Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Oscar Trivia: Presenting the Oscars, Part 1

All right Oscar trivia nerds, it's time to step up to the plate as a project I came up with last month and have been scouring through books and websites since to figure out (okay, one book and one website, but I don't get to do a lot of research projects in my life so indulge me) has come to a close and now we'll have some articles as a result.  I recently was googling, and could not find a list of the most frequent presenters at the Oscars.  I found lots of lists of the most-common host (Bob Hope), but never regarding the presenters and I thought that was just silliness, so I took it upon myself to come up with the list.  As I was compiling, I realized there was a whole host of trivia to come out of such an idea, so I figured why not create a blog post or two on the matter.  Therefore, we'll be having a short three-part series called Presenting an Oscar over the next week.  Today, we'll go with a straight-up list of the Top 10 most frequent presenters, as well as a little trivia about them in regard to Oscars.  Shall we begin?

(Note: People count as Oscar presenters if they introduce an award, performance, clip reel, or nominated film.  I'm not counting hosting unless you also presented a specific award and I'm not counting performers of musical numbers for this list at least.)

8. Michael Douglas (tie)

Times He's Presented: 12
First Presented: 1984 (Best Documentary Short)
Latest Presented: 2012 (Best Director)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Yes, twice in 2000 and 2002 (the latter with his father Kirk, for Chicago, a film starring his wife)
What's His Oscar History?: Douglas is weirdly two-for-two when it comes to Oscar, having won for both Best Picture (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and Best Actor (Wall Street).  Those are his only two nominations.  It feels like the right number of wins, but I'm surprises Douglas, a movie star for over forty years, hasn't been able to score more nominations.

8. Goldie Hawn (tie)

Times She's Presented: 12
First Presented: 1970 (Best Actor, famously stating "oh my god" before announcing George C. Scott...it's vintage flower-child style Goldie if you've never seen the clip)
Latest Presented: 2013 (Best Picture segments for Captain Phillips, Philomena, and 12 Years a Slave)
Has She Presented Best Picture?: No, and considering how frequently it's levied at the Oscars that they are pretty repetitive and sexist when it comes to who gets to hand out the top honor, this seems like a pretty damn good choice.  Get on it AMPAS!
What's Her Oscar History?: Hawn won an Oscar for Cactus Flower in 1969 and was nominated eleven years later for Private Benjamin.  It's worth noting that Goldie, despite being a frequent attender and even a two-time host of the Oscars, wasn't there to pick up her only Oscar, instead having Raquel Welch pick up her trophy.

8. Audrey Hepburn (tie)

Times She's Presented: 12
First Presented: 1954 (Writing Awards)
Last Presented: 1991 (Honorary Award to Satyajit Ray)
Has She Presented Best Picture?: Yes, four times (second only to Jack Nicholson) in 1955, 1960, 1966, and 1975
What's Her Oscar History?: Audrey won Best Actress in 1953 for Roman Holiday, and was nominated in 1954 (Sabrina), 1959 (The Nun's Story), 1961 (Breakfast at Tiffany's), and 1967 (Wait Until Dark).  Her humanitarian work also won her the Jean Hersholt in 1993.

8. Nicole Kidman (tie)

Times She's Presented: 12
First Presented: 1991 (Presented by Best Song nominee "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)")
Latest Presented: 2014 (Best Foreign Language Film)
Has She Presented Best Picture?: Not yet, though there's time considering she's relatively young by such standards.  Her ex-husband Tom Cruise did, though, in 2011.
What's Her Oscar History?: Despite a truly impressive filmography in the past decade (one could argue this number should be double what it is), Kidman has three Oscar nominations from 2001 (Moulin Rouge!), 2002 (The Hours), and 2010 (Rabbit Hole), winning for The Hours.

8. Jack Nicholson (tie)

Times He's Presented: 12 (and yes, I figured this number would be greater too, but Jack took some long breaks in presenting)
First Presented: 1971 (Best Picture)
Latest Presented: 2012 (Best Picture)
Has He Presented Best Picture?  If you are actually asking this question, you need to start watching the Oscars.  Jack always presents Best Picture, having done it eight of his twelve times at presenting.  He did it in 1971, 1976, 1977, 1989, 1992, 2005, 2006, and 2012.  It's worth noting that with A Few Good Men competing in 1992 and The Departed in 2006, he's actually presented in years where he was in the eligible picture, which is rare.
What's His Oscar History?: Jack Nicholson is a twelve-time Oscar-nominated legend.  Cited for Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970), The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Reds (1981), Terms of Endearment (1983), Prizzi's Honor (1985), Ironweed (1987), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good As It Gets (1997), and About Schmidt (2002), Nicholson is second only to Meryl Streep in terms of nominations and second only to Kate Hepburn in terms of wins (he won for Cuckoo, Terms, and As Good As It Gets).  He is also tied with Michael Caine for most consecutive decades with a nomination.

8. Steven Spielberg (tie)

Times He's Presented: 12 (again, I thought it would be more too)
First Presented: 1979 (Best Director, along with Goldie Hawn no less...wonder if Spielberg could convince her to make another movie?)
Latest Presented: 2010 (Best Picture)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Yep, three times (2003, 2008, and 2010)
What's His Oscar History?: Steven Spielberg has a truly weird career with the Oscars.  While everyone today thinks of a Spielberg film as a gimme nomination, prior to his wins for Schindler's List, it was very hit-and-miss.  He wasn't nominated for directing Jaws, The Color Purple, or Empire of the Sun, and films like Close Encounters couldn't seal-the-deal in the Best Picture race with a nomination.  Still, he has 15 nominations with three wins amongst them (Best Picture/Director for Schindler's List and Best Director for Saving Private Ryan), plus he also has the Thalberg Award won in 1986), so it's not like they haven't amply rewarded the man.

