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The first Academy Awards ceremony

The first Academy Awards ceremony

On May 16, 1929, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its first award at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

The academy was organized two years earlier as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry.


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The First Oscar Winners

  • The first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
  • The first Best Picture was awarded to Wings, directed by William Wellman. It was the most expensive movie at the time, with a budget of $2 million.
  • Another film, Sunrise, was considered a dual winner for the best film of the year.
  • German actor Emil Jannings won Best Actor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.
  • 22-year-old Janet Gaynor won the Best Actress award for her roles in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise.
  • A special honorary award was presented to Charlie Chaplin.


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Where the nickname Oscar comes from

The unconfirmed story about the source of the name is that Academy executive director Margaret Herrick mentioned that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar.

The Academy officially started using the nickname Oscar for its awards in 1939.


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Announcing the winners

In 1929, the winners of the Oscars were announced before the awards ceremony.

Since 1942, the secret ballot voting results were announced during the live-broadcast Academy Awards ceremony using the sealed-envelope system. The suspense, the red-carpet arrival of nominees and other stars, and the extravagant evening wear continue to draw international attention to the film industry.


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