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365 Days of Oscar: George C. Scott Just Says No

Fifty-three years ago today, the 43rd Academy Awards ceremony took place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the third consecutive year without a host.

George C. Scott, winner of Best Actor for Patton, became the first actor to decline an Oscar, having previously protested his nomination for Best Supporting Actor for The Hustler (1961) and quoted as saying that the Academy Awards were “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.” He also maintained that it was “degrading for actors to compete against one another.” Co-star Karl Malden (and future Academy President) agreed, but felt that Scott could have made his denunciation more subtly. (He would go on to attend later on, when his new wife wanted to go.)

With her Best Supporting Actress win for Airport, Helen Hayes became the first performer to win Oscars in both lead and supporting categories (having won Best Actress 38 years before for The Sin of Madelon Claudet). Her win set a record for the biggest gap between acting wins, subsequently broken by Katharine Hepburn (48 years between her first and last wins).

The documentary film Woodstock garnered three Oscar nominations, making it the most nominated documentary film in Oscar history (its record was later tied by Flee, 51 years later).

This was the only time since the 6th Academy Awards that all five nominees for Best Actress were first-time nominees, and was the last time that either lead acting category was entirely composed of new nominees until the 95th Academy Awards. It was also the first time since the 7th Academy Awards in which none of the nominees for the Best Actor had a previous nomination in that category.

As of 2023, this is the most recent ceremony in which the four highest-grossing films of the year were nominated for Best Picture (Love Story, Airport, M*A*S*H and Patton).

This article is part of a special year-long series of anecdotes, reflections and thoughts about the Academy Awards.