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Academy Award

An Academy Award is an award bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)[1] to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers. The Oscar statuette is officially named the Academy Award of Merit and is one of nine types of Academy Awards.

The formal ceremony at which the Awards of Merit are presented is one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world, and is televised live in more than 100 countries annually. It is also the oldest award ceremony in the media; its equivalents, the Grammy Awards (for music), Emmy Awards (for television), and Tony Awards (for theatre) are modeled after the Academy.

The AMPAS was originally conceived by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio boss Louis B. Mayer as a professional honorary organization to help improve the film industry s image and help mediate labor disputes. The Oscar itself was later initiated by the Academy as an award "of merit for distinctive achievement" in the industry.[2]

The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honor the outstanding film achievements of the 1927/1928 film season. The 84th Academy Awards, honoring films in 2011, was held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2012.



Gary Cooper and Joan Fontaine holding their Oscars at the Academy Awards, 1942 The first awards were presented on May 16, 1929, at a private brunch at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The post Academy Awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel.[3] The cost of guest tickets for that night's ceremony was $5. Fifteen statuettes were awarded, honoring artists, directors and other personalities of the filmmaking industry of the time for their works during the 1927 1928 period.

Winners had been announced 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.[3] This method was used until the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began; as a result, the Academy has used a sealed envelope to reveal the name of the winners since 1941.[3]

For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years. For example, the 2nd Academy Awards presented on April 3, 1930, recognized films that were released between August 1, 1928 and July 31, 1929. Starting with the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

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, Emil Jannings received the award for two movies in which he starred during that period. Since the fourth ceremony, the system changed, and the professionals were honored for a specific performance in a single film. , a total of 2,809 Oscars have been given for 1,853 awards.[4] A total of 302 actors have won Oscars in competitive acting categories or been awarded Honorary or Juvenile Awards.

The 1939 film Beau Geste is the only movie that features as many as four Academy Award winners for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Susan Hayward, Broderick Crawford) prior to any of the actors receiving the Best Actor Award.

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.

Oscar statuette


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 Scientific and Engineering Award, the Technical Achievement Award, 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 each represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.[5]

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.[6] In need of a model for his statuette, Gibbons was introduced by his future wife Dolores del R o to Mexican film director and actor Emilio "El Indio" Fern ndez. Reluctant at first, Fern ndez 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[7] 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,[8] approximately 50 Oscars are made each year in Chicago by Illinois manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company.[9]

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.[10]


The root of the name Oscar is contested. One biography of Bette Davis claims that she named the Oscar after her first husband, band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson;[11] one of the earliest mentions in print of the term Oscar dates back to a Time magazine article about the 1934 6th Academy Awards.[12] Walt Disney is also quoted as thanking the Academy for his Oscar as early as 1932.[13] 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).[14] Columnist Sidney Skolsky was present during Herrick's naming and seized the name in his byline, "Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette 'Oscar'".[15] The trophy was officially dubbed the "Oscar" in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.[16] Another legend reports that the Norwegian-American Eleanor Lilleberg, executive secretary to Louis B. Mayer, saw the first statuette and exclaimed, "It looks like King Oscar II!".[17] At the end of the day she asked, "What should we do with Oscar, put him in the vault?" and the name stuck.

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.[18] In December 2011, Orson Welles' 1941 Oscar for Citizen Kane was put up for auction, after his heirs won a 2004 court decision that Welles did not sign any agreement to return the statue to the Academy.[19]

While the Oscar is under the ownership of the recipient, it is essentially not on the open market.[20] The case of Michael Todd's grandson trying to sell Todd's Oscar statuette illustrates that there are some who do not agree with this idea. When Todd's grandson attempted to sell Todd's Oscar statuette to a movie prop collector, the Academy won the legal battle by getting a permanent injunction. Although Oscar sales transactions have been successful, some buyers have subsequently returned the statuettes to the Academy, which keeps them in its treasury.[21]


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.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a professional honorary organization, maintains a voting membership of 5,783 .[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25]


Currently, 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 January 1 to midnight at the end of December 31, in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify (except for the Best Foreign Language Film).[26] For example, the 2010 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, was actually first released in 2008, but did not qualify for the 2009 awards as it did not play its Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009, thus qualifying for the 2010 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 1280x720.

