Today the Academy Awards are a huge affair full of glitter and glamour and a feast for the paparazzi, but it didn’t start that way. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards ceremonies got off to a far less imposing beginning.
It started out as a conversation between a small group of movie studio executives and actors in 1927.They came up with the idea of forming an organization to recognize excellence in the movie industry. At a dinner attended by many of the movie executives, actors and actress of the time, a new organization was formed on January 11th 1927.This organization was to be called The International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, although the international was quickly dropped, and consisted of 36 original members including such greats as Cecil B. Demille, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. In May of the same year a banquet was held to gather members at the cost of $100 per person. Of the 300 people invited 260 of them joined, and thus the organization now known as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was born.
The very first Awards banquet was held on May 16th 1929 and was a very quiet dinner held at the Hotel Roosevelt to honor the films of both 1927 and 1928. The list of winners was no secret, and many of the recipients had known that they had won for several weeks prior. In fact the very first winner Emil Jannings had known for 3 months, having received his award early due to his need to return to his home country of Germany.
This was to be the only quiet ceremony in the history of the awards ceremony and the only one where the results were known to all before the official ceremony. The following year the list of winners was kept secret until the night of the banquet. However a list of winners was provided to the newspapers so that they could publish it in the morning editions, under the promise of non disclosure. The L.A.Times ruined this in 1940 by publishing the list early and so today nothing is said until the names are called out of the sealed envelopes on the night of the awards.
The Academy Awards ceremonies have gone on each and every year despite wars and national disasters without fail, and have only suffered three actual delays. They were delayed for one week in 1938 when Los Angeles suffered severe flooding, for two days after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, and in 1981 following the attempted assignation of President Reagan.
Today the Academy Awards or Oscars are a full- fledged gala event with all the hoopla and glitz for which Hollywood is known. Full of beautiful stars and gorgeous gowns they are a treat for the world to see, as millions of people tune in to see who the winners are and just as much what they are wearing. Each year the academy honors the very best performances and productions with an Oscar for their hard work and this year will be no different with a plethora of great movies so be sure to tune in and watch.