The 85th Annual Academy Awards airs on Feb. 24 on ABC. To get set for Hollywood’s biggest and grandest night of the year, here’s a complete A-Z guide to the 2013 Oscars. It includes a look at the 2013 nominees, as well as fascinating Oscar traditions, a bit of history and record breakers. It all adds up to one of the most prestigious TV events of the year.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: This elite organization of industry giants votes to decide who wins an Oscar. It is compromised of more than 6,000 artists and professionals who bring the magic of movies to life. Members of the Academy are the cream of the crop, and include actors Will Smith and Salma Hayek, writers Sofia Coppola and Quentin Tarantino, and musicians Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, in addition to thousands of others.
Best Picture Nominees: The 2013 Best Picture nominees are “Amour,” “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” In 2012, "The Artist" won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Cinematography: Karl Strauss and Charles Rosher were the first nominees in 1927 for their work on “Sunrise.” From 1939 to 1967 (with the single exception of 1957), there were separate awards for color and for black-and-white cinematography. Since then, the only black-and-white film to win is Schindler's List (1993). In 2012, Robert Richardson won for his work on “Hugo.” The Best Cinematography nominees in 2013 are Seamus McGarvey for “Anna Karenina,” Robert Richardson for “Django Unchained,” Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi,” Janusz Kaminski for “Lincoln” and Roger Deakins for “Skyfall.”
Directors: The Best Director is the second most anticipated Academy Award of the evening. This year’s nominee list includes Michael Haneke for “Amour,” Behn Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi,” Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln,” and David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Spielberg has been nominated for Best Director seven times. He won in 1993 for "Schindler's List"and in 1998 for "Saving Private Ryan." In 2012, Michael Hazanavicius won the Oscar for "The Artist."
Eighty-Fifth Annual Academy Awards: Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Room. Guest tickets cost $5. The first presentation was the only one to escape a media audience. By the second year, enthusiasm for the Awards grew and a Los Angeles radio station produced a live one-hour broadcast of the event. The ceremony has been broadcast ever since. Starting with the 16th Oscar ceremony, which was held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, the event has always been held at a theater. In 1953, the first televised Oscar ceremony enabled millions throughout the United States and Canada to watch the proceedings. Broadcasting in color began in 1966, affording home viewers a chance to fully experience the dazzling allure of the event. Since 1969, the Oscar show has been broadcast internationally and now reaches movie fans in over 200 countries.
Four Seasons Hotel: The elegant Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills is a magnet for stars during Oscar weekend. The Oscar Weekend Package goes for $4,000 and includes two nights in a luxurious suite, spa treatments and dinner at the award-winning Gardens restaurant. It’s a hot spot to “see and been seen” during Oscar weekend.
Girl Power: The Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories are always highly competitive. In 2012, Meryl Streep took home the Best Actress Oscar for her work in “Iron Lady” and Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for “The Help.” Streep has been nominated for an Oscar an astonishing 17 times. She won the Academy Award in 1980 for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” in 1983 for “Sophie’s Choice” and in 2012 for “Iron Lady.” In 2013, the nominees for Best Actress are Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour,” Quvenzhane Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Naomi Watts for “The Impossible.” The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Amy Adams for “The Master,” Sally Field for “Lincoln,” Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables,” Helen Hunt for “The Sessions” and Jacki Weaver for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Honorary Awards: The first Oscars of the season have already been awarded. The film academy's board of governors voted in September to present honorary Academy Awards to stuntman Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker and arts advocate George Stevens, Jr. The group also announced that producer and philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg would receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Needham has more than 300 feature films to his credit as a stunt performer and coordinator. Pennebaker has been making documentaries for six decades and was nominated for an Oscar for 1993's "The War Room." Stevens is the founding director of the American Film Institute and co-founded the Kennedy Center Honors, which he has produced for 34 years.
International TV Audience: With more than 36 million viewers in the United States and hundreds of millions of others across the globe, the Academy Awards is one of the most popular TV events in the world.
