The countdown to the 95th Oscars is on, and the Academy is celebrating by looking back at some of the most iconic moments from every decade of the Academy Awards – the biggest wins, the most memorable speeches, and more defining moments from past Oscars ceremonies. Beginning with the first Oscars way back in 1929 and continuing all the way up till the present day, you can follow along day-by-day on the Academy's Facebook page.
The 95th Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be held on Sunday, March 12 at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.
Until then, let the countdown begin...
May 16, 1929: A look back at the very first Academy Awards, held in the Blossom Room of Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel. This is the only known photo taken of that evening, which shows the 300 attendees in the Blossom Room, with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford at the dais.
The ceremony lasted for about fifteen minutes with Wings becoming the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture (known at the time as the Outstanding Picture Award).
April 3, 1930: At the second annual Academy Awards, held on April 3, 1930, the film 'Broadway Melody,' a talking, singing, dancing musical from MGM won Best Picture, which officially marked the end of the silent film era.
Nov. 5, 1930: This acceptance speech footage from the 3rd Academy Awards, which was staged for newsreels, is the earliest known footage of Oscar winners.
Nov. 18, 1932: For the fifth Academy Awards, Walt Disney prepared a special cartoon segment, "Parade of the Award Nominees" which featured caricatures of the Acting nominees being escorted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
Feb. 27, 1935: The Academy Juvenile Award, also known as the Juvenile Oscar, was an honorary award to specifically recognize performers under the age of 18 for their "outstanding contributions to screen entertainment." The first recipient of this award was Shirley Temple at the seventh Oscars. The Juvenile Oscar would continue to be presented intermittently over the next 26 years to a total of 12 child actors, with the last recipient being Hayley Mills for her performance in 1960's Pollyanna.
March 4, 1937: The categories Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were added at the ninth Academy Awards to entice the Screen Actors Guild. At the time, however, only 25 actors were Academy members. Acting nominees were also extended from three to five per category. Walter Brennan received the first Best Supporting Actor award, and Gale Sondergaard received the first Best Supporting Actress award.
Feb. 29, 1940: Hattie McDaniel made history at the 12th Oscars by becoming the first African American to be nominated and to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Gone With the Wind.
March 2, 1942: Casablanca, the 1942 American romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid wins Best Director, Best Picture and Writing at the 16th Academy Awards. The film also earned nominations for Lead Actor (Humphrey Bogart), Supporting Actor (Claude Rains), Cinematography (Black and White), Film Editing and Original Score.
March 2, 1946: Joan Crawford wins Best Actress for her performance in Mildred Pierce. Unable to attend the ceremony, she later receives the award while sitting in bed due to illness.
March 24, 1949: For the first time, the Academy gave awards for Costume Design; nominees were separately classified between color and black-and-white films.
March 21, 1951: José Ferrer won Best Actor (accepting from New York) for his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac, the American adventure comedy film based on the 1897 French Alexandrin verse drama Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. Ferrer became the first Puerto Rican actor to win an Oscar, and also the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar. Watch the video above to hear his full acceptance speech.
March 20, 1952: A Streetcar Named Desire became the first film to win three awards for acting (Vivien Leigh for Best Actress, Karl Malden for Best Supporting Actor, and Kim Hunter for Best Supporting Actress). Marlon Brando did receive a nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the film, but the Best Actor Oscar went to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.
March 25, 1954: From Here to Eternity was the first film to tie the long-standing record of eight Academy Awards set by Gone with the Wind.
From Here to Eternity also won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Black-and-White Cinematography (Burnett Guffey), Directing (Fred Zinnemann), Film Editing (William A. Lyon), Sound Recording (Columbia Studio Sound Department), and Writing – Screenplay (Daniel Taradash). An estimated 43 million television viewers watched the show that year.
March 21, 1956: James Wong Howe won for Black-and-White Cinematography, for The Rose Tattoo, becoming the first Asian American to win an Academy Award.
March 27, 1957: The 29th Academy Awards was the first time a competitive category was included for foreign language films.
The nominees were from West Germany (The Captain of Kopenick), France (Gervaise), Japan (Harp of Burma), Denmark (Qivitoq) with Italy (La Strada) taking home the first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The category was later changed to Best International Feature in 2020 with the latest recipient being Japan's Drive My Car.
April 4, 1960: Ben-Hur set a new Oscar record by winning 11 Academy Awards.
Ben-Hur also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Color Art Direction-Set Decoration (William A. Horning, Edward Carfagno, and Hugh Hunt), Color Cinematography (Robert L. Surtees), Color Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden), Directing (William Wyler), Film Editing (Ralph E. Winters and John D. Dunning), Music – Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Miklos Rozsa), Sound (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department), and Special Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie, Robert MacDonald, and Milo Lory).
April 17, 1961: Elizabeth Taylor with the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Gloria Wandrous, a promiscuous socialite who enters a devastating relationship with a married man, in 1960's Butterfield 8.
Elizabeth went on to earn another Best Actress Oscar at the 39th Academy Awards for her performance as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Elizabeth also received nominations for Raintree County (1957), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). In 1992, Elizabeth was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
April 9, 1962: Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno made history at the 34th Academy Awards as the first Latina to win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress) for her take as the no-nonsense Anita in West Side Story. The film won 10 Oscars (of its 11 nominations), including Best Picture, breaking a record for the number of awards won by a musical.
When asked about her experience playing Anita, Moreno said that "the fact that there was a person playing a puertorriqueña in a huge, successful musical was enough for a lot of Hispanics—not just Puerto Ricans—in this country to be thrilled to pieces."
