Factbox: A look at Oscars' history

Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:54pm EST
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(Reuters) - The 84th Oscar ceremony, hosted for the ninth time by Billy Crystal, will be televised on Sunday from Hollywood, just steps from the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The awards are given out by the Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Here is a look at 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 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.   Continued...

An Oscar statue waits to be unveiled in the red carpet arrival area during preparations for the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 24, 2012.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson