When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during a banquet held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The attendance was 250 and tickets cost $10. It was a long banquet, filled with speeches, but presentation of the statuettes took only five minutes.
The suspense at Oscar time was not always a characteristic of the awards presentation. In the first year, the recipients were announced to the public three months ahead of the ceremonies. For the next decade, the results were given in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the awards.
But in 1940, much to the Academy’s dismay, guests arriving for the affair could buy an evening edition of the Los Angeles Times, which broke the embargo and announced the winning achievements. As a result, the sealed-envelope system was adopted the next year and remains in use today.
That’s a little of the history of the Academy Awards ceremony. Below is a quiz to test your knowledge of Oscar’s winners and losers through the years. (Answers will appear next week.)