Academy Story

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1927

1927

Douglas Fairbanks
Academy President from 1927-1929
Birth of the Academy
During a dinner at his home, M-G-M studio chief Louis B. Mayer and his guests talked about creating an organized group to benefit the film industry. A week later, 36 invitees from all the creative branches of the film industry dined at Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel to hear a proposal to found the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Articles of incorporation were soon presented and officers were elected with Douglas Fairbanks as president.
1928

1928

Awards of Merit
One of the first Academy committees was the Awards of Merit. The seven-person committee suggested to the Board that awards be presented in 12 categories. The Academy published its first book in 1928 - Report on Incandescent Illumination, based on a series of Academy-sponsored seminars attended by 150 cinematographers. A second book, Recording Sound for Motion Pictures, was published in 1931, based on a lecture series on sound techniques.
1929

1929

Academy President from 1929–1931
William C. DeMille
The First Oscars
The first Academy Awards ceremony was a May 16 banquet at the Roosevelt Hotel's Blossom Room with 270 attendees. Recipients were announced three months earlier; the next year the Academy kept the results secret but gave an advance list to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. This continued until 1940 when the Los Angeles Times published the winners in its evening edition - readily available to arriving guests. That prompted the sealed-envelope system in use today. By the second year, enthusiasm for the Awards was such that a Los Angeles radio station produced a live broadcast.
1930

1930

Finding A Home
In June, the Academy rented a suite of offices at 7046 Hollywood Boulevard to give more space for the increased staff. The Academy's operations remained there until 1935, when the offices moved to the Taft Building and the library went to North Gordon Street.
1931

1931

M.C. Levee
Academy President from 1931-1932
1932

1932

Conrad Nagel
Academy President from 1932-1933
1933

1933

J. Theodore Reed
Academy President from 1933-1934
1934

1934

Frank Lloyd
Academy President from 1934-1935
Keeping Track
A new Academy publication, the Screen Achievement Records Bulletin, debuted when the Writers Branch began publishing a bulletin of screen authorship records. It listed film production titles and complete credits for directors and writers.
1935

1935

Academy President from 1935-1939
Frank Capra
A Source Of Security
Film Editing, Music Scoring, and Song were added to the categories honoring films released in 1934. The year also brought the first write-in campaign, seeking to nominate Bette Davis for her performance in "Of Human Bondage." (Academy rules now prohibit write-ins on the final ballot.) Also that year, the Academy retained the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse to tabulate the ballots and ensure the secrecy of the results. The firm, now called PricewaterhouseCoopers, continues to tabulate the voting to this day.
1937

1937

Strong Support
The first Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress Academy Awards are presented for performances in films of 1936. The honors went to Walter Brennan for "Come and Get it" and Gale Sondergaard for "Anthony Adverse." The Academy Players Directory was published, including photos of actors and the name of their agent or industry contact. The directory was published by the Academy until 2006, when it was sold to a private company.
1938

1938

Time For Thalberg
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was presented for the first time at the ceremony held in 1938. The honor went to Darryl F. Zanuck. For the first time, the Oscar ceremony was delayed when massive flooding in Los Angeles pushed the date back one week. By 1938 the Academy's Research Council, a forerunner of today's Science and Technology Council, had 36 technical committees working to address issues related to sound recording and reproduction, projection, lighting, film preservation and cinematography.
1939

1939

Academy President from 1939-1941
Walter Wanger
Very Special Effects
Fred Sersen and E. H. Hansen of 20th Century Fox were the first winners of the Academy Award for Special Effects. They were honored for their work in the 1939 film "The Rains Came."
1941

1941

Academy President from 1941-1945
Walter Wanger
Keeping it Real
A documentary category appeared on the ballot for the first time.
Academy President for two months
Bette Davis, resigned
1944

1944

Welcome to the Chinese
For the first time the Oscar ceremony is held at the famously popular Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. It would be hosted there through 1946.
1945

1945

Academy President from 1945-1949
Jean Hersholt
1946

1946

The Big Move
The Academy purchased the Marquis Theater building at 9038 Melrose Avenue as its new headquarters. The building had a 950-seat theater (the site of the 1948 Academy Awards) and space for staff offices and the ever-growing library holdings.
1947

1947

Language Lessions
The first special award to honor a foreign language motion picture was given in 1947 to the Italian film “Shoe-Shine.” Seven more special awards were presented before Foreign Language Film became an annual category in 1956.
1949

1949

Academy President from 1949-1955
Charles Brackett
CLOTHES MAKE THE OSCAR
Costume Design was added to the Oscar voting ballots in black-and-white and color categories, with the first statuettes awarded to “Hamlet” and “Joan of Arc.”
1953

1953

OSCAR COAST TO COAST
The first televised Oscar ceremony enabled millions throughout the United States and Canada to watch the proceedings.
1955

1955

Academy President from 1955-1958
George Seaton
1957

1957

ENTER HERSHOLT
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was established and Y. Frank Freeman was its first recipient.
1958

1958

Academy President from 1958–1959
George Stevens
1959

1959

Academy President from 1959–1960
B. B. Kahane, died
1960

1960

Academy President from 1960–1961
Valentine Davies, died
1961

1961

Academy President from 1961–1963
Wendell Corey
1963

1963

Academy President from 1963–1967
Arthur Freed
1964

1964

AN OSCAR SPLIT
The Special Effects category was divided into Sound Effects and Special Visual Effects.
1966

