|86th Academy Awards|
|Awarded for||Excellence in cinematic achievements|
|Presented by||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences|
The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, is an annual American awards ceremony honoring achievements in the film industry. Winners are awarded the statuette, officially the Academy Award of Merit, that is much better known by its nickname Oscar. The awards, first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, are overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
The awards ceremony was first televised in 1953 and is now seen live in more than 200 countries. The Oscars is also the oldest entertainment awards ceremony; its equivalents, the Emmy Awards for television, the Tony Awards for theatre, and the Grammy Awards for music and recording, are modeled after the Academy Awards.
- 1 History
- 2 Oscar statuette
- 3 Nomination
- 4 Ceremony
- 5 Awards ceremonies
- 6 Venues
- 7 Merit categories
- 8 Special categories
- 9 Critical reception and review
- 10 Associated events
- 11 Presenter and performer gifts
- 12 TV ratings and ad prices
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The first Academy Awards were presented on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The post Academy Awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for that night's ceremony was $5. Fifteen statuettes were awarded, honoring artists, directors and other personalities of the film-making industry of the time for their works during the 1927–28 period; the ceremony ran for 15 minutes.
Winners had been announced to media three months earlier; however, that was changed in the second ceremony of the Academy Awards in 1930. Since then and during the first decade, the results were given to newspapers for publication at 11 pm 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 since 1941 used a sealed envelope to reveal the name of the winners.
The first Best Actor awarded was Emil Jannings, for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. He had to return to Europe before the ceremony, so the Academy agreed to give him the prize earlier; this made him the first Academy Award winner in history. The honored professionals were awarded for all the work done in a certain category for the qualifying period; for example, Jannings received the award for two movies in which he starred during that period and Janet Gaynor later won a single Oscar for performances in three films. Since the fourth ceremony, the system changed, and professionals were honored for a specific performance in a single film. For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years.
Many movie historians[who?] believe that High Noon lost out for the 1952 Best Picture Award to The Greatest Show on Earth because the initial release of High Noon bared a panoramic view of modern downtown Los Angeles.
At the 29th ceremony, held on March 27, 1957, the Best Foreign Language Film category was introduced. Until then, foreign-language films were honored with the Special Achievement Award.
Although there are seven other types of annual awards presented by the Academy (the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, the Academy Scientific and Technical Award, the Academy Award for Technical Achievement, the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, and the Student Academy Award) plus two awards that are not presented annually (the Special Achievement Award in the form of an Oscar statuette and the Honorary Award that may or may not be in the form of an Oscar statuette), 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 represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.
In 1928, 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 future wife Dolores del Río to Mexican film director and actor 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. Since 1983, approximately 50 Oscars are made each year in Chicago by Illinois manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company. The awards weigh 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg) each and take between three to four weeks to manufacture each statue.
In support of the American effort in World War II, the statuettes were made of plaster and were traded in for gold ones after the war had ended.
The origin of the name Oscar is disputed. 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. Walt Disney is also quoted as thanking the Academy for his Oscar as early as 1932. Another claimed origin is that the Academy's Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, first saw the award in 1931 and made reference to the statuette's reminding her of her "Uncle Oscar" (a nickname for her cousin Oscar Pierce). Columnist Sidney Skolsky was present during Herrick's naming and seized the name in his byline, "Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette 'Oscar'". The trophy was officially dubbed the "Oscar" in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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. In December 2011, Orson Welles' 1941 Oscar for Citizen Kane (Best Original Screenplay) was put up for auction, after his heirs won a 2004 court decision contending that Welles did not sign any agreement to return the statue to the Academy. On December 20, 2011 it sold in an online auction for US$861,542.
While the Oscar is owned by the recipient, it is essentially not on the open market. Michael Todd's grandson tried to sell Todd's Oscar statuette to a movie prop collector in 1989, but the Academy won the legal battle by getting a permanent injunction. Although some Oscar sales transactions have been successful, some buyers have subsequently returned the statuettes to the Academy, which keeps them in its treasury.
