Was This the First Tie in Oscar History?

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 24 2013 10:44 PM

Was This the First Tie in Oscar History?

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The Academy Awards stage in 2008

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The first really big surprise of tonight's Oscar ceremony occurred when Mark Wahlberg announced the award for Best Sound Editing. It was a tie: Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall shared the award. Was this the first tie in Oscar history?

No. It is quite rare, however. In the ceremony’s 85-year history, there are two famous ties: In 1932, Frederic March received only one more vote for Best Actor over Wallace Beery. The Oscar rules then in effect "considered such a close margin to be a tie." Under the current rules, dual awards are only granted to exact ties. And in 1969, Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn tied for the Best Actress Award, with 3,030 votes each.

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There have been three other ties: Best Documentary Short went to both A Chance to Live and So Much for So Little in 1949. In 1986, Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got and Down and Out in America both won for Best Documentary. And, most recently, in 1995, the Oscar for Live Action Short went to both Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life and Trevor.*

*This post has been updated to mention the ties in 1949 and 1986. We also corrected the spelling of Barbra Streisand's first name.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.