- The Academy Awards has changed a lot over the past few decades.
- The first ceremony only gave out 15 awards.
- There used to be a limit on best picture nominations.
Every year, the Oscars mark the climax of award show season but at times, they can feel kinda predictable, anticlimactic even. In what many consider the most glamorous night in Hollywood, actors, actresses, and filmmakers wait to hear their names called so that they can take home the iconic Academy Award statue and make their acceptance speeches.
Though it now feels a bit formulaic, it wasn’t always the same, exact ceremony. In fact, the Oscars have made some major changes since the award show first began
The first Academy Awards took place in a very different location and a whole different season.
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Though the legendary Dolby Theatre is now known as the go-to venue when it comes to the Oscars, it wasn’t always the scene of the awards. The first ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a few months after what we consider the modern-day award show season.
Only 15 awards were given at that first show, including best picture, which went to “Wings,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Oscars weren’t televised until 1953.
According to History.com, the winners’ names were originally published and announced in the daily newspaper. This seemed simple enough until a paper accidentally published the results early.
Since then, the awards were broadcast live on the radio until 1953, when the Academy Awards made their television debut on NBC.
Academy Award winners didn’t always have limits to their acceptance speeches.
It’s always awkward when the music starts playing during an emotional acceptance speech, but that moment didn’t used to happen at all.
In 2010, Oscar winners were given the current 45-second time limit for a speech, according to Heavy.com. Before that, many winners were a bit long-winded with their words, including best actress winner Greer Garson, who gave a 5-minute speech in 1942.
Whoopi Goldberg made Oscar history in more ways than one.
It took a very, very long time for a host who was not a white man to take over as the host of the award ceremony. In 1994, Whoopi Goldberg became both the first female and the first African-American to host the show on their own, according to Huffpost.com.
After her debut, Goldberg hosted two more times.
Red carpet style wasn’t always so glamorous.
Obviously, fashion changes with time and trends come and go, but the general themes and dress code for the event have also changed as time has gone on.
Through the years, the event has become more and more formal, but in 1941, nominees were actually asked to dress in a more somber, underrated style in acknowledgment of World War II, according to British Vogue.
Gift bags have gotten more and more expensive.
Losing isn’t so bad when you get to go home with over $100,000 in extravagant prizes. Nominees weren’t always so lucky when it comes to taking home serious swag. Back in 2002, the gift bags were worth a solid $20,000, according to USA Today.
In fact, starting in 2005, the Academy and the IRS had to come to an agreement about the taxable status of the bags.
The after-party menu wasn’t always fancy, either.
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has catered the Governor’s Ball after-party for over 20 years, but prior to his tenure, the menu looked totally different.
At the first Oscars, dinner was served to guests during the official awards and consisted of simple things like string beans and broiled chicken, according to Bon Appetit. Now, Wolfgang Puck caters the after-party and there’s no meal served during the ceremony, just small plates. The menu at the Governor’s Ball is very, very long, elaborately themed, and gourmet.
The number of Academy Award show attendees has grown exponentially.
According to E!, the first ceremony had a measly attendance of only 270 people. Since then, attendance has grown immensely in size. The Dolby Theater seats over 3,000 people, according to People. To fill the space, there are seat-fillers, all of whom must adhere to strict rules.
There used to be a limit on best picture nominations.
- Kevin Winter / Getty
For many years, the Oscars kept a cap of only five films in the Best Picture category, according to Variety. Nearly a decade ago, the show expanded this cap to 10 films so that more movies could hopefully score the big nomination.