The Academy Awards ceremony is one of the biggest nights in Hollywood. The gala began on May 16, 1929, and its main purpose was to honor the best films of the past year. As the years have gone by, many of Hollywood’s elite members have sought out the golden statues in hopes of winning Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and more.
One highlight of the evening is seeing all the glamorous outfits worn by the stars. While the fashions have changed drastically, there is still a lot of nostalgia from looking back at the photos from Oscars past.
The First Awards Ceremony Was Shorter Than Expected
The first Academy Awards ceremony on May 16, 1929, was a night to remember. Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show and tickets for the private dinner cost five dollars. Back then they kept it short and simple by handing out every award within 15 minutes. Now, the Academy Awards tend to go a little over three hours.
Some big winners from that night included Mary Pickford as Best Actress for her role in My Best Girl, Warner Baxter for Best Actor for his role in Old Arizona, and Hans Kraly for Best Screenplay for The Patriot.
Not All Oscars Look The Same
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full feature-length animated film. The Academy recognized this monumental cinematic accomplishment by creating a special Oscar for Walt Disney. At the 11th Academy Awards, famed child star Shirley Temple presented Disney with one big statue and seven little ones.
Temple also received a special statue herself. When she was only six years old the Board of Governors created an honorary Juvenile Award for her film work in 1934. It was then given to 12 child actors over the next 26 years including Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Bobby Driscoll, and Hayley Mills.
Bette Davis Made Oscar History
The 1939 Academy Awards picked Bette Davis and Spencer Tracy for Best Actress and Actor for their roles in Boys Town and Jezebel. Although Davis only won one more time three years prior for Dangerous, she was nominated nine additional times, making her one of the most nominated actresses in Oscar history.
During her heyday, she had a publicized feud with fellow actress Joan Crawford. While filming What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? they both pulled cruel jokes on each other. Also, Davis almost was the first person to win three Oscars in a row, but lost out to Anne Bancroft and the award was accepted by her rival, Crawford.
One Of The Oldest Academy Awards Traditions
A tradition that’s dated back to the very beginning of the Academy Awards is having the previous year’s winners for Best Actress and Actor present the statue to the new year’s winners. One of the first times this happened was in 1931 when George Arliss and Norma Shearer gave out the Oscars to Marie Dressler and Lionel Barrymore.
This tradition is a ‘passing of the torch’ gesture and it is still being used today. Over the years, the Academy added new traditions to the show including a red carpet, live performances, and hosts.
Hattie McDaniel’s Huge Oscar Triumph
Something many Academy Award fans keep track of are the groundbreaking moments from each ceremony. In 1940 Hattie McDaniel made history by becoming the first woman of color to win an Academy Award for her role in Gone With The Wind. There wasn’t another African American female winner until Whoopi Goldberg in 1990 for Best Supporting Actress in Ghost.
Also, there have only been 11 African American females nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but Halle Berry was the only one to win in 2001 for Monster’s Ball. In recent years the Academy has stated that they are striving to include more diversity in their organization.
The Academy Awards And United States History
The Academy Awards was the one time each year where fans could catch a glimpse of their favorite Hollywood stars. Only the most famous and classiest celebrities were invited to attend a night of celebrating the past year’s cinematic achievements. Each year the Academy had to switch things up due to societal changes.
In 1942 they banned formal dress because the United States had just entered World War II, so many of the men wore their military uniforms. A couple of years later the winners were broadcast to the troops overseas.
Joan Crawford Enjoys The Oscars In Bed
There are plenty of instances where nominees aren’t able to make it to the Academy Awards, such as prior filming commitments, traveling, or illness. Actress Joan Crawford had to miss the 1946 Oscars because she was sick, but they figured out a way to get her the statue.
Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Mildred Pierce. The film’s director, Michael Curtiz, came straight to her bedside to give her the Oscar in person. Her win was considered a complete surprise.
Harold Russell Overcame A Lot For His Oscars
Harold Russell earned a couple of prestigious awards at the 1947 Oscars. After an Army training exercise went wrong, he lost both of his hands and had to wear hooks. When he appeared at the Academy Awards he won not one, but two awards.
First, he won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives. Then, he received a special Oscar for “bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” He became the first person to win two Academy Awards for the same role.
Lauren Bacall And Humphrey Bogart Couple Up For The Oscars
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart had one of the most publicized marriages during the golden age of Hollywood. The two met on a movie set and were quickly married in less than a year. It was quite a hot topic due to their big age gap and that the relationship started as an affair, but they stayed married until Bogart’s passing.
This is a photo of the pair attending the Academy Awards in 1955. Bogart won the Best Actor Oscar for The African Queen a few years prior and was nominated for two others for his roles in The Caine Mutiny and Casablanca. Bacall received one nomination in 1997 for The Mirror Has Two Faces.
And The Winner Is…
The 1954 Academy Awards put Audrey Hepburn on the map. At the age of 22 she received her first Oscar as Best Actress for Roman Holiday. Soon after she became one of the most sought-after actresses of the 1950s and 1960s.
