The 89th annual Academy Awards will be televised live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California this Sunday. The show starts at 6:00 p.m. CST and will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
The Academy Awards are the oldest and most famous film awards. They are also the most influential and prestigious and have been presented annually since 1929.
My husband and I are movie buffs so we look forward to watching every year. In fact, we always try to see as many of the movies that are nominated for best picture as we can before the actual awards show.
This year, there are nine films nominated for best picture and we have seen six of the nine. Perhaps we will be able to fit one or two more in before Sunday’s show. The best picture nominees for this year’s Academy Awards are:
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Every year when we watch, I always wonder about two things:
Why are the Academy Awards (the show as well as the actual award) sometimes called the “Oscars” and who exactly IS the Academy that everyone thanks in their acceptance speech? So, I did a little research to find out because I can’t be the only one who wonders about these things!
The Academy is short for the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” and is a non-profit professional organization created in 1927 whose members are part of the film industry. In 1927 the Academy consisted of just 26 members but today has a membership of approximately 5800 voting members.
In the early days of the Academy there were five branches…Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians. Today, the Academy has 17 different branches with the largest branch (22%) being made up of actors. Some of the other branches include: Casting Directors, Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Designers, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists, Music, Public Relations, Short Films and Feature Animation, Sound, and Visual Effects.
Academy members do both the nominating and the voting for the Academy Awards through paper or online ballots. Members are restricted to nominating for awards that are covered by their branch only with the exception of Best Picture, which every voter can nominate.
Once the nominations are in, the votes are tallied and top five are announced as nominees. The exception to this is the Best Picture Category which can have up to ten nominations. After the nominees are announced, each Academy member receives a final voting ballot which is either paper or online. Members may vote for the winner in all categories, regardless of which branch of the film industry they work in.
Three people lay claim to dubbing the gold figure award “Oscar.” One of these is actress Bette Davis who said the statuette looked like the backside of her husband, Harman Oscar Nelson.
Another person who took credit for giving the Academy Award its nickname was the Academy’s Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, who first saw the award in 1931 and said it reminded her of her Uncle Oscar.
It is most commonly believed, however, that writer and Hollywood gossip columnist, Sidney Skolsky, got tired of calling the Academy Award “the shiny gold man” or “the gold statue of the Academy” and began calling it “Oscar” which was a name he heard in a vaudeville joke.
The actual Academy Award or “Oscar” is 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds. The figure of the statuette is 10.5 inches tall and the base is 3 inches tall. The Oscar statuettes are made of a metal mixture called Britannium (93% tin, 5% antimony, 2% copper) and have 24-karat gold plating on their surfaces. The base of the Academy Award is a circular can of film with five spokes representing the five original branches of the academy.
In the old days, Academy Award winners would have their awards taken away after the ceremony for about a week while the metal plate on the base was engraved with their name and category of their award.
Since 2009 however, Oscar winners can go to the Governor’s Ball held after the Academy Awards and wait five minutes while the metal plate is engraved and then attached to their statuette. That seems like a much better way to do things since it allows the winners to keep their awards!
So, will you be watching Sunday night? Which film do you think will win for best picture? We will be pulling for “Hidden Figures” or “La La Land” but there were so many good films nominated and it will be fun to see what the Academy decides!