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Oscars are the Emmys' biggest winner

February 20, 2009 | 11:25 pm

The Oscars ceremony is the most honored television program in the history of the Emmys. The annual celebration of the best in movies has racked up 42 wins out of 185 nominations from the television academy. That puts it five Emmys ahead of "Frasier," with no end to the winning streak in sight. This year's Oscars promise to be something extra special and are sure to do well with the Emmys. In particular, expect host Hugh Jackman to be a strong contender in the individual performance category if his track record as the host of the Tony Awards is anything to go by — one win, two noms, three years hosting.

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In recent years, the Oscars show has averaged seven or eight Emmy nominations per year in various technical categories as well as nods for the host and the program itself. Last year, Gil Cates produced his 14th Oscars and, while the show sagged in the ratings, it did earn nine Emmy nods, winning for art direction and direction of a variety, music or comedy program. Jon Stewart earned an individual nom for his second time hosting, but lost to Don Rickles ("Mr. Warmth"). And the program — shunted off to a special class category created just for awards shows — lost to the Tony Awards.

Two years ago Laura Ziskin returned for her second try as producer of the awards show, having helmed the 2002 telecast hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. The 2002 ceremony went one for eight at the Emmys, winning only for choreographer Debra Brown (a feat Debbie Allen never managed even with her "Schindler's List" ballet). And the 2006 Oscars won two of nine noms — art and music direction. Host Ellen DeGeneres lost the individual race to Tony Bennett ("An American Classic").

For the first 25 years that the Oscars were telecast, the shows earned little in the way of Emmys simply because the TV kudos didn't have categories to accommodate them. The first two Oscar telecasts, in 1953 and 1954, were huge ratings hits, but the first Emmy nomination came only with the third telecast, in 1955. The show competed in the category of best special event or news program. The NBC telecast — hosted by Bob Hope in L.A. and Thelma Ritter in NYC — along with the World Series, the Rose Bowl and even the Emmys, lost to the CBS coverage of the A-bomb tests. That Oscar night is remembered as much for who lost (Judy Garland in "A Star is Born") as for what won ("On the Waterfront" with eight statuettes).

Until the early 1970s, the Emmys had a melange of categories and the Oscars did not seem to fit into any of them. It made a comeback with the 1971 ceremony ("The French Connection" was the big winner, with five Oscars) earning two technical nods and winning for lighting. Then only another nine nominations over the next decade, with one win — Jack Haley for producing the 51st ceremony in 1978 ("The Deer Hunter" won five Oscars). However, with the addition of many more categories in the early 1980s, the Oscars started hauling home the Emmys and has never stopped since.

RELATED POST:

Sneak Peek: See Hugh Jackman warming up his Oscar act

Photos: ATAS, AMPAS

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