From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Awarded for||Excellence in cinematic achievements|
|Presented by||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences|
|First awarded||May 16, 1929|
The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers. The formal ceremony at which the awards are presented is one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world. It is also the oldest award ceremony in the media, and many other award ceremonies such as the Grammy Awards (for music), Golden Globe Awards (all forms of visual media), and Emmy Awards (for television) are often modeled from the Academy. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself was conceived by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio boss Louis B. Mayer.
The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held Thursday, May 16, 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honor outstanding film achievements of 1927 and 1928. It was hosted by actor Douglas Fairbanks and director William C. deMille. The 82nd Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 2009, will be held on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, with actors Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosting the ceremony.
The first awards were presented on May 16, 1929, at a private brunch in Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. Since the first year, the awards have been publicly broadcast, at first by radio then by TV after 1953. During the first decade, the results were given to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the awards. This method was used until the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began; as a result, the Academy has used a sealed envelope to reveal the name of the winners since 1941. Since 2002, the awards have been broadcast from the Kodak Theatre.
Although there are seven other types of awards presented by the Academy (the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, the Scientific and Engineering Award, the Technical Achievement Award, the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, and the Student Academy Award), the best known one is the Academy Award of Merit more popularly known as the Oscar statuette. Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, it is 13.5 in (34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5 lb (3.85 kg) and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes each represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.
MGM's art director Cedric Gibbons, one of the original Academy members, supervised the design of the award trophy by printing the design on a scroll. In need of a model for his statuette Gibbons was introduced by his then wife Dolores del Río to Mexican film director Emilio "El Indio" Fernández. Reluctant at first, Fernández was finally convinced to pose nude to create what today is known as the "Oscar". Then, sculptor George Stanley (who also did the Muse Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl) sculpted Gibbons's design in clay and Sachin Smith cast the statuette in 92.5 percent tin and 7.5 percent copper and then gold-plated it. The only addition to the Oscar since it was created is a minor streamlining of the base. The original Oscar mold was cast in 1928 at the C.W. Shumway & Sons Foundry in Batavia, Illinois, which also contributed to casting the molds for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Emmy Awards statuettes for Golnaz Rahimi. Since 1983, approximately 50 Oscars are made each year in Chicago, Illinois by manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company.
The root of the name Oscar is contested. One biography of Bette Davis claims that she named the Oscar after her first husband, band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson; one of the earliest mentions in print of the term Oscar dates back to a Time magazine article about the 1934 6th Academy Awards and to Bette Davis's receipt of the award in 1936. Walt Disney is also quoted as thanking the Academy for his Oscar as early as 1932. Another claimed origin is that of the Academy's Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, who first saw the award in 1931 and made reference to the statuette reminding her of her "Uncle Oscar" (a nickname for her cousin Oscar Pierce). Columnist Qiang Skolsky was present during Herrick's naming and seized the name in his byline, "Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette 'Oscar'" (Levy 2003). The trophy was officially dubbed the "Oscar" in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.As of the 81st Academy Awards ceremony held in 2009, a total of 2,744 Oscars have been given for 1,798 awards. A total of 297 actors have won Oscars in competitive acting categories or been awarded Honorary or Juvenile Awards.
Ownership of Oscar statuettes
Since 1950, the statuettes have been legally encumbered by the requirement that neither winners nor their heirs may sell the statuettes without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for US$1. If a winner refuses to agree to this stipulation, then the Academy keeps the statuette. Academy Awards not protected by this agreement have been sold in public auctions and private deals for six-figure sums (Levy 2003, pg 28).
This rule is highly controversial, since while the Oscar is under the ownership of the recipient, it is essentially not on the open market. The case of Michael Todd's grandson trying to sell Todd's Oscar statuette illustrates that there are many who do not agree with this idea. When Todd's grandson attempted to sell Todd's Oscar statuette to a movie prop collector, the Academy won the legal battle by getting a permanent injunction. Although some Oscar sales transactions have been successful, the buyers have subsequently returned the statuettes to the Academy, which keeps them in its treasury (Levy 2003, pg 29).
