The History of Hollywood Movie Awards

The modern movie was born in 1915 with the release of D.W. Griffith’s silent epic “Birth of a Nation,” and the first Hollywood movie awards followed little more than a decade later.

Eager to head off the potential threat of disruption cause by increasing unionization within the industry, Louis B. Mayer of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in May 1927. The organization aimed to promote harmony and solidarity among the five major divisions of the film production process: directors, producers, actors, writers, and technicians.

Two years later, in an effort to further promote unity, the Academy announced the launch of a series of awards for cinematic excellence. The very first Academy Awards ceremony took place on the evening of May 16, 1929, and was attended by around 270 guests.

Every film played at any theater in Los Angeles between Aug. 1, 1927 and Aug. 1, 1928 was eligible for nomination with one exception. The first ever feature-length motion picture to include synchronized dialogue, “The Jazz Singer,” was disqualified from the Outstanding Picture category on the grounds that its pioneering use of sound gave it an unfair advantage against all of the silent movies that were in contention.

Although “The Jazz Singer” still received nominations for the categories of best Adapted Screenplay and Engineering Effects, it won neither. In consolation, a special honorary award for the film was presented to Darryl Zanuck, head of production at Warner Brothers, for having “revolutionized the industry.”

Although they were hugely successful at the time, these first-ever award winning movies are now little remembered and studied only by students of film history. The awards for Best Production and Engineering Effects were both won by “Wings,” a silent film about fighter pilots in World War I, while the romantic drama “Seventh Heaven” won in three categories, including Best Director.

This first event was chiefly focused on the actual presentations, as the names of the winners had all been announced roughly three months earlier. It also featured the sole appearance of a separate award for the best director of a comedy film, won by Lewis Milestone for “Two Arabian Knights.”

The iconic statuette was designed by founder Academy member and MGM art director Cedric Gibbons and has changed little since it first made its debut at the first ceremony. No one quite knows how the statuette earned the “Oscar” nickname, but it is most often attributed to actress Bette Davis who is said to have named the figure after her husband.

The gold-plated statuettes stands 34 cm tall, weighs 3.85 kg, and depicts a medieval knight holding a broadsword and standing on a five-spoke film reel, where each spoke represents one of the five filmmaking disciplines.

The second Academy Awards in 1930 marked the first time the recipients were announced on the actual night of the ceremony. An arrangement was made to release the names of the winners to the newspapers earlier in the day on the understanding that they would not publish them before 11 p.m.

The Best Picture winner of 1930-31, “Cimarron,” was the only Western film to win the top prize until “Dances with Wolves” seized it some sixty years later. In 1934, Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night” became the first film to make a clean sweep of the five most sought-after categories: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay. Forty years had passed before any other film achieved the same feat.

One of the most remarkable years in the early history of film awards was 1939; this is due to the fact that the competition for Best Picture included several movies that, unlike the early silent movies, have gone on to stand the test of time and continued to receive widespread acclaim.

That year the John Wayne vehicle “Stagecoach” was vying for Best Picture with the Howard Hawks’ screwball comedy “His Girl Friday,” the ground-breaking “The Wizard of Oz,” and the hugely popular “Gone with the Wind.” More remarkable still is that, despite such stellar competition, “Gone with the Wind” managed to sweep the board with a total of eight Oscar wins.

For the first few years, awards related to all the work a particular actor or director had done was completed during the qualifying period. It was only in 1933 that the system was changed to honor specific works instead. Another major change came in 1935 when the qualifying period was altered to represent the previous calendar year rather than a period spanning two years.

In 1940, the Los Angeles Times busted the long-standing embargo and revealed the names of that year’s winners in its evening edition. Ever since, the Academy has made use of the now famous system of sealed envelopes, keeping everyone in suspense until the very last minute.

Top 20 All-Time Hollywood Movies

Every year there are new blockbuster movies and potential classics that audiences can enjoy for generations to come. If you are looking for a list of great movies – arguably the best movies Hollywood has ever made, then start with this list of 20 best movies as your guide.

The American Film Institute and other critically respected organizations update their “Best” lists every year. Though the rankings may change, and there are occasionally new entries toward the top, here are the consistently ranked top Hollywood movies.

20 – To Kill A Mockingbird. Gregory Peck give an unforgettable performance in this adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel. His search for justice has inspired and influence courtroom dramas every since.

