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When it comes to the Oscars, there are surprises — and then there are big surprises.
A tie in the sound editing category, only the sixth in Academy Awards history, certainly qualified as the latter.
It was so unexpected, in fact, that Mark Wahlberg, who announced the winners, had to add, “No B.S.,” so the audience wouldn’t think it was yet another prepared bit.
The winners were Paul N.J. Ottosson for Zero Dark Thirty, and Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers for Skyfall.
Shortly after accepting his Oscar, Ottosson told reporters backstage that he foresaw the incident.
“Just before our category came up another fellow nominee sat next to me and I said, ‘What if there’s a tie, what would they do?’ and then we got a tie,” Ottosson said. “It’s quite extraordinary.”
Hallberg said he was happy to become a bit of Oscars trivia.
“Any time that you get involved in some kind of history making, that would be good,” he said. “Paul is also a very good friend of ours. … We could have shared this with any one of them it would have felt quite right.” Added Landers, “Any time you win an Oscar it feels good, no matter how you win it.”
This was only the sixth tie in Academy Awards history. The most famous was back in 1968, when Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand shared the best actress award for their work in A Lion in Winter and Funny Girl, respectively.
The first tie was back in 1932, when Wallace Beery and Frederic March both won best actor, for The Champ and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
There were also ties in 1949 for documentary short subject, in 1986 for documentary feature and 1994 for live-action short.
The complete list of previous Oscar ties, from the Academy library:
1931/1932 (5th Oscars)
Fredric March, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Wallace Beery, The Champ
[*Not a true tie, March had one more vote. However, rules then said if it was within three votes, it was a tie. The rule was changed.]
Documentary Short Subject
A Chance to Live
So Much for So Little
Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter
Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl
Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got
Down and Out in America
Short Film, Live-Action
Frank Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life
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