And the Winner Is: The Reader’s Digest Oscar Quiz
Who’ll be sweeping the Academy Awards on February 26? Find out how well you know your way around the world of cinema.
1. The Oscar is 34 centimetres high, weights 3.9 kilos and is plated in 24-carat gold. But who does this coveted trophy actually depict?
A: An ancient athlete
B: A knight with a sword
C: The Greek god Dionysus
Correct answer: B. A knight with a sword
The statuette represents an armed knight standing on a reel of film.
2. The official name of the prizes awarded this year for the 89th time is Academy Award of Merit. Where did the nickname “Oscar” come from?
A: It was the forename of the first chairman of the jury
B: Oscar Wilde wrote the screenplay for the first sound film
C: The statuette reminded an Academy librarian of her uncle Oscar
Correct answer: C. The statuette reminded an Academy librarian of her uncle Oscar
There are a number of possible sources for the nickname Oscar. One of the most popular of them is the story that the statuette reminded Award librarian Margaret Herrick of her eponymous uncle.
3. Who decides who the Oscars go to?
A: A jury of 30 former Oscar winners
B: The roughly 7,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
C: The TV viewers watching the awarding ceremony (phone-in voting)
Correct answer: B. The roughly 7,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Membership in the Academy is by invitation only and limited to people with outstanding achievements in the movie business.
4. Politics also has a bearing on the entertainment industry. There was a vehement debate prior to the 2016 awards. What was it about?
A; The fact that actresses earn less than actors
B: Lack of ethnic diversity in the jury
C: The nomination of too many movies containing brutal portrayals of violence
Correct answer: B. Lack of ethnic diversity in the jury
In 2016, attention was drawn to the fact the Oscar jury had nominated only white actors. Accordingly, artists like Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the ceremony. The Academy has announced changes for 2017.
5. Far more people watch the awards gala than are present in the audience. How many tune in to the award ceremony on average?
A: 32 million
B: Several hundred million
C: One billion
Correct answer: B. Several hundred million
The award ceremony is watched by several hundred million television viewers, among them some 35 million Americans.
6. Receiving the highest award in the movie business can certainly make you emotional. Whose speech of thanks was racked by convulsive sobs in 1999?
A: Roberto Benigni
B: Winona Ryder
C: Gwyneth Paltrow
Correct answer: C. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow almost broke down in tears during her speech of thanks. She had won an award for Best Actress for her leading role in Shakespeare in Love.
7. The name of the winner is engraved on a plate fixed on the foot of the statuette. Whose name did they get wrong?
A: Spencer Tracy
B: Jennifer Lawrence
C: Cate Blanchett
Correct answer: A. Spencer Tracy
Instead of Spencer Tracy, the name of the US comic hero Dick Tracy graced the statuette.
8. When the stars go striding down the red carpet, their outfits attract lots of attention. What did the Icelandic singer Björk wear when she was nominated for the soundtrack of the movie Dancer in the Dark in 2001?
A: A dress made of raw beef
B: A swan made of fabric looped around her body
C: A golden swimsuit with a bathing cap in shark form
Correct answer: B: A swan made of fabric looped around her body
In 2001, Björk wore a swan dress. The eccentric gown was the brainchild of Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski.
9. Some movies are so controversial in their subject matter that the jury seems to shy away from them. Which nominated film was not chosen by the jury as Best Picture, a decision that earned them severe criticism?
A: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a movie about the inhuman treatment of psychiatric patients
B: Brokeback Mountain, a film about two homosexual cowboys
C: Platoon, dealing with the brutalization of soldiers in the Vietnam War
Correct answer: B. Brokeback Mountain, a film about two homosexual cowboys
Because Brokeback Mountain was nominated in eight categories but only won three, many people accused the jury of prejudice against homosexuals.
10. Twenty-four prizes are awarded on Oscar night. Accordingly, the recipients have to keep their speeches of thanks short. How long are they allowed to speak before the orchestra loudly reminds them that time is up?
A: 45 seconds
B: 90 seconds
C: 110 seconds
Correct answer: A. 45 seconds
So award winners keen not only to thank their families and film colleagues but also their dog-sitters have to get their skates on.
11. Which married couple has (at least) two of the coveted acting awards at home in the closet, one for him and one for her?
A: Warren Beatty and Annette Bening
B: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
C: Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
Correct answer: B. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
Paul Newman was awarded an Oscar for his life’s work in 1986. In 1987, he won the Best Actor award for The Color of Money. His wife Joanne Woodward was much quicker off the mark, receiving an Oscar back in 1958 for her part in The Three Faces of Eve.