Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

6 March 2024

On Sunday, March 10, we have the opportunity to enjoy the awards ceremony commonly called The Oscars.  It is the formal presentation of Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).  They have been presented since 1929.  The winners get a gold trophy, a statuette.

There are a lot of categories:

  • Acting
  • Animated Feature Film
  • Animated Short Film
  • Cinematography
  • Costume Design
  • Directing
  • Documentary, both feature and short films
  • Editing
  • International
  • Live Action short film
  • Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Music with several subcategories. This year 92-year-old John Williams is nominated for the 54th
  • Best Picture
  • Production Design
  • Sound
  • Visual Effects
  • Writing

Of course, all the most popular categories are saved for the end.  A great deal of the technical achievements get first notice.  In addition there will be clever bantering by the guest host and the presenters.  But then again, you get to enjoy all the variations of evening dress in both the nominees and the persenters.

To be considered, the Academy must receive an Oscars Submission Form (entry application) signed by the producer or distributor.  Voting is by only active and life Academy members by secret ballot.  Each award may receive only five nominations, except for best picture, which can go up to ten.

How do you get to be a member of the academy, and thus eligble to vote?  First, you have to be involved in film making (duh!) in one of the 18 official categories.  But, you cannot just apply to be a member of the Academy.  Oh, no.  You must be sponsored.  Two members in the branch for which someone wants to be admitted must begin the process.  Or, you can be nominated for an Academy Award and then you are automatically a candidate and won’t need a sponsor.  After that, the application goes to the Board of Governors for approval, or not.

The idea of the academy originated with Louis B. Mayer, famed head of MGM.  His concept was an organization to deal with labor disputes without a union.  Hmmm?  The basics of membership were outlined.   At that point, there were no awards but they did decide to have an annual banquet.

The first organizational meeting was held May 11, 1927, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. was elected president.  Originally it was composed of only five branches, producers, actors, directors, writers, and technicians.  But we know that has grown significantly over the years.  Finally in May 1928 they started talking about awards.

If you get the chance to see some of the footage from the early ceremonies, you will notice that it was in conjunction with a dinner.  Then it was held in two locations, New York and California.

So, who are the front runners this year?  The money is on Oppenheimer for best film.  Paul Giamatti for best actor.  Best actress is a toss up between Lilly Gladstone and Emma Stone.  Christopher Nolan as best director.  Oppenheimer again for best music score.

But don’t be too complacent.  Often there are some surprises.

Now sit back; pass the popcorn; have a beverage of your choice; and call “action”.











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