ⓘ 25th Academy Awards


ⓘ 25th Academy Awards

The 25th Academy Awards ceremony was held on March 19, 1953. It took place at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and the NBC International Theatre in New York City.

It was the first Academy Awards ceremony to be televised, 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.

A major upset occurred when the heavily favored High Noon lost to Cecil B. DeMilles The Greatest Show on Earth, eventually considered among the worst films to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The American film magazine Premiere listed the film among the 10 worst Oscar winners and the British film magazine Empire rated it #3 on their list of the 10 worst Oscar winners. It has the lowest spot on Rotten Tomatoes list of the 81 films to win Best Picture. Of all the films nominated for the Oscar this year, only High Noon, and Singin in the Rain would show up 46 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 91st Academy Awards, it has not happened since.

Until Spotlight won only Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 88th Academy Awards, this was the last year in which the Best Picture winner won just two Oscars. It was also the second of three years to date in which two films not nominated for Best Picture received more nominations than the winner The Bad and the Beautiful and Hans Christian Andersen, both with six. This occurred again at the 79th Academy Awards.

Shirley Booth became the last person born in the 19th century to win an Oscar in a Leading Role. She is also the first woman in her 50s to win the award, at the age of 54.

John Fords 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.


1. Awards

Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.

Academy Honorary Awards

  • Plymouth Adventure for Best Special Effects.
  • Bob Hope "for his contribution to the laughter of the world, his service to the motion picture industry, and his devotion to the American premise".
  • Joseph M. Schenck "for long and distinguished service to the motion picture industry".
  • Harold Lloyd "master comedian and good citizen".
  • George Alfred Mitchell "for the design and development of the camera which bears his name and for his continued and dominant presence in the field of cinematography".
  • Merian C. Cooper "for his many innovations and contributions to the art of motion pictures".

2. In attendance

Among the 2.800 in attendance at the Pantages Theatre were:

  • Governor Earl Warren who by the end of the year would be the Chief Justice of the United States
  • Mayor and Mrs. Fletcher Bowron

3. Broadcast

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

For the first time in history, a television audience estimated at 40.000.000 persons will watch the movie industrys 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 as a sponsorship fee. NBC telecast the bicoastal ceremony over its 64-station television network and on its 174-station radio system. The Armed Forces Radio Service recorded the proceedings for later broadcast. 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 NBCs 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. With videotape technology still in its infancy, U.K. television standards conversion different from the U.S. and satellite broadcasting still a decade away, a live broadcast to Europe was impossible.

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


4. Trivia

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". She