(Reuters) - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences is presenting its 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony
Sunday from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
The world's top film honors are given out annually by the
Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences. Here are some facts about the Oscars:
* EARLY DAYS:
-- 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 "Seventh Heaven" and Emil Jannings for "The Last Command."
-- 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
that it was ineligible for competition for best picture because
it was thought it would be unfair to let sound films compete
* 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
-- 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."
* MOST AWARDS:
-- 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," which reaped 11 awards
from 12 nominations. 2003's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return
of the King" also won 11 Oscars from 11 nominations.
-- U.S. actress Meryl Streep holds the record for most
acting nominations, 15 including for 2008's "Doubt," and she
has won twice. Katharine Hepburn earned 12 nominations but won
four times. Ingrid Bergman is next with three Oscars. Jack
Nicholson is the most nominated male star with 12 nominations
and three wins. Walter Brennan also won three, but from only
-- Last year's lead-acting Oscars were won by Daniel
Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" and Marion Cotillard who
played French songstress Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose."
-- Joel Coen and Ethan Coen won best director for "No
Country For Old Men," which also won the best picture award.
Sources: Reuters/www.filmsite.org and www.Oscars.org
(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)
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