The Oscars (earlier known as The Academy Award) is the main movie award in the United States and one of the most prestigious awards in the world. It is the oldest award in the world in the media, but it still remains one of the most significant awards in the world of cinema. It is awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) at the ceremony, which traditionally takes place in late February or early March at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles (United States).
The feature of this award is that unlike most film festivals, The Oscars are awarded based on the results of the popular vote of the Academy members, and are not chosen by the jury. The candidates for the award are nominated by the workers of the film industry, and the winners of the award are determined by secret ballot among the Academy members, whom there were around 6000 people as of March, 2007, divided into 17 branches. Each branch (by the way, the largest is Actors) votes for its category (actors choose the best actress and actor, scriptwriters chose the best screenwriter, etc.).
However, some nominations are chosen by special groups voting outside the Academy, and all together they are voting only on one category, "The best picture." The winners’ names are kept secret until The Oscars ceremony.
The origin of the Award dates back to 1929, as the name “Oscar” was officially introduced in 1939 and the Ceremony was originally called the Academy Awards. The concept was conceived by the MGM American Film Studio head Louis B. Mayer. It was he, who was one of the founders of the AMPAS two years earlier, along with other film-production executives and the heads of the Hollywood film studios.
The first awards ceremony was held May 16, 1929, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Since then, the rules of voting, and even list of nominations were constantly changing. Today the ceremony is broadcasted in dozens of countries around the world live, and up to 1953, it was broadcasted on the radio.
Perhaps the only thing that has remained unchanged since the earliest days of the Oscars is the gold-plated statuette, which is the main prize for the winners. It is produced from 1929, and was a Knight with a sword on a spool of film reels. Five holes under the coil are the Academy five branches: producers, writers, directors, actors, and technicians. The height of the statue is 34 cm, the weight is 3.85 kg, it is made of a gold alloy coated with Britain, it is on a pedestal of black marble. The idea of the statuettes belongs to the MGM Executive Director Cedric Gibbons, and its embodiment to the sculptor George Stanley. However, the author of the name "Oscar" is not known for certain.
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