The Oscars are sometimes called “Hollywood’s biggest night,” but did you know few winners in the major categories are actually born in Hollywood?
It’s true. Although the movie industry in Los Angeles has no shortage of homegrown talent, the hometowns of the people who end up winning the coveted Oscar statuettes are a bit more spread out than you might expect. That’s according to a cool new animated map from spatial analytics company Esri, which charted the birthplaces of every Academy Award winner in the best actor, best actress, and best director categories over the last nine decades.
The first Oscars ceremony took place in 1929, and it was a decidedly smaller and scrappier affair back then. As Esri points out, the majority of the winners in the three categories were either from the eastern half of the United States or Europe in the early days of the Academy Awards.
As the film industry matured during the ensuing decades—and the Los Angeles area along with it—you start to see more and more winners born in the region. Gregory Peck, who won best actor for playing Atticus Finch in 1962, was born in La Jolla, California, for example.
Still, when you look at the birthplaces of all the winners together, you can see the Academy tends to favor American-born talent, with Europe as a close second. Even today, only a handful of winners in the three categories were born in Asia. A few exceptions include Olivia de Havilland (born in Tokyo), Julie Christie (born in India), and Ang Lee (born in Taiwan).
Esri’s map is a fun way to revisit 90 years of Oscar history as you sit through the commercials during the 92nd Academy Awards, which are happening tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The entire animation takes about three minutes and 28 seconds to watch. Enjoy it in the embedded video below: