Today in History: First Academy Awards Announced

| February 18, 2019

Sunrise_vintageDid you know that the first ever Academy Awards were announced February 18th, 1929 on the back of the organization’s newsletter and reprinted in Variety Magazine two days with the article “Academy Awards Talent Credit for Making-Writing-Acting-Titling”)? Presentation of the awards honoring the best films of 1927 and 1928 took place months later — May 16th, 1929 —  at a private dinner for about 250 people in the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood. The first Oscars were far from the glamor and prestige we have come to know through growth of the movie industry and the impact of television and media.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, a silent, romantic comedy-drama starring Janet Gaynor (The Wife, Best Actress in a Leading Role), won the first ever Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award for “Unique and Artistic Picture” — an award considered to be the highest honor (until “Outstanding Picture” — now known as “Best Picture” — took over in 1930 and Wings, also awarded Best Engineering Effects, flew higher). Among the other awards given were: Emil Jannings (Best Actor) – The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh; 7th Heaven (Best Adaptation); Ben Hecht  — Underworld (Best Original Story); and Charlie Chaplin (Honorary, for The Circus).

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.


  • For information, nominees video, news, photos, red carpet, for the 91st Academy Awards and more, see
  • Be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming Everett Cafe book display: The Award Goes to Mis/Representation, starting later this month.



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