Pure Escapism: Heeerrrre’s Oscar!

In the best Hollywood tradition, it’s lights, camera, action for the next Academy Awards.

| Winter 2018

  • In the 1920s, Louis B. Mayer was the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios, and, in 1927, he conceived the idea of an organization uniting all facets of the movie industry, and the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was born.
    Press photos
  • Some of the films receiving early Oscar buzz include A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga, Green Book starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, and Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.
    Press photo
  • Some of the films receiving early Oscar buzz include A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga, Green Book starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, and Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.
    Press photo
  • Some of the films receiving early Oscar buzz include A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga, Green Book starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, and Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.
    Press photo
  • Expect nominations to be announced in late January 2019, while the 91st Academy Awards is set for 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT February 24 on ABC.
    Press photo

 The Oscars. What do those words bring to mind? The gold statuette officially known as an Award of Merit? The glamor of a Hollywood event that we all know and love (or hate, as the case may be)? The fashion, the bling, the red carpet drama?

Let’s start with a bit of trivia. As the title suggests, the well-known host of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson, hosted the Academy Awards five times. Who hosted the most? That would be Bob Hope, who hosted or co-hosted 19 Academy Awards ceremonies.

According to the Academy, the 2019 show will be held to three hours. Quite a bit different from the first awards ceremony. A private dinner banquet was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in May 1929; attended by 270 people, the presentations lasted a mere 15 minutes. It was hosted by actor Douglas Fairbanks, the first president of the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and writer/director William C. deMille.

We’ll see if ABC can hold to that three-hour time limit. Last year’s show lasted three hours and 53 minutes. The last time the show was under two hours (one hour and 44 minutes) was in 1972. The 2002 ceremony lasted four hours and 23 minutes, the longest on record. That broadcast, however, drew 40.54 million viewers; the 2018 show was watched by a mere 26.5 million, the lowest number in the Academy’s history.

Oscar’s History

With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Academy Awards, one might ask how it all began.



In the 1920s, Louis B. Mayer was the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios, and, in 1927, he conceived the idea of an organization uniting all facets of the movie industry, and the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was born. Fairbanks was elected the organization’s first president. Since Fairbanks, 35 people have held the post (only three women, and, in 1945, actress Bette Davis resigned after two months; marketing/public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs, 2013 to 2017, is the third woman and first African-American to hold the post); cinematographer John Bailey is the current 36th president.

The Academy Awards, Mayer’s brainchild, were first presented in May 1929. Those receiving awards in 12 categories knew months in advance, as did everyone else. The second year of the Awards began the hullabaloo we know today; a L.A. radio station broadcast the 1930 ceremony. The ceremony was first televised in black-and-white in 1953; the first color broadcast was in 1966.




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