Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Jason researches past honorary oscar winners

In a previous post I asked the question--regarding Peter O'toole--what's the record for the most years between a "lifetime achievement" oscar and a regular oscar nomination. Well, the answer is a little tricky.

First, I went to http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/BasicSearchInput.jsp. If you highlight "honorary award" in the "Award Category" box and enter nothing in the search boxes, you can get a list of every honorary award given. I set "Display Results" to "nominee (alpha)" to sort by name of honoree.

Then I clicked through one-by-one to find all the honorees who subsequently received a regular oscar nomination. This is where it gets a little tricky. You see, there's nothing officially called a "lifetime achievement" oscar. You have to read the description of their honorary award. Many got it for a single movie (e.g., Charlie Chaplin for writing, directing, producing, and starring in "The Circus"). Some for an individual achievement (Walt Disney got his first of many honorary awards for creating Mickey Mouse). Many were for specific technical advances, and the honorees went on to win oscars for special effects. A ridiculous number were for the wonderful short film "The House I Live In". Many were for child actors who went on to have illustrious careers the rest of their lives (Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland). Anyway, the complete list of honorary oscar recipients who went on to garner regular oscar nomination is:

Now there's some interesting trivia to this. Chaplin is particularly interesting, for reasons I'll get into later. Disney picked up a veritable crapload of oscars, honorary and regular (including 1 regular size and 7 mini oscars for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"), but never something that could be descrived as a lifetime achievement award. Noel Coward got an honorary award in 1942 for producing "In Which We Serve", and then got a nomination the next year for writing the very same movie.

Okay, then I narrowed it down to just the honorary awards that could legitimately, in some interpretation, be called a "lifetime achievement" award (based on the description of the award). They are:

There's some interesting trivia here. Obviously what first jumps out is that Sir Lawrence Olivier recieved a lifetime achievement award the same year he garnered his final regular oscar nomination. But the more interesting story is Charlie Chaplin, who picked up his lifetime achievement award and was then nominated (and won, posthumously) for best dramatic score for "Limelight". The interesting thing about that is "Limelight was actually made twenty years earlier, but because it was first released in Los Angeles in 1972, it was eligible for the oscars that year. The academy has since changed its rules regarding eligibility.

Anyway, the bottom line is Peter O'toole must stay around for another 13 years just to tie Paul Newman's record. Interesting note, Paul Newman was given an award presumably to recognize his 7 nominations (6 acting and 1 best picture) without a win, and then the very next year he won best actor for "The Color of Money". He went on to get 2 more nominations and a Thalberg humanitarian award. Go Paul Newman!


Buzz Stephens said...

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They have ultra rare audio files, amazing photo's, lively discussions, and more! Please check it out.

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