What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Let's thank Oscar for the memories

Why Oscar? There are many claims about how this golden gentleman got his name, but the generally accepted story is that the Academy librarian, Margaret Kerrick, when seeing the figure for the first time, said it reminded her of her Uncle Oscar.

Why Oscar? There are many claims about how this golden gentleman got his name, but the generally accepted story is that the Academy librarian, Margaret Kerrick, when seeing the figure for the first time, said it reminded her of her Uncle Oscar.

The first awards in the 1928 ceremony were handed out in eight minutes in front of just 200 people.

No television audience yet. All the entries were silent films, and the Best Picture winner was Wings.

One actor with a bit part in the film would later become famous. His name was Gary Cooper.

* During the Second World War, Oscars were made of plaster to save metal for the war effort. Afterwards, winners received the real thing. In 1938, a special Oscar made of wood was awarded to American ventriloquist Edgar Bergen for "his outstanding creation", his dummy Charlie McCarthy.

* For her part as blind, deaf and dumb Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker, Patty Duke won Best Supporting Actress. She spoke just one word - "water". In 1998, Judi Dench won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her seven-minute appearance as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love.

* Having won Best Actor Oscar in 1972 for The Godfather, Marlon Brando didn't show up. He sent a woman garbed in American Indian attire to refuse the Oscar for him - a way of protesting at what he considered to be Hollywood's unfair portrayal of Indians.

* When David Niven was about to announce a 1973 award, a naked man suddenly streaked across the stage. "Must be a small bit player," Niven quipped as streaker Robert Opal was hauled away. Six years later, Opal was murdered in his San Francisco sex shop.

* Meryl Streep - who, last year, received her 13th nomination as Best Supporting Actress in Adaptation - has now notched up a record number of nominations, more than the legendary Katharine Hepburn. Back in 1979 when she won her first Oscar (as Best Supporting Actress in Kramer vs Kramer) Streep accepted it and was then so excited that she had to go to the ladies room, where she temporarily left it!

* Only one Oscar winner has ever been disqualified after receiving the award. It happened in 1968 when it was discovered that Best Documentary The Young Americans had, in fact, been released theatrically in the previous year. The Oscar had to be returned.

* When the then 71-year-old Jack Palance won his Best Supporting Actor award for his role in City Slickers in 1991, he dropped to the stage floor to do one-handed push-ups.

* Greer Garson's 1942 Best Actress acceptance speech (for her most famous role in Mrs Miniver) is the longest of all the Awards - just under six minutes.

* When, in 1932, Walt Disney won the first of his many Oscars for the creation of Mickey Mouse, the Press tagged Mickey as the "first non-human to win an Oscar."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer