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25th Academy Awards

25th Academy Awards
Date March 19, 1953
Site RKO Pantages Theatre
Hollywood, California
NBC International Theatre
New York City, New York
Host Bob Hope (Hollywood)
Conrad Nagel (emcee)
Fredric March (New York City)[1]
Best Picture The Greatest Show on Earth
Most awards The Bad and the Beautiful (5)
Most nominations High Noon, Moulin Rouge and The Quiet Man (7)
TV in the United States
Network NBC
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The 25th Academy Awards ceremony was held on March 19, 1953. It took place at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California and the NBC International Theatre in New York City.

It was the first Academy Awards ceremony to be televised,[1] and the first ceremony to be held in Hollywood and New York City simultaneously. It was also the only year that the New York ceremonies were to be held in the NBC International Theatre on Columbus Circle, which was shortly thereafter demolished and replaced by the New York Coliseum convention center.[2][3]

A major upset occurred in the category of Best Picture. The heavily favored High Noon lost to Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth, which is now considered among the worst films to have ever won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The American film magazine Premiere placed the movie on its list of the 10 worst Oscar winners[4] and the British film magazine Empire rated it #3 on their list of the 10 worst Oscar winners.[5] It has the lowest spot on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 81 films to win Best Picture.[6] Of all the films nominated for the Oscar this year, only High Noon and Singin' in the Rain would show up 36 years later on the American Film Institute list of the greatest American films of the 20th Century. For a film that only received two nominations, Singin' in the Rain went on to be named as the greatest American musical film of all time and in the 2007 American Film Institute updated list as the fifth greatest American film of all time, while High Noon was ranked twenty-seventh on the same 2007 list, as well.

The Bad and the Beautiful won five awards, the most wins ever for a film not nominated for Best Picture. It was also the second Academy Awards in which a film not nominated for Best Picture received the most awards of the evening, excluding years where there were ties for the most wins. The only other film to do this was The Thief of Bagdad at the 13th Academy Awards; as of the 87th Academy Awards, it has not happened since.

This marked the last time, as of the 87th Academy Awards, that the Best Picture winner would win just two Oscars.

Shirley Booth also became the last person to win an Oscar in a Leading Role to be born in the 19th century. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman in her 50s to win the award, at the age of 54 (the second woman in her 50s to win, Julianne Moore, was 54 when awarded at the 87th Academy Awards).

John Ford's fourth win for Best Director set a record for the most wins in this category that remains unmatched to this day.

For the first time since the introduction of Supporting Actor and Actress awards in 1936, Best Picture, Best Director, and all four acting Oscars went to six different films. This has happened only three times since, at the 29th Academy Awards for 1956, the 78th for 2005, and the 85th for 2012.


Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.[7]

Best Motion Picture Best Director
Best Actor Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor Best Supporting Actress
Best Story and Screenplay Best Screenplay
Best Story Best Animated Short Film
Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short
Best Live Action Short Film, One-Reel Best Live Action Short Film, Two-Reel
Best Dramatic or Comedy Score Best Musical Score
Best Original Song Best Sound Recording
Best Art Direction, Black and White Best Art Direction, Color
Best Cinematography, Black and White Best Cinematography, Color
Best Costume Design, Black and White Best Costume Design, Color
Best Film Editing Best Visual Effects

Academy Honorary Awards

Best Foreign Language Film

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award


Name Role
Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan Announcer for the 25th Academy Awards
Brackett, CharlesCharles Brackett (AMPAS president) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Rogers, GingerGinger Rogers Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Hersholt, JeanJean Hersholt Presenter of the Documentary Awards
Capra, FrankFrank Capra Presenter of the award for Best Film Editing
Fontaine, JoanJoan Fontaine Presenters of the Art Direction-Set Decoration Awards
Stewart, JamesJames Stewart
Trevor, ClaireClaire Trevor Presenter of the award for Best Sound
Milland, RayRay Milland Presenters of the Short Subject Awards
Wyman, JaneJane Wyman
Wright, TeresaTeresa Wright Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography
Disney, WaltWalt Disney Presenter of the Music Awards
Brackett, CharlesCharles Brackett Presenters of the award for Best Director
de Havilland, OliviaOlivia de Havilland
Schary, DoreDore Schary Presenter of the Writing Awards
Garson, GreerGreer Garson Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Gwenn, EdmundEdmund Gwenn Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Gaynor, JanetJanet Gaynor Presenter of the award for Best Actor
March, FredricFredric March Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Pickford, MaryMary Pickford Presenter of the award for Best Motion Picture
Rainer, LuiseLuise Rainer Presenter of the Honorary Foreign Language Film Award
Young, LorettaLoretta Young Presenter of the award for Best Special Effects
Baxter, AnneAnne Baxter Presenter of the Scientific & Technical Awards