James Bond: The 85th Annual Academy Awards will include a special tribute to James Bond, the movie franchise that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. “We are very happy to include a special sequence on our show saluting the Bond films on their 50th birthday,” said producer Craig Zadan. “Starting with ‘Dr. No’ back in 1962, the 007 movies have become the longest-running motion picture franchise in history and a beloved global phenomenon.”
Kodak Theatre: Since its opening on November 9, 2001, the prestigious Kodak Theater has been the home of the Academy Awards. The first Oscars were held at the theatre in March of 2002, and it is the first permanent home of the Awards. Since 2002, it is also the home of "American Idol." It has a seating capacity for up to 3,401 people, and its stage is one of the largest in the United States. Eastman paid $75 million to have its name associated with the theatre.
Live Red Carpet Shows: Some of the best Oscar fun comes from watching the celebrities walk the red carpet prior to entering the Kodak Theatre. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic host coverage for E!. Chris Harrington from “The Bachelor” usually mans the coverage for TV Guide Network.
The Men: Two of the most coveted Academy Awards are Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. The Best Actor nominees in 2013 are Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln,” Hugh Jackman for “Les Miserables,” Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master,” and Denzel Washington for “Flight.” The Best Supporting Actor nominees are Alan Arkin for “Argo,” Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Philip Seymour Hoffman for “The Master,” Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln,” and Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained.” Walt Disney has won more Oscars than any other man. Through the years, he won 22 competitive Oscars and 4 honorary ones. He also won the most Oscars in one year: 4.
Nominees: The motion pictures with the most Academy Award nominations for 2013 are “Lincoln” (12); “Life of Pi” (11); “Les Miserables” and “Silver Linings Playbook” (8 each); “Argo” (7); “Amour,” Django Unchained,” “Skyfall” and “Zero Dark Thirty” (5 each). The record for most nominations in a single year for a single film go to "All About Eve" and "Titanic," which both received 14 nominations. The three films that won the most awards in a single year are "Ben-Hur," "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." They each won 11 Oscars.
Oscar.com: Oscar All Access is a premium service that gives Oscar fans the ultimate view of Hollywood's biggest night. Beginning with the Red Carpet, and continuing through the Governor's Ball, Oscar All Access members get unprecedented, behind the scenes access to enjoy the event like never before. With exclusive access to groundbreaking "360 cam" technology, members can direct their own Oscar experience with just the touch of a mouse. $4.99.
Past Hosts: Hosting the Oscars is a pretty big gig that carries a lot of responsibility. In the past decade, the following stars have stepped up to host the Academy Awards: Billy Crystal (2011), James Franco and Anne Hathaway (2010), Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin (2009), Hugh Jackman (2008), Jon Stewart (2007), Ellen DeGeneres (2006), Jon Stewart (2005), Chris Rock (2004), Billy Crystal (2003), and Steve Martin (2002). Seth MacFarlane is the host of the 2013 Oscars and he’s an unusual pick. Upon being named host, MacFarlane said to the press, “It’s truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars.” This will be Seth’s first appearance on the Oscars stage. Oscar producer Craig Zadan said, “We’re thrilled to have Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars. His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh.” MacFarlane made his feature directorial debut this summer with the box office success "Ted." The movie took in over $420 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of the year. MacFarlane is also the creative force behind the television series "Family Guy" and co-creator of "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show." He has earned 13 Emmy nominations and won two for his work on "Family Guy."
Queen of the Night: Anne Hathaway could be the belle of the ball for her supporting actress performance in “Les Miserables.” Most movie critics are saying that Hathaway is a shoe-in to win a 2013 Academy Award. Amy Adams is her strongest contender. Adams picked up her fourth nomination in eight years, but Hathaway's performance in “Les Miserables” was incredibly powerful and moving. In addition to an Academy Award, Hathaway is also up for a 2013 Golden Globe Award and a Critics Choice Award. This is Hathaway’s second Oscar nomination. In 2009, she was nominated for “Rachel Getting Married.”