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.). 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.[27]

The members of the various branches nominate those in their respective fields, while all members may submit nominees for Best Picture. 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.[28]



31st Academy Awards Presentations, Pantages Theater, Hollywood, 1959
31st Academy Awards Presentations, Pantages Theater, Hollywood, 1959
81st Academy Awards Presentations, Kodak Theater, Hollywood, 2009
81st Academy Awards Presentations, Kodak Theater, Hollywood, 2009

The major awards are presented at a live televised ceremony, most commonly in February or 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 for the first time in Alaska in 2011), Canada, the United Kingdom, and gathers millions of viewers elsewhere throughout the world.[29] The 2007 ceremony was watched by more than 40 million Americans.[30] 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 on NBC in 1953. NBC 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; it is under contract to do so through the year 2020.[31]

After more than sixty 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.) 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.[32]

After many years of being held on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m Pacific, in 1999 the ceremonies were moved to Sundays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Pacific.[33] 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.[34] For many years the film industry had opposed a Sunday broadcast because it would cut into the weekend box office.[35]

On March 30, 1981, the awards ceremony was postponed for one day after the shooting of President Ronald Reagan and others in Washington, D.C.

In 1993, an In Memoriam segment was introduced,[36] 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.[37] This segment has drawn criticism over the years for the omission of some names.

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.[38]

The Academy has also had recent discussions about moving the ceremony even further back into January, citing TV viewers' fatigue with the film industry's long awards season. But 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 may have to compete with National Football League playoff games.[39]

Awards ceremonies

The following is a listing of all Academy Awards ceremonies since 1929.[40][41][42]

