Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”)
To be perfectly honest, no one has ever asked me any of these questions (much less, frequently). However, if I had called this section DSITYSK (“Dumb Stuff I Think You Should Know”), you’d probably never have opened this page. Anyway, you might be interested in the following:
- Who is the intended audience for this website?
- Who is the Webmaster?
- Where did you get the nickname “Flix”?
- What is your earliest recollection of a movie’s importance in your life?
- How did you become interested in the Academy Awards?
- What makes you an authority on the Awards?
- Do you really think the Academy awards the “best” pictures of the year?
- What makes a good movie?
- How come you don’t cover my favorite movie, or any of the good TV movies?
- Have you ever been to an Academy Awards ceremony?
- Why does some of the website look weird and parts of it don’t work?
- How can I learn more about this website?
Who is the intended audience for this website? This site was designed for people who love movies, and who have at least a passing interest in the Academy Awards. Its purpose is to provide an efficient method for getting answers to questions about the history of the Awards—who won what, when, and how often? Therefore, it deals almost exclusively with history; it rarely makes predictions or reviews movies that have just been released (unless they have been nominated for an award). The additional features, like “Short Subjects” and the amusements found in the “Trivia Machine” and “Intermission” sections, are intended to add to your knowledge and enjoyment of the movies. We do not deal with current activities in the social lives of movie celebrities. For that you’ll need to go to another site (some of which are listed on the “Links” page).
Who is the Webmaster? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was celebrating its twentieth anniversary the year I was born; it was also the year Ronald Colman lead A Double Life and Loretta Young charmed as The Farmer’s Daughter. Although I do not have direct ties to the movie industry, I have been a movie fan for as long as I can remember and the milestones in my life are often described through the films that accompanied them. For example, Patton commanded the screens the year I completed a bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV/Film. And another war was raging in Platoon when I finally completed a master’s degree in Education. I married the Webmistress the year Henry Fonda made his last film (On Golden Pond). Movie tickets, an endless collection of videos, and enough movie books to fill a small town library were bought with the funds I received during a career as an industrial trainer and a computer systems analyst. (The latter occupation accounts for my passion for cataloging film minutiae, and the former for my desire to share what I have learned with others.) The year the stage musical Chicago finally reached the screen we moved to the state where Clark Gable was born. We currently share a home with the memory of a cat named (not surprisingly) Oscar and a ghost named Norton. Oh, and my name? It doesn’t really matter; you can just call me “Flix.”
Where did you get the nickname “Flix”? “Flix” does not stand for “the flickers” (an early disparaging term for movies), nor even the cable movie channel of that name. But, as you might expect, it is related to a film. It comes from the Academy Award Best Picture of 1931-32, Grand Hotel. In the film, John Barrymore introduces himself to Greta Garbo. “I am Felix Benvenuto Freihern von Gaigern,” he says. “My mother called me Flix.” (His next line may also be suitable for describing me: “I’m a prodigal son, the black sheep of a white flock—I shall die on the gallows.”)
What is your earliest recollection of a movie’s importance in your life? My mother was driving me home from a Cub Scout meeting one night. I had prepared my argument, and repeatedly practiced the presentation of my case for why I should be allowed to watch King Kong that night on TV. (A number of cogent rebuttal arguments had been held in reserve just in case she was reluctant. Fortunately, as it turned out, they were not necessary.) When she agreed, I realized that movies had marked a milestone in my eight-year life: I had finally attained a sufficient maturity to watch a “really scary” picture. I had arrived! Years later I demonstrated my adolescent machismo by becoming a fan of horror films at Saturday matinees. And, when it came time to date, the movie theatres naturally became the standard destination on Friday and Saturday nights. (However, I probably paid more attention to the movies than most of my peers.)
How did you become interested in the Academy Awards? Chariots of Fire invaded the United States the year we bought our first videotape recorder (it weighed a ton and recorded in beta format!). On a whim, I said to the Webmistress, “You know, we ought to start a video collection of something.” Skeptically she asked, “A collection of what?” Without thinking, I said, “Oh, I don’t know . . . how about collecting something like Academy Award ‘Best Pictures’?” I have no idea where that response came from, since at the time I couldn’t tell you how long the Academy had been around, or how many films we’d need to collect. But I learned. Also, at about that time, I became involved in monthly auctions of movie memorabilia, where I obtained my first five Academy Awards ceremony programs. It took seven years to collect all of the ‘Best Pictures’ on video. Soon we decided to expand the collection to include the winners in the top six categories (Picture, Actor and Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress, and Director). Eventually, we expanded it to include all categories. We currently have every Academy Award winning feature in every category for every year (except for four films which are thought to be lost), plus about 80% of the winning documentaries and short subjects. The beta format recordings from TV were sequentially replaced by commercial beta tapes, then commercial VHS tapes, then commercial DVDs (with a short detour to CED video disks). All new films are purchased on Blu-ray. However, since the video collection now numbers over 3,500 films, I doubt if they all will be replaced again in Blu-ray format (or whatever new technology may soon appear).
What makes you an authority on the Awards? Because of the video collection we have probably seen more winning films than most Academy members. The memorabilia collection has also expanded to cover some 32 categories, and number over 10,000 items. Photos, posters, programs, books, and Academy publications overrun the house. (Actually, they are stored in acid-free containers according to strict museum standards.) Many of these items are or will be included on this site. As a computer systems analyst, I learned the intricacies of relational database programming by designing a database to organize the information I had found. When you watch, read about, and think about films every day for over 30 years, some of it just sticks.
Do you really think the Academy awards the “best” pictures of the year? No. For a more complete answer, see the Short Subjects essay on this site: “What’s so special about the Academy Awards?”
What makes a good movie? Although I enjoy virtually every genre of film, I have only one mandatory criterion for a good movie: It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end (not necessarily in that order). Unfortunately, I do not care for a great many films today that only have a “middle.” A “slice of life” picture—where the main character neither learns, changes, nor progresses from his initial state—leaves me unsatisfied. I want a movie experience where I can learn something new about people (good or bad), places (fantastical or mundane), and ideas (admirable or demented). Admittedly, I tend to favor films with a positive denouement, but, fortunately for me, this was the norm for most of the films made up to the 1960s.
How come you don’t cover my favorite movie, or any of the good TV movies? For the same reason that we do not cover ballet, mah jong, or major league baseball: This site is devoted to those films which were nominated for or won an Academy Award. With the exception of some films listed in the Short Subjects section, these are the only films you’ll find mentioned here. (That means that a lot of my favorite films are not included either.)
Have you ever been to an Academy Awards ceremony? No. Having lived most of my life near the film capital of the world, I had plenty of opportunity to join the fans in the bleachers. But, being crushed by a throng of screaming strangers never appealed to me. And since I do not work in the movie industry, I was never able to attended the ceremony inside. (However, because of seating limitations, most Academy members cannot attend either.) Instead, I prefer to view them in the comfort of a home theatre with a 96-inch high-definition screen. When we are not watching the current Awards show, we also have over 80% of all previous ceremonies on audio- or videotape that we can relive and study whenever we wish.
How can I learn more about this website? At the top of any page you can access the Site Tour which shows an overview of each of the accessible parts of the site. Also, in each of the five major sections (listed in the film strip frames on each page) there is a description of the section’s purpose, along with its current content. For a look at the entire site’s content in one place, you can check out the Site Map link at the bottom of each page. And, you can even navigate to the Coming Attractions link (also at the bottom of any page) to see a list of things that are planned for the near future. Enjoy!