Academy Award History, Part Eight: 1940-1941

Academy Award History, Part Eight: 1940-1941

Hitchcock Ford Welles

As the Academy entered a new decade, several changes came to the Awards. For the first time ever, the winners were kept a complete secret until the envelopes were opened on stage. The first year, the winners were known in advance. But to heighten suspense, the Academy decided that for future shows, the names of the winners would be given to the press on the condition that they would not release the names until after the ceremony. This agreement held until 1939, when the Los Angeles Times printed the winners in their evening edition on the night of the awards thereby “spoiling the surprise.” The decision was made to maintain absolute secrecy regarding the winners, and accounting firm Price Waterhouse & Co. was hired to count the ballots and place the winners’ names in sealed envelopes. There were also numerous name changes for the Best Picture category. The original “Outstanding Picture” lasted for the first two ceremonies before becoming “Outstanding Production” in 1930, a change that held until 1941 when the Academy renamed the prize “Outstanding Motion Picture.” This only lasted for three years before the Academy decided on “Best Motion Picture,” before finally becoming the current “Best Picture” in 1963. Read more

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2015 Academy Award Picks

2015 Academy Award Picks

“And the Oscar goes to…” Roughly 40 million viewers will tune in this coming Sunday evening to hear those words and, more importantly, the name or title that follows. In terms of viewers, The Academy Awards may not be the Super Bowl, but they are the crowning jewel of popular media, drawing twice as many viewers as the Golden Globes or the Grammys and nearly three times as many viewers as the Emmys. Many of those viewers will already have their ballots filled out in hopes of winning a friendly wager, or simply bragging rights, among friends or co-workers. I am one of those viewers. So, here I present my thoughts and predictions for this year’s Oscars. Read more

“And the Oscar doesn’t go to…”: Academy Award Controversy

“And the Oscar doesn’t go to…”: Academy Award Controversy

Every Oscar year has controversy and one of this year’s centers around Selma. The film focuses on a major event in the Civil Rights movement, the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. The film received only two nominations, one for Best Original Song for “Glory” by John Legend and Common and…one for Best Picture. Had the film only been nominated for best song, there may actually have been no controversy. But it was nominated for Best Picture with no nod to its director, Ava DuVernay, its screenplay, co-written by DuVernay and Paul Webb, or any of its performances, particularly the lead performance by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. Is this really the same actor who played the snooty, money grubbing, corporate jerk in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and the “can we trust him” detective in Jack Reacher (2012)? Read more

And the Oscar goes to… (Director’s Cut)

And the Oscar goes to… (Director’s Cut)

Oscar StatuesI’m still trying to figure out how it happened. He did everything he was supposed to do. He made a movie that is everything movies are supposed to be. It had thrills. It had adventure. It had laughs. But more than anything, it accomplished the impossible: both critics AND audiences loved it. As the box office numbers grew, so did the accolades. And not just the early critical accolades, but the big prizes: The Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Director’s Guild. But, when the big moment came, when the nominees for the Academy Awards were announced, his name was not heard when the nominees for Best Director were read. The film was there for Best Picture, but not the man behind the camera who had brought the vision to life. Read more