An awards ceremony is a type of ceremony where awards are given out. The ceremony may be arranged by a government organization, a society, a school, a trade association or even a company that specializes in running awards ceremonies. Typically a master of ceremonies presents award winners, speaks to the audience, entertains people, and generally keeps the ceremony moving.
The Ancient Greeks held annual competitions for tragedy and comedy, financed by the wealthiest citizens. Awards were given out for best play, best producer and best actor. In the early Olympic Games there were two awards ceremonies. After each event the judges gave palm branches to the winners. On the last day of the games all the event winners were announced, and were crowned with olive garlands. No medals were given, and only the winner was announced, since the runners-up were not considered significant. It was not unusual for the athletes to risk heavy fines and to bribe the judges to be declared winners.
Components of a modern awards ceremony typically include:
- A defined and equitable method of choosing the winners
- A venue, which may be a hotel, theatre or other facility. Dinner and entertainment may also be provided to attendees.
- A master of ceremonies
- Technical equipment such as microphones, speakers and video projectors
- Invitations to selected attendees
- Arrangements for journalists to cover the ceremony
- Certificates or trophies for the winners
American media awards
The major American media awards have evolved into major prime-time television ceremonies, but had small beginnings. The first awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel three months after the winners had been announced. The Oscar statuettes for best movie, best actress and best actor were given out in a 15-minute ceremony. The Golden Globe Awards were founded in 1944 by eight journalists who had formed the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association. They arranged for a luncheon at 20th Century Fox where scrolls were given for best picture, best actress and best actor. The Tony Awards for theatrical plays and musicals were first presented at the Waldorf Astoria New York in 1947. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented the first Emmy Awards at the Hollywood Athletic Club in 1949. The first Grammy Awards were given by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1958, with Volare winning the Best Single award.
Major English-language entertainment awards ceremonies in January / February of each year now include: New York Film Critics Circle, Critics Choice, American Cinema Editors, Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers, Grammy Awards, Costume Designers Guild, Art Directors Guild Writers Guild of America, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards.
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