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And the Oscar goes to...

It's Hollywood's biggest night. The Academy Awards are the most important awards in the entertainment industry and one of the biggest TV events in the world. The stars strut down the red carpet in their finest in anticipation of seeing who'll take home the coveted golden statuette — the Oscar. Since the awards were first handed out in 1929, Canada has enjoyed an impressive track record. CBC Archives pays tribute to a handful of Canadians whose Oscar recognition reverberated back home.

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Academy Awards are not all glitz and glamour. Oscar-winning sound producer David Lee can attest to that as he sorts through the mountain of Oscar-related paperwork. A night before the voting deadline, this Canadian member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is frantically trying to watch the nominated films. "I didn't think it was that difficult," says the first-time voter in this CBC report, "but the very fact that I've left it to the last minute... it's pretty tricky."

It's a task made more difficult by the strict rules laid out by the Academy. For example, according to the Academy Standards Handbook, members are required to screen Best Documentary and Foreign Language pictures in a theatrical setting, not at home. It all adds to the hype, suspense and secrecy, which have become integral parts of the Oscars. 
• David Lee won an Oscar for Sound for the movie Chicago (2002).
• Founded in 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization with over 6,000 members. Its mandate is the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.
• There are 52 voting Academy members in Canada. (2005)

• Mary Pickford was Canada's first Academy Award winner. She won the Best Actress award for her role in the movie Coquette (1929).
• For a list of past Canadian Oscar winners visit: CBC News Online: Canada and the Oscars
• The first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, in a low-key affair. Two hundred seventy guests attended.

• Membership to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is by invitation only. The Academy represents 14 branches including: actors, art directors, cinematographers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, music, producers, public relations, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
• In order to qualify for the Academy Awards, a film has to open in the previous calendar year (from midnight Jan. 1 to midnight Dec. 31) in Los Angeles.

• The golden statuette, officially called the Academy Award of Merit, is better known as the Oscar.
• The Oscar nickname is attributed to Academy librarian Margaret Herrick, who said the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar.
• The Oscar statuette depicts a knight holding a sword, standing on a reel of film.

• The statuette is cast in bronze and plated in 24 karat gold. It weighs 4 kilograms and stands 34 centimetres tall.
• Some 50 Oscars are ordered each year since no one, not even the Academy, knows how many statuettes will be handed out until the sealed envelopes are opened at the ceremony.
Medium: Radio
Program: The World This Weekend
Broadcast Date: Feb. 26, 2005
Guest(s): David Lee, Jeff Sackman
Reporter: Marsha Lederman
Duration: 5:08

Last updated: April 2, 2012

Page consulted on March 23, 2015

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