Thursday, December 30, 2010

History: The 1st Academy Awards

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in Los Angeles, California. AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show. Tickets cost five dollars, 270 people attended to the event and the ceremony lasted fifteen minutes. Awards were created by Louis B. Mayer, founder of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation (at present merged into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). It is the only ceremony not to be broadcast either on radio or television.

Winners were announced three months before the ceremony. The recipients included Emil Jannings, the first person to receive an Academy Award, for Best Actor for the films The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command; Janet Gaynor for Best Actress, for Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans; Frank Borzage for Best Director, Drama for Two Arabian Knights and Lewis Milestone for Best Director, Comedy; and the film Wings, the most expensive film of its time, became the Best Picture recipient. Charles Chaplin and the Warner Brothers Production both received an Honorary Award. Originally, Chaplin was a Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy nominee for the film The Circus, but was removed from the list, and was honored with the award; while the company received the award for pioneering talking pictures. Awards also would favor big films' producers—Fox Films Corporation, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Radio-Keith-Orpheum and Warner Brothers Production. Three categories (for Best Engineering Effects, Best Title Writing and Best Unique and Artistic Quality of Production) disappeared after the ceremony.

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