Ceremony Date Best Picture winner Length of broadcast Number of viewers Rating Host(s) Venue
1st Academy Awards May 16, 1929 Wings No broadcast Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
2nd Academy Awards April 3, 1930 William C. deMille Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
3rd Academy Awards November 5, 1930 All Quiet on the Conrad Nagel Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
4th Academy Awards Cimarron Lawrence Grant Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
5th Academy Awards Nov 18, 1932 Grand Hotel Lionel Barrymore, Conrad Nagel Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
6th Academy Awards Mar 16, 1934 Cavalcade Will Rogers Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
7th Academy Awards Feb 27, 1935 It Happened One Night Irvin S. Cobb Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
8th Academy Awards Mar 5, 1936 Mutiny on the Bounty Frank Capra Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
9th Academy Awards Mar 4, 1937 George Jessel Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
10th Academy Awards Mar 10, 1938 Bob Burns Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
11th Academy Awards Feb 23, 1939 None Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
12th Academy Awards Feb 29, 1940 Gone with the Wind Bob Hope Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
13th Academy Awards Feb 27, 1941 Rebecca Bob Hope Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
14th Academy Awards Feb 26, 1942 How Green Was My Valley None Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
15th Academy Awards Mar 4, 1943 Mrs. Miniver Bob Hope Ambassador Hotel/Millennium Biltmore Hotel
16th Academy Awards Mar 2, 1944 Casablanca Jack Benny Grauman's Chinese Theater
17th Academy Awards Mar 15, 1945 Going My Way Bob Hope, Grauman's Chinese Theater
18th Academy Awards Mar 7, 1946 Bob Hope, Grauman's Chinese Theater
19th Academy Awards Mar 13, 1947 Jack Benny Shrine Auditorium
20th Academy Awards Mar 20, 1948 Gentleman's Agreement Agnes Moorehead, Dick Powell Shrine Auditorium
21st Academy Awards Mar 24, 1949 Hamlet Robert Montgomery Pantages Theatre
Mar 23, 1950 All the King's Men Paul Douglas Pantages Theatre
23rd Academy Awards Mar 29, 1951 All About Eve Fred Astaire Pantages Theatre
24th Academy Awards Mar 20, 1952 Danny Kaye Pantages Theatre
25th Academy Awards Mar 19, 1953 40 million Bob Hope, NBC International Theatre
26th Academy Awards Mar 25, 1954 From Here to Eternity 43 million Donald O'Connor, Fredric March NBC Century Theatre
27th Academy Awards Mar 30, 1955 On the Waterfront Bob Hope, NBC Century Theatre
28th Academy Awards Mar 21, 1956 Marty Jerry Lewis, NBC Century Theatre
29th Academy Awards Mar 27, 1957 Around the World in Jerry Lewis, NBC Century Theatre
30th Academy Awards Mar 26, 1958 Bob Hope, Pantages Theatre
31st Academy Awards Apr 6, 1959 Gigi Bob Hope, David Niven, Tony Randall, Mort Sahl, Laurence Olivier, Jerry Lewis Pantages Theatre
32nd Academy Awards Apr 4, 1960 Ben-Hur 1 hour, 40 minutes Bob Hope Pantages Theatre
33rd Academy Awards Apr 17, 1961 Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
34th Academy Awards Apr 9, 1962 West Side Story Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
35th Academy Awards Apr 8, 1963 Lawrence of Arabia Frank Sinatra Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
36th Academy Awards Apr 13, 1964 Tom Jones Jack Lemmon Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
37th Academy Awards Apr 5, 1965 My Fair Lady Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
38th Academy Awards Apr 18, 1966 Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
39th Academy Awards Apr 10, 1967 2 hours, 31 minutes Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
40th Academy Awards Apr 10, 1968 In the Heat of the Night Bob Hope Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
41st Academy Awards Apr 14, 1969 Oliver! None Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
42nd Academy Awards Apr 7, 1970 Midnight Cowboy 2 hours, 25 minutes 43.40 None Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
43rd Academy Awards Apr 15, 1971 Patton None Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
44th Academy Awards Apr 10, 1972 Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Lemmon Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
45th Academy Awards Mar 27, 1973 2 hours, 38 minutes Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
46th Academy Awards Apr 2, 1974 3 hours, 23 minutes John Huston, Burt Reynolds, David Niven, Diana Ross Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
47th Academy Awards Apr 8, 1975 3 hours, 20 minutes Sammy Davis, Jr., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
