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I’d like to thank the Academy: the Oscars story in pictures

February 28, 2016

Having a (Sally) Field day: the Texan thesp’s memorably delighted when she discovers 
she’s actually ‘popular’ among her peers as she scoops the Oscar for Best Actress in 1985

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So, are you on Team Leo or in Matt the Martian’s Mob? Do you want a slice of Brie and so have no Room this year for Blanchett? Are you rooting for The Revenant or banking on The Big Short? Yes, like it or not, tonight in the United States the very public and shameless fisticuffs between Messrs Trump, Cruz and Rubio take a back seat (if only for one evening) as the great and the glamorous and the good (and even some of the talented) of Hollywood pound down the red carpet and throw themselves into L.A.’s Dolby Theatre to battle it out for a batch of little gilded figurines, the capture of which will mean those lucky few get to declare, all fuzzy like, they’re this year’s ‘best’ in their respective fields of the movie industry – even if, as in most years, it’s likely the majority of cinemagoers, film critics and even their peers will pretty much disagree with almost every win heralded on the night.

Yes, like The Eurovision Song Contest, the Oscars – or, to give the thing its full title this year, The 88th Academy Awards ceremony – is a strange beast. Part unashamed-US-movie-industry-awards, part TV-variety-showcase and part fashion-horse-parade-for togs way too expensive for any mere mortal to ever aspire to wear. And yet, those of who can, always tend to watch it every time it comes around – or at least take an interest in finding out who’s won what, who’s thanked who and who’s worn ‘who’.

And this year’s ceremony is quite the hotly anticipated one too, given the controversy that’s surrounded its build-up over the lack of black nominees (enabling the media to dub it the ’lily-white’ Oscars – clever, eh?). Controversy then? Surprises? And just plain randomness and weirdness? Don’t doubt it, it’s all happened before down through Oscar’s nine decades – making tonight’s ceremony, in prospect, something of a par-for-the-course show. Not convinced? Well, why not take a perusal of the following pictorial-telling of the Academy Awards story – all the glitz, glamour and glorious mugging of grandiose thesps (and others) grasping golden statuettes and more await, I promise…

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First and last (so far): first ever Oscar winner Emil Jannings (Best Actor for The Last Command in 1929) and alumni of last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)

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Welles underwhelmed: the only Academy Award won (for Orson Welles’ script) by Citizen Kane in 1942, which was nominated for eight further awards including in every major category and has often been cited as the greatest movie ever made  – the statuette sold for around $861,500 in 2011 

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Tiny trophies: early Hollywood moppet Shirley Temple presenting Walt Disney with a special Oscar for Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs in 1938 (along with seven little ones for the dwarfs) and in later life with her own diminutive ‘Juvenile Academy Award’, with which she was presented in 1935

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Five times a night: the three – and so far only – flicks to have won every one of the ‘big five’ Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay) – It Happened One Night in 1936, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976 and The Silence Of The Lambs in 1992 – and their various human winners

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Audrey’s award and Grace and favour: Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly winning Best Actress in consecutive years – the former for Roman Holiday in 1954 and the latter for The Country Girl in 1955 

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oscars_tom_hanks_1994 oscars_tom_hanks_1995

Back-to-back actors: the only men to have won Oscars for Best Actor in consecutive years – Spencer Tracy for Captains Courageous in 1938 and Boys Town in 1939 (pictured with ’39’s Best Actress winner Bette Davis) and Tom Hanks for Philadelphia in 1994 and Forrest Gump in 1995 

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Leigh’s glee: Vivien Leigh wins Best Actress in 1940 for her iconic turn as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind and again 12 years later for playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

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It was great to be Kate: the quartet of statuettes won by Katharine Hepburn, the most rewarded thespian in Oscar history, for Morning Glory in 1934, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner in 1968, The Lion In Winter in 1969 and On Golden Pond in 1982 – curiously, she never attended a single ceremony

