As we all know, this weekend the famous Academy awards will be taking over millions of Americans’ Sunday evenings. At this time of year, all kinds of award shows are taking place such as the SAGs, the Golden Globe Awards, the Grammys, the Emmys, and The People’s Choice Awards. Yet, one award show, older and more famous than any others, stands out as the highest recognition in film industry. This show is the Academy Awards. For eighty five years they have recognized cinematic achievement and here is why almost a century later, this show still captivates the world.
The first Academy Awards presentation was held in 1929, at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The event wasn’t even televised until the 1950’s. Although the media were aware of the winners three months earlier, the award winners actually were originally printed in the Newspaper the evening of the event. That lasted until the Los Angeles Times printed the winners before the ceremony thereby beginning the tradition of revealing the winners from an envelope during the ceremony.
The actual Award, commonly referred to as Oscar, is made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, and it is 13.5 in tall, and weighs 8.5 lbs. It 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. Because of the prestige that accompanies these awards, the Academy has implemented multiple rules that prohibit the selling of these awards.
From classics such as Casablanca to recent films including 12 Years a Slave, the Academy has awarded 2,701 Oscars to recognize achievement in the film industry. Movies are still an incredibly popular media and form of entertainment, as they were in the 1920s. They bring to light issues that our society faces such as American Sniper’s focus on PTSD, and Selma’s emphasis on inherent racism. No matter how ridiculous these red carpets and fancy shows may seem to people, it has become a unifying event in our culture that celebrates and appreciates the masterpieces that have entertained us throughout the year.