Oscars history: Gorilla suit, a streaker, tardy hosts and more

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Academy Awards were first presented in a ceremony at the Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood held May 16, 1929. The event made the front page of the Los Angeles Times, but so did a stories about a barefoot 10-year-old runaway trying to make his way on horseback to Arizona and the return of a ‘girl artist’ from her studies in Paris (each got more ink than the awards).

Here’s the full Times report:

Before a large gathering of motion-picture celebrities, Janet Gaynor and other notables last night received statuettes of gold and bronze for outstanding achievement in different branches of the industry.The trophies were awarded at the merit banquet held simultaneously with the celebration of the second anniversary of the organization of the Academy of Motion-Picture Arts and Sciences.The program of the evening was opened by Douglas Fairbanks who gave the chairmanship over to William C. De Mille. Fifteen first and twenty honorable mention awards were presented following a program which started at 7 p.m. with an unusual showing of sound and talking pictures.


The Oscars ceremony has since grown to become an international event, but not without some surprises along the way. The Times looked back at all 83 ceremonies to date to compile a timeline of Oscars history.

How much do you already know?

Which U.S. vice president appeared in person to speak to the movie industry? What year was it when a man in a gorilla suit made it all the way into the venue before law enforcement caught up with him?

Do you know which major star almost didn’t make it in time for hosting duties because he forgot his parking credentials and was turned away by security? Or which star actually was late, forcing another household name to scramble in his attempts to read the cue cards?

How many movies hold up today? Which winners have you never heard of before?

And finally, who do you think we’ll be adding to the timeline Sunday night?


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-- Megan Garvey