Entertainment Industry Awards

An Overview

The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards or The Oscars is an annual American awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially the Academy Award of Merit, which is better known by its nickname Oscar. The awards, first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, are overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

The awards ceremony was first televised in 1953, and is now seen live in more than 200 countries. The Oscars is the oldest entertainment awards ceremony; its equivalents, the Emmy Awards for television, the Tony Awards for theatre, and the Grammy Awards for music and recording, are modeled after the Academy Awards. The Academy Awards ceremony is widely considered to be the most prestigious cinema awards ceremony in the world.

Historically given during the first quarter of the new year, the awards honor achievements for cinematic accomplishments for the preceding year. As of the 87th Academy Awards ceremony held on February 22, 2015, a total of 2,947 Oscars have been awarded since the inception of the award in 1929.

The first Academy Awards presentation was held on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The post-awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for that night's ceremony was $5 ($69 in 2015 dollars). Fifteen statuettes were awarded, honoring artists, directors and other participants in the film-making industry of the time, for their works during the 1927–28 period. The ceremony ran for 15 minutes.

Winners had been announced to media three months earlier; however, that was changed for the second ceremony in 1930. Since then, for the rest of the first decade, the results were given to newspapers for publication at 11:00 pm on the night of the awards. This method was used until an occasion when the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began; as a result, the Academy has, since 1941, used a sealed envelope to reveal the name of the winners.

Although there are seven other types of annual awards presented by the Academy plus two awards that are not presented annually (the Special Achievement Award in the form of an Oscar statuette and the Honorary Award that may or may not be in the form of an Oscar statuette), the best known one is the Academy Award of Merit more popularly known as the Oscar statuette. Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, it is 13.5 in (34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5 lb (3.85 kg) and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.

The Tony Awards

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known informally as the Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

The rules for the Tony Awards are set forth in the official document "Rules and Regulations of The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards", which applies for that season only. The Tony Awards are considered the highest U.S. theatre honor, the New York theatre industry's equivalent to the Academy Awards(Oscars) for motion pictures, the Grammy Awards for music and the Emmy Awards for television, and the Laurence Olivier Award for theatre in the United Kingdom and the Molière Award of France.

From 1997 to 2010, the Tony Awards ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in June and broadcast live on CBS television, except in 1999, when it was held at the Gershwin Theatre. In 2011 and 2012, the ceremony was held at the Beacon Theatre. The 67th Tony Awards returned to Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2013, as did the 68th Tony Awards on June 8, 2014 and the 69th Tony Awards on June 7, 2015.

The first awards ceremony was held on April 6, 1947, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The first prizes were "a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men." It was not until the third awards ceremony in 1949 that the first Tony medallion was given to award winners.

The Tony Award medallion was designed by art director Herman Rosse and is a mix of mostly brass and a little bronze, with a nickel plating on the outside; a black acrylic glass base, and the nickel-plated pewter swivel. The face of the medallion portrays an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks. Originally, the reverse side had a relief profile of Antoinette Perry; this later was changed to contain the winner's name, award category, production and year. The medallion has been mounted on a black base since 1967.

The Grammy Awards

A Grammy Award (originally called Gramophone Award), or Grammy, is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. It shares recognition of the music industry as that of the other performance arts: Emmy Awards (television), the Tony Awards (stage performance), and the Academy Awards (motion pictures).

The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honor the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958. Following the 2011 ceremony, NARAS overhauled many Grammy Award categories.

The Grammy Awards had their origin in the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the 1950s. As the recording executives chosen for the Walk of Fame committee worked at compiling a list of important recording industry people who might qualify for a Walk of Fame star, they realized there were many more people who were leaders in their business who would never earn a star on Hollywood Boulevard. The music executives decided to rectify this by creating an award given by their industry similar to the Oscars and the Emmys. This was the beginning of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. After it was decided to create such an award, there was still a question of what to call it; one working title was the Eddie, to honor the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Edison. They finally settled on using the name of the invention of Emile Berliner, the gramophone, for the awards, which were first given for the year 1958.

The gold-plated trophies, each depicting a gilded gramophone, are made and assembled by hand by Billings Artworks in Ridgway, Colorado. In 1990 the original Grammy design was revamped, changing the traditional soft lead for a stronger alloy less prone to damage, making the trophy bigger and grander. The trophies with the recipient's name engraved on them are not available until after the award announcements, so "stunt" trophies are re-used each year for the broadcast. By February 2009, 7,578 Grammy trophies had been awarded.

The Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture (though they do not need to be U.S. citizens). The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events that culminate in a performance honoring the Honorees at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

The Honors were created by George Stevens, Jr., and the late Nick Vanoff. Stevens remains involved as producer and co-writer for the Honors Gala. In 1981–2002 and 2004, the ceremony was hosted by Walter Cronkite. In 2003 and 2005–2012, it was hosted by Caroline Kennedy.

The Kennedy Center Honors started in 1977, in the wake of that year's 10th-anniversary White House reception and Kennedy Center program for the American Film Institute (AFI). Roger Stevens, the founding chairman of the Kennedy Center, asked George Stevens, Jr., (no relation), the founding director of the AFI, to have an event for the Center. George Stevens asked Isaac Stern to become involved, and then "pitched" the idea to the television network CBS, who "bought it." With the announcement of the first honors event and honorees, CBS vice president for specials Bernie Sofronski stated: "George [Stevens] came to us with this. What turned us on is that this is the only show of its kind. In Europe and most countries they have ways of honoring their actors and their athletes. England has its command performances for the queen. We see this as a national honoring of people who have contributed to society, not someone who happens to have a pop record hit at the moment...Our intention is not to do just another award show. We're going to make an effort in terms of a real special."

At the first ceremony, held on December 3, 1978, Roger Stevens said that the honors awards "is to help build more enthusiasm for the performing arts and bring the public's attention to the artist's true place in society." At an earlier reception, President Jimmy Carter commented "These five people - Americans, great, beloved - come here tonight to be honored through the auspices of the Kennedy Center, but as a matter of fact they come here to honor us and all the people of the world."

The weekend-long ceremony consists of lunch, dinner, reception and a performance introducing and honoring the new Honorees. The lunch is on Saturday at the Kennedy Center, with a welcoming speech by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. At that evening's reception and dinner at the State Department, presided over by the Secretary of State, the year's Honorees are introduced. On Sunday, there is an early evening White House reception with the President of the United States, who will then hang a specially designed ribboned award around their necks.

There have been 203 recipients to date of the Kennedy Center Honors Awards during the Honor's 38 years. The vast majority have been bestowed on individuals. On ten occasions since 1985, awards have been presented to duos or groups, including three married couples: lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, actors Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, musical-comedy duo Betty Comden and Adolph Green, dancers Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas, actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb, actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, musicians Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who and the members of Led Zeppelin and The Eagles.