Why were the Oscars created?

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The Oscars, formally known as the Academy Awards, have become a staple of popular culture since their creation in 1929. Since then, the Oscars have gone on to become the most prestigious award ceremony in the film industry, with millions of viewers every year tuning in to see which of their favorite actors and actresses, directors, and other professionals will take home the coveted statue. From the inception of the Academy Awards, the goal has been to honor the excellence in filmmaking and the art of movie-making. But what is the story behind the creation of the Oscars?

An Overview of the History of the Oscars

The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 at Hollywood’s famous Roosevelt hotel. It was organized by Louis B. Mayer and the academy president, Douglas Fairbanks, and included a star-studded cast of attendees.

The original categories for the Academy Awards were: “Outstanding Picture,” “Unique and Artistic Picture,” and “Most Artistic Quality of Production.” As the years passed and the industry changed, so too did the number of categories, with 11 awards being currently given out.

January 3, 1927: The Founding of the Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was founded on January 3, 1927 in response to the dissatisfaction of many filmmakers over the existing state of the film industry. The organization was established to help protect the interests of filmmakers and to ensure better standards in filmmaking.

The Founding of the Oscar

The Academy Awards were first established in 1929 on the idea of Louis B. Mayer and Douglas Fairbanks. It was suggested that taking inspiration from the 1926 Olympic Games, one award should be given in each field of filmmaking.

Fairbanks created a list of 15 awards that the Academy would give out following the first ceremony which included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. It was at the 1928 Academy banquet that the first statuette was presented.

The Original Purpose of the Oscars

The Oscars were created with the purpose of recognising excellence in filmmaking, with the winners being chosen solely by the Academy members. They wanted to create a means for filmmakers to be recognised by their peers for their hard work and dedication.

This also gave the Academy a chance to shed light on underappreciated locations and filmmakers, showcasing their hard work to the world and giving them the acknowledgment that they deserved. In 1932, the first non-American film was recognised – Grand stand in Germany by Emil Jannings.

Origin of the Name Oscar

The origin of the name Oscar is a bit of a mystery. The earliest known reference to the name was documented in an article from the Los Angeles Times in 1934. The article claimed that the statuette was nicknamed Oscar after the Academy librarian’s aunt, who had been given the nickname due to her accent.

However, there are other theories about the origins of the name Oscar; for example, that the name was derived from the phrase “Open Shape of the Academy Award” or from a game of poker that was played at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929 during the first Academy meeting.

The Continued Evolution of The Oscars

The Oscars have undergone many changes since their inception in 1929. Over the years, they have increased their categories to represent the growing diversity of the film industry, the introduction of separate Animation and Visual Effects categories in 2012 being amongst the most prominent.

In 2020, four additional awards were added: Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best International Feature Film. These changes were made to reflect the progress of the industry into more diverse and cutting-edge areas.

The Academy Awards have come a long way since their creation in 1929. The purpose of the Oscars has evolved over time and remains to this day to recognize excellence in filmmaking and the art of movie-making. With its ever-changing categories, expanding recognition of global talent, and the continued acknowledgment of underappreciated filmmakers, the Oscars stand as a testament to their original goal set out by Louis B. Mayer and Douglas Fairbanks nearly a hundred years ago.

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