The Academy Awards are, in today’s society, a spectacle of glamor, beauty, and achievement. They haven’t always been that way, though-the history of the Academy Awards is rife with strange stories and interesting trivia. At this time of year, with the Oscars on the horizon yet again, it’s fun to look back on the awards ceremonies of years past. It’s an educational pursuit, too-the history of the Academy Awards can be illuminating. It can give us a glimpse into the past, even as we anticipate the upcoming show — a show we’ll only appreciate more when we know more about its past.
The First Oscars
It’s interesting, for example, to know that the first Academy Award went to Emil Jannings, who wasn’t even in attendance at the ceremony. Instead, he was on his way home to Germany when he was told that he had received the honor, though admittedly the Academy Awards were less well-known then. That definitely wouldn’t happen these days.
With “The Artist” not long in the past, it’s also nice to note that the only silent film to win Best Picture was “Wings” in 1928. After that, changes in technology ensured that silent films were never again so well-represented. “The Artist” doesn’t technically count, as there is sound — just not a lot of it.
Given recent events, I’d also like to note that Shirley Temple received an honorary Oscar in 1934, when she was five years old. Even though it was honorary, she’s still considered the youngest person ever to receive this prestigious award, though that’s far from the only thing she’ll be remembered for.
Best Picture and Actors
It’s unusual for a film to win Best Picture without any of its actors receiving their own nominations, but eleven have pulled it off. Of these, the most recent is “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003.
Best Original Song
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that, despite all the hype that generally surrounds James Bond themes, “Skyfall” was the first to ever win Best Original Song, and that was only last year.
All this trivia makes the Academy Awards seem even more interesting, doesn’t it? You may disagree, but I think it does. Either way, though, enjoy the show!
Seeing Stars: Hollywood Award Committees