The Academy Awards Show is full of history. We may think we know the familiar winner names and the classic movies that were immortalized at the ceremony, but in its history there is plenty of fun, unique, and interesting facts.
M-G-M Studio Chief Louis B. Mayer’s home was where the idea of the Academy Awards was born. Along with three dinner guests of Mayer’s—actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo, and producer Fred Beetson—they concluded that an organization to benefit the film industry needed to be created. Several more dinners took place with added Hollywood guests, discussing what others thought of the idea. It took only a few months before the Academy became an official organization.
The First Award Ceremony
The Academy handed out their first awards on May 16, 1929. The event was held at the Roosevelt Hotel right in Hollywood and was hosted by Academy President Douglas Fairbanks. Winners included the film ”Wings” for the then titled Most Outstanding Picture Award and an honorary award was given to Charlie Chaplin for all he had done in the ”The Circus.”
Moving to Television
The Academy Awards began broadcasting on television in 1953, honoring films from 1952. This year the awards took place simultaneously from Hollywood and New York City. Bob Hope hosted the Hollywood side and Conrad Nagel took the duties from New York.
Three Big Winners
Statistically, three films have tied for the honor of most wins. ”Ben-Hur,” ”Titanic,” and ”The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” all won 11 Oscars at their respective Academy Award ceremonies. ”The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” was the only one of these three to have swept all nominations.
The Top Director
Director John Ford holds the record for most awards in the Best Director category. Ford won with his films ”The Informer,” ”The Grapes of Wrath,” ”How Green Was My Valley,” and ”The Quiet Man.” ”How Green Was My Valley” also managed to win Best Picture.
The Big Five Winners
Only three films have ever won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress all in the same year. They are ”It Happened One Night,” ”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and ”The Silence of the Lambs.”
A First for Female Directors
Female director Kathryne Bigelow has the distinction of being the first female to win Best Director. She did it with her 2008 film ”The Hurt Locker,” which also won in the Best Picture category.
The Academy Awards Database