There is no doubt that this year’s round of Oscar nominations are perhaps some of the weirdest on record. Despite the obvious snubs (*cough*Franco*cough), there were surprises a plenty for this year’s group of honorees.
Kobe Bryant nabs an Oscar nom? A horror movie is up for Best Pic? Spielberg AND Wonder Woman are MIA? Boss Baby gets a nomination?
I mean, come on…Boss Baby?
But regardless how bizarre this year’s nominees might be, at least they are all real people. The Academy has a long and storied history when it comes to honoring non-real folks. To be clear, this is not a jab at Hollywood phonies, but cooked-up counterfeits for folks looking to hide their real identity…and in one case, to never exist at all.
Oh, there was also a dog that was nominated.
On that note, here is a look at past honorees and winners who live in the land of make-believe:
1935: Gregory Rogers
Writer, G Men
Status: Nominated, Best Story
The Story: A write-in nomination for the alter ego of producer and studio exec Darryl F. Zanuck, who took penning duties upon himself with this action caper.
1953: Ian McLellan Hunter
Writer, Roman Holiday
Status: Winner, Best Story
The Story: The delightful story of a runaway princess was actually cooked up by scribe Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted along with half of Hollywood during the McCarthy era.
In 1992, the Academy and Board of Governors opted to right the wrong and honor Trumbo with his own Oscar.
1956: Robert Rich
Writer, The Brave One
Status: Winner, Best Story
The Story: Dalton Trumbo yet again.
1957: Pierre Boulle
Writer, Bridge on the River Kwai
Status: Winner, Best Screenplay
The Story: Boulle can thank McCarthyism for his win, even though he barely spoke a word of English. The real writers Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson were both blacklisted due to “Communist ties.”
In 1984, the wrong was righted when the duo were finally given a golden guy for their efforts.
1958: Nathan E. Douglas
Writer, The Defiant Ones
Status: Winner, Best Original Screenplay
The Story: Well, it’s the 1950s, so you can probably guess what happened? Clue: It involved a loud-mouthed bully with a fake list and need for attention.
Writers Nedrick Young and Harold Jacob Smith were the co-writers on The Defiant Ones, but Young was blacklisted and had to use a pseudonym.
His name was restored in 1993.
1997 & 2007: Roderick Jaynes
Editor, Fargo & No Country For Old Men
Status: Nominated, Best Editing
The Story: A creation of the brothers Coen for when they split chopping duties in the editing bay. “Roderick” has been the editor of every Coen brother film.
1985: P.H. Vazak
Writer, Greystoke The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Status: Nominated, Best Adapted Screenplay
The Story: Chinatown scribe Robert Towne also penned this box office flop, but his original script was heavy rewritten. Because of this, Towne yanked his name off the final script and used the name of his dog instead. Thus, his furry friend nabbed an Oscar nom.
2003: Donald Kaufman
Status: Nominated, Best Adapted Screenplay (and a special thanks at the end of the film)
The Story: In the Adaptation, Nicolas Cage plays twins “Donald” and Charlie Kaufman. Charlie, of course, is based on the very-real trippy writer who also penned Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Donald is his non-existent brother that only lives within the constructs of the pages of Adaptation. As a joke, both were nominated.
This is the only example of a nominee to not be either a writer or filmmaker hiding their true identity.
2013: John Mac McMurphy
Editor, Dallas Buyers Club
Status: Nominated, Best Film Editing
The Story: Helmer Jean-Marc Vallée used a pseudonym when he added the finishing touches to the pic. The name was inspired by the 1975 Best Pic winner, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.