Her roles in Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Nun’s Story, and Wait Until Dark also earned her four more Oscar nominations. Many of today’s top stylists who dress clients for award shows look back at her distinct red carpet style, such as her designer dresses and sophisticated makeup and hair.
Why Joanne Woodward’s Dress Was Unlike Any Other
It took Paul Newman 10 nominations to finally win the Best Actor Oscar in 1987, for The Color of Money. His wife, on the other hand, was a bit luckier. Joanne Woodward is pictured here with Newman after winning the Best Actress Academy Award in 1958 for her role in The Three Faces of Eve.
Woodward took an unorthodox approach for her dress. She made it all herself and only spent $100 on the material. That was the only time in Oscar history when a Best Actress winner appeared at the ceremony in a dress of her own making.
Grace Kelly: Oscar Winner To A Royal In Less Than A Year
Only a year before Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco, she won the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in The Country Girl. Bing Crosby, pictured to next to her, was also nominated for the same film but lost to Marlon Brando.
Similar to other starlets of the 1950s such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, Kelly became a style icon. She’s on the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, her clothing has appeared in museums all over the world, and modern designers including Tommy Hilfiger and Zac Posen cite her as their main fashion inspiration.
Elizabeth Taylor Had A Genetic Mutation That Gave Her Two Sets Of Eyelashes
Elizabeth Taylor was always a star to look out for at the Oscars. This photo shows Taylor and one of her seven husbands, Eddie Fisher, after her Best Actress win for Butterfield 8. An hour before she was set to receive the statue she fainted backstage because she was recovering from pneumonia.
For each event Taylor attended, she always made sure to plan her outfits and jewelry out perfectly. The only thing she never wore was fake eyelashes because she was born with a genetic mutation that gave her two sets of eyelashes.
Julie Andrews Wasn’t Snubbed After All
Julie Andrews starred in two of her most iconic roles in the 1960s. In 1965 she was nominated and won the Best Actress Oscar for Mary Poppins, and she was nominated for the same award the next year for The Sound of Music.
It was a big deal that she won for Mary Poppins because she was passed over to play the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, which won eight Oscars that year. Andrews had originated the role on Broadway, but Audrey Hepburn was given the lead film role instead.
Barbra Streisand Didn’t Know This About Her Outfit
Throughout the history of the Oscars, there have only been six ties total with one of them being for Best Actress. In 1969 both Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied, with Streisand winning for Funny Girl. Streisand also is one of only 21 people who are EGOT winners, meaning they won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award.
The outfit she wore to the 1969 ceremony is still one of the most memorable Oscar looks. Streisand was completely unaware that it was see-through until the bright lights were all shining on her.
Love Didn’t Last Long For Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty had a short-lived Hollywood romance that ended with him ditching her at a restaurant and leaving with the hat-check girl. She had no idea what was going on until the restaurant manager broke the news to her.
This is a candid photo of them at the 1962 Oscars when Wood won the Best Actress Academy Award for their movie Splendor in the Grass. Beatty also received numerous nominations over the years, but only won for Best Directing for Reds in 1981.
Sacheen Littlefeather Ruffles Some Feathers At The Oscars
When Marlon Brando’s name was called for the Best Actor Oscar in 1973 for The Godfather, he didn’t accept the award. Instead, he asked a Native American woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to go up on stage and read a speech about racially-based aggression.
With the time limits the Oscars gave to the winners, she only had one minute to speak and wasn’t able to read the majority of her speech. After she was done there was a mixed reaction from the audience with some booing, while others cheered her on in agreement.
Meryl Streep’s First Oscars
Meryl Streep is now one of the most famous V.I.P. guests to attend the Oscars. This photo shows her attending the 1979 ceremony after her first nomination for The Deer Hunter. Streep holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations at 21. So far she has only won three.
That night also had some memorable moments. Jane Fonda gave her entire acceptance speech in sign language and both of the most decorated films of the night were about the war in Vietnam.
Cher Shakes Up The Fashion Scene At The Oscars
Some of Cher’s biggest fashion moments have taken place at the Academy Awards. Here, she is pictured with ex-husband Sonny Bono while attending the 1973 Oscars. Similar to other musical artists, such as Lady Gaga and Jennifer Hudson, Cher also became an Oscar-winning actress.
She was first nominated in a supporting role for 1984’s Silkwood, but became victorious four years later by winning the Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck. The showgirl outfit she wore to the 1986 Academy Awards is ranked as one of the most memorable Oscars outfits of all time.
Jack Nicholson Wins His Oscar With A Smile
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest broke numerous Oscar records in 1976. It was the first time since 1934 that a film won the five of the top awards. Jack Nicholson won for Best Actor, Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) won for Best Actress, and the movie also received the Best Picture, Writing, and Directing Academy Awards.
Nicholson also holds some Oscar records with 12 nominations and three wins. In this photo Nicholson is talking to the press about his win, which is what all winners do after making their acceptance speech.