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oscars_jose_ferrer_and_judy_holiday_1951 oscars_sophia_loren_1962

Minority report: the first Asian, African American, thesp in a non-English language role and Hispanic Oscar winners – Yul Brynner for The King And I in 1957, Hattie McDaniel for Gone With The Wind in 1940, Sophia Loren for Two Women in 1962 and Jose Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac in 1951

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Starkers at the Oscars: the notorious occasion (once voted Oscar’s greatest) when photographer Robert Opel flashed at the 1975 ceremony – supposedly impromptu, it seems it was actually a staged stunt, perhaps why host David Niven’s riposte was such a classic (‘Probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings’)

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oscars_marlon_brando_1955 oscars_sacheen_littlefeather_1973

From superstar to soap opera: magnificent Method thesp Marlon Brando looks delighted to have stormed to victory in the Best Actor category for On The Waterfront in 1955, yet when he wins the same award 18 years later for The Godfather not only doesn’t he attend the ceremony, but in his place sends activist Sacheen Littlefeather, whom delivers a speech on pressing Native American issues

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oscars_jack_nicholson_1976 

 

Jack’s hat-trick: counter-culture-icon-turned-unlikely-Academy-Award-darling, Jack Nicholson winning his three Oscars – Best Actor for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976 (top) and Best Supporting Actor for Terms Of Endearment in 1984 and Best Actor for As Good As It Gets in 1998 

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Bananas in pajamas? Barbra Streisand not only won her Best Actress award (for Funny Girl in 1969) in an eerily sheer pantsuit, but also tripped on her way to collecting the award – adding to the sense of pantomime, she had to share her win with Katharine Hepburn (see above) as the result was a rare tie

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When Rocky met Ali: Sylvester Stallone and Muhammad Ali strike suitable poses at the 1977 ceremony, at which Stallone’s Rocky was named Best Picture and also won for its direction and editing

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oscars_cher_1986 oscars_cher_1988

Cher – or sheer? – delight: anything Barb can do Cher can do, er, better – the songstress-turned-thesp in her truly outrageous outfit at the 1986 Oscars and winning her Best Actress statuette for Moonstruck at the 1988 awards in a slightly less odd but no less revealing, slinky lingerie-like get-up

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Nobody remembers the losers? Samuel L. Jackson (nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Pulp Fiction) utters a profanity as Martin Landau wins (for Ed Wood) in 1995, while Bill Murray (for Best Actor for Lost In Translation) looks nonplussed as Sean Penn triumphs (for Mystic River) in 2004 

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oscars_laurence_olivier_oscars_1949 oscars_the_king's_speech_colin_firth_2011 

The Brits have, er, come: despite whatever the great Colin Weiland claimed on winning his award for writing Chariots Of Fire in 1982, those from the UK have always been a thunderous force at the Oscars – (clockwise from top left) Laurence Olivier wins Best Picture and Best Actor for Hamlet in 1949, David Putnam wins Best Picture for Chariots Of Fire, Richard Attenborough wins Best Picture and Best Director for Gandhi in 1983 and Colin Firth wins Best Actor for The King’s Speech in 2011

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oscars_tatum_o'neal_1974 oscars_christopher_plummer_2012

Youngest and oldest: Tatum O’Neal wins Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon in 1974 and Christopher Plummer wins the equivalent male category for Beginners in 2012 – at present, she remains the youngest ever winner of a competitive Oscar (aged 10) and he the oldest (aged 82)

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The movie brats – all growed up: the legendary trio of terrific ’70s and ’80s cinema, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, award their friend, the just as legendary Martin Scorsese, with his Best Director Oscar, which he won – finally – in 2007 for helming The Departed  

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The hosts with the most: surely the greatest ever Oscar masters of ceremonies, Whoopi Goldberg (hosted four times), Bob Hope (hosted a staggering 19 times) and Billy Crystal (hosted nine times) get friendly with various gilded friends – Goldberg also won Best Supporting Actress for Ghost in 1991

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