The first awards were handed out to a select 15 in front of a crowd of 270 on May 16, 1929, at a private brunch in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The root of where the name Oscar comes has become a highly contested Hollywood legend. One biography of Bette Davis claims that she named the Oscar after her first husband – band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson.
Another claimed origin is that the Academy’s secretary, Margaret Herrick, first saw the award in 1931 and made reference to the statuette reminding her of her ‘Uncle Oscar’. The trophy was officially dubbed the Oscar in 1939 by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Check out these stunning pictures that capture the sophistication and allure of stars on awards nights more than half a century ago:
1. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn grins and sports an elfin haircut while clutching her Oscar in 1953, for her breakout role in Roman Holiday alongside Gregory Peck.
Better than box from Tiffany’s: Audrey Hepburn beams and clutches her Oscar for best actress at the ceremony in Hollywood, 1953 after her performance in Roman Holiday
2. Frank Sinatra, From Here To Eternity
Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed (pictured right) hold their best supporting Oscars while posing with presenter Mercedes McCambridge (centre) for the movie From Here to Eternity at the 26th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony
Frank Sinatra’s career was on the wane when he won the Best Supporting Actor award in the same year for the wartime drama From Here To Eternity.
3. Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
A star is born: Elizabeth Taylor and Oscar enjoy champagne after she was named Best Actress for her role in Butterfield 8 in 1960. She won again for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966
4. Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly
Princess in waiting: Award presenters Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly (right) loiter backstage during the Annual Academy Awards. In other snapshots, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait with apparent nerves backstage to present an award. They are both dressed in full-skirted gowns with evening gloves and hair in elegant chignons.
5. Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront
The wild one: Marlon Brando catches the photographer’s eye as he cradles his Oscar for Best Actor for On The Waterfront in 1955. After Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for On The Waterfront it was stolen, finally turning up in a London auction house who contacted the actor and informed him that they had it.6. Clark Gable arrives with Grace Kelly
The golden age: Clark Gable arrives with Grace Kelly at the 26th annual Academy presentation at the RKO Pantages theater, Hollywood. A dashing Clark Gable arrives with Kelly, wrapped in a fur stole, at another ceremony while one of Tinseltown’s greatest romances – Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart radiate glamour.7. Humphrey Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall
Romantic leads: Humphrey Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall arrived at the 27th Academy Awards. They met on the set of To Have And Have Not in 1944 when Bacall was 19 and Bogart 45.
8. Natalie Wood, Rebel Without A Cause
Picture perfect: Natalie Wood has her hair done in a dressing room at Warner Brothers ahead of the awards where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Rebel Without A Cause. A teenage Natalie Wood glances excitedly in the mirror as she is primped and preened in preparation for the Oscars in a Warner Brothers studio dressing room – the night she won a Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in the 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause.
9. Ginger Rogers and George Murphy
Dancing with the real stars: Ginger Rogers and George Murphy take a spin holding the Oscar which they presented at the 22nd awards ceremony in 1950
10. Kirk Douglas
Hollywood royalty: Kirk Douglas looks dapper as he arrives in his tuxedo to celebrate Oscars night – he was nominated three times but never won. He was finally given honorary Academy Award in 1996 for his contribution to the movie industry. Kirk Douglas is seen charming the crowd in 1954 as he enters the Academy Awards ceremony. He was nominated three times for Best Actor but never won. He received a Honorary award in 1996 for ’50 years as a moral and creative force in the motion picture community’.
All the world’s a stage: John Wayne accepts Best Director Oscar for an absent John Ford from Olivia DeHavilland on stage at the 25th annual Academy Awards presentation, the first time it was televised