Some commonly asked questions about the Oscars:
WHAT IS THE ACADEMY? WHO'S IN IT?
-- The organization's full name is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
-- It's not small. There are over 5,700 voting members of the Academy.
-- Its purpose is "the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures."
-- Membership is limited to "those who have achieved the highest level of distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures."
-- Members are divided into 14 different categories: Actors, Art Directors, Cinematographers, Directors, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Music, Producers, Public Relations, Short Films and Feature Animation, Sound, Visual Effects, and Writers.
WHO DECIDES NOMINATIONS?
-- The Best Picture nominees are selected by a vote of all members of the Academy.
-- In most other cases, members of each branch select nominees in their categories.
-- In other words, only directors send in nominee ballots for the Best Director category. Only actors send in ballots for Best Actor/Actress and so on.
-- The nominees for Best Foreign Language Film are selected by a large committee made of members from all branches.
-- The Academy says it's not clear how the award statue got its name.
-- A popular story is that Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar.
-- The Academy didn't adopt the nickname until 1939.
ACADEMY AWARD DATES AND TIMELINE
-- The 77th Academy Awards are scheduled for February 27 at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
-- Chris Rock has been picked to host.
-- The first Academy Awards were handed out May 16, 1929. Tickets cost $10.
-- Until 1941, the winners were known before the ceremony. That year the Academy adopted the sealed-envelope system.
-- The ceremony was first televised in 1953.
-- This year it's on ABC.
TRIVIA RELATED TO THIS YEAR'S NOMINATIONS
-- "Million Dollar Baby" is nominated for Best Picture, Director, Best Actor, Actress and Writing. How many films have swept all five awards? It's happened three times. Those are: in 1934, "It Happened One Night"; in 1975, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; and in 1991, "The Silence of the Lambs."
-- Jamie Foxx is nominated for Best Actor for "Ray" and Best Supporting Actor for "Collateral." How many actors have done that? Three including Foxx: Barry Fitzgerald in 1944 and Al Pacino in 1993. How many actresses? Seven actresses have done it: Fay Bainter in 1938, Teresa Wright in 1942, Jessica Lange in 1982, Sigourney Weaver in 1988, Holly Hunter in 1993, Emma Thompson in 1993 and Julianne Moore in 2003.
-- Black performers had their best year ever, garnering five of the 20 acting nominations. The next most in a single year was three nominations. That includes 2001 when Halle Berry and Denzel Washington both won.
-- Martin Scorsese ("The Aviator") has been called the "greatest living American director" by some, but he has never won an Oscar. He's now been nominated five times.
-- Scorsese's in good company. Director Alfred Hitchcock was also nominated as Best Director five times. Hitchcock never won the award. He was given an Irving G. Thalberg award in 1967.
-- Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor, "Million Dollar Baby") has now been nominated four times. His first nomination was in 1987 for "Street Smart", followed by "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989 and "Shawshank Redemption" in 1994. He's never won.
-- This year's Best Actress category includes a rematch between Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby") and Annette Benning ("Being Julia"). The two were also both up for Best Actress in 1999 when Swank won for "Boys Don't Cry."
GENERAL OSCAR TRIVIA
-- Who has the most Oscar nominations? Wins? Walt Disney holds both titles. He was nominated 59 times and won 26 Oscars.
-- What living person has the most nominations? That's composer John Williams with 43 nominations.
-- Who has the most acting nominations? Meryl Streep, with 13 nominations.
-- Who has the most acting wins? Katharine Hepburn, with four Best Actress Oscars.
-- Who was the youngest person to get an Oscar statuette? Shirley Temple got a juvenile Academy Award when she was six years old.
-- Who was the youngest person to win in a competitive category? Tatum O'Neal won Best Supporting Actress when she was 10 years old for her work in "Paper Moon."