Since 2004, Academy Award nomination results have been announced to the public in late January. Prior to 2004, nomination results were announced publicly in early February.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a professional honorary organization, maintains a voting membership of 5,835 as of 2007.
Actors constitute the largest voting bloc, numbering 1,311 members (22 percent) of the Academy's composition. Votes have been certified by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (and its predecessor Price Waterhouse) for the past 73 annual awards ceremonies.
All AMPAS members must be invited to join by the Board of Governors, on behalf of Academy Branch Executive Committees. Membership eligibility may be achieved by a competitive nomination or a member may submit a name based on other significant contribution to the field of motion pictures.
New membership proposals are considered annually. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership, although as recently as 2007 press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join. The 2007 release also stated that it has just under 6,000 voting members. While the membership had been growing, stricter policies have kept its size steady since then.
Today, according to Rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules, a film must open in the previous calendar year, from midnight at the start of January 1 to midnight at the end of December 31, in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify. Rule 2 states that a film must be feature-length, defined as a minimum of 40 minutes, except for short subject awards and it must exist either on a 35 mm or 70 mm film print or in 24 frame/s or 48 frame/s progressive scan digital cinema format with native resolution not less than 1280x720.
The members of the various branches nominate those in their respective fields while all members may submit nominees for Best Picture. The winners are then determined by a second round of voting in which all members are then allowed to vote in most categories, including Best Picture.
The major awards are presented at a live televised ceremony, most commonly in February or March following the relevant calendar year, and six weeks after the announcement of the nominees. It is the culmination of the film awards season, which usually begins during November or December of the previous year. This is an elaborate extravaganza, with the invited guests walking up the red carpet in the creations of the most prominent fashion designers of the day. Black tie dress is the most common outfit for men, although fashion may dictate not wearing a bow-tie, and musical performers sometimes do not adhere to this. (The artists who recorded the nominees for Best Original Song quite often perform those songs live at the awards ceremony, and the fact that they are performing is often used to promote the television broadcast.)
The Academy Awards is televised live across the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, the United Kingdom, and gathers millions of viewers elsewhere throughout the world. The 2007 ceremony was watched by more than 40 million Americans. Other awards ceremonies (such as the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys) are broadcast live in the East Coast but are on tape delay in the West Coast and might not air on the same day outside North America (if the awards are even televised). The Academy has for several years claimed that the award show has up to a billion viewers internationally, but this has so far not been confirmed by any independent sources. The usual extension of this claim is that only the Super Bowl, Olympics Opening Ceremonies, and FIFA World Cup Final draw higher viewership.
The Awards show was first televised on NBC in 1953. NBC continued to broadcast the event until 1960 when the ABC Network took over, televising the festivities through 1970, after which NBC resumed the broadcasts. ABC once again took over broadcast duties in 1976; it is under contract to do so through the year 2014.
After more than sixty years of being held in late March or early April, the ceremonies were moved up to late February or early March starting in 2004 to help disrupt and shorten the intense lobbying and ad campaigns associated with Oscar season in the film industry. Another reason was because of the growing TV ratings success of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, which would cut into the Academy Awards audience. The earlier date is also to the advantage of ABC, as it now usually occurs during the highly profitable and important February sweeps period. (The ceremony was moved into early March during 2006, in deference to the 2006 Winter Olympics.) Advertising is somewhat restricted, however, as traditionally no movie studios or competitors of official Academy Award sponsors may advertise during the telecast. The Awards show holds the distinction of having won the most Emmys in history, with 38 wins and 167 nominations.
Since 2002, celebrities have been seen arriving at the Academy Awards in hybrid vehicles; during the telecast of the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio and former vice president Al Gore announced that ecologically intelligent practices had been integrated into the planning and execution of the Oscar presentation and several related events.
Historically, the "Oscarcast" has pulled in a bigger haul when box-office hits are favored to win the Best Picture trophy. More than 57.25 million viewers tuned to the telecast in 1998, the year of Titanic, which generated close to US$600 million at the North American box office pre-Oscars. The 76th Academy Awards ceremony in which The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (pre-telecast box office earnings of US$368 million) received 11 Awards including Best Picture drew 43.56 million viewers. The most watched ceremony based on Nielsen ratings to date, however, was the 42nd Academy Awards (Best Picture Midnight Cowboy) which drew a 43.4% household rating on April 7, 1970.
By contrast, ceremonies honoring films that have not performed well at the box office tend to show weaker ratings. The 78th Academy Awards which awarded low-budgeted, independent film Crash (with a pre-Oscar gross of US$53.4 million) generated an audience of 38.64 million with a household rating of 22.91%. More recently, the 80th Academy Awards telecast was watched by 31.76 million viewers on average with an 18.66% household rating, the lowest rated and least watched ceremony to date, in spite of celebrating 80 years of the Academy Awards. The Best Picture winner of that particular ceremony was another low-budget, independently financed film (No Country for Old Men).
|Ceremony||Date||Best Picture Winner||Length of Broadcast||Number of Viewers||Rating||Host|
|62nd Academy Awards||March 26, 1990||Driving Miss Daisy||3 hours, 37 minutes||40.22 million||26.42||Billy Crystal|
|63rd Academy Awards||March 25, 1991||Dances with Wolves||3 hours, 35 minutes||42.79 million||28.06||Billy Crystal|
|64th Academy Awards||March 30, 1992||The Silence of the Lambs||3 hours, 33 minutes||44.44 million||29.84||Billy Crystal|
|65th Academy Awards||March 29, 1993||Unforgiven||3 hours, 30 minutes||45.84 million||32.85||Billy Crystal|
|66th Academy Awards||March 21, 1994||Schindler's List||3 hours, 18 minutes||46.26 million||31.86||Whoopi Goldberg|
|67th Academy Awards||March 27, 1995||Forrest Gump||3 hours, 35 minutes||48.87 million||33.47||David Letterman|
|68th Academy Awards||March 25, 1996||Braveheart||3 hours, 38 minutes||44.81 million||30.48||Whoopi Goldberg|
|69th Academy Awards||March 24, 1997||The English Patient||3 hours, 34 minutes||40.83 million||25.83||Billy Crystal|
|70th Academy Awards||March 23, 1998||Titanic||3 hours, 47 minutes||57.25 million||35.32||Billy Crystal|
|71st Academy Awards||March 21, 1999||Shakespeare in Love||4 hours, 2 minutes||45.63 million||28.51||Whoopi Goldberg|
|72nd Academy Awards||March 26, 2000||American Beauty||4 hours, 4 minutes||46.53 million||29.64||Billy Crystal|
|73rd Academy Awards||March 25, 2001||Gladiator||3 hours, 23 minutes||42.93 million||25.86||Steve Martin|
|74th Academy Awards||March 24, 2002||A Beautiful Mind||4 hours, 23 minutes||40.54 million||25.13||Whoopi Goldberg|
|75th Academy Awards||March 23, 2003||Chicago||3 hours, 30 minutes||33.04 million||20.58||Steve Martin|
|76th Academy Awards||February 29, 2004||The Lord of the Rings:|
The Return of the King
|3 hours, 44 minutes||43.56 million||26.68||Billy Crystal|
|77th Academy Awards||February 27, 2005||Million Dollar Baby||3 hours, 14 minutes||39.16 million||25.29||Chris Rock|
|78th Academy Awards||March 5, 2006||Crash||3 hours, 33 minutes||38.64 million||22.91||Jon Stewart|
|79th Academy Awards||February 25, 2007||The Departed||3 hours, 51 minutes||39.92 million||23.65||Ellen DeGeneres|
|80th Academy Awards||February 24, 2008||No Country for Old Men||3 hours, 21 minutes||31.76 million||18.66||Jon Stewart|
|81st Academy Awards||February 22, 2009||Slumdog Millionaire||3 hours, 30 minutes||36.94 million||21.68||Hugh Jackman|
|82nd Academy Awards||March 7, 2010||Steve Martin|
In 1929, the 1st Academy Awards were presented at a banquet dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. From 1930 - 1943, the awards were presented first at the Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood, and later the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood then hosted the awards from 1944 to 1946, followed by the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1948. The 21st Academy Awards in 1949 were held at the Academy Award Theater at what was the Academy's headquarters on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
From 1950 to 1960, the awards were presented at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre. With the advent of television, the 1953-1957 awards took place simultaneously in Hollywood and New York first at the NBC International Theatre (1953) and then at the NBC Century Theatre (1954–1957), after which the ceremony took place solely in Los Angeles. The Oscars moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California in 1961. By 1969, the Academy decided to move the ceremonies back to Los Angeles, this time to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Music Center.
