What: 78th Annual Academy Awards
When: March 5, 2006
Where: Kodak Theatre, Hollywood
Broadcast: ABC, 5 p.m. PST; 8 p.m. EST
Who decides? The 5,800 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
What's the procedure? In January, Academy members nominate up to five films and performances per category. Nominations are restricted to members of the pertinent Academy branch (directors nominate directors, actors nominate actors, etc.). Any member can make best picture nominations. Once nominations are made, final voting in most categories is conducted among the entire Academy membership. Film studios are prohibited from directly lobbying Academy members for their votes, and advertising is strictly limited. Secret ballots for nominations and final voting are audited by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Backstory: The first Academy Awards took place over dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Fifteen awards were passed out that year at a banquet for about 270. The awards retained the banquet format for the first 15 years. The only suspense in those days was whether your steak would arrive rare or medium-rare that's because in the early days the winners were known in advance. The sealed envelope system began in 1941 to amp up excitement for the increasingly important event. Over the years the size of the crowd and the number of awards steadily grew, and the event eventually moved to theaters. The ceremony was first televised in 1953 from the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. The following year, NBC TV and radio carried the show live with Bob Hope as emcee. The show has been broadcast from several theaters over the years, with a long run (1969-1986) at L.A.'s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Starting in 2002, the Oscars moved into their permanent home at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. It was a full-circle homecoming of sorts the Kodak is just across the street from the Roosevelt, where it all began.
The hardware: The Oscar statue of a knight gripping a sword standing on a film reel was designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons and created by sculptor George Stanley in 1929. The coveted statuette stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds. Originally made of solid bronze, the Academy Award of Merit (as it is officially known) is now made of gold-plated britannium. Rumor has it that the statuette got its nickname, Oscar, because former Academy librarian Margaret Herrick thought it resembled her Uncle Oscar.
Nomination ballots due: Jan. 21, 2006, 5 p.m. PST
Nominations announced: Jan. 31, 2006, 5:30 a.m. PST at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills
Nominees luncheon: Feb. 13, 2006, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills
Scientific and Technical Awards Dinner: Feb. 18, 2006
Final ballots due: Feb. 28, 2006, 5 p.m. PST
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211