Search By:
















1st Academy Awards













16th May 1929: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, California, USA


The 1st Academy Awards Banquet in the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 16th May 1929


The first Academy Awards ceremony was staged in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on 16th May 1929.   The bestowing of awards of merit for distinctive achievements was one part of the seven defined goals of the recently formed Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).   The Academy was created in May 1927, ostensibly to to improve the artistic quality of the film medium, provide a common forum for the various branches and crafts of the industry, foster cooperation in technical research and cultural progress, and pursue a variety of other stated objectives, although MGM chief Louis B. Mayer, one of the co-founders of the Academy and arguably the driving force behind its inception, had hoped it would serve as a means of averting the increasing unionisation of motion picture workers.

Early in the Academys history, a committee of seven members was appointed to create an awards presentation, although the formulation of an awards ceremony was not accepted until May 1928.   Films released between 1st August 1927 and 31st July 1928 were considered eligible for the first Academy Awards.   Judges representing the five branches of the Academy (actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers) were asked to nominate three names in twelve categories to a board which then selected and announced the winners.

MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons was commissioned to design a statuette (the Academy Award of Merit) for the awards which was subsequently fashioned out of clay by Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley before cast in tin and copper by Alex Smith before gold plating.   The design Gibbons came up with a knight holding a crusaders sword and standing upon a reel of film made up of five spokes to signify the Academys five original branches was, apart from a less streamlined base, identical to those awarded today.

250 guests paid $10 each to attend the First Annual Academy Awards, and feasted on a meal of Filet of Sole Saute au Buerre and Half Broiled Chicken on Toast before Douglas Fairbanks, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rose to give a speech.   With the help of William C. DeMille, Fairbanks then summoned each winner to the head table to receive their award.   There were no surprise winners at this inaugural function the winners had been announced three months earlier.   A total of fifteen statuettes were handed out, but the first recipient of an Academy Award wasnt even present at the dinner.   Emil Jannings, who was selected as Best Actor for his roles in The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command, received his statuette early because of his return to Europe prior to the ceremony taking place.

The first awards were the only ones which nominated some candidates – like Jannings, for instance – for multiple roles, and also nominated some people without referring to any specific film.   Charles Chaplin, who was originally in the running for Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy categories, received an honorary award instead for his ‘versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus’.   Warner Bros also received an honorary award for producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry.'


    Best Picture, Production
    Wings (1927)
    Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production
    Sunris: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
    Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
    Best Actor in a Leading Role
    Emil Jannings in The Last Command (1928)
    Emil Jannings - The Last Command
    Best Actress in a Leading Role
    Janet Gaynor in 7th Heaven (1927)
    Janet Gaynor - 7th Heaven (also for Street Angel and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans)
    Best Director, Comedy Picture
    Lewis Milestone - Two Arabian Knights
    Best Director, Dramatic Picture
    Frank Borzage - 7th Heaven

Best Writing, Original Story

    Ben Hecht - Underworld
    Best Writing, Adaptation
    Benjamin Glazer - 7th Heaven
    Best Writing, Title Writing
    Joseph Farnham
    Best Cinematography
    Charles Rosher, Karl Struss - Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
    Best Art Direction

William Cameron Menzies - Tempest

William Cameron Menzies - The Dove

    Best Effects, Engineering Effects
    Roy Pomeroy - Wings
    Honorary Award

Charles Chaplin - for versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus.

 Warner Bros. - for producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry.









Academy Awards Index Page





© 2009-2012

Terms & Conditions                Privacy Policy