Fun Facts about the 84th Annual Academy Awards

Whether you’re one of the diehard fans who plan on attending a weekend showing of all 9 nominated films for Best Picture or you just like to tune in and see what the talented stars of film are wearing, here’s a few bits of trivia that may lend an extra dose of excitement to your Sunday night viewing of the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Well, it should at least provide you with a fact or two to casually slip into conversation and impress your fellow Oscar-watchers. Everything from the host and the films up for Best Picture to where Saturday Night Live and Pixar fit into the Oscar mix is mentioned below to give you a few fun facts on this year’s Oscars!

The 84th Annual Academy Awards represent the best in film of 2011.

– Billy Crystal returns to the 84th Annual Academy Awards for the ninth time as host. At each ceremony, he keeps a toothbrush in his pocket as a reminder of his childhood, when he would make up Oscar speeches for his family using a toothbrush as a makeshift microphone. – The only individual to host the Academy Awards more times than Billy Crystal, is 19-time Oscar host Bob Hope. – While this year’s ceremony will be held at the same location as it has been since the 74th Annual Academy Awards in 2002, the venue is no longer named Kodak Theatre. When Kodak declared bankruptcy in January, the company gave up its naming rights of the theater and the venue has yet to find a new corporate sponsor. This means ABC will present the Oscars live from the Hollywood & Highland Center this year, the name of the mall where the venue is located.   Best Picture Trivia: – Of all the movies released in 2011, none of the nominees for Best Picture cracked the top 10 list in domestic grosses. Only four cracked the top 50: “The Help” ranked 13, “War Horse” ranked 41, “The Descendants” ranked 44 and “Moneyball” ranked 46.  “The Tree of Life” and “The Artist” didn’t make the top 100 at all. – Out of all the Best Picture nominations, “The Artist” had the highest Tomatometer ranking on Rotten Tomatoes with a 97%. “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” had the lowest with a 46%. That is not a “certified fresh” rating. – Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” leads the contenders with the most nominations, 11. The silent film “The Artist” is right behind it with 10 nominations. Both are up for Best Picture. – If “The Artist” wins Best Picture, it will be the first silent film to win the category since the first ever Academy Awards in 1927 when the silent film “Wings” took home the Oscar. – Through 2008, the Best Picture category was limited to five nominees. In 2009 and 2010, there were 10 nominations for Best Picture. This year, they used a new polling system that resulted in 9 Best Picture nominations. – Three of the acting nominees have roles in two Best Picture nominees. Brad Pitt stars in “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life,” Jessica Chastain stars in “The Help” and “The Tree of Life,” and Viola Davis stars in “The Help” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”     Actor and Actress in a Leading Role Trivia: – Of the 20 acting nominees (Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role), nine are nominated for the first time. The remaining 11 have 40 nominations among them. Only two are previous winners:  George Clooney and Meryl Streep. – If George Clooney were to win Actor in a Leading Role for “The Descendants,” it would mark his second win. His first Oscar is for Best Supporting Actor in “Syriana” in 2005. – Meryl Streep holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations of any actor, with 17 nominations. Fourteen of those nominations were for Actress in a Leading Role and three were for Actress in a Supporting Role. Her first nomination was in 1979 for The Deer Hunter. – If Meryl Streep were to win Actress in a Leading Role for “The Iron Lady,” it would be her third win. The last time she took home an Oscar was Actress in a Leading Role for “Sophie’s Choice” in 1982. – Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) and Viola Davis (“The Help”) are competing against one another this year for Actress in a Leading Role. In 2008, they were both nominated but in separate categories for their roles in “Doubt.” Streep was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and Davis for Actress in a Supporting Role. – Believe it or not, after 30 years in the acting industry, Gary Oldman is a first-time Oscar nominee. While he is nominated for Actor in a Leading Role for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (his 48th film role), he also was a voice actor for “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which is a nominee for Animated Feature Film. – If Glenn Close loses Actress in a Leading Role for “Albert Nobbs,” it will be her sixth nomination and sixth loss, tying her with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter for the most losses. – Michelle Williams is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for “My Week with Marilyn.” Marilyn Monroe, herself, was never nominated for an Oscar. – Michelle Williams is the only acting nominee who was also nominated last year (for Actress in a Leading Role in “Blue Valentine”). – No main actor from Friends is nominated this year, but three of the nominees up for Actor in a Leading Role have had guest roles on the popular series. George Clooney played Dr. Michael Mitchell in the 1995 episode “The One with Two Parts: Part 2,” Gary Oldman played Richard Crosby in the 2001 two part episode “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding,” and Brad Pitt played Will Colbert in the 2001 episode “The One with the Rumor.”   Age of Nominees Trivia: – At 26, Rooney Mara is the youngest nominee. She is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” – Jonah Hill, nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role for “Moneyball,” is the only male acting nominee under 30. He is 28. – Both 82 years old, Max von Sydow, Actor in a Supporting Role nominee for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” and Christopher Plummer, Actor in a Supporting Role nominee for “Beginners,” are the oldest nominees. Von Sydow is 8 months older than Plummer. – If either Christopher Plummer or Max von Sydow were to win their category of Actor in a Supporting Role, they would become the oldest Oscar-winning actor. Jessica Tandy, who won Actress in a Leading Role for “Driving Miss Daisy” at age 80, currently holds the title.   Non-Acting Academy Award Trivia: – Woody Allen (who is nominated for Writing (Original Screenplay) and DirectingMidnight in Paris,” which itself is up for Best Picture) will once again not be in attendance. While he has won three times and been nominated 23 times, he has only showed up once. It was in 2002 when he wasn’t nominated for anything. – Kristen Wiig, nominated for Writing (Original Screenplay) for “Bridesmaids,” is only the second cast member from Saturday Night Live to be nominated for an Oscar. The other is Joan Cusack. – For the first time in four years, Pixar will not win the Animated Feature Film category because they received nominations. “Cars 2” is the first Disney/Pixar film that was not nominated since the category was created in 2001. – There were reports that Sacha Baron Cohen, part of the cast for “Hugo,” had been banned from attending the ceremony. A representative of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Cohen is not banned, but that he is “not welcome” to show up and walk the red carpet as the character General Aladeen from his new comedy “The Dictator.”