May 16th 1929 is a date that not many people are familiar with, but it was the start of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous traditions…the Academy Awards. Each Spring, Hollywood’s red carpet royalty come out en masse to recognize the year’s best cinematic performances.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) held the first ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with 270 people attending. There were twelve award categories and the winners had already been announced earlier in the year. After many additions and shifting around of the categories, there are currently twenty-four Oscars awarded and the winners are kept secret until the night of the ceremony.
How are the nominees and winners decided? The AMPAS is made up of almost 6,000 voting members from various areas of the movie business including actors, producers, and directors. Prospective members are nominated for significant performances or contributions to the industry and after a vigorous screening process some are invited to join AMPAS.
To select the award nominees for the year there is a round of voting and the most popular nominations are voted on again to determine the winner in each category. Because peers in the industry decide the winners, there is considerable prestige that comes with being nominated and especially with winning an Oscar.
The nominations were released earlier this week with few surprises. One big snub this year is that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II was not nominated for best picture. A minor surprise was The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg, not receiving a nomination for Best Animated Film. Martin Scorcese’s Hugo received the most attention, with eleven nominations, including one for best picture.
Two of the favorite movies going into the Oscars are The Artist and The Decendants. The Descendants took home a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture earlier this month. There have been a handful of movies that have won both awards, but that doesn’t mean other nominees don’t have a chance. There are a variety of films nominated this year but all of them have the common thread of being creative and emotionally compelling.
These nominees are not your common Blockbusters. They have risen to the top because each movie provides a snapshot of life… its frustration, its pain, its joy.
The 84th Academy Awards ceremony will take place February 26th in downtown Los Angeles at the Kodak Theatre and will be broadcast live on ABC. Who do you think will be winning this year? You can fill out a personal Oscar ballot here and see how your opinion compares to Hollywood’s! Check back here for Academy Award results and analysis!
– Amelia M. Torre