Name Role Performed
Deutsch, AdolphAdolph Deutsch Musical arranger Orchestral
Holm, CelesteCeleste Holm Performer “Thumbelina” from Hans Christian Andersen
Daniels, BillyBilly Daniels Performer “Because You’re Mine” from Because You're Mine
Lee, PeggyPeggy Lee Performers “Zing a Little Zong” from Just for You
Mercer, JohnnyJohnny Mercer
Ritter, TexTex Ritter Performer “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)” from High Noon
Hope, BobBob Hope Performers “Am I in Love?” from Son of Paleface
Maxwell, MarilynMarilyn Maxwell

In attendance

Among the 2,800 in attendance at the Pantages Theatre were:[8]


The 25th Academy Awards ceremony was the first to be broadcast on television:[1]

For the first time in history, a television audience estimated at 40,000,000 persons[9] will watch the movie industry's biggest show. It will mark the TV debut for scores of the biggest names in moviedom.

The telecast was prompted by the need to finance the bi-coastal ceremony. When three of the film studios refused to provide their customary financial support, the RCA Victor Division of the Radio Corporation of America agreed to pay AMPAS $100,000 (one source reported $250,000[10]) as a sponsorship fee. NBC telecast the bicoastal ceremony over its 64-station television network and on its 174-station radio system.[8] The Armed Forces Radio Service recorded the proceedings for later broadcast .[8] While in the United States the show was televised live on NBC, in Canada the live show was broadcast on CCTV installed at several movie theaters in Montreal and Toronto relaying NBC's feed. In Mexico City, XHGC-TV had to broadcast a 'Kinephoto' of the ceremony (sponsored there by Kraft Foods and RCA Victor) the following night because no TV network in that country had a station in the U.S.-Mexico border until 1955. In the United Kingdom (which used a different television standard as opposed to the US 525-line television system), the BBC Television Service had to broadcast a film recording of the televised ceremony on March 21, because there was no videotape technology, television standards conversion nor live satellite broadcasting at the time.

The technology used for television at the time meant that Bob Hope had to wear a blue dress shirt with his formal dinner jacket;[11] the traditional white shirt would have been too bright.


When Shirley Booth accepted the award for best actress in New York City, she was so excited that she tripped slightly on the way up to accept "one of the most unsurprising awards in Academy history."[8] She thanked "old friends for faith, new friends for hope and everyone for their charity."[8]

The show was broadcast from 10:30 p.m. to 12:00 midnight[citation needed], switching back and forth from host Bob Hope on the West Coast to Conrad Nagel on the East Coast. The late start was made to accommodate those nominees who were performing that night on the Broadway stage.[citation needed]

Multiple nominations and awards

See also

References and footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Bacon, James (1953-03-19). "TV Will Carry Film Awards Show Tonight". The Fresno Bee. Associated Press. 
  2. ^ International Theatre, from
  3. ^ The convention center was subsequently demolished when the Time Warner Center was built.
  4. ^ "'Chicago' and 'Oliver!' Among "Worst" Oscar Winners". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  5. ^ "The worst Oscar winners! - movies". 2005-03-01. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  6. ^ "The Best of the Best Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  7. ^ "The 25th Academy Awards (1953) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Movie 'Oscar' Won by Greatest Show, from the March 20, 1953 issue of The New York Times
  9. ^ The actual audience was 34 million, according to the March 30, 1953 issue of Time magazine.
  10. ^ The March 30, 1953 issue of Time magazine reported the sponsorship fee to be $250,000.
  11. ^ The Oscars from the March 30, 1953 issue of Time magazine