A hat-tip is in order to Reddit user MozartFan, who made a post on that site earlier today that read: “[today I learned] popular dog actor Rin-Tin-Tin received the most votes for the first Academy Award for Best Actor, but was removed as a choice as the Academy felt a human should win instead.”
That sounded, like many things on Reddit, ridiculous. I then turned to the work of author, Adaptation character, and noted Rin Tin Tin expert Susan Orlean for more information. It turns out that, like a fine sonata, MozartFan was just plain right:
“The Academy Awards were presented for the first time two years later [in 1929], and, according to Hollywood legend, Rinty received the most votes for best actor. But members of the Academy, anxious to establish that the awards were serious and important, decided that giving an Oscar to a dog did not serve that end. (The award went to Emil Jannings.)”
I guess you could say that the voting results were… fixed.
One final thought: this bit of injustice has to make you question whether Nicolas Cage really earned his 1996 Best Actor Oscar, or whether it was unceremoniously stolen from a more worthy candidate.