The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are annual awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievement in various categories of filmmaking. Nominees are selected by their colleagues in the movie industry (for example, cinematographers nominate cinematographers and producers nominate producers), and the winners are chosen in secret ballot by a vote of the full academy membership. About two dozen awards are given for American films, of which the most famous are those for best actor and actress, best director, and best picture. The academy also presents an award for the best foreign film and occasionally presents special awards.

At the awards ceremony, televised each spring with much publicity, a gold statuette is presented to each winner. This famous symbol of professional success was dubbed "Oscar" in 1931 by a subsequent executive director of the academy, Margaret Herrick, who thought it resembled her uncle of the same name.

The first Academy Awards were presented in 1929, with Paramount's Wings (1928) taking the coveted best-picture prize. Since then, Oscars have been awarded to dozens of famous film personalities. M-G-M's 1959 epic Ben-Hur, with 11 awards, holds the record for the most prizes won by any one film. Actress Katharine HEPBURN and director John FORD hold the most awards (4) given to an individual. Directors Frank CAPRA and William WYLER, actress Ingrid BERGMAN, and actor Walter BRENNAN are all triple award winners.