Every year, hundreds of millions tune in, cast their bets, and argue over the inevitable drama that is The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) award show, or, more simply, the Oscars. At this point, we’re on a first-name basis with the award, a trend the Tonys and Emmys were quick to mimic. The entire proceedings stress their history, but only a small fragment they want us to see, secretly memorializing the father of the modern American film industry, Louis B. Mayer. The plan to hand out trophies for performers came about after the Academy was organized, a brilliant piece of marketing that Mayer didn’t think up himself, but took credit for anyway. More on that in a second.
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