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The first Academy Awards ceremony is held

By @ 05/16/96 in May

cinematographyMay 16, 1929

In the 1920s, Hollywood and the motion picture industry evolved as the most popular form of American entertainment.  Sound was introduced to films as huge, wealthy movie studios were founded. Louis Mayer, the president of MGM Studios, had the idea to establish an Academy of Motion Picture Sciences in 1927 to advance and improve the motion picture industry.  Two years later, it decided to honor its own by distributing Academy Awards.  Winners were announced ahead of time, but 250 of Hollywood’s finest convened at the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood for the first Academy Awards Ceremony.  Although “talkies” were being produced at the time, they were a relatively new technology and the Academy limited nominations strictly to silent films.  Thus, the first movie to win best film, Wings, is the only silent film in history to receive such an honor.  The best actor and actress, Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor, won for multiple nominations, and an honorary award was handed to Charlie Chaplin for his illustrious standing in Hollywood.  In time, the Academy Awards grew up with the film industry.  Fondly dubbed the “Oscars,” they were televised, and the categories for which awards are given has diversified and expanded.  Award-winners began to be chosen by secret ballot, and their names were not revealed until a sealed envelope was opened at the ceremony.  Today, the Oscars represent the “biggest night in Hollywood,” from the red carpet pre-show to the glamorous after parties.

Why do you think the Oscars are important?  What are your favorite films?

“Nagana” © 1933 Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP.