Neha Patil (Editor)

1st Academy Awards

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Hosted by  Douglas Fairbanks
Most nominations  7th Heaven (5)
Other ceremonies  1930
Site  Hollywood
Best Picture  Wings
Date  16 May 1929
Host  Douglas Fairbanks
1st Academy Awards On This Day May 16 1929 First Academy Awards ceremony AlllenAll
Most awards  7th Heaven and Sunrise (3)
Location  The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California, United States

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 $5 (which would be $69 in 2016 considering inflation), 270 people attended the event and the presentation 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 Academy Awards ceremony not to be broadcast either on radio or television.


1st Academy Awards Picture of the Week 67 The 1st Academy Awards Spectacular

During the ceremony, the AMPAS presented Academy Awards (now commonly referred to as Oscars) in twelve categories. Winners were announced three months before the live event. Some nominations were announced without reference to a specific film, such as for Ralph Hammeras and Nugent Slaughter, who received nominations in the now defunct category of Engineering Effects. Unlike later ceremonies, an actor or director could be awarded for multiple works within a calendar year. Emil Jannings, for example, was given the Best Actor award for his work in both The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. Moreover, Charlie Chaplin and Warner Brothers each received an Honorary Award.

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Major winners at the ceremony included 7th Heaven and Sunrise, which each received three awards, and Wings, receiving two awards. Among its honors, Sunrise won the award for Unique and Artistic Picture and Wings won the award for Outstanding Picture (now known as Best Picture). These two categories at the time were seen as equally the top award of the night intended to honor different and equally important aspects of superior film making. The next year, the Academy dropped the Unique and Artistic Picture award, and decided retroactively that the award won by Wings was the highest honor that could be awarded.

1st Academy Awards 1st Academy Awards Wikipedia


1st Academy Awards First Academy Awards Celebrate The First Oscars With Stars39 Early

In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was established by Louis B. Mayer, originator of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation, which then would be joined into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Mayer's purpose in creating the award was to unite the five branches of the film industry, including actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers. Mayer commented on the creation of the awards "I found that the best way to handle [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them ... If I got them cups and awards they'd kill them to produce what I wanted. That's why the Academy Award was created". Mayer asked Cedric Gibbons, art director of MGM, to design an Academy Award trophy. Nominees were notified through a telegram in February 1928. In August 1928, Mayer contacted the Academy Central Board of Judges to decide winners. However, according to the American director King Vidor, the voting for the Academy Award for Best Picture was in the hands of the AMPAS founders Douglas Fairbanks, Sid Grauman, Mayer, Mary Pickford and Joseph Schenck.


The ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, located in Los Angeles, California. It consisted of a private dinner with thirty-six banquet tables, where 270 people attended and tickets cost five dollars (equivalent to $69.74 in 2016). Actors and actresses arrived at the hotel in luxury vehicles, where many fans attended to encourage celebrities. The ceremony was not broadcast on radio or television, and was hosted by AMPAS director Fairbanks, during a fifteen-minute-long event.

Winners and nominees

Winners were announced three months before the ceremony. The recipients included: Emil Jannings, the inaugural first award recipient for Best Actor (The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command); Janet Gaynor for Best Actress (Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans); Frank Borzage for Best Director, Drama (Seventh Heaven); Lewis Milestone for Best Director, Comedy (Two Arabian Knights); and Wings for Best Picture (the most expensive film of its time). Two presentations were made of a Special Award: Charlie Chaplin, a multiple nominee for one movie (Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy; all for The Circus) having been removed from the list so as to recognize his total contribution to the industry; and Warner Brothers, an award for pioneering talking pictures (The Jazz Singer). Three categories were eliminated for subsequent presentations: Best Engineering Effects, Best Title Writing, and Best Unique and Artistic Quality of Production. The larger film producers received the preponderance of awards: Fox Films Corporation, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Radio-Keith-Orpheum and Warner Brothers Production.


Winners are listed first and indicated with double dagger

Honorary Awards

  • Charlie Chaplin
  • "For versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus".
  • Warner Brothers Production
  • "For producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry".
  • References

    1st Academy Awards Wikipedia

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