Academy Awards

Academy Awards

Academy Awards History

The Academy Awards (or Oscars) is an annual award ceremony dedicated to honoring the cinematic achievements of the film industry.  Each year, a statuette referred to as an Academy Award of Merit (commonly known as the Oscar) is awarded to those who have excelled.  Oscars are awarded on the basis of 24 categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Cinematography.  

The Academy Awards are hosted and organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is a professional organization that seeks to advance the arts and sciences of motion pictures.  The Academy is composed of more than 6,000 professional members, more than 1,000 of which are actors, who are affiliated with motion pictures. For most categories, Oscar winners are chosen by the number of votes received from a jury of peers, who are voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  That is, actors nominate actors, film editors nominate fellow film editors, and so on. Other branches within the academy include cinematographers, costume designers, directors, sound and music engineers. The Oscar statuette consists of a Sir holding a Crusader's sword standing on a film reel with five spokes, each of which represents the original branches of the Academy including Directors, Actors, Writers, Producers and Technicians.

The first Academy Awards were held on May 16, 1929.  On that day, 15 Oscars were awarded for artists and directors.  The ceremony lasted only 15 minutes.  Since then, the Academy Awards have evolved into becoming one of the most-watched events on television.  In 2015, it was broadcasted in more than 225 countries. This event is usually held in late February or early March every year.

Academy Awards Facts & Quotes

  • The 89th Academy Awards was held on Sunday, February 26, 2017 live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.  It was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
  • Nominees who do not win the Oscar receive a gift bag that has previously been valued at $80,000.  Traditionally, gift bags have included gift cards for luxury spa treatments, vacation packages to Japan or Mexico, hotel stays, bracelets and watches.  In 2006, when reports started surfacing about the gift bags being valued at more than $100,000, the IRS issued a statement that the bags qualified as taxable income and must be reported on tax returns.
  • On Friday, January 22 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced major initiatives to increase the diversity of the Academy by 2020.  Initiatives include doubling the number of women and promoting the diversity of members.  Membership rules will be changed to allow members with a voting status for only 10 years.  In order to renew membership, members would have to be active in motion pictures.  If a member is no longer active, they would achieve an emeritus status where they can no longer vote.  Global campaigns will be created to recruit new members to reflect a greater diversity.  Finally, new members would be added to the executive and board committees.
  • 2016 marked the second consecutive year where the top 20 contenders for the Academy Awards are all white.  This has sparked an internet frenzy and social media outrage which led to the Twitter hashtag #OscarSoWhite.  The hashtag was created by April (@ReignOfApril), who is a Washington-based editor of several magazines.  Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have used social medial to announce their refusal to attend the Oscars.
  • You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for? - Viola Davis on Academy Award's diversity issue in 2016
  • There's a lot of great movies that have won the Academy Award and a lot of great movies that haven't. You just do the best you can. - Clint Eastwood, actor/director

Academy Awards Top Events and Things to Do

  • Calling all fashionistas - keep your eyes glued to the Oscars Red Carpet Live!   Watch the actors as they walk the red carpet in gowns and tuxedos by famous fashion designers.  Trends in hair, make-up and fashion unfold on the Oscar Red Carpet.
  • Watch the Academy Awards record-breakers: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2013), Titanic (1997) and Ben-Hur (1959) hold the record for winning 11 Academy Awards.
  • Watch the top 5 US Box Office grossing Best Picture Academy Award winners:
    1) Titanic (1997), $695 million
    2) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), $377 million
    3) Forrest Gump (1994), $330 million
    4) Gone with the Wind (1939), $199 million
    5) Gladiator (2000), $188 million
  • Host an Oscar-themed party and watch the academy awards with your friends and family.
  • Attend the Academy Awards as a seat filler.  Traditionally seat fillers are relatives of individuals working at the Academy or PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Academy Award seat fillers have to be well-dressed and are not allowed to interact with actors or actual guests of the ceremony, or to draw any attention to themselves.  When an invited guest leaves to use the washroom or to get a drink, seat fillers have to occupy that seat so that there are no empty seats in the hall.

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