Conrad Nagel and Greta Garbo in The Mysterious Lady (1928)
Greta was so beautiful we could use any lighting for dramatic purposes. On her films, my photography had more continuity. Using special lighting effects didn’t handcuff the director. Her face was such that I could have shot in candlelight if the stock in those days had allowed it. [Cameraman] William Daniels
In homage to the upcoming Academy Awards, we look back to earlier Academy Awards ceremonies. Here we highlight the historic role of radio in one of Hollywood’s most anticipated events of the
When the first Academy Awards were handed out in May 1929
at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the winners had already been announced three
months earlier. The following year, due to increased public interest, the
ceremony was partially covered in a live radio broadcast.
A new era had begun when on March 19, 1953, NBC televised
the Oscars for the first time, appropriately on the 25th anniversary of the
Awards. Even after the advent of television, the Academy Awards show was
simultaneously broadcast on radio as late as 1968.
On Oscar’s 70th anniversary and at the request of the
Board of Governors, Academy Award-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith wrote
“Fanfare for Oscar,” an official opening theme for the annual Academy
Awards presentations. Goldsmith, a classically trained composer known for his
lush orchestral themes, was an Academy Award winner for The Omen (1976) and an
18-time Oscar nominee. On March 23, 1998, “Fanfare for Oscar” was performed by
an orchestra in front of a live audience. At the time, Goldsmith said of the
score, “The end result of the 45-second composition is a melding of the
Hollywood of the past, the Hollywood of the present, and the Hollywood of the
Fred Niblo, standing far right with hand behind back, directs Conrad Nagel and Greta Garbo in The Mysterious Lady (1928). According to the caption, Niblo stands on an ‘elevator-perambulator’ that lets the camera film the actors’ progress down the stairs. With unidentified others, including crew, extras, and set musicians.
Just one month earlier Conrad Nagel (featured in the picture on the Rialto’s marquee) hosted the 3rd Acadamy Awards. Two years later he hosted the 5th, and 21 years later he co-hosted the 25th with Bob Hope.
But in 1932, two gentlemen shared the Oscar for Best Actor even though one of them had more votes than the other.
At the 5th Academy Awards, Fredric March, who starred in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Wallace Beery, who starred in The Champ, “tied” even though March had one more vote than Beery.
They both received Oscars that night because the rules at the time stated that if an achievement came within three votes of the winner, then both would receive the award. That rule was soon altered, and subsequent ties were exact ties.
Top photo: Wallace Beery, presenter Lionel Barrymore, host Conrad Nagel and Fredric March at the 5th Academy Awards banquet.
Middle photo: Lionel Barrymore, Conrad Nagel, and Wallace Beery.
Bottom photo: Oscar winners Frank Borzage (Directing, Bad Girl, 1931), Helen Hayes (Actress, The Sin of Madelon Claudet, 1931), and Fredric March.