And the Oscar goes to…
In the 1920s, the American film industry plunged into crisis. New inventions like the radio and forming trade unions for employed film persons miggled the film industry. The then head of MGM studios, Louis B. Mayer, founded in consequence of this situatiom, together with Conrad Nagel and Fred Niblo, an academy that should embody and appreciate the art of filmmaking. Together with 33 other influential and famous film stars the "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts of Sciences" was launched.
The first actor to whom the honor of the "Academy Award of Merit" was given to, was the German Emil Jannings. He received this honorable award for his leading role in the film "The Way of All Flesh" from 1927. At that time, the name Oscar was not defined yet for this Award by no means. Starting from around the year 1931 on the name was widely used. In the annals of the Academy it is quoted that the former Executive Secretary of the Academy, Margaret Herrick, supposed to have said at the sight of the statue: "It looks just like my uncle Oscar!“ Thus, she is famous as the official name giver.
Every year the Academy reserves the introduction of new categories or the abolition of existing categories. The most coveted categories are Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Short Film and Best Original Score – just to name a few. Furthermore, an Oscar of Honour is awarded year after year for lifetime achievements of a film industry artist.
The nominations take place several months before the Oscar ceremony. Since 1941, the names of the winners are kept hidden in sealed envelopes. This way one inflamed tensions of the audience and made the award of the Oscars till this day a worldwide mega-event.
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