48th Academy Awards Mar 29, 1976 One Flew Over the 3 hours, 12 minutes Goldie Hawn, Gene Kelly, Walter Matthau, George Segal, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
49th Academy Awards Mar 28, 1977 Rocky 3 hours, 38 minutes Warren Beatty, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda, Richard Pryor Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
50th Academy Awards Apr 3, 1978 Annie Hall 3 hours, 30 minutes 31.10 Bob Hope Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
51st Academy Awards Apr 9, 1979 3 hours, 25 minutes Johnny Carson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
52nd Academy Awards Apr 14, 1980 Kramer vs. Kramer 3 hours, 12 minutes Johnny Carson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
53rd Academy Awards Mar 31, 1981 Ordinary People 3 hours, 13 minutes Johnny Carson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
54th Academy Awards Mar 29, 1982 Chariots of Fire 3 hours, 24 minutes Johnny Carson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
55th Academy Awards Apr 11, 1983 Gandhi 3 hours, 15 minutes Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
56th Academy Awards Apr 9, 1984 Terms of Endearment 3 hours, 42 minutes 38.00 Johnny Carson Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
57th Academy Awards Mar 25, 1985 Amadeus 3 hours, 10 minutes Jack Lemmon Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
58th Academy Awards Mar 24, 1986 Out of Africa 3 hours, 02 minutes 38.65 million 25.71 Alan Alda, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
59th Academy Awards Mar 30, 1987 Platoon 3 hours, 19 minutes 39.72 million 25.94 Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
60th Academy Awards Apr 11, 1988 3 hours, 33 minutes 42.04 million 27.80 Chevy Chase Shrine Auditorium
61st Academy Awards Mar 29, 1989 Rain Man 3 hours, 19 minutes 42.77 million 28.41 None Shrine Auditorium
62nd Academy Awards Mar 26, 1990 Driving Miss Daisy 3 hours, 37 minutes 40.22 million 26.42 Billy Crystal Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
63rd Academy Awards Mar 25, 1991 Dances with Wolves 3 hours, 35 minutes 42.79 million 28.06 Billy Crystal Shrine Auditorium
64th Academy Awards Mar 30, 1992 3 hours, 33 minutes 44.44 million 29.84 Billy Crystal Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
65th Academy Awards Mar 29, 1993 Unforgiven 3 hours, 30 minutes 45.84 million 32.85 Billy Crystal Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
66th Academy Awards Mar 21, 1994 Schindler's List 3 hours, 18 minutes 46.26 million 31.86 Whoopi Goldberg Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
67th Academy Awards Mar 27, 1995 Forrest Gump 3 hours, 35 minutes 48.87 million 33.47 David Letterman Shrine Auditorium
68th Academy Awards Mar 25, 1996 Braveheart 3 hours, 38 minutes 44.81 million 30.48 Whoopi Goldberg Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
69th Academy Awards Mar 24, 1997 3 hours, 34 minutes 40.83 million 25.83 Billy Crystal Shrine Auditorium
70th Academy Awards Mar 23, 1998 Titanic 3 hours, 47 minutes 57.25 million 35.32 Billy Crystal Shrine Auditorium
71st Academy Awards Mar 21, 1999 Shakespeare in Love 4 hours, 02 minutes 45.63 million 28.51 Whoopi Goldberg Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
72nd Academy Awards Mar 26, 2000 American Beauty 4 hours, 04 minutes 46.53 million 29.64 Billy Crystal Shrine Auditorium
73rd Academy Awards Mar 25, 2001 Gladiator 3 hours, 23 minutes 42.93 million 25.86 Steve Martin Shrine Auditorium
74th Academy Awards Mar 24, 2002 4 hours, 23 minutes 40.54 million 25.13 Whoopi Goldberg Kodak Theatre
75th Academy Awards Mar 23, 2003 Chicago 3 hours, 30 minutes 33.04 million 20.58 Steve Martin Kodak Theatre
76th Academy Awards Feb 29, 2004 3 hours, 44 minutes 43.56 million 26.68 Billy Crystal Kodak Theatre
77th Academy Awards Feb 27, 2005 Million Dollar Baby 3 hours, 14 minutes 42.16 million 25.29 Chris Rock Kodak Theatre
78th Academy Awards Mar 5, 2006 Crash 3 hours, 33 minutes 38.64 million 22.91 Jon Stewart Kodak Theatre
79th Academy Awards Feb 25, 2007 3 hours, 51 minutes 39.92 million 23.65 Ellen DeGeneres Kodak Theatre
80th Academy Awards Feb 24, 2008 No Country for Old Men 3 hours, 21 minutes 31.76 million 18.66 Jon Stewart Kodak Theatre
81st Academy Awards Feb 22, 2009 Slumdog Millionaire 3 hours, 30 minutes 36.94 million 21.68 Hugh Jackman Kodak Theatre
82nd Academy Awards Mar 7, 2010 3 hours, 37 minutes 41.62 million 24.75 Steve Martin, Kodak Theatre
83rd Academy Awards Feb 27, 2011 3 hours, 15 minutes 37.63 million 21.97 James Franco, Anne Hathaway Kodak Theatre
84th Academy Awards Feb 26, 2012 The Artist 3 hours, 14 minutes 39.30 million 25.50 Billy Crystal Hollywood and Highland Center
85th Academy Awards Feb 24, 2013[43] - - Hollywood and Highland Center[44]
Ceremony Date Best Picture winner Length of broadcast Number of viewers Rating Host(s) Venue

