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The Best Film Academy Oscar Awards

Each January, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to the Academy Awards. Interest and anticipation builds to a fevered pitch leading up to the Oscar telecast in February, when hundreds of millions of movie lovers tune in to watch the glamorous ceremony and learn who will receive the highest honors in filmmaking.

The Oscars reward the previous year's greatest cinema achievements as determined by some of the world's most accomplished motion picture artists and professionals. The Academy's roughly 6,000 members vote for the Oscars using secret ballots, which are tabulated by the international auditing firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The auditors maintain absolute secrecy until the moment the show's presenters open the envelopes and reveal the winners on live television.

Awards are presented for outstanding individual or collective efforts in up to 25 categories. Members select winners from as many as five nominees in each category, which are determined by members of the relevant Academy branch. (For instance, only film editors may nominate for the Achievement in Film Editing award.) The only exceptions are the Best Picture category, for which nominees are selected by the entire membership, and the Best Foreign Language films, which are nominated by a committee of members drawn from all branches.

In addition to the regular annual awards conferred by the membership, the Board of Governors is empowered to bestow Scientific and Technical Awards, Honorary Awards, Special Achievement Awards and other honors. Broadcast rights to the annual Oscar telecast provide the majority of the revenue for the organization's rich and varied year-round activities.

Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel's Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. It was a long affair filled with speeches, but Academy President Douglas Fairbanks made quick work of handing out the statuettes.

There was little suspense when the awards were presented that night: the recipients had already been announced three months earlier. That all changed the following year, however, when the Academy decided to keep the results secret until the ceremony but gave a list in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. This policy continued until 1940 when, much to the Academy's consternation, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and published the names of the winners in its evening edition “ which was readily available to guests arriving for the ceremony. That prompted the Academy in 1941 to adopt the sealed-envelope system still in use today.

Although it measures just 13ВЅ inches high, the Oscar statuette stands tall as the motion picture industry's greatest honor. Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the Oscar is given in recognition of the highest level of achievement in moviemaking.

Should we not know who the proud Indians who won us the Oscars were?