You’ve stocked up on snacks, placed your bets and prepared a few choice quips about your favourite nominees. Now, how to make the most of the other two-and-a-half hours?
Impress and entertain all your movie-loving friends—from the casual viewers to the jaded critics—with these scintillating Oscar tidbits. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone you got them from us.)
1. Why are Academy Awards also called The Oscars? Academy librarian Margaret Herrick thought the statuettes looked like her Uncle Oscar.
2. What are the rules of the Oscar red carpet? Nominees keep left, guests keep right.
3. Want to grab a free drink at the Oscars? Order it before the show starts or you’ll have to pay premium prices.
4. From 1940 to 1978, Bob Hope hosted the Oscars 18 times. With nine shows under his belt, Bill Crystal is a distant second.
5. When Steven Spielberg does drama, Best Picture nods follow. Bridge of Spies is the 10th Spielberg-directed nominee.
6. In the early days of The Oscars, the results were given to newspapers in advance. When they were leaked early in 1940, this system changed.
7. In 1989, the phrase “And the winner is…” was changed to “And the Oscar goes to…” Of course, the other nominees still feel like losers.
8. How does the Academy offer engraved statuettes on Oscar night? They prepare nameplates for every nominee in advance.
9. Oscar seat-fillers make $125 for the night.
10. How do you know you’re looking at an Oscar VIP? Every nominee gets two seats, but a select few get more.
11. Why did costume designer Edith Head spend so much time trying on Oscar gowns? She was nominated 35 times.
12. Three films share the record for most Oscar wins by a single film: Ben-Hur, Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Of this year’s films, only The Revenant can break the record.
13. Sure, 11 nominations is impressive—unless you lose every single one. Just ask record losers The Turning Point and The Color Purple.
14. When it comes to landing another Oscar nod, patience is sometimes required. Sylvester Stallone waited 39 years between noms.
15. Only three films have ever walked away with all five major Oscars: It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs. This year, none of the nominated films are eligible.
16. Barbra Streisand and Julie Andrews started their movie careers with a bang: Both won Oscars for their first movie role.
17. Who is the greatest Oscar good-luck charm of all time? All five films starring John Cazale (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter) were nominated for Best Picture.
18. Thanks to The Big Short‘s Best Picture nomination, Brad Pitt now has the same number of Oscar nods for acting and producing.
19. 2016 is a blockbuster year for the Oscars: Of the eight Best Picture nominees, three have cracked $350-million worldwide: The Revenant, The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road.
20. If “Writing’s on the Wall” wins, it will be the second Oscar-winning Bond theme. The first? Adele‘s “Skyfall.”
21. Four of this year’s 20 acting nominations went to films with no other nominations: Creed, 45 Years, Joy and Trumbo.
22. What do actors see in Alejandro G. Iñárritu? He has directed 10 of them to Oscar nods in his last five films.
23. Of the 20 acting nominees, six are previous winners: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Redmayne and Kate Winslet.
24. Six of this year’s acting nominees are from the United Kingdom. On a per capita basis, the UK beats the US handily.
25. Notice lots of familiar faces in the acting categories? That’s because 12 of the 20 nominees have been nominated before.
26. Who has the most consecutive Oscar wins? Move over Tom Hanks, Walt Disney won Academy Awards eight years in a row.
27. Four of the 10 women nominated for acting awards are in their 20s. The youngest male nominee, Eddie Redmayne, is 34.
28. How do we know the Academy has a thing for Italy? The country has won the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar 14 times.
29. Quality guaranteed: Steve Golin produced two of this year’s Best Picture nominees: Spotlight and The Revenant.
30. Who was the most animated Oscar host of all time? 1958 co-host Donald Duck.
31. What do you do with an Oscar you win for a movie about toys? If you’re Pixar’s John Lasseter, you dress it up in Barbie clothes.
32. Costume designer Sandy Powell landed nods for both of her 2015 films: Carol and Cinderella. To date, she has 12 nominations and three wins.
33. Already an Emmy and Tony winner, Bryan Cranston would be one award away from an EGOT if he wins the Oscar.
34. Sicario cinematographer Roger Deakins has been nominated for 13 Oscars. How many has he won? None.
35. Having already won 11 awards for The Revenant, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman) is likely to win his third straight Oscar.
36. In 1958, the novelist behind The Bridge on the River Kwai, instead of the film’s blacklisted screenwriters, was given an Oscar.
37. Many acting nominees have been nominated for writing, but only one has received Oscars for both: Emma Thompson. She won Best Actress for Howards End and Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility.
38. Four of the 2016 acting nominees (Bale, Blanchett, Fassbender, Mara) join forces later this year in Weightless.
39. Did Matt Damon narrowly miss a double nomination? Maybe: He briefly considered playing Mark Ruffalo‘s role in Spotlight.
40. The Revenant‘s visuals made a huge impression, but virtually no artificial light was used.
41. Rooney Mara‘s “supporting” performance deserved a Best Actress nod. If she hadn’t dropped out of Brooklyn, she might have got one.
42. In 1944, Barry Fitzgerald‘s performance in Going My Way made such an impression that it was nominated in two different categories: Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
43. Domnhall Gleeson appears in four of this year’s Oscar-nominated films. Can you name them?*
44. 50 years before Tom Hanks starred in Bridge of Spies, Gregory Peck considered the same role.