Since 2004, Academy Award nomination results have been announced to the public in late January. Prior to that, the results were announced in early February.
Academy membership is divided into different branches, with each representing a different discipline in film production. 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.
In 2012, the results of a study conducted by The Los Angeles Times was published which revealed the demographic breakdown of approximately 88% of AMPAS' voting membership. Of the 5,100+ active voters confirmed, 94% were Caucasian, 77% were male, and 54% were found to be over the age of 60. 33% of voting members are former nominees (14%) and winners (19%).
In May 2011, the Academy sent a letter advising its 6,000 or so voting members that an online system for Oscar voting will be implemented in 2013.
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 1 January to midnight at the end of 31 December, in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify (except for the Best Foreign Language Film). For example, the 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, was actually first released in 2008, but did not qualify for the 2008 awards as it did not play its Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009, thus qualifying for the 2009 awards.
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 1280×720.
Producers must submit an Official Screen Credits online form before the deadline; in case it is not submitted by the defined deadline, the film will be ineligible for Academy Awards in any year. The form includes the production credits for all related categories. Then, each form is checked and put in a Reminder List of Eligible Releases.
In late December ballots and copies of the Reminder List of Eligible Releases are mailed to around 6000 active members. For most categories, members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees only in their respective categories (i.e. only directors vote for directors, writers for writers, actors for actors, etc.). In all major categories, voters use an instant runoff voting ballot, with potential nominees rewarded in the single transferable vote tally for having strong supporters who rank them first. There are some exceptions in the case of certain categories, like Foreign Film, Documentary and Animated Feature Film, in which movies are selected by special screening committees made up of members from all branches. In the special case of Best Picture, all voting members are eligible to select the nominees for that category. Foreign films must include English subtitles, and each country can submit only one film per year.
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 late February or early 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 Hawaii; they aired live in Alaska starting in 2011 for the first time since 1996), 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 Awards show was first televised in 1953, on NBC, which 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 and it is under contract to do so through the year 2020.
After more than 60 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. Some years, the ceremony is moved into early March in deference to the Winter Olympics. Another reason for the move to late February and early March is to avoid the awards ceremony occurring so close to the religious holidays of Passover and Easter, which for decades had been a grievance from members and the general public. 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 47 wins and 195 nominations.
After many years of being held on Mondays at 9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 p.m Pacific, in 1999 the ceremonies were moved to Sundays at 8:30 pm Eastern/5:30 pm Pacific. The reasons given for the move were that more viewers would tune in on Sundays, that Los Angeles rush-hour traffic jams could be avoided, and that an earlier start time would allow viewers on the East Coast to go to bed earlier. For many years the film industry had opposed a Sunday broadcast because it would cut into the weekend box office.
In 1993, an In Memoriam segment was introduced, honoring those who had made a significant contribution to cinema who had died in the preceding 12 months, a selection compiled by a small committee of Academy members. This segment has drawn criticism over the years for the omission of some names.
In terms of broadcast length, the ceremony generally averages three and a half hours. The first Oscars, in 1929, lasted 15 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum, the 2000 ceremony lasted four hours and four minutes. In 2010, the organizers of the Academy Awards announced that winners' acceptance speeches must not run past 45 seconds. This, according to organizer Bill Mechanic, was to ensure the elimination of what he termed "the single most hated thing on the show" – overly long and embarrassing displays of emotion.
The Academy has contemplated about moving the ceremony even further back into January, citing TV viewers' fatigue with the film industry's long awards season. However, such an accelerated schedule would dramatically decrease the voting period for its members, to the point where some voters would only have time to view the contending films streamed on their computers (as opposed to traditionally receiving the films and ballots in the mail). Also, a January ceremony would have to compete with National Football League playoff games.
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 for the 70th Academy Awards 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 7 April 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%. In 2008, 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 independently financed film (No Country for Old Men).