1966

OSCAR, LIVE AND IN COLOR!
For the first time, the Oscars were telecast in color.
1967

1967

Academy President from 1967–1970
Gregory Peck
1968

1968

HAPPINESS AND TRAGEDY
Grants were awarded to film-related organizations and colleges for internships, film festivals and other projects, following the establishment of a scholarship program for film students in the mid 1960s. The Oscar ceremony was postponed from April 8 to April 10 out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated a few days earlier, and whose funeral was held on April 9.
1969

1969

OSCAR GOES WORLDWIDE
The Oscars were broadcast internationally for the first time; now the show reaches movie fans in over 200 countries. The ceremony was the first major event held at the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles County Music Center.
1970

1970

Academy President from 1970–1973
Daniel Taradash
1972

1972

A VALUABLE RESOURCE
The Academy began the National Film Information Service to offer access to library materials for historians, students and others outside Los Angeles.
1973

1973

Academy President from 1973–1977
Walter Mirisch
FUTURE GENERATIONS
The Student Academy Awards Committee was established to recognize and encourage promising college and university filmmakers
1974

1974

AN EVENTFUL ADDITION
Several named public lecture programs were developed, beginning with the Marvin Borowsky Lecture, which was established in 1974 in honor of the late screenwriter and university professor. Over the years, five more lecture series have been added, in the names of Marc Davis, John Huston, Jack Oakie, George Pal and George Stevens, and each having a focus related to its namesake. Guest speakers for the various lectures have run the gamut from Jerry Lewis to Carl Sagan.
1975

1975

SPREADING OUR WINGS
The Academy dedicated its new headquarters at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills on December 8. The Academy's scope of public programming expanded to make full use of the facility’s state-of-the-art theater and large lobby. A series called Film Classics Revisited launched the next decade featuring discussions with the cast and crew, a successful format that became the norm. There were also many tributes to screen legends, from Groucho Marx to Mickey Mouse, with exhibitions presented in the main lobby. Public events grew more expansive each year, with a wider range of film screenings and exhibitions, and new seminars on specific aspects of filmmaking.
1977

1977

Howard W. Kock
Academy President from 1977–1979
Howard W. Koch
1979

1979

Academy President from 1979–1983
Fay Kanin
1981

1981

BREAKING HEADLINES
In 1981 the Awards were once again postponed, this time for 24 hours because of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
1982

1982

A PAIR OF NEW ADDITIONS
Makeup became an annual category, with Rick Baker winning for his work on “An American Werewolf in London.” The Gordon E. Sawyer Award, recognizing technological contributions to the industry, was established.
1983

1983

Academy President from 1983–1985
Gene Allen
1985

1985

Academy President from 1985–1988
Robert Wise
1986

1986

THE WRITE STUFF
The first Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting were awarded, with the competition expanding three years after to include writers across the U.S. (with the number of entries jumping to 1,400). It quickly grew into a prestigious international screenwriting competition.
1988

1988

Academy President from 1988–1989
Richard Kahn
1989

1989

Academy President from 1989–1992
Karl Malden
1990

1990

A SECOND HOME
Due to the growing holdings of the library and film archive, they moved to a new location – a 40,000 square-foot building at the corner of La Cienega and Olympic boulevards that had once housed a Beverly Hills water treatment facility. The building was officially dedicated in January 1991 and, in 2002, was renamed the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in honor of the Academy's first president.
1992

1992

Robert Rehme
Academy President from 1992–1993
Robert Rehme
1993

1993

Arthur Hiller
Academy President from 1993–1997
Arthur Hiller
1997

1997

Robert Rehme
Academy President from 1997–2001
Robert Rehme
2000

2000

ACADEMY FILM SCHOLARS PROGRAM
After the Film Festival Grants Program began the previous year, the Academy Film Scholars Program was launched with two $25,000 grants awarded annually to support the creation of new works of film scholarship by established scholars, writers, historians and researchers.
2001

2001

Academy President from 2001–2005
Frank R. Pierson
2002

2002

AN ANIMATED YEAR
The Academy’s film archive moved to a new facility, the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study at 1313 Vine Street. The complex was built in the 1940s as the Don Lee-Mutual Broadcasting building, and sound stages were converted into vaults to house the archive's holdings. The Center now houses the Science and Technology Council and other departments and has a 286-seat theater. The Animated Feature Film Award was established, with “Shrek” winning for films released in 2001. The ceremony took place at the new Kodak Theatre, built with input from the Academy. The Oscars are still held at the same location, now known as the Dolby Theatre.
2003

2003

THE SCI-TECH COUNCIL LAUNCHES
The Academy Board of Governors created the Science and Technology Council, which served to reestablish the Academy's role as an industry-wide center for motion picture technology initiatives. U.S. forces invaded Iraq on the Thursday before the telecast. The show went on as scheduled, but the red carpet was limited to the area immediately in front of the theater entrance, the red carpet bleachers were eliminated and the majority of the world’s press was disinvited. The next year, the red carpet was back in full force.
2005

2005

Academy President from 2005–2009
Sid Ganis
2009

2009

Academy President from 2009–2012
Tom Sherak
2012

2012

Academy President from 2012–2013
Hawk Koch
A DREAM FULFILLED
The Academy announced plans for a museum devoted to motion pictures, to be located next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus in the landmarked Wilshire May Company building. The Museum will curate and present the work of Oscar winners and nominees, as well as the legions of global artists who make movies.
2013

2013

Academy President from 2013–Present
Cheryl Boone Isaacs