45. What separates Matt Damon from his fellow nominees? He’s the only one playing a fictional character.
46. The Academy doesn’t have much patience for sequels. In fact, Fury Road is the only part four ever nominated for Best Picture.
47. Tom Hardy isn’t the only thing Fury Road and The Revenant have in common. Both were also shot in chronological order.
48. Remember watching the Oscars when you were 10? At that age, Paper Moon‘s Tatum O’Neal was busy becoming the youngest winner of all time.
49. At 21, Saoirse Ronan is this year’s youngest acting nominee. Believe it or not, she landed her first nomination (for Atonement) eight years ago.
50. Why did Paramount let comedy director Adam McKay make The Big Short? He promised to make Anchorman 2 first.
51. Want to show your kids a Best Picture winner? Oliver! is the only G-rated option.
52. Only two people (Spencer Tracy, Tom Hanks) have won consecutive Best Actor Oscars. Eddie Redmayne could be the third.
53. Some Oscar speeches are nearly as long as the winning performances. In 1977, Network‘s Beatrice Straight won for less than six minutes of screen time.
54. No Oscar recipient has been closer to the podium for the announcement than Norma Shearer. She presented the award to herself.
55. You’ve seen long Oscar speeches, but have you seen the longest? It took Miniver’s Greer Garson seven minutes to express her gratitude.
56. Liza Minnelli‘s parents set a good example: Both had already won Oscars by the time Minnelli won hers.
57. How many thank-yous does it take to give one of the most grateful Oscar speeches of all time? Gwyneth Paltrow did it with 23.
58. What does Leonardo DiCaprio look for in a filmmaker? Oscars. He has now worked with eight Best Director winners.
59. Saoirse Ronan is young, but that’s nothing compared to Kramer vs. Kramer‘s Justin Henry. He landed his nod at eight.
60. Oscar dominance is not just for Best Picture winners. Cabaret won eight awards but missed out on the big one.
61. It’s not official, but The Revenant is a remake (of Man in the Wilderness). So, was DiCaprio’s last Best Picture winner: The Departed (of 2002’s, Infernal Affairs).
62. Bridge of Spies is Spielberg’s first film without John Williams in 30 years. Both JW and his replacement landed Oscar nods.
63. In 50 years of film acting, how many Oscar nominations did Charlotte Rampling earn? None until this year.
64. Leonardo DiCaprio’s busy schedule forced Alejandro G. Iñárritu to shoot Birdman before The Revenant.
65. Can’t imagine an actor refusing his Oscar? A short-lived trend in the ’70s, this happened twice in three years when George C. Scott (Patton) and Marlon Brando (The Godfather) both refused their awards.
66. In 1999, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench received nominations for playing the same character in the same year. Only Dench won.
67. With six Best Picture nominees under his belt, composer Carter Burwell finally got a nod. His fellow nominees have 71 between them.
68. Oscars are extremely elusive, even after you win them. Rumour has it that Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie both lost theirs.
69. Tom Hanks’ heartfelt Philadelphia speech inspired screenwriter Paul Rudnick to write In & Out.
70. Two of the last three documentary winners are about musicians; Amy or What Happened, Miss Simone? could make it three of the last four.
71. How did effects artists fake Bale’s glass eye in The Big Short? They didn’t. That’s just something he can do.
72. 2011’s The Artist was the first silent film to win Best Picture since Wings took the prize at the very first Academy Awards.
73. Think Hollywood’s more edgy than it used to be? The 1970 Best Picture winner, Midnight Cowboy, was rated X.
74. The Best Picture race tends to be dominated by long films, but 1955 winner Marty clocked in at a record low of 90 minutes.
75. The average length of this year’s Best Picture nominees is 131 minutes. At 111 minutes, Brooklyn is the shortest.
76. The Oscars are known for running long, but 2002 set the record: At 263 minutes, it was longer than the longest Best Picture winner of all time.
77. Notice any trends among this year’s Best Picture nominees? Half of the eight films are based on true stories.
78. Think Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar run is impressive? Bette Davis and Greer Garson landed Best Actress nods five years in a row.
79. What happens when an Oscar nominee plays an Oscar winner? She wins an Oscar. Just ask Cate Blanchett.
80. In the last six years, three Michael Lewis adaptations have earned Best Picture nods. The last two were both produced by Brad Pitt.
81. Titanic was the last film to win Best Picture without a writing nod. The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road are in the same boat this year.
82. When the Academy couldn’t decide between Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn, 1969’s Best Actress race ended in a tie.
83. How do you get two nominations for one role? If you’re Paul Newman, Al Pacino or Sylvester Stallone, you play it more than once.
84. Expect some of this year’s nominees to be around a while. Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep received nods in five different decades.
85. Room has the highest IMDb rating of this year’s Best Picture nominees. It is also the lowest grossing of these eight films.
86. Looking for the official Oscar after-party? If you’re at the Dolby Theatre for the ceremony, you’re already there.
87. Some roles are bigger than they seem. In 1974, Tatum O’Neal won a Supporting Actress Oscar for 67 minutes of screen time.
88. Best Picture may be the most elusive Oscar. For Jaws and Traffic, it was their only defeat.
*Gleeson appears in The Revenant, Ex Machina, Brooklyn and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.