MST3K Oscar trivia

As the subject title suggests, this round of MST3K trivia concerns the Oscars, because even the best have to start somewhere or occasionally slum it, and sometimes a fellow gets lucky.

  1. Of the ninety-four Oscar ceremonies, how many have had at least one award go to someone who worked on an MST3K film? We’re talking full spectrum here. From prestige awards like Best Picture and Best Director to mid-tier awards like Best Song and Best Cinematography and kiddie table awards like Best Editing and Best Sound. This even counts those Honorary Awards that some might view as being a step above getting a Participation Award.

  2. What year did MST3K people rake in the most Little Gold Statues?

  3. Which MST3K person has won the most Little Gold Statues?

  4. Even Best Picture isn’t beyond the grasp of MST3K, with a total of seven. Name them (Hint: one is from the Sixties, two from the Seventies, one from the Nineties, two from the Oughties, and one from less than ten years ago)

Bonus Question: One of the co-accepters of these Best Picture awards, though not having worked on an MST3K film, had been involved in a movie that helped inspire the show’s premise. Who was it?

Answers revealed tomorrow. Same MST3K-time, same MST3K-channel.


This would take some serious research.

Trivia-wise - I do know off the top of my head that the 38th Oscars had 3 riffed supporting actors nominated… Frank Finley (The Deadly Bees) as Iago in Othello, Martin Balsam (Mitchell) who won for A Thousand Clowns and Michael Dunn (Ship of Fools) was in CTs Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks

Most wins? Maybe Livingston and Evans (I Accuse My Parents), they won the Academy Award for Best Original Song three times


If anyone wants to go through every year of the Academy Awards, start here

And to start you off. 1st Oscars - Karl Struss, who won for best cinematography, also shot The Rebel Set and Rocketship X-M

Happy hunting


This is quite the head-scratcher. I don’t know if I can give a full answer, but I can contribute some names:

  • John “Johnny” Williams of Daddy-O fame went on to garner FIFTY-TWO Oscar nominations in his career, yet he only received the award 5 times: Fiddler on the Rook (1971), Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982), and Schindler’s List (1993), all original scores. No word if Dick Contino accepted an award on his behalf. (this will also be my guess for number 3).

  • Saul Bass directed Phase IV, his only directing credit (rumor has it his highest honor was to be featured in the KTMA season of MST3K, and if that’s wrong, let him speak up and say otherwise!), but received an Oscar for the documentary Why Man Creates in 1968.

I think I can answer the bonus question: Douglas Trumball contributed to the special visual effects Oscar for 2001: A Space Odyssey (word is Kubrick took all the credit and award for it), and went on to direct Silent Running, a direct inspiration for Mystery Science Theater 3000.


John Williams trumps Livingston and Evans.

Speaking of composers, I wonder how Johnny Barry did? -goes take a look- he was nominated 7 times, won 5 for Dances with Wolves (1990), Out of Africa (1985), The Lion in Winter (1968) and two for Born Free (1966) for score and original song

Nothing, not even a nomination for his work on Bond, weird.


Remember Tommy from Pod People? His real name is…

Óscar Martín

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John Barry is my favorite composer!


Of course there’s Marooned/Space Travelers, the only Oscar-winning film to appear on MST3K (it also received nominations for Cinematography and Sound). And it also has Oscar winners Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, and Lee Grant in its cast!


Two actors in MST experiments have gone on to become directors of Best Picture winners:

Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind

Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby


The amazing Jack Palance.

Xenos in Outlaw
Mike in Angels Revenge
Omus in the HGWTSoTtC

And Nominated 2 times for the Best Supporting Actor
Lester Blaine in 1952s Sudden Fear
Jack Wilson in 1953s Shane

Won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor
Curly Washburn in 1991s City Slickers


And of course, Ernest Borgnine did win Best Actor for Marty which also won Best Picture that year.


After directing The Painted Hills Harold Kress would win Best Film Editing Oscars for How the West Was Won and The Towering Inferno.

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Contender for most Oscars…hows about… Rick Baker?

Special makeup effects for The Incredible Melting Man
Makeup Artist for Track of the Moon Beast
Makeup Designer for Squirm

And 4 nominations and 7 Best Makeup Oscars for:
An American Werewolf in London
Harry and the Hendersons
Ed Wood
The Nutty Professor
Men in Black
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Wolfman


My favorite composer also. Especially for Dances With Wolves. But You Only Live Twice was a good one also, amongst others.

Thunderball, The Lion in Winter, The Last Valley, and Raise the Titanic are some of my other Barry favorites. So much amazing work!


And now the moment you’ve been waiting for:

  1. Seventy-six. The ceremonies without an MST3K winner were 1932-1934, 1939, 1958, 1974, 1985, 1996, 1999, 2006, 2008, 2013-2015, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021.

  2. 1957, where nine awards were taken in. They were Best Supporting Actress (Dorothy Malone from The Day Time Ended), Best Foreign Language Film (Dino De Laurentiis of Diabolik and Carlo Ponti of Killer Fish), Best Non-Musical Score (Victor Young of Radar Men from the Moon), Best Song (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans of I Accuse My Parents), Best Black and White Art Direction (Cedric Gibbons and Edwin B. Willis of The Painted Hills and Malcolm Brown of Kitten with a Whip), Best Color Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler of Space Travelers), Best Color Cinematography (Lionel Lindon of The Black Scorpion), Best Editing (Gene Ruggiero of Cry Wilderness and Paul Weatherwax of Revenge of the Creature), and Best Special Effects (John P. Fulton of The Space Children).

  3. Cedric Gibbons (art director for The Painted Hills) has won a total of eleven Oscars. Rumors that he used the one he got for Gaslight as a bathtub plug remain unconfirmed.

  4. In the Heat of the Night (Walter Mirisch of World Without End and The Undead), The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad), The Deer Hunter (John Peverall of The Land That Time Forgot), Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood of Revenge of the Creature), A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard of Village of the Giants), Million Dollar Baby (Eastwood again), and CODA (Patrick Wachsberger of Starcrash).

Bonus Question: The Deer Hunter writer/director Michael Cimino, whose first film credit was co-writing Silent Running.