Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Remembering: The First Academy Awards

May 16, 1929 a group of 270 of Hollywood's finest paid $5 each to attend a banquet put on by the two year old Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

It started with a long dinner, and then numerous speeches. Following that, fifteen awards were handed out in five minutes, as they had already been announced back in February.

There were two categories for Best Picture, one for artistic uniqueness and another for production. Charlie Chaplin was honored with a special award. German actor Emil Jannings took home best actor for two movies and Janet Gaynor took home the best actress award for all three movies she was nominated for.

 In 1930 the Academy began releasing the names of the winners the day of the event. But in 1940 the Los Angeles Times leaked the winners ahead of time. From then on the awards moved to sealed envelopes, with winners announced at the last second.