Researcher helped develop Oscar database

Services will be held today at 3:30 p.m. at Forest Lawn’s Chapel of the Hills for Patrick Stockstill, who helped develop the database for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as academy historian and was “keeper of the Oscars” backstage. He died May 24 in Los Angeles of complications following a heart transplant. He was 57.

Stockstill served in the U.S. Navy, and graduated from Wittenberg U. in Springfield, Ohio, and from the U. of Michigan School of Library Science, specializing in film research.

His teenage interest in film led him to begin researching the history of the Academy Awards. He began tracking Oscar nominees and winners by writing the information on 3×5 cards, amassing more than 10,000 cards by the time he began work at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library in 1982.

He started as an assistant librarian and in 1983 was named academy historian.

Stockstill began converting information about the history of the Academy and the awards to electronic formats, which eventually became the first database of Academy Award nominees and winners.

In 1989, he began overseeing the administration of several Academy Awards categories, including documentaries, short films, music and foreign language, in addition to his responsibilities as the Academy’s historian.

For many years he served as the backstage “keeper of the Oscars,” doling out statuettes through the evening and keeping the official record of which winner received which serial-numbered award. He originated the database that attempts to record the whereabouts of each of the more than 2,500 Oscars awarded to date.

He is survived by his wife, his mother and father and a brother.

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