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The Academy Awards, or Oscars, annual ceremony is held in the United States of America to acknowledge achievements in the film industry.
The Academy Awards is the awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, founded by Louis B. Mayer to unite the five branches of the film industry—actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is composed of members from across these groups (around 6,000), who are responsible for voting on nominations for the Academy Awards.
The first Academy Awards, held on May 16, 1929, was far from the lengthy and extravagant affair that is seen in the present day but, instead, was a private event held at Hotel Roosevelt, where just 15 awards were presented, with the winners announced 3 months earlier. The first award for Best Actor was given to Emil Jannings for his performances in The Last Command (1928) and The Way of All Flesh (1927). This event marked the beginning of a tradition that would grow to be one of the most prestigious movie awards; by 2015, the 87th Academy Awards, more than 2,900 Oscars had been awarded.
While there are a number of awards overseen by the Academy, it is the Academy Award of Merit, or The Oscars, that remains in the global spotlight. The Oscar trophy, a statuette made of gold-plated britannium, depicts a knight rendered in art deco style, which stands on top of a roll of film with five spokes, each of which represent the original branches of the film industry that the Academy was designed to unite: actors, writers, directors, producers, and technicians.