It’s that time of year again, where the stars come out for that special night to celebrate the best in film, and award those who did an extraordinary job. That’s right, it’s Oscar season!
Well, it WAS Oscar season. The award show was this past weekend, but we were still recovering from some of the after parties, and totally forgot to get this up on Monday. But how about Leo finally getting the gold, eh?!
Though we all refer to it as “the Oscars,” an Academy Award is the most prestigious thing anyone in the film business can win. Awarded by a panel of their peers, the Oscar celebrates the hard work someone has done during the year.
The very first Academy Awards was held in May 1929 at a private function at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with only about 270 people attending. During the evening, 15 statues were awarded to some of those in attendance, awarding their work from 1927 and 1928. Unlike its theatrical counterpart today, this show ran for only 15 minutes!
The ever-so famous notion of reading the winner from the envelope actually didn’t begin until much later. In previous years, the Academy gave the press the names of the winners beforehand, so their stories would be ready to run the next morning. However, in 1940, the Los Angeles Times announced the winners for that year’s ceremony before it even began. And so, since 1941 onward, the names of the winners have been sealed inside an envelope, only revealed when the presenter opens it.
While officially known as the Academy Awards, the origin of the name “Oscar” has been disputed for years. One story says that former president of the Academy, Bette Davis, named it after her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson. Another story says that Margaret Herrick, the Academy’s executive secretary, said the statue reminded her of her Uncle Oscar. Regardless, the trophy was officially called the “Oscar” in 1939 by the Academy.
Over the years, the Academy has seen a number of presidents, all from different walks of life and areas of expertise. Currently, the president is Cheryl Boone Isaacs, serving her third term, while also having been with the Academy (representing the Public Relations Branch) for 23 years. In addition, she is also one of Chapman University’s newest professors, teaching here at Dodge College.
Isaac’s careers spans more than 30 years. She began as a publicist for Columbia Pictures in 1977, until moving on to work as Vice President of Worldwide Advertising and Publicity, and then later, Director of Advertising and Publicity for The Ladd Company. By 1984, she had joined Paramount as Director, Publicity and Promotion, West Coast, and was quickly promoted to Executive Director a year later. She worked for Paramount for many years, eventually earning the title of Executive Vice President, Worldwide Publicity, for the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures, before leaving in 1997.
From there, she joined New Line Cinema, as President of Theatrical Marketing. Under her tenure, she helped foster some of the company’s highest grossing film at that time. For the last nine years, her company, CBI Enterprises, Inc., has consulted for Sony Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, The Weinstein Company, and Lionsgate.
In Fall 2014, she was named the O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence for Dodge College, where she worked closely to mentor 10 student scholars, and interacted with the larger Dodge community during weekly screenings. This year, since left such a lasting impact on the students, she was invited back to become part of the faculty.
This semester, Isaacs is teaching Movie Marketing, where she is using her extensive experience to help students learns the ins and outs of a successful marketing strategy for motion pictures. Isaacs is just another example of real-world experience being brought into the classroom, as she is still a working professional during the week, and can tie current examples into her teaching materials. We’re incredibly proud to have her here at Dodge.
To learn more about Cheryl Boone Isaacs, check out this interview she did with Happenings.