The 83rd Academy Awards are over, and not a minute too soon for most viewers. No major surprises in the big categories; even the most ardent believers in David Fincher cannot feign adequate shock that Best Director matched the Director's Guild choice for the 56 in 60 tries (not counting Steven Spielberg & Ron Howard who were not nominated after winning DGA, respectively, in 1985 & 1995.)
When Tom Hanks took the stage to introduce the first two awards of the night with a few nifty stats, it looked as if the Oscars were trying to steal the shtick of us Oscarwatching statisticians. Though really what kind of stat is a film winning Best Picture, Art Direction & Cinematography? An odd combo that means little to the numbers geeks and probably even less to the young viewers they were trying to court with their new hosts. The show pretty much dropped the stats game after Hanks' intro, but we thought we would dig a little to find a few more interesting tidbits, whether you like it or not.
1. 'The King's Speech' became the 11th film since 1975 to win Best Picture without benefit of a single victory in the technical department. The other ten are 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', 'Annie Hall', 'Kramer vs. Kramer', 'Ordinary People', 'Terms of Endearment', 'Rain Man', 'The Silence of the Lambs', 'A Beautiful Mind', 'Million Dollar Baby', and 'No Country for Old Men.'
2. 'True Grit' joins 'The Turning Point' and 'The Color Purple' as films with double-digit nominations to leave without winning a single award. For the second straight year, four of the ten Best Picture nominees went home empty-handed. (NOTE: 'Turning' & 'Purple' received 11 nominations with 0 wins. Martin Scorsese's 'Gangs of New York' received 10 nods and went home empty.)
3. 'Inception' became only the 8th film in Oscar history to win Visual Effects and both Sound Oscars (Mixing & Editing) in 33 years of their co-existence. Christopher Nolan's film joins the company of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'E.T.', 'Terminator 2', 'Jurassic Park', 'Titanic', 'The Matrix' and Peter Jackson's 'King Kong.'
4. Colin Firth joins 33 other actors to appear in three Oscar-winning Best Pictures, including his 'English Patient' nemesis, Ralph Fiennes - whose fellow cameoing co-star in 'The Hurt Locker', Guy Pearce, joins Russell Crowe and Michael Pena as the only actors in this century to appear in back-to-back Best Picture winners.
5. Christian Bale won the Oscar with his first nomination. Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, and Melissa Leo won Oscars for second. That is better luck than fellow actors Amy Adams and Annette Bening who are now 0-for-3 and 0-for-4 respectively. Also coming up empty on his fourth try was composer Alexandre Desplat. Plus, a favorite in many circles, Roger Deakins, lost the Cinematography Oscar for the ninth time (five of them for working with the Coens), making him the most (or least) honored living cinematographer. Only George J. Folsey ('Seven Brides for Seven Brothers') received more nominations (13) without winning an Oscar.
6. Melissa Leo's win was only the 16th out of 50 times that the winner of one of the supporting categories was victorious over an actor from their own film. The last time was 2002 when Catherine Zeta-Jones defeated Queen Latifah for 'Chicago.'
7. This was only the 8th time in Oscar history that the two supporting categories boasted winners from the same film:
1951: Karl Malden & Kim Hunter 'A Streetcar Named Desire'
1953: Frank Sinatra & Donna Reed 'From Here To Eternity'
1957: Red Buttons & Miyoshi Umeki 'Sayonara'
1961: George Chakiris & Rita Moreno 'West Side Story'
1971: Ben Johnson & Cloris Leachman 'The Last Picture Show'
1977: Jason Robards & Vanessa Redgrave 'Julia'
1986: Michael Caine & Dianne Wiest 'Hannah & Her Sisters'
2010: Christian Bale & Melissa Leo 'The Fighter'
8. Since 1967 when the category was condensed into a single award, Costume Design has matched up with the winner of Art Direction 24-out-of-44 times, including the most recent victor, 'Alice In Wonderland.' The last time a film won both the Art Direction & Costume Oscars was 2005 with 'Memoirs of a Geisha,' which marked the end of a five-year streak for this feat. All three of Colleen Atwood's victories also saw her film win Best Art Direction as well, including 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Memoirs of a Geisha', and 'Chicago.'
9. Rick Baker won his seventh Oscar for 'The Wolfman' on the 30th anniversary of him winning the inaugural award for Best Makeup for 'An American Werewolf In London.'
10. 'The Social Network' became only the third film in Oscar history to win Best Editing and a Screenplay award and not win Best Picture. The others were 'A Place In The Sun' (1951), 'Witness' (1985), and 'Traffic' (2000)
11. If you do not count Tom Hooper's first feature, 'Red Dust', which played the 2004 Toronto Film Festival before hitting UK television and an eventual DVD release, he joins the likes of still-living heavyweights Mike Nichols ('The Graduate'), Michael Cimino ('The Deer Hunter'), Warren Beatty ('Reds') and Mel Gibson ('Braveheart'), all of whom won Best Director for only their second released directorial feature.
12. At 3 hrs and 15 mins, it was the 2nd shortest Oscarcast since 1986. It trailed only 2005's ceremony by a single minute, proving the old joke about the food sucking - and such small portions too.