Media coverage, new technology change Academy Awards ceremony

Jansen Hess, Sports Editor

Two men, dressed in tuxedos, stand up on stage and attempt to get a few laughs from the 270-person audience sitting before them. The guests are dressed for the occasion — men in tuxedos and women in their evening gowns.
They all sit at round tables in The Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel as they wait for the ceremony to begin. It was May 16, 1929. Admission for the first-ever Academy Awards ceremony, also known as the Oscars, was only $5.
There was no media exposure, and the awards had already been announced three months prior to the event. At this banquet, winners received their 13.5 inch, 8.5 pound, 24-karat gold statue, Oscar.
The second Academy Awards ceremony was aired via a one-hour radio broadcast by a Los Angeles station, and the winners were not announced until the night of the ceremony. A list of winners was, however, given to an L.A. newspaper before the event so the recipients’ names could be printed in the next edition.
This went on until 1940 when the newspaper printed the names in their evening edition of the paper. This edition came out before the ceremonies began, thus ruining the suspense and surprise that is the Oscars.
This incident was the reason the Academy decided to switch to the sealed-envelope policy in 1941, where no one knows the results until the envelope is opened live on stage. This method is still used today.
Twelve years later, in 1953, the Oscars were televised for the first time in history. The event was only televised in Canada and the U.S. until 1969, when the Awards went international.
Today, it is broadcast in more than 200 countries. Men still wear tuxedos, but women wear anything from a simple black dress and heels to a shimmering prom-like dress. Paparazzi catch every embarrassing moment and capture the night’s events.
The 2012 Oscars, hosted by Billy Crystal, airs on Feb. 26, 6 p.m., from Hollywood’s Kodak Theater.
Information collected from