Today is the 87th anniversary of the first Academy Awards ceremony on May 16, 1929. The ceremony took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (a stone’s throw from the current site of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre) and honored films released between August 1927 and August 1928. About 270 people attended the private dinner. Unlike today, winners were announced three months in advance. Here’s a quick snapshot of the ceremony:
Cost of a Guest Ticket: $5 (or $69 by today’s standards) Number of Statues Awarded: 15 Length of Ceremony: 15 minutes
The last two years, we saw something special—and rare—happen at the Oscars: the Best Song category actually meant something to many viewers. Two years ago, we couldn’t get “Let It Go” from Frozen out of our heads (but let’s be honest, did it ever really leave our heads?). That was the year the Idina Menzel tuner left Pharrell’s toe-tapping contender “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 in the dust. Then last year, we saw John Legend and Common force the Dolby to its feet with their performance of winning song “Glory” from Selma, outpacing another fan favorite, The Lego Movie‘s “Everything Is Awesome.”
This year, high-profile artists like Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, Sam Smith, and The Weeknd are in the mix, but their songs don’t have the same appeal as those from recent memory. Still, this year’s diverse lot of songs—ranging from R&B to classical to a James Bond anthem—is worth a listen before this Sunday’s Oscars.
Nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animated, “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” is a beautiful film about friendship and dreams. This is Russian filmmaker Konstantin Bronzit’s second Oscar nomination in this category; his previous nomination came in 2009 for his animated short “Lavatory Lovestory.”
For the seventh year, we decided to offer you a little help in deciding some of the biggest Oscar races—free of charge. And never has it been as important that we do so than this year, one of the most competitive races in recent memory with no clear frontrunners in many categories. Take it from us, because we’re kinda good at this.
Now that all eight Best Picture Oscar-nominated films have been announced, it’s time to catch up with your screenings before the February 28 ceremony. Here’s a parade of trailers for all Best Picture nominees to get you ready. Check out a complete list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards here.
In honor of Pope Francis’s visit to New York City, check out Going My Way, the 1944 Leo McCarey-directed classic about another religious figure in New York who decides to do things, well, a little differently. The trailer below was released following the film’s seven Oscar wins (not sure why the trailer says eight), including Best Picture, Best Actor (Bing Crosby), Best Director, and Best Writing (Original Story and Screenplay). The film spawned a sequel, 1945’s The Bells of St. Mary’s (nominated for eight Oscars in its own right, with one win for Sound Recording), starring Ingrid Bergman and Crosby reprising his role as Father Chuck O’Malley.
There were several notable snubs when this year’s Oscar nominations were revealed back in January. Among them was Jake Gyllenhaal, who turned in a career-high performance in the dark, gritty, and disturbing—and, oh so fantastic—Nightcrawler. The long-talented actor took his lumps, but he’s primed to take another shot with Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, 2001) and written by Kurt Sutter (TV’s Sons of Anarchy)
Gyllenhaal stars as Billy Hope, a boxer who struggles to keep his life together following a devastating incident. Based on the official trailer, which was released today, it appears that Gyllenhaal leaves nothing on the mat, delivering a complex and emotional interpretation of his character. And considering his physical transformation and The Weinstein Company as distributor, the film looks to be a contender come Oscar season. Southpaw also stars Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, and Rachel McAdams (in a long overdue good role, though it doesn’t appear she lasts long in the film). The film will bow on July 31.
Writer/Director Damien Chazelle must be enjoying his well-deserved recent success after his excellent debut feature Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards and took home the gold for Editing, Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actor. However, there was a time when Chazelle’s original feature screenplay about the sado-masochistic relationship between an ambitious jazz drummer and his abusive instructor wasn’t necessarily a hot commodity in Hollywood.
Best Picture — Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole (Birdman) Director — Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) Actor — Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) Actress — Julianne Moore (Still Alice) Supporting Actor — J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) Supporting Actress — Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) Original Screenplay — Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Adapted Screenplay — Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) Animated Feature — Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon 2) Foreign Language Film — Ida Documentary Feature — Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky (Citizenfour) Cinematography — Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman) Production Design — Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Costume Design — Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods) Makeup and Hairstyling — Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel) Film Editing — Sandra Adair (Boyhood) Original Score — Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything) Original Song — John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (“Glory,” Selma) Visual Effects — Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott Fisher (Interstellar) Sound Editing — Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman (American Sniper) Sound Mixing — John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin (American Sniper) Documentary Short — Aneta Kopacz (“Joanna”) Animated Short Film — Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (“The Dam Keeper”) Live Action Short Film — Matt Kirkby and James Lucas (“The Phone Call”)