On November 5th, 1930, the third Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Below is what it looked like.

But a seven minute film was made of the ‘event–or at least a restaged tab version of it–possibly for newsreel consumption. It’s as if Hollywood had already figured out that the general public, far from Hollywood  and possibly not even aware of where the damn place actually was, had more than a passing interest in the self-congratulatory glamour of the film industry’s new event. I’ve posted the seven-minute film above. Louis B. Mayer gives Carl Laemmele the Best Picture Oscar for ‘All’s Quiet On The Western Front’. The nominal host, Conrad Nagle, awards Francis Marion the Best Screenplay Oscar for ‘The Big House’. Norma Shearer wins Best Actress for ‘The Divorcee’. And then Nagle rattles off the remaining wins (including Best Director, Actor etc.) without bringing any of them on camera. The whole thing is over before it began practically and is much more satisfying an event than the ones we watch (or don’t watch all that often) in our present day era. ‘Present day era’? What a peculiarly stuffy phrase. It must be the 1930 Oscar viewer in me fighting to get out.


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