The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists is a professional honorary organization composed of over 6,000 motion picture craftsman and women. The purposes of the academy are to advance the arts and sciences of motion pictures; foster cooperation among creative leaders; recognize outstanding achievements; cooperate on technical research and foster educational activities between the professional community and the public-at-large. The Academy's field of activity does not include economic, labor or political matters. The Academy was organized in May, 1927, as a non-profit corporation chartered under the laws of California. When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just began to talk. The first ceremonies took place during banquets. Increased attendance and the war had made it impractical, and the presentation ceremonies moved to theatres. On March 19, 1953 the Oscars were first televised and in 1966 they were first broadcast in color. There have only been three circumstances that interrupted the scheduled presentation of the Academy Awards. The first was in 1938 when destructive floods washed out Los Angeles and delayed the ceremonies one week. The Awards ceremony was moved from April 8 to April 10 in 1968, out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King, who had been assassinated a few days earlier, and whose funeral was held on April 8, the day set for the Awards. In 1981, the Awards were moved for 24 hours due to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
On Sunday night 1999 at the 71st Academy Awards the battle between two pictures appeared. Elizabethan times versus World War II, romantic comedy versus graphic drama, "Shakespeare in Love" versus "Saving Private Ryan. As expected "Shakespeare in Love" took home seven Oscars and beat out "Saving Private Ryan" This Steven Spielberg's war epic took home five honors.
Aside from those two, Roberto Benigni, who wrote, directed and acted in the Holocaust tragi-comedy "Life Is Beautiful" stole the first half of the show. The gracious Italian filmmaker won Oscars for best actor and best foreign film.
For many in Hollywood, the most important issue of the 71st Annual Academy Awards ceremony was not which movie is named Best Picture, but rather who will and who won't applaud when legendary director Elia Kazan is given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his remarkable contribution to the art of filmmaking.
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The Academy Awards
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