In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented at a banquet dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. From 1930 to 1943, the ceremony alternated between two venues: the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard and 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, the Kodak Theatre became the permanent home of the award ceremonies. However, due to Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy issues, this theatre was renamed the Hollywood and Highland Center in the days preceding the 26 February 2012, awards ceremony. As of May 2012, the theatre was once again renamed – to the Dolby Theatre – after Dolby Laboratories acquired the naming rights.
- Best Actor in a Leading Role: since 1928
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role: since 1936
- Best Actress in a Leading Role: since 1928
- Best Actress in a Supporting Role: since 1936
- Best Animated Feature: since 2001
- Best Animated Short Film: since 1931
- Best Cinematography: since 1928
- Best Costume Design: since 1948
- Best Director: since 1928
- Best Documentary Feature: since 1943
- Best Documentary Short Subject: since 1941
- Best Film Editing: since 1934
- Best Foreign Language Film: since 1947
- Best Live Action Short Film: since 1931
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling: since 1981
- Best Original Score: since 1934
- Best Original Song: since 1934
- Best Picture: since 1928
- Best Production Design: since 1928
- Best Sound Editing: since 1963
- Best Sound Mixing: since 1930
- Best Visual Effects: since 1939
- Best Adapted Screenplay: since 1928
- Best Original Screenplay: since 1940
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 (now Production Design), Cinematography, and Costume Design awards were likewise split into two separate categories (black-and-white films and color films). Prior to 2012, the Production Design award was called Art Direction, while the Makeup and Hairstyling award was called Makeup.
Another award, entitled the Academy Award for Best Original Musical, is still in the Academy rulebooks and has yet to be discontinued. However, due to continuous insufficient eligibility each year, it has not been awarded since 1984 (when Purple Rain won).
- Best Assistant Director: 1933 to 1937
- Best Director, Comedy Picture: 1928 only
- Best Dance Direction: 1935 to 1937
- Best Engineering Effects: 1928 only
- Best Original Musical or Comedy Score: 1995 to 1999
- Best Original Story: 1928 to 1956
- Best Score – Adaptation or Treatment: 1962 to 1969; 1973
- Best Short Film – Color: 1936 and 1937
- Best Short Film – Live Action – 2 Reels: 1936 to 1956
- Best Short Film – Novelty: 1932 to 1935
- Best Title Writing: 1928 only
- Best Unique and Artistic Quality of Production: 1928 only
The Board of Governors meets each year and considers new award categories. To date, the following proposed categories have been rejected:
- Best Casting: rejected in 1999
- Best Stunt Coordination: rejected every year from 1991 to 2012
- Best Title Design: rejected in 1999
The Special Academy Awards are voted on by special committees, rather than by the Academy membership as a whole. They are not always presented on a consistent annual basis.
Current special categories
- Academy Honorary Award: since 1929
- Academy Scientific and Technical Award: since 1931
- Gordon E. Sawyer Award: since 1981
- Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: since 1956
- Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award: since 1938
Discontinued special categories
Critical reception and review
Due to the positive exposure and prestige of the Academy Awards, studios spend millions of dollars and hire publicists specifically to promote their films during what is typically called the "Oscar season". This has generated accusations of the Academy Awards being influenced more by marketing than quality. William Friedkin, an Academy Award-winning film director and former producer of the ceremony, expressed this sentiment at a conference in New York in 2009, describing it as "the greatest promotion scheme that any industry ever devised for itself".
In addition, some 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 Writers' 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 described it as a 'meat parade', saying 'I don't want any part of it." The third was Marlon Brando, who 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 his criticisms.
Unfortunately, the critical worth, artistic vision, cultural influence, and innovative qualities of many films are not given the same voting weight. Especially since the 1980s, 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.
