The Oscars are officially known as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards. They were inaugurated in 1928 as part of Hollywood's drive to improve its less-than-respectable image. Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick remarked that the statuette looked like her uncle Oscar, and the nickname has stuck ever since.
Membership in the Academy (currently over 3,000) is by invitation only, with members divided into 13 branches. Each branch selects up to five nominees for awards in its area of expertise; the entire membership makes "Best Film" nominations and then votes on all the categories. Major awards are: Best Director, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress.
The first ceremony was the only Academy Awards which was not broadcast in some way. It was attended by 250 people and held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Today, no tickets are available for public sale and attendence at the event is strictly by invitation onl