19 – E.T. No other film captured the imagination of young audiences in the 1980’s than E.T. This extra-terrestrial teamed up with Drew Barrymore to form the best chemistry between child and alien that the big screen has ever seen.

18 – Alien. Director Ridley Scott’s best film to date. Spawning multiple sequels that never lived up to the quality of this break-out film. A must-see for any sci-fi fan.

17 – Rear Window. How many of Hitchcock’s films usually make “best-of” lists? We could easily put five of them up here. But James Stewart’s performance is unbelievable.

16 – Unforgiven. This movie handed Clint Eastwood an Oscar for Best Picture and remains a classic revenge tale.

15 – Pulp Fiction. A more recent addition to the American Film Classic library. This put Quentin Tarrantino on the map and inspired a generation of screenwriters.

14 – King Kong. A classic, and innovative at the time for this use of stop motion animation in the much-copied Empire Stat Building climax.

13 – 12 Angry Men. Another courtroom drama for the ages. Shot almost entirely in a jury deliberation room, this movie proves a play can be adapted effectively for the screen.

12 – Annie Hall. A comedy classic that won Woody Allen a Best Director award from the Academy, even though he did not show up to accept. This movie became a template for off-beat romantic comedies that still works today.

11 – Rocky. If the Rocky series had ended after the first movie, this would still be a sports classic. This humble love story about a fighter who finally gets his shot never gets old.

10 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A breakthrough in animation on the scale of Pixar’s achievements, and even greater considering the lack of technology. This movie is still beautiful.

9 – Casablanca. The story of a love-torn man during World War Two. Proof that the lives of two people can have a great impact on the entire world.

8 – Chinatown. Roman Polanski’s epic film about a private eye played by a young Jack Nicholson who gets in over his head.

7 – North By Northwest. Another Hitchcock movie that stands the test of time. A caper that unfolds when the wrong man is targeted.

6 – Wizard of Oz. An epic that every family can watch and enjoy together no matter how young or old.

5 – Schindler’s List. Steven Spielberg’s classic story of how one man saved so many from the horrors of the concentration camps.

4 – Titanic. James Cameron’s epic story of love caught in the middle of a world famous disaster.

3 – Gone With the Wind. One of the most famous adaptations. This Civil War drama remains a staple of best Hollywood movies lists.

2 – Citizen Kane. Orson Welles’ story of a fallen titan broke the rules of story and directing.

1 – The Godfather. The end all be all of gangster films. Francis Ford Coppola’s classic is the story of a mafia family that still feels fresh today.

Use this list of 20 best movies to become acquainted with film history and the various films in every genre that have stood the test of time.

What Makes a Very Bad Big Budget Hollywood Movie?

Everyone wonders how a Hollywood production company can spend so many millions of dollars on an idea or script that is obviously so bad. When you consider how many people create scripts each year, how can a movie be made that clearly has no script or any real idea?

Very recently I saw the movie Jupiter Ascending and while sitting through these 2 hours of pure garbage I could not believe that every single scene made no sense and each scene’s connection to the next scene made even less sense. The entire purpose of the movie seemed to be to come up with reasons to insert special effects to disguise the fact that this very bad movie should never had been made. While wasting over 2 hours of my life watching this movie I would continually press the light button to see how much longer I would have sit through this horrible movie. Obviously this is not a good sign.

It should be obvious to all Hollywood producers that special effects is never a workaround for not having a decent script or a good story idea, but so often I have seen movies where all this is forgotten because they all think that all we need is a great movie trailer showing explosions, aliens and special effects and that would make up for the fact that no time was put into writing a story and a good script. This happens far too often in Hollywood and its shame.

The end result of all this is that so many of us are fooled into believing that we are going to be entertained by a great blockbuster movie with great special effects and a great story, but what happens in the case of Jupiter Ascending is that you have to sit through 2 hours of a nightmare that you can’t wait until it’s all over. While watching this horrible movie, I was close to walking out several times and now that I have seen the entire 2 hours I am surprised I didn’t. From here I am going to be curious about what the critics will say about this movie as well as how much movie it will make this weekend and long term. In terms of my life of going to the movie, this has to be one of the worst movies of all times as far as movies I have seen in a movie theatre and paid for.

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