Typical criticism of the Academy Awards for Best Picture is that among the winners and nominees there is an over-representation of romantic historical epics, biographical dramas, romantic dramedies, and family melodramas, most of which are released in the U.S. the last three months of the calendar year. This has led to the coining of the term 'Oscar bait', describing such movies. Overall, the Academy appears to go through periods of rewarding a certain type of film: war-themed movies in the early 1940s; 'social issue' dramas in the late 1940s, late 1960s, and mid-2000s; musicals and historical epics in the early-to-mid-1960s; family melodramas and biographical epics in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s; atypical genres (movies formerly considered "B movies") in the early 1970s and 1990s; romantic historical epic dramas in the late 1990s and early 2000s; independent violent movies from critically acclaimed directors in the late 2000s; and 20th century historical movies in the 2010s. This has led at times to more specific criticisms that the Academy is disconnected from the audience, e.g. by favoring 'Oscar bait' over audience favorites, or favoring historical melodramas over critically acclaimed movies that depict current life issues. The Academy appears to compensate by nominating these movies in other categories, e.g. effects and editing awards for science-fiction and action movies, screenplay and supporting acting nominations for comedies, and directing, cinematography, and foreign language nominations for critically acclaimed art films.
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.
The following events are closely associated with the annual Academy Awards ceremony:
- Nominees luncheon
- Governors Awards
- The 25th Independent Spirit Awards (in 2010), usually held in Santa Monica the Saturday before the Oscars, marked the first time it was moved to a Friday and a change of venue to L.A. Live.
- The annual "Night Before," traditionally held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, begun in 2002 and generally known as the party of the season, benefits the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which operates a retirement home for SAG actors in the San Fernando Valley.
- Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party airs the awards live at the nearby Pacific Design Center.
- The Governors' Ball is the Academy's official after-party, including dinner (until 2011), and is adjacent to the awards-presentation venue. In 2012, the three-course meal was replaced by appetizers.
- The Vanity Fair after-party, historically at the former Morton's restaurant, since 2009 has been at the Sunset Tower.
Presenter and performer gifts
It has been a tradition to give out gift bags to the presenters and performers at the Oscars. In later years these gifts have also been extended to award nominees and winners. The total value of these gifts can reach into the 10s of thousands of dollars. In 2014 the value was reported to be as high as US$ 80,000. The value has risen to the point where the U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued a statement regarding the gifts and their taxable status.
The assortment of gifts varies significantly. Oscar gift bags have included deluxe vacation packages to Hawaii and Mexico and Japan, a private dinner party for the recipient and friends at any Morton's steakhouse worldwide, videophones, a four-night stay at Rosewood's Badrutt's Palace Hotel - a luxury hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Swiss-made watches, Jan Lewis Designs bangle bracelets, luxury vacation packages to the Canadian Rockies, spa treatments, bottles of luxury vodka, maple salad dressing, and weight-loss gummie candy. Some of the gifts have even had a "risque" element to them; in 2014 the adult products retailer Adam & Eve had a "Secret Room Gifting Suite". Celebrities visiting the gifting suite included Judith Hoag, Carolyn Hennesy, Kate Linder, Chris Mulkey, Jim O'Heir, and NBA star John Salley.
TV ratings and ad prices
2006-2011 results are Live+SD, all previous years are Live viewing
|Year||Viewers (Millions)||Ad Price|
|2014||43.74||$1.8 million - $1.9 million|
|2013||40.376||$1.65 million and $1.8 million|
- Academy Awards pre-show
- Oscar speech
- Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party
- Oscar season
- Film awards seasons
- Berlin International Film Festival
- Cannes Film Festival
- San Sebastián International Film Festival
- Venice Film Festival
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|Look up Academy Awards in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Academy Awards.|
- Academy Awards Live Stream
- Official website
- Oscar.com—official Academy Award ceremony site.
- Official Academy Awards Database (searchable)
- Academy Awards on the Open Directory Project.
- "Oscar Greats" at Time magazine.
- Oscars latest news.