road to the oscars

Currently, there are two basic categories of writing awards:

  • Writing, Adapted Screenplay: awarded to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source
    (novel or play usually)
  • Writing, Original Screenplay: awarded to the writer of a script not based on previously published material

Top Academy Award Screenwriting Nominations and Winners:

Woody Allen (15) and Billy Wilder (12) have been nominated the most for any screenwriting category.
Five individuals have been awarded with three (3) screenwriting Oscars: Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, and Paddy Chayefsky.



In 1973, she became the first African-American female to be nominated for an Academy Award for writing. She was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for the Berry Gordy-produced Lady Sings the Blues starring Diana Ross as singer Billie Holiday, while Elder was nominated for Sounder. De Passe co-wrote Lady Sings the Blues with Terence McCloy and Motown recording artist Chris Clark.


In 1973, he became the first African-American male to be nominated for an Academy Award for writing the adapted screenplay for Sounder.


In 2009, he became the first African-American person to WIN a screenplay academy award for the adapted screenplay Precious.


In 1995, she became the only individual to have won an Academy Award for both acting ((Best Actress for Howards End (1992)) and screenwriting (Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995))

  • In 2007, four female scriptwriters (all first-time nominees) were nominated for individual screenplay honors:

Original Screenplay nomination: Diablo Cody for Juno, Tamara Jenkins for The Savages, and Nancy Oliver for Lars and the Real Girl
Adapted Screenplay nomination: Sarah Polley for Away From Her



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Oscar Statuette Facts

Official Name: Academy Award® of Merit

Height: 13½ inches

Weight: 8½ pounds

Number of Awards Presented: 2,809

First Recipient: Emil Jannings, named Best Actor for his performances in “The Last Command” and “The Way of All Flesh” in 1929

Design: A knight holding a crusader’s sword, standing on a reel of film. The film reel features five spokes, signifying the five original branches of the Academy (actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers).

Designer: Cedric Gibbons, chief art director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Sculptor: Los Angeles artist George Stanley

Manufacturer: R. S. Owens & Company in Chicago

Manufacturing Time: 3–4 weeks for 50 statuettes




A Knight Called Oscar

Since the initial awards banquet on May 16, 1929, in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Room, 2,809 statuettes have been presented. Each January, additional new golden statuettes are cast, molded, polished and buffed by R.S. Owens & Company, the Chicago-based awards manufacturer retained by the Academy since 1982.

Oscar stands 13½ inches tall and weighs in at a robust 8½ pounds. The film reel features five spokes, signifying the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. Although the statuette remains true to its original design, the size of the base varied until 1945, when the current standard was adopted.

Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. While the origins of the moniker aren’t clear, a popular story has it that upon seeing the trophy for the first time, Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy didn’t adopt the nickname officially until 1939, but it was widely known enough by 1934 that Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in a piece referring to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.

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