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Oscar time (beyond the movies)

Get ready for the Academy Awards with some memorable Oscar moments
oscars.org

That 13.5-inch golden statuette isn’t the only famous Oscar, although it’s worth taking a look at its fascinating history. The 8.5-pound film award is billed as “the most recognized trophy in the world.”

But I’ve got something else in mind. Before Sunday night’s Academy Awards extravaganza, check out these other Oscars.

Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II,  who teamed with Richard Rodgers on such groundbreaking musicals as “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!” and “The King and I.” Here’s one of my favorites of theirs — a great overlooked duet, “All Er Nuthin’,” from “Oklahoma!”

 • And Mr. H’s grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein, a New York City businessman and theater impresario. 

• Plus one more musical type: jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, with his version of the classic “Night Train.”

• There’s also the very fashionable Oscar de La Renta.

• And the sports world gave us National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who had the once-innocent nickname “The Big O.”  He was a 12-time All-Star who played for the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks.

And two food-related namesakes:

• The ever-popular Oscar Mayer brand of products.

• And some royalty, Oscar II, who was king of both Sweden and Norway. He gave a Norwegian canning company “special royal permission” to use his name and likeness to promote their King Oscar sardines, among its other products.

And two irascible types:

• The generally acerbic Oscar Levant, who co-starred with Gene Kelly in “An American in Paris.” He’s quite the quote machine, too.

• Slob Oscar Madison, one-half of the film and TV “Odd Couple,” along with neatnik roommate Felix Ungar. Walter Matthau teamed with Jack Lemmon in the 1968 Neil Simon movie version of his play, while Jack Klugman and Tony Randall drove each other crazy in the TV series (1970-75).   My favorite “Odd Couple” movie scene.

I’ll end with two special Oscars — arguably the Twin Cities’ most famous Oscar and then the world’s. See if you agree.

• Carpet “king” Oscar Holmen, who “starred” in his own camp TV commercials. They became such cult classics that the TPT show “Wyld Ryce” did a 1979 feature segment on the “2nd Annual Oscar Holmen Film Festival,” featuring an array of his “best” commercials. It’s worth checking out this extended clip from the TPT Video Vault!

• And the world’s most-famous, non-Academy Award Oscar: Oscar the Grouch. And if I had to pick his best song, I’d make it a toss-up between “I Love Trash” ...

... And Oscar’s “borrowing” of Kermit's “Bein' Green.”

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