60 years later at the 94th Oscars, Ariana DeBose went on to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg's reimagined West Side Story.
April 13, 1964: Trailblazer Sidney Poitier becomes the first Black actor to win Best Actor at the 36th Academy Awards for his performance as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field.
Sidney was first nominated for Best Actor at the 31st Academy Awards for his performance as Noah Cullen in The Defiant Ones. Over his lifetime, he became known for brilliant performances on the screen and the stage as well as his remarkable humanitarian accomplishments. In recognition of his achievements, Sidney was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2001 at the 71st Academy Awards.
April 14, 1969: Both Streisand and Hepburn received 3,030 votes each; it was the first exact tie in a principal Oscar category. When Fredric March (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Wallace Beery (The Champ) split the award for Best Actor in 1932, Beery had actually received one less vote than March.
April 2, 1974: The 1974 Academy Awards ceremony will always be remembered for its least expected performer -- the Oscar streaker. Host David Niven received a surprise while introducing Elizabeth Taylor when activist Robert Opel (who snuck into the Academy Awards ceremony posing as a journalist) streaked across the Oscar’s stage.
March 29, 1976: Louise Fletcher wins Best Actress for her performance as the cold, sadistic Nurse Mildred Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The film, which was based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, winning for Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Directing (Milos Forman), Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was the first film in more than four decades to sweep the major categories of Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay.
April 14, 1980: Miss Piggy and Johnny Carson introduce a colorful performance by the one and only Kermit the Frog singing 2x Oscar-nominated ballad, "The Rainbow Connection," at the 52nd Academy Awards. 🌈
Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher composed "The Rainbow Connection" for the 1979 The Muppet Movie - earning them nominations for Best Original Song and Original Song Score and Its Adaption or Adaption Score.
March 31, 1981: Robert De Niro knocks out his first and only Best Actor win at the 53rd Oscars for his performance as Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull.
De Niro has received 8 Oscar nominations throughout his career and collected his first win for Actor In A Supporting Role for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II.
March 30, 1987: Marlee Matlin accepts the Best Actress Oscar, for Children of a Lesser God, becoming the first deaf actress to win an Academy Award. She gives her acceptance speech in sign language with an interpreter at her side.
March 25, 1991: Whoopi Goldberg wins Best Supporting Actress, for Ghost, becoming only the second Black actress to win the award—the first since Hattie McDaniel's historic win in 1940. Combined with her Best Actress nomination for The Color Purple (1985), she becomes the first Black woman nominated for both acting awards.
March 29,1993: Al Pacino accepts the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of blind Vietnam war vet Lt. Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.
Pacino has received a staggering nine Academy Award nominations throughout his career for The Godfather, Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, ...And Justice for All, Dick Tracy, Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross and The Irishman.
March 26, 1996: In 1996, less than a year after a horse-riding accident left him paralyzed, Christopher Reeve appeared at the Oscars to shed light on the power of movies that present social justice issues to the world. Revisit the heartwarming standing ovation he received.
March 25, 2001: Benicio Del Toro accepts the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Javier Rodriguez in the Steven Soderbergh-directed crime drama Traffic.
Del Toro went on to receive another nomination at the 76th Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance as Jack Jordan in 21 Grams.
March 24, 2002: "This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."
The 74th Oscars was a night to remember as Halle Berry became the first Black woman to win an Oscar in the Best Actress category for her role as Leticia Musgrove in the film Monster's Ball.
Feb. 22, 2009: Heath Ledger posthumously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger's parents, Kim Ledger and Sally Ledger Bell, and his sister, Kate Ledger, accepted the Oscar on his behalf.
March 7, 2010: Kathryn Bigelow made history by becoming the first woman to win Best Directing. The Hurt Locker earned a total of six nominations at the 82nd Oscars.
Barbra Streisand, who announced the category winner, opened the envelope and said, "Well, the time has come." Bigelow called it "the moment of a lifetime" in her acceptance speech but surprises the audience by not mentioning the historic nature of her accomplishment. Instead, she dedicates her Oscar to the "women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis."
Feb. 26, 2012: A Separation wins Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Iranian film to win an Oscar; writer-director Asghar Farhadi was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
March 2, 2014: Ellen DeGeneres attempts to break Twitter with this iconic selfie moment at the 86th Oscars. The selfie was at one time the most retweeted post on the social platform. Captured in the photo are actors Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Peter Nyong'o, and Angelina Jolie.
Feb. 28, 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio wins Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Hugh Glass in The Revenant at the 88th Oscars.
Feb. 26, 2017: The ceremony is remembered for the most awkward snafu in Oscars history. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope and mistakenly announced La La Land as the winner of Best Picture. The real winner was Moonlight.
Feb. 24, 2019: Roma becomes the first Mexican film to win Best Foreign Language Film. Alfonso Cuarón becomes the first filmmaker to win both Best Directing and Best Cinematography. And, Yalitza Aparicio is the first Indigenous Mexican actress to receive a Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination.
Feb. 9, 2020: Parasite makes Oscars history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. It was also the first South Korean production to win Best International Feature Film. South Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho won Best Directing becoming the second Asian director to be honored in that category. He also won Best Original Screenplay, which he shared with his collaborator, first-time screenwriter Han Jin-won.
April 25, 2021: Chloé Zhao becomes the second female and first Asian woman to win Best Directing at the 93rd Oscars.
March 27, 2022: CODA is the first film starring a predominantly Deaf cast in leading roles to win Best Picture at the 94th Oscars. Troy Kotsur became the first Deaf male actor to win Best Supporting Actor and writer-director Siân Heder earned her first-ever Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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