Chaplin & the first Academy Awards ceremony

The ceremony was held on May 16th, 1929, the second anniversary of the founding of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel. Although Chaplin was to receive an award, he was not among the 270 in attendance.

William C. DeMille, older brother of Cecil B., was the banquet chairman, and the statuettes were handed out by Academy President Douglas Fairbanks. According to the Academy’s “Anniversary and Awards” bulletin of June 3rd, 1929, when the time came to present Chaplin’s award, Mr. DeMille said the following:

“A special first award for writing, directing, acting, and producing ‘The Circus’ goes to Charles Chaplin. I think he is the only one to whom the Academy has or ever will give a first award to one man for writing, directing, acting and producing a picture. It takes us back to the old days. Mr. Chaplin is not here, due to cold feet but he has wired his high appreciation of the honor.”*

Chaplin’s wire read:

“I want to express to the Academy my deep appreciation for the special honor the Academy judges have conferred upon me. I regret deeply my inability to be present at the anniversary dinner tonight.” (Anniversary & Awards Bulletin, 6/3/29)

*This award was recently stolen from the Association Chaplin office in Paris. 

Click each to enlarge. Source

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