The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents its 83rd annual Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. The Academy Awards, or Oscars, are the world's top film honours and are given out annually.
Here are some facts about the Oscars:
- When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. The first ceremony took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
- The best actress and actor awards went to Janet Gaynor for her performances in "Sunrise" and "Seventh Heaven," both from 1927, and "Street Angel" from 1928, and to Emil Jannings for "The Last Command" and "The Way of All Flesh."
- The Warner Bros. film "The Jazz Singer" was honored with a special award as the "pioneering outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry." The Academy had ruled it was ineligible for competition for best picture because it
was thought it would be unfair to let sound films compete with silents.
1939 and "Gone With the Wind":
- 1939 was one of the most celebrated years in American film history, encompassing such classics as "The Wizard of Oz," "Stagecoach" "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Ninotchka," "Wuthering Heights" and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."
- "Gone with the Wind," director Victor Fleming's almost four-hour blockbuster film, was the longest feature released up to that time and it was the major Oscar winner of the year. It was also the first color film to win for best picture.
- The film earned 13 nominations and won eight competitive awards (and two special citations) - both records for the time. It would hold that record until "Gigi" (1957) won nine Oscars.
- Both lead acting awards were presented to British performers - for the first time in Academy history. Newcomer Vivien Leigh won for her portrayal of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind," and Robert Donat won for his title role in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."
- The 1959 epic "Ben Hur" set an Academy Award record by winning 11 Oscars, a benchmark matched nearly four decades later by the 1997 blockbuster "Titanic." 2003's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" also won 11 Oscars, from 11
- U.S. actress Meryl Streep holds the record for most acting nominations, 16, including her latest for 2009's "Julie & Julia," and she has won twice. Katharine Hepburn earned 12 nominations but won four times. Ingrid Bergman is next with three Oscars from seven nominations.
- Jack Nicholson is the most nominated male star, with 12 nominations and three wins. Walter Brennan also won three, but from only four nominations.
- Last year's lead-acting Oscars were won by Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" and Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side."
- Kathryn Bigelow won best director for "The Hurt Locker," which also won the best picture award. Bigelow became the first woman in the history of the Academy Awards to take the directing prize as her gritty Iraq War movie outshone "Avatar"
after a nail-biting campaign season.
- The Hurt Locker" also took home four awards in other categories. "Avatar," the 3D smash directed by Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron, ended up with three awards, all in technical categories.