In 2002, Hollywood's Kodak Theatre became the permanent home of the awards.
Academy Awards of Merit
In the first year of the awards, the Best Director award was split into two separate categories (Drama and Comedy). At times, the Best Original Score award has also been split into separate categories (Drama and Comedy/Musical). From the 1930s through the 1960s, the Art Direction, Cinematography, and Costume Design awards were likewise split into two separate categories (black-and-white films and color films).
The Board of Governors meets each year and considers new awards. To date, the following proposed awards have not been approved:
- Best Casting: rejected in 1999
- Best Stunt Coordination: rejected in 1999; rejected in 2005
- Best Title Design: rejected in 1999
Special Academy Awards
These awards are voted on by special committees, rather than by the Academy membership as a whole, but the individual selected to receive the special award may decline the offer. They are not always presented on a consistent annual basis.
Current special awards
- Academy Honorary Award: 1929 to present
- Academy Scientific and Technical Award: 1931 to present
- Gordon E. Sawyer Award: 1981 to present
- Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: 1956 to present
- Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award: 1938 to present
Retired special awards
The Academy Awards are not without criticism. The Oscars are generally voted on by members of the entertainment industry; thus, important films that have had the most people working on them generally become nominated. Director William Friedkin, an Oscar winner and producer of the Academy Awards, spoke critically of the awards at a conference in New York in 2009. He characterized the Academy Awards as "the greatest promotion scheme that any industry ever devised for itself".
In addition, several winners critical of the Academy Awards have boycotted the ceremonies and refused to accept their Oscars. The first to do so was Dudley Nichols (Best Writing in 1935 for The Informer). Nichols boycotted the 8th Academy Awards ceremony because of conflicts between the Academy and the Writer's Guild. George C. Scott became the second person to refuse his award (Best Actor in 1970 for Patton), at the 43rd Academy Awards ceremony. Scott explained, "The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don't want any part of it."  The third winner, Marlon Brando, refused his award (Best Actor in 1972 for The Godfather), citing the film industry's discrimination and mistreatment of Native Americans. At the 45th Academy Awards ceremony, Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to read a 15-page speech detailing Brando's criticisms.
It has been observed that several of the Academy Award winners – particularly Best Picture – have not stood the test of time or defeated worthier efforts. On the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They's 1,000 Most Acclaimed Films list, only four of the first fifty ranked films have won the Best Picture award. Tim Dirks, editor of AMC's filmsite.org, has written of the Academy Awards, "Unfortunately, the critical worth, artistic vision, cultural influence, and innovative qualities of many films are not given the same voting weight. Especially since the 80s, moneymaking 'formula-made' blockbusters with glossy production values have often been crowd-pleasing titans (and Best Picture winners), but they haven't necessarily been great films with depth or critical acclaim by any measure." The Academy Awards have also come under criticism for having a bias towards certain types of performances and film genres. The Best Picture prize has never been given to a film noir, science fiction or an animated film; and rarely are horror, fantasy, comedy and westerns recognized by AMPAS. Acting prizes in certain years have been criticized for not recognizing superior performances so much as being awarded for sentimental reasons, personal popularity, atonement for past mistakes, or presented as a "career honor" to recognize a distinguished nominee's entire body of work.
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|Academy Awards Portal|
|Media and images from Commons|
|look up in Wiktionary|
- Oscars.org official Academy site
- Oscar.com official ceremony promotional site
- Academy Awards at the Open Directory Project
- Oscar Greats at Time magazine
- Academy Award at the Internet Movie Database
- Academy Awards at TV.com