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Oscars 2000 Friday, 17 March, 2000, 16:13 GMT
Academy Awards A-Z

Auction - Pop superstar Michael Jackson paid a record $1.54m to own an Oscar at Sotheby's in New York in June 1999.

He bought the best film Oscar awarded to producer David O Selznick for Gone With The Wind in 1939. A Sotheby's spokesman said it was Jackson's "lifelong desire to own that particular object".

Brit - The legendary Charles Laughton became the first British actor to win an Oscar in 1934 for his leading role in The Private Life of Henry VIII.

Born in 1899, he was to be nominated for Academy Awards twice more - for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957).

Cabaret - Bob Fosse's 1972 masterpiece starring Liza Minnelli holds an unusual distinction in Academy Awards history.

It picked up the most Oscars (eight) won by a film that did not win best picture - an accolade awarded that year to The Godfather.

Disney - Walt Disney holds the all-time record for the most Academy Awards wins.

Starting with an Oscar for 1932's Flowers and Trees - the first cartoon to be produced in colour and the first cartoon to win an Academy Award - he went on to win a further 26 statuettes.

Elia Kazan - The presentation of a lifetime achievement award to the veteran director Elia Kazan at the 1999 was a controversial moment.

Actor Nick Nolte was among those who refused to join the standing ovation for the man who divided Hollywood in 1952 with his testimony to Senator McCarthy's communist-hunting congressional committee.

Foreign - Italy leads the pack in the best foreign film category at the Academy Awards.

It has won 10 Oscars - including three special/honorary awards - compared to France's nine. However, France has won the most nominations - 29 to Italy's 26.

Gardener - Comic great Peter Sellers was Oscar-nominated for his performance as simple-minded Chance the gardener in 1979's Being There.

Despite winning the 1980 Golden Globe for best motion picture actor (musical/comedy), Sellers was beaten to the best actor Academy Award by Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs Kramer.

Hamlet - Actor/director Laurence Olivier was the toast of Hollywood in 1949 when his big screen version of Hamlet scooped five Oscars.

The production was the first British film to win the Academy Award for best picture. Olivier also won the best actor Oscar.

Isaac Hayes - Soul star Hayes became the first African-American to win a music Oscar.

His Theme from Shaft landed the 1971 prize for best original song. Most recently Hayes has voiced Chef in South Park and the track Blame Canada has been nominated for best original song at this year's Academy Awards.

Jealousy? - Relations were strained between sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland at the 1941 Academy Awards.

Both were nominated in the best actress category - Fontaine for Suspicion and de Havilland for Hold Back the Dawn. Relationships between the two were strained before Fontaine won, an event which was said to have intensified a life-long feud.

Katharine Hepburn - The Hollywood legend has won more acting Academy Awards than any other actress.

The 92-year-old holds the record of being the actress with the most Oscar nominations (shared with Meryl Streep at 12) and wins (four). Her first was for Morning Glory (1933) - the last for On Golden Pond (1981).

Landmark - Hattie McDaniel became the first black star to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in the 1939 epic Gone with the Wind.

Her last wish was to be buried at the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery. However, when she died in 1952, it did not take blacks and she was buried at the Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery instead.

Moniker - How Oscar received his nickname remains a mystery.

The most popular story is that Margaret Herrick, an Academy employee and eventual executive director, remarked that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar, and the Academy staff began to refer to it by that name.

No-show - Much of the movie community considers the Oscars the highlight of their year but some have made a career out of staying away.

Among the most notorious is Woody Allen. Over the years, Allen has never acknowledged his 15 Oscar nominations, and two wins, as writer or director. He has never so much as set foot near the ceremony and described the Academy Awards as "meaningless".

But as stubborn as Allen might seem, he could not match George C Scott for obstinacy. Throughout his 40-year career, Scott repeatedly warned the Academy never to nominate him. They didn't listen and when they awarded him best actor for Patton, he categorically refused to turn up.

Oldest -British actress Jessica Tandy is the oldest actress to have won a competitive Oscar.

She was 80 when she received her Academy Award for her performance in 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. Groucho Marx is the oldest ever recipient - he won an honorary award in 1973, aged 83.

Posthumous - Gone With the Wind screenwriter Sidney Howard became the first posthumous Oscar winner in 1939.

On 23 August 1939, he was killed while working on his farm in Massachusetts. He was driving his tractor when it rolled over on top of him.

Queen - Queen Elizabeth I: 1999 was a bumper year for the Virgin monarch as two movies about her reign swept the board. Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes picked up three Oscars, including best actress for Blanchett as the flame-haired Liz.

Fiennes, however, had a doubly disappointing evening. After failing to command attention from the Academy in Elizabeth, he spookily went to face similar distinterest for his starring part in Shakespeare in Love. The movie grabbed an impressive seven statuettes - including best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow as the Bard's aristocratic love interest - but Fiennes walked away with none.

Record - Ben-Hur (1960) and Titanic (1997) are the most successful films in Academy Awards history.

Ben-Hur won 11 of its 12 nominations, while Titanic won 11 of its 14 nominations.

Stevie Wonder -Musician Stevie Wonder dedicated his best original song Oscar - I Just Called To Say I Love You from 1984's The Woman In Red - to the imprisoned Nelson Mandela.

South Africa was none too pleased and promptly banned Wonder's records.

Emma Thompson - The British star became the first person ever nominated as an actress and for a screenplay with 1995's Sense and Sensibility.

However, she only picked up the Oscar for best screenplay (adapted). Susan Sarandon won the best actress trophy for Dead Man Walking.

Underdressed - There's nothing like the Oscars for putting on the style. But while most celebrities habitually dress up to the nines, there are some who have, at times appeared to have lost the plot.

In 1987, pop star and actress Cher collected the best actress Oscar for Moonstruck but lost all credibility for wearing a flesh-baring mesh sheath. In 1989 Demi Moore fared little better with her Boy Wonder look of bike shorts and cape. And in 1999, Cate Blanchett left little to the imagination in a clinging purple number transparent at the back to the bikini line.

But for sheer award-winning audacity nothing can beat Robert Opal who in 1973 threw caution to the wind and streaked between the acting awards. It led David Niven to remark that "the only laugh that man will probably ever get is for stripping and showing off his shortcomings".

Veteran - The oldest set of acting Oscar winners came in 1981.

Three were septegenarians - Katharine Hepburn (72), Henry Fonda (77) and Sir John Gielgud (77) - while Maureen Stapleton was 56 years young.

Wings - The World War I epic Wings was the only silent movie ever to win the best picture Oscar at the 1927-8 first Academy Awards ceremony.

Starring the legendary Clara Bow - the original "It" girl - it also featured featured a young Gary Cooper who promptly won a contract with Paramount.

X-rated - In 1969, Midnight Cowboy became the only high-profile X-rated film to win the best picture Oscar.

It contained no guns, no gratuitous nudity and the f-word wasn't spoken once. Soon after the win the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) changed it to an R.

Youngest - Actor Ryan O'Neill's daughter, Tatum O'Neill, is the youngest person ever to win a competitive Oscar.

The nine-year-old was named best supporting actress for her role as Addie Loggins in Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon of 1973. Shirley Temple won a honorary Academy Award, aged six, in 1935.

Zanuck The legendary movie producer Darryl Zanuck and his son Richard D Zanuck are the only father and son to receive the prestigious Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award.

Zanuck Snr received the first Thalberg award in 1937 (he was to win again in 1947 and 1950). Richard, who is the co-producer of the Oscars 2000 ceremony, received the honour in 1990.

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