Oscar Trivia: Genesis of the 'neglected' categories

Unlike the Oscars, we decided to give the eight categories, that won’t be live telecast this year, their due, and took a deep dive through their history, to bring a few highlights for you

Oscar Trivia: Genesis of the 'neglected' categories
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Garima Sadhwani

Never out of controversies, the Oscars this year have decided not to live telecast the awards for eight categories. Instead, these awards will be given before the actual ceremony, and the winners’ speeches will be edited into the live telecast.

Unlike the Oscars, we decided to give these important categories their due, and took a dive through their history, to bring a few highlights for you. Read on!

Film Editing: The first time a film got this award was in 1934 at the 7th Academy Awards Ceremony. The film was Eskimo. Over the years, iconic films like The Pride of the Yankees (1942), The Sound of Music (1965), Rocky (1976), Star Wars (1977), Forrest Gump (1994), Titanic (1997) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008) have won this prestigious award. Interestingly, a total of four film editors hold the record for winning this award thrice, out of whom Michael Kahn has also been nominated the most number of times. Kahn ultimately won the award for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Sound: Established in the very first year itself, this award was given to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department, Douglas Shearer for The Big House. Films like West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), Jaws (1975), All the President’s Men (1976), Back to the Future (1985), Braveheart (1995), Pearl Harbor (2001) and Inception (2010) went on to win the award for the Best Sound. Interestingly, it was only in 1969 that this award started going to the technicians who worked on these films, before that it was awarded to the sound department of the film studio.

Makeup/hairstyling: A little late to the party, this award was officially established as a category only in 1981 at the 54th Academy Awards, when it was awarded to Rick Baker for An American Werewolf in London. However, as a “Special Achievement Oscar”, makeup artists William J. Tuttle and John Chambers were each recognized for their work in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) and Planet of the Apes (1968) respectively. Over the year, films like The Lord of the Rings (2001 and 2003), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and Star Trek (2009) have also won this award. Interestingly, Baker who first won this award in 1981 also went on to win it six more times and has been nominated a total of 11 times.

Original Score: Originally called “Best Scoring”, the name of this category was changed in 1939 after a controversy (sigh), only five years after the award was established. The first ever “Best Scoring” award was won by One Night of Love (1934). Somehow, a lot of children’s movies went on to win this award- The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and Pocahontas (1995). A lot of iconic movies too won it, including The Godfather (1974), The Great Gatsby (1974), Life of Pi (2005) and The Shape of Water (2017). Not a category we would have ignored in the live telecast!

Production Design: Originally called the “Best Art Direction”, this category does just that, awards the film that has, *chef’s kiss*, the best art direction. The first film to receive this award was actually a tie- The Dove and Tempest (1927). But classics like Gone with the Wind (1939), Pride and Prejudice (1940), Little Women (1949), All the President’s Men (1976), Gandhi (1982), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Great Gatsby (2013) and La La Land (2016) also feature on the winner’s list of this category.


Documentary (Short Subject): Established in 1941, this award was first given to Churchill’s Island. In 1949, for the first and only time, this award was a tie between A Chance to Live and So Much for So Little. Just eight years later, in 1957, no film won this award. A few important documentaries that have won in this category include Women- for America, for the World (1986), A Time for Justice (1994), Twin Towers (2002), Chernobyl Heart (2003) and the much-acclaimed Indian film Period. End of Sentence. (2018).

Animated (Short Subject): This category, without a doubt, has featured the cutest films over the years. The first time an award was given in this category was in 1931, to Flowers and Trees. Interestingly, this category’s name has changed thrice- from being known as “Short Subjects, Cartoons” (1932-1970) to being known as “Short Subjects, Animated Films” (1971-1973), it finally was named “Animated, Short Subject”. This award has also been won by Three Little Pigs (1932), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) and Special Delivery (1978).

Live Action Short: A lot of categories came together to form the one that is awarded today- “Best Short Subject, One-reel”, “Best Short Subject, Two-reel”, “Best Short Subject, color”, “Best Short Subject, comedy” and “Best Short Subject, novelty”. Though the name “Live Action Short” was coined only in 1974, the first award in this category was given way back in 1931 to The Music Box. Films like Van Gogh (1949), Bear Country (1953), Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1994) and Toyland (2008) have also won this award.

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