It’s that time once again, when Hollywood’s elite step out onto the red carpet and give the best performance of their careers by appearing humble as they accept awards for how great/talented they are. And so, with the Oscars this Sunday night, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at the first Academy Awards. Picture it: May 16, 1929 at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of only 270 people. The cost of tickets during was a whopping $5 to see all 15 awards handed out honoring artists, directors and other personalities in the industry for their work. That was during the 1927-1928 time period; now you might find a scalped ticket for $3,000-$4,000. The entire ceremony lasted a mere 15 minutes…now it seems like speeches may last that long before the music begins to play, their cue to exit stage right NOW.
Though there were hardly any “Oscar Shockers” that year since the winners had been announced to the media three months earlier (that changed in the second ceremony and the sealed envelope didn’t come along until 1941). Who won? Emil Jannings won the first award of the evening for Best Actor in The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. Janet Gaynor for Best Actress (Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans); Frank Borzage for Best Director, Drama (Seventh Heaven); Lewis Milestone for Best Director, Comedy (Two Arabian Knights); and Wings won Best Picture (the most expensive film of its time with the staggering budget of $2 million). Two presentations were made of a Special Award: one to Charlie Chaplin, a multiple nominee for one movie (Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy; all for The Circus) recognizing his total contribution to the film industry and one to Warner Brothers for pioneering talking pictures (The Jazz Singer). So, you see, the award show has come a long way since its unassuming beginnings.
Now, the pageantry of this high honor sometimes overshadows the films it is meant to praise. Nevertheless, the event continues to hold international attention and has given out 2,894 Oscars in its past 85 ceremonies. We’re looking forward to Ellen DeGeneres hosting this year’s awards show, but could you have imagined the hoopla and scandal that her involvment would have created at the original Sunday night Oscars in 1929?! For more Oscar Trivia click the link below http://www.oddee.com/item_96998.aspx