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.[45] 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.[46] 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 April 7, 1970.[47]

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%.[48] 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.[49] The Best Picture winner of that particular ceremony was another low-budget, independently financed film (No Country for Old Men).


Pantages Theatre]], 2008

In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented at a banquet dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. From 1930 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.[50]

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 February 26, 2012, awards ceremony.

Academy Awards of Merit

Current awards

  • 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 Film: since 2001
  • Best Animated Short Film: since 1931
  • Best Art Direction: since 1928
  • Best Cinematography: since 1928
  • Best Costume Design: since 1948
  • Best Director: since 1928
  • Best Documentary Feature: since 1943
  • Best Documentary Short: since 1941

  • Best Film Editing: since 1935
  • Best Foreign Language Film: since 1947
  • Best Live Action Short Film: since 1931
  • Best Makeup: since 1981
  • Best Original Score: since 1934
  • Best Original Song: since 1934
  • Best Picture: 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, Cinematography, and Costume Design awards were likewise split into two separate categories (black-and-white films and color films).

Another award, entitled the Academy Award for Best Original Musical, is still in the Academy rulebooks and has yet to be retired. However, due to continuous insufficient eligibility each year, it has not been awarded since 1984 (when Purple Rain won).[51]

Retired awards

  • Best Assistant Director: 1933 to 1937
  • 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

Proposed awards

The Board of Governors meets each year and considers new awards. To date, the following proposed awards have not been approved:

  • Best Casting: rejected in 1999
  • Best Stunt Coordination: rejected in 1999; rejected in 2005;[52] rejected in 2011[53]
  • Best Title Design: rejected in 1999

Special Academy Awards

These 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 awards

  • 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

Retired special awards

  • Academy Juvenile Award: 1934 to 1960
  • Academy Special Achievement Award: 1972 to 1995


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."[54]

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.[55] 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."[56][57][58] The third winner, Marlon Brando, 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.[55]

Tim Dirks, editor of AMC's, has written of the Academy Awards,

Acting prizes in certain years have been criticized for not recognizing superior performances so much as being awarded for sentimental reasons,[59] personal popularity,[60] atonement for past mistakes,[61] or presented as a "career honor" to recognize a distinguished nominee's entire body of work.[62]

Associated events

The following events are closely associated with the annual Academy Awards ceremony:

  • 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 newly built entertainment complex developed in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • The 8th annual "Night Before", traditionally held at the Beverly Hills Hotel (eight years running in 2010) 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 held adjacent to the awards-presentation venue. In 2012, the three course meal was replaced by appetizers.
  • The Vanity Fair after-party, historically held at the former Morton's restaurant, is now for the 2nd year at the Sunset Towers.

See also

  • Academy Awards pre-show
  • Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party
  • Golden Raspberry Award
  • Oscar season
  • Cannes Film Festival
  • Camerimage
  • Berlin International Film Festival


  • List of Academy Award records
  • List of Academy Award winning families
  • List of Academy Award-winning films
  • List of Academy Awards ceremonies
  • List of Academy Award trophies on public display
  • List of actors who have appeared in multiple Best Picture Academy Award winners
  • List of Big Five Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of fictitious Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of foreign language films nominated for Academy Awards
  • List of oldest and youngest Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of people who have won multiple Academy Awards in a single year
  • List of posthumous Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of presenters of Best Picture Academy Award
  • List of superlative Academy Award winners and nominees


  • List of Australian Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of British and Commonwealth Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of English Academy Award nominees and winners
  • List of French Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Italian Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Latin American Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Polish Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Scandinavian Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Spanish Academy Award winners and nominees


  • List of Asian Academy Award winners and nominees
  • List of Black Academy Award winners and nominees
  • Lists of Hispanic Academy Award winners and nominees by country


  • C sar Award (French equivalent)
  • BAFTA (British equivalent)
  • List of years in film



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