1st Academy Awards

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and hosted by AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks, honored the best films from 1 August 1927 to 31 July 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Tickets cost $5 ($85 in 2022, considering inflation); 270 people attended the event, which lasted 15 minutes. It is the only Academy Awards ceremony not broadcast on either radio or television; a radio broadcast was introduced for the 2nd Academy Awards.[2]

1st Academy Awards
Large, ornate room, filled with people in formal dress sitting at different tables.
The first Academy Awards ceremony (pictured) was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
DateMay 16, 1929 (1929-05-16)
SiteHollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted byDouglas Fairbanks
Best PictureWings[1]
Most awards7th Heaven and Sunrise (3 each)
Most nominations7th Heaven (5)

During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards โ€“ later to be colloquially known as "Oscars" โ€“ in 12 categories. The winners had been announced three months ahead of the ceremony. Some nominations did not reference a specific film, such as Ralph Hammeras and Nugent Slaughter, who were nominated for Engineering Effects, a category that was dropped the following year (along with those for Unique and Artistic Production, Best Director (Comedy), and Best Title Writing).[3] Unlike later ceremonies, an actor could be awarded for multiple films: Emil Jannings won Best Actor for his work in both The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command, while Best Actress winner Janet Gaynor was honored for three films. Charlie Chaplin and Warner Brothers each received an Honorary Award.[4][5]

Major winners at the ceremony included 7th Heaven and Sunrise, with three awards apiece (the latter winning for Unique and Artistic Picture), and Wings receiving two awards, including Outstanding Picture. The following year, the Academy dropped Unique and Artistic Picture and decided retroactively that the award won by Wings was its highest honor.[3][6]

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