Saturday 11 May 2024

ampas (11. 553)

Founded on this day in 1927 by head of the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producer Louis B Mayer in order to create an organisation to mediate labour disputes without the need for outside, independent trade unions and improve the image and reputation of the film industry with input from prolific actor and matinee idol Conrad Nagel (who would six years later go on to establish the Screen Actors’ Guild) and thirty-five other professionals including Mary Pickford and Harold Lloyd, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was to hold an annual banquet but no mention of awards at the time. During the Great Depression, the Academy lost credibility as an arbitrator when it came to labour negotiations and gradually pivoted towards its present role as an honours society, with meritorious awards for “distinctive achievement” in one five branches—acting, directing, writing, technical accomplishment and producing—eventually becoming known as the Oscars. Around the same time, the Academy founded the first film school in collaboration with the University of Southern California, a library charged with collecting all publications about movies and state-of-the-art screening venue for members.