Hollywood instituted Film Awards Events and still holds the reigns today. The most prestigious award of all is the 13 1/2 inch tall 24 k gold plated Oscar Statuette first awarded in 1929. Oscar is the most recognized trophy in the world. There are presently 2,809 in the world today. This event was held for the very first time May 16, 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel for $5.00 a ticket and it was not known as ‘the Oscars’. That came later when a librarian looked at the statuette and remarked it looked like her uncle ‘Oscar”. The name stuck.
In testament to the importance of ‘the Oscars’, The Academy Awards (The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences) has only had four incidents over its entire existence when a last minute scheduling change was necessary. In 1938 massive flooding in LA delayed the event 1 week. In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated days before the event, his funeral was April 9th, out of respect the awards were postponed until the 10th. In 1981 the Oscars were postponed because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. In 2003, US forces invaded Iraq, the red carpet shrank and most of the world press were uninvited days before the event!
The Golden Globes
The Golden Globes presented by HFPA (The Hollywood Foreign Press Association) began in 1943 by 8 foreign journalists. It had very humble beginnings and no money. The actual golden trophy was created in 1946 a golden globe with a filmstrip encircling it. The Golden Globes kicks off the Film & TV Awards Season preceded by the Critics Choice Awards (since 1995) and the People’s Choice Awards, (held since 1975 with two counterparts: PCA (Australia and the British Comedy Awards) all Hollywood Events in early to mid January. The most famous Golden Globes incident apart from the time in 1999 when Jack Nicholson mooned the audience occurred in 1958 when an inebriated ‘Rat Pack’ (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.) stormed the Golden Globes stage and took over the show. From then on it became a night for the stars to roast and toast each other. The evening was getting quite stuffy and hard to separate from other events until Ricky Gervais hosted the ‘2011 Globes’ bringing back some of the glory days of irreverence and lighthearted entertainment to an international audience of now 250 million viewers.
The DGA Awards
The Directors Guild Awards began in 1938 and are given by the Directors Guild of America. The first DGA Award was given to D. W. Griffith. Traditionally the DGA Award for Feature Film is a very reliable indicator for the Best Director Oscar. The Directors Guild of America is a huge organization with an extensive network and valuable resources including everything from financial assistance to legal help. The eyes of the world turn to the DGA’s held at the Hollywood Grand Ballroom end of January.
The first BAFTA was given out in London, England 1947. There are actually 5 yearly BAFTA events. BAFTA awards honour excellence in film, television and video games. The award is a golden mask – the Grecian maquette designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe. The official BAFTA name was adopted in 1979 before this it was The British Film Academy and then The Society after merging with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors. BAFTA like the Golden Globes had terrible initial financial struggles. David Lean donated the royalties from Bridge Over The River Kwai and Doctor Zhivago to provide invaluable working funds in the early years. The Queen also donated royalties from Richard Cawston’s documentary Royal Family enabling significant further growth and a permanent home for BAFTA and allowed it to become the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The BAFTA’s move the international film world’s gaze to England in mid February (this year at the Royal Opera House in London).
Although there are now many remarkable and significant film festivals around the world these are the ones that started the international film awards events. All have had humble beginnings, struggled to find financing, were frequently driven forward by the dedication of industry devotees for the purpose of celebrating and encouraging outstanding creative achievement in the field of film and television (now video games as well). Just to be nominated for any one of these awards is massive!