Myrna Aquitana_Lighthouse

Myrna Aquitana_LighthouseOn a recent dinner with a media colleague near the famous Hollywood landmarks such as the Chinese Mann Theatre, the Max Factor Building, the Wax Museum, the Kodak Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre, we noticed all the barricades now being built around the perimeters of Hollywood Boulevard and HIghland Avenue, where tourists abound along the street’s “hall of fame.”

The highly and eagerly anticipated “86th Academy Awards” will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at the Dolby Theatre (formerly called the Kodak Theatre). According to film industry officials, it actually takes a year of preparation to showcase such a worldwide event.

Submissions, balloting and nominations on each award category have stringent rules and regulations that had to be followed before the nominations were announced recently.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was formed in 1927, to “address and honor outstanding moviemaking achievements and encourage excellence in all facets of motion picture production.”
Further, the group agreed to make this an annual event and a “suitably majestic trophy” called “Oscar” was created.

“MGM Creative Director Cedric Gibbons designed a statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword. The Academy tapped Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley to mold the design in three dimension.” The name “Oscar” held on when according to some popular stoes, when Academy librarian and later Execitve Director, Margaret Herrick saw the statuette, it resembled her Uncle “Oscar.”

“The “Oscar” statuette stands “13 ½ inches tall and weighs in at 8 ½ pounds. The film reel features five spokes, signifying the five original branches of the Academy: the actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. The statuettes that were initially presented were gold-plated solid bronze. However, in the following years, the bronze was replaced by brittania metal, which is a pewter-like alloy, which is then plated in copper, nickel silver and finally, 24-karat gold. But, due to a metal shortage in Wolrd War II, the Academy only presented painted plaster for three years though later on, the Academy invited the recipients to redeem their plaster statuettes for gold-plated metal ones.

History has it that unlike the big event that it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony was held at the “Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on May 16, 1929 where 2,809 statuettes were presented.” From then on, each January, new golden statuettes are cast, molded, polished and buffed. Since 1982, the Academy has retained the expertise of R.S. Owens & Co., the Chicago-based trophy manufacturer.”

Here’s a rundown on this year’s Academy Award nominations:
Best Picture:
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf of Walll Street
Best Actor:
Christian Bale – “”Americcan Hustle”
Bruce Bern – “Nebraska”
Leonardo Di Caprio – “The Wolf on Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor – “12 Years A Slave”
Matthew McConaughey – “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Actress:
Amt Adams – “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”
Judi Dench – “Philomena”
Meryl Streep – “August Osage County”

It will definitely be difficult to select the winners for this year’s Academy of “Merit” from the above selection of outstanding nominees. However, you or your group of friends can simply gather can make this an evening of fun and movie triviia.
Once, a media colleague, Carol Robins and I used to attend a Pre-“Oscar’s” Party Night when our company was a member of the Friars Club. It used to be a lovely night with lots of camaraderie where guests would dress up in their favorite movie character and join the contest to “Pick the Oscar Winners.”

In the spirit of Hollywood since we all live here in the Southland, let’s all have fun and get entertained on “Oscar’s” night!