The Razzie Awards: The Razzies are Hollywood's cynical counterpart to the Academy Awards. The 2013 Razzie nominees were announced on Jan. 8 and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” leads the way with 11 nominations, including Worst Picture, Actor, Actress, Ensemble and Director. Other 2013 Worst Picture nominees include “Battleship,” “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure,” “That’s My Boy,” and “A Thousand Words.” Surprisingly, Katherine Heigl and Barbara Streisand both received Razzie nominations for Worst Actress. Nicholas Cage, Eddie Murphy, Robert Pattinson, Tyler Perry and Adam Sandler are all up for Worst Actor. The Razzies will be handed out Feb. 23, the day before the Academy Awards.
Snubs: The biggest Oscar snubs in 2013 are the exclusion of Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck as Best Director for “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Argo,” both two heavily nominated films. Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio were ignored for their roles in “Django Unchained.” John Hawkes was passed over for his moving portrayal of paralyzed poet Mark O’Brien in “The Sessions.” Quentin Tarantino received a Golden Globes nomination for Best Director on “Django Unchained,” but the Academy ignored his work, despite the fact that it received an Oscar nod for Best Picture. Tom Hooper, director of “Les Miserables” was passed over, but the film was nominated for Best Picture. “The Dark Knight Rises” was totally shutout and did not receive one single Oscar nomination in 2013.
Traditions After the Awards: After the Best Picture award is presented, it’s time to party. The stars head out to hit at least one of the big Oscar parties in Hollywood. The studios usually host the grandest parties, but there are a slew of other popular post-Oscar events. Immediately following the Awards, most stars head over to the Governor’s Ball. After getting their picture taken, they quickly depart for the highbrow "Vanity Fair" soiree, an Oscar tradition since 1994. From there, it’s on to the private parties, like the ones hosted by Elton John, Madonna and Demi Moore. The most exclusive of all the Oscar parties, the one every actor dreams of one day being invited to, is the dinner hosted by Dani Janssen, wife of late actor David Janssen. This is where the likes of Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Barbara Streisand and Harrison Ford go to after making an appearance at the Governor’s Ball.
Upsets and Underdogs: While film critics may feel certain that they know who will win the Oscar, an underdog or two usually manages to snatch a statuette away from the favorite. Three years ago, little-seen indie film "The Hurt Locker" upset James Cameron’s blockbuster "Avatar" for Best Film. This year’s underdogs are “Amour,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and “Django Unchained” for Best Picture. “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi” and “Silver Linings Playbook” may be hard to beat, but nothing is ever 100% sure when it comes to the Academy Awards. Just ask James Cameron. The biggest upset ever was when “Shakespeare in Love” defeated blockbuster “Saving Private Ryan” for Best Picture in 1999.
Visual Effects: Outstanding special effects can make a movie truly memorable. This year’s Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects are “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Life of Pi,” “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Prometheus,” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” In 2012, “Hugo” surprisingly beat out “Harry Potter” in this category.
Writing: The 2013 Best Writing Oscars are broken into two categories: Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay. The nominees for Best Writing: Adapted Screenplay are “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” The nominees for Best Writing: Original Screenplay are “Amour,” “Django Unchained,” “Flight,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” In 2012, “Midnight in Paris” won for original screenplay and “The Descendants” won for adapted screenplay.
Youngest Person to Ever Receive an Oscar: The youngest actress to win a standard Oscar was Tatum O'Neal, who was 10 years old when she won the Best Supporting Actress award for "Paper Moon" in 1974. The oldest, Jessica Tandy, won her Best Actress Oscar at age 80 for "Driving Miss Daisy." Henry Fonda was 76 when he won an Oscar in 1981 for “On Golden Pond.”
Zzzzzz… Greer Garison gave the longest Oscar acceptance speech in 1946. Clocked at 5-1/2 minutes, it holds the record. The 74th Annual Academy Awards Show in 2002 was the longest Oscar broadcast ever. It was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and ran 4 hours and 17 minutes. It also pulled in the lowest ratings ever and was the Awards’ first high definition broadcast.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards airs at 7 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC. For a complete list of this year’s nominees, go to www.oscars.com.
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