the awards when choosing my Oscar picks. It is fun to know who won and when, but it is often fascinating to learn who lost, and to consider why the Academy voted the way they did. Here are a few trivia questions, some just for fun, others to lend an eye toward the past. You have one week to debate with your friends or Google by yourself; I will post the answers on February 26, a few hours before the Oscar telecast begins on ABC.


1. Which Best Picture winner had the shortest running time?
2. What was the first color film to win Best Picture?
3. What was the only animated feature nominated for Best Picture before the inclusion of a separate category for Best Animated Feature?
4. On 3 occasions The Oscars have been postponed by at least 1 day. In which years did this occur?
5. In which year were the awards first televised?
6. Name the youngest nominee for Best Director.
7. For which film did Alfred Hitchcock win Best Director?
8. Name the only Oscar winner who also held a Nobel Prize.
9. Who went off-script while presenting an award in 1990 to decry the lack of a Best Picture nomination for “Do The Right Thing?”
10. “Churchill’s Island” (1941) has the distinction of winning the first award in which category?
11. Who has hosted the most Academy Awards ceremonies?
12. How long are winners currently given for their acceptance speeches?
13. Who sang the show-stopping comical duet “It’s Great Not To Be Nominated” in 1958?
14. How tall is Oscar?
15. Who was at the podium when the awards were notoriously “streaked” by a naked man running across the stage?
16. Who is the only person to ever refuse an Oscar?
17. Name the two actors who won Best Director and Best Picture for their directorial debuts.
18. Which two families have three generations of Oscar winners?
19. Who has received the most nominations for Best Actress?
20. To whom did Marlon Brando lose his first nomination for Best Actor for his performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire?”
21. Name the only character that two different performers in different films have won acting awards for playing.
22. What was the most recent film to win every award for which it was nominated?
23. What was the first non-English language film nominated for Best Picture?
24. Which composer has won the most Oscars for Best Original Score?
25. What was the first animated film to win the Oscar for Best Original Song?

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