7. Dustin Hoffman

Times He's Presented: 13
First Presented: 1967 (Best Cinematography)
Latest Presented: 2012 (the Writing Awards, with Charlize Theron)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Twice, in 1986 and in 2004 (which he co-presented with his Meet the Fockers costar Barbra Streisand)
What's His Oscar History?: Hoffman has been nominated seven times for Best Actor, for The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Lenny (1974), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Tootsie (1982), Rain Man (1988), and Wag the Dog (1997); he won for both Kramer and Rain Man.

5. Bob Hope (tie)

Times He's Presented: 14 (he also hosted the show eighteen times, a record that will likely stand forever considering the fickle nature of entertainment)
First Presented: 1938 (Short Subjects)
Last Presented: 1990 (Presented a montage called "My First Movie")
Has He Presented Best Picture?: No, likely because he was always too busy getting ready to close the show.
What's His Oscar History?: As Hope lamented many, many times through the years he was never able to get nominated for an acting award during his illustrious career (likely because he dabbled in comedy more than drama, and also because he was far better at playing Bob Hope than he was a fictional character).  The Academy didn't forget him, however, and gave him five honoraries in 1940, 1944, 1952, 1959 (the Jean Hersholt), and 1965.  One hopes they shell out at least one eventually for his modern-day equivalent Billy Crystal.

5. Jack Lemmon (tie)

Times He's Presented: 14 (he also hosted the Oscars four times)
First Presented: 1955 (Art Direction, which he handed out with singer Peggy Lee)
Last Presented: 1997 (the Writing Awards with his longtime costar Walter Matthau, who with eleven awards presented just missed this list)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Yes, in 1965 to The Sound of Music
What's His Oscar History?: Lemmon was nominated for eight Oscars in 1955 (Mister Roberts), 1959 (Some Like It Hot), 1960 (The Apartment), 1962 (Days of Wine and Roses), 1973 (Save the Tiger), 1979 (The China Syndrome), 1980 (Tribute), and 1982 (Missing); he won for Mister Roberts and Save the Tiger.

4. Gregory Peck

Times He's Presented: 16 (in addition to being a major movie star, Peck also served as president of the Academy which helps in his count here)
First Presented: 1957 (Art Direction, with Eva Marie Saint who has presented ten times at the Oscars so far, nearly making this list)
Last Presented: 1994 (Presented the Quiz Show Best Picture segment)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Once, in 1964 to My Fair Lady
What's His Oscar History?: Peck was nominated five times in 1945 (The Keys of the Kingdom), 1946 (The Yearling), 1947 (Gentleman's Agreement), 1949 (Twelve O'Clock High), and eventually winning in 1962 in To Kill a Mockingbird.

3. Tom Hanks

Times He's Presented: 17
First Presented: 1986 (Best Animated Short Film, with co-presenter Bugs Bunny)
Latest Presented: 2011 (Best Cinematography and Art Direction)
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Twice, in 2001 and 2009.
What's His Oscar History?: Everybody's favorite movie star of the 1990's has been nominated five times in his career, in 1988 (Big), 1993 (Philadelphia), 1994 (Forrest Gump), 1998 (Saving Private Ryan), and 2000 (Cast Away), winning for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.

2. John Travolta

Times He's Presented: 18
First Presented: 1977 (Best Supporting Actress)
Latest Presented: 2014 (Best Original Song, with Idina Menzel, whose name he infamously butchered the year before...considering he'd presented 17 times at that point you'd think he could have better practiced).
Has He Presented Best Picture?: Nope, not yet, though I'm sure it will eventually happen-maybe when he eventually takes over number one?
What's His Oscar History?: Travolta is a two-time nominee, for 1977's Saturday Night Fever and 1994's Pulp Fiction.  While he's never won, I have to imagine that either an Honorary Award or an "old-age" style award is in his future as he seems genuinely popular in Hollywood and consistently makes movies, though lately not very many good ones.

1. Jack Valenti

Times He's Presented: 24
First Presented: 1966 (Honorary Award to Y. Frank Freeman)
Last Presented: 2002 (Best Documentary Short Subject)
Has He Ever Presented Best Picture?: Nope, Valenti's appearances at the Oscars almost always happened in the middle hour of the ceremony and he rarely got a marquee award.
What's His Oscar History?: For those of you saying "who?!?" in regard to Valenti topping movie stars like Travolta and Hanks on this list, Valenti was once one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.  The head of the MPAA, he was imperative to creating the modern ratings system and spent years fighting the idea of home video (saying it would be the death of the movies).  Valenti was also in one of the most iconic photos in American history-he can be seen in the bottom left corner of the picture of President Lyndon Johnson, as he served as a media adviser for him.  Despite his repeated awards from the industry (he won an honorary trophy from both the PGA and DGA), he never won an Honorary Oscar.

And there you have it folks-we'll get into some other fun minutia of the presenters later this week, but in the meantime-who is a surprise on this list?  Who did you expect to top the list?  Do you have a favorite amongst these presenters?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

No comments: