Walk the red carpet with Reuters and explore the best of the Oscars - Reuters News Agency

Walk the red carpet with Reuters and explore the best of the Oscars

The votes are in and the red carpet is out and that means only one thing… It’s Oscars time! Let’s take a look at the history of the Academy Awards over the last 91 years…

By Clare Cavanagh | Feb 22, 2019

‘Free Solo’ documentary award, Oscars Reception. 2019

On Sunday 24th February, the Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) honor 91 years of the history of cinema.

The first ceremony took place on 16th May 1929 at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, following the formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 1927. Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, founded this non-profit organization to showcase the talent in Hollywood and recognize achievements in the film industry.

Louis B. Mayer, film producer and co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. 1926

The very first event took place during a revolution within the film industry. Sound technology had been introduced to transform cinema, and the “talkies” quickly gained attraction from excited audiences. While these were modernizing the industry, they were not included in the first Academy Awards as it was deemed unjust to make comparisons between them and silent films. However, that year a special Academy Award was given to Jack Warner for Warner Brothers production of “The Jazz Singer”, the outstanding and pioneering talking picture.

Jack Warner with a special Academy Award given to Warner Brothers for producing “The Jazz Singer” considered the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which revolutionized the industry. 1929

As technology develops and changes rapidly in our digital world, cinema has its own established roots and continues to gain huge audiences all over the world.

The Oscars remain the biggest event in the film industry and has provided stable entertainment through wars, controversy and, most recently, political criticism. But as a key focus has been cast upon it in the last decade, is all of this about to change?

 

Over the last two years, audiences have spoken up. Protests regarding #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo movements have gained full focus before, during and after the event.

This year, days prior to it taking place they are still without a confirmed host after Kevin Hart stepped down following his controversial tweets. Its stability in the film industry is being seriously questioned and media platforms have broken down the barriers that Hollywood once found protection behind. The glamour and glitz has faded over the years and issues have taken the spotlight.

32nd Academy Awards: Elizabeth Taylor with Eddie Fisher. 1960

We have seen a big change following an uproar regarding certain awards (best cinematography, film editing, makeup/hairstyling and short films) which were due to take place during commercial adverts and would not have been screened. The irony of an event created to honor the creativity and talent in the film industry intending to cut those awarded from being viewed internationally has not been overlooked. Following the Academy blaming a “a chain of misinformation”, all 24 awards will be shown.

Dolby Theatre. 2019

Though it remains the highlight of the year within the film industry, the Academy Awards still has some work to do in maintaining audiences across the world. The traditional form of this event no longer exists in our modern world and it has lost popularity over the last few years with ratings continuing to fall. What must the Academy focus on to avoid this current divide in the future?