The 1st Academy Awards was held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on May 16th in front of 270 people who had paid the staggering sum of $5. As the winners had been announced three months before, there was very little in the way of suspense. The following year, and until 1940, they decided to keep the list of winners a secret, although the press was allowed to published the results at 11PM of that night. It was the Los Angeles Time to break the rules, by publishing the results before the ceremony could start. Consequently, from 1941 to this very day, the envelopes were sealed to be opened only on stage.
From this week, I will take you on a journey to discover the sci-fi and fantasy movies that won the Oscar Award, from 1929 until today in the five main categories (Best Picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay). And if you are wondering why I’m starting from 1933, is because then is where we find our first winner.
The 5th Academy Awards took place at the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel, Friday, November 18, 1932, for movies released from August 1, 1931 to July 31, 1932.
Best Actor: Fredric March – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TIE with Wallace Beery – The Champ)
Although I’m counting this movie for sci-fi, it was the first ever horror movie to win an Oscar.
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s story, the film was very succesful, with 35 full sets build for the occasion; unfortunately it didn’t manage to save Paramount from bankruptcy.
March was chosen because of his ability to play both Jekyll and Hyde convincingly, even though the make-up almost damaged his face. For the transformation scene, director Mamoulian recorded his own heartbeat (after doing the stairs a couple of times) and played it in the score, alongside Back.
In November 19, 1950, “Theater Guild on the Air” broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie, with March himself to play Dr Jekyll.
Oscar Run: Sci-fi 1 – Fantasy 0