History of the Academy Awards


Iain Chang

This month was the 93rd annual Academy Awards.  Many historic achievements have been made including Chloe Zhao, winning best director for her film Nomadland and becoming the second-ever woman to receive the award.  But today we go back in time to the first-ever Academy Awards show.

Chloé Zhao Wins Oscar for Best Director for 'Nomadland' - Variety
Director Chloe Zhao receiving her Academy Award for her film “Nomadland” at the 2021 Oscars.

In May of 1927, Douglass Fairbanks organized a nonprofit organization to celebrate the glorious achievements of film and celebrate the advancements of film that have been made.  The Blossom Room located in the Hollywood Rosevelt Hotel was the first banquet was held and contained about 270 people.  Awards were actually announced three months before the show, then the winners received their statues at the ceremony.  For a guest to attend it cost $5.

Academy members, filmmakers, and actors sitting in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Rosevelt Hotel during the first Academy Awards Ceremony.


Winners of these awards included Janet Gayner for best actress in the film 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise, as well as Emil Jannings for best actor in The Last Command.  The best picture winner went to the film Wings directed by William Wellman.  A special award went to The Jazz Singer, one of the first-ever motion pictures to feature sound.  This achievement disqualified it from any other awards, as it gave the film an unfair advantage.  

Film is often seen as an escape for many, telling thrilling or dramatic stories using a combination of sound and moving pictures.  The Academy Awards, or better known today as The Oscars gave reason to honor the many people it takes to make a movie.  Today, we use The Oscars to write the narrative of Hollywood, pushing actors and filmmakers to the forefront by celebrating their achievements and successes within the industry.