Oscars make history

The US fim academy Awards are the oldest and most popular in the world

It was in 1929, 90 years ago, when the first awards ceremony was held by the Academy of Arts and Sciences of the United States.

The purpose of that small and informal gala, beyond the red carpet and celebrities, was to recognize the film work done by professionals in the field.

That first event was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where 15 awards were given to movies premiered between 1927 and 1928.

The first editions were much more intimate and discreet. The idea was to hold an informal meeting so that the colleagues of the union could get to know each other and discuss future projects.

During the first editions, winners were notified in advance. But in 1940, the Los Angeles Times took the list of winners and published the prizes before the gala itself. Therefore, the following year the system of sealed envelopes that lasts until today was implemented.


Borderless awards

During the first four ceremonies, the Academy Awards would prize those movies released during the last two years.

That’s why the first actor to win an Oscar for best lead actor was Emil Jannings, although he received it for his performance in two films: The way of all flesh (1927) and The Last Command (1928). Jannings was a German actor who had immigrated to the United States.

In the first ceremony of the Oscars, the Academy wanted to grant its honorary award to Charles Chaplin, the legendary Charlot in silent movies, for his work as a screenwriter, director and actor in the movie The Circus (1928). However, he was unable to collect the award: Chaplin was exiled due to political reasons for many years and was not able to travel to the United States.

He was given a second honorary award, but once again Charlot was not able to collect it until 1972. It was one of the longest ovations in the history of the Oscars.


Who is Oscar?

The first Oscars gala took place in 1929, but it was not until 10 years later that the golden statuettes began to be called this way.

The origin of the name still remains unknown. Some believe it was actress Bette Davis’s husband, Oscar Nelson, who supposedly looked like the statuette.

Others say that it was Margaret Herrick, the executive secretary of the Academy of Motion and Picture, who baptized the award because it reminded her so much of her uncle, named Oscar. The journalist Sidney Skolsky brought up the anecdote in an article- hence the name.

A lot has changed since that first gala in 1929. Today, there are twice as many categories and awards given out, the ceremony goes on for hours and is broadcasted in over 100 countries worldwide.

A very promising record that is vey likely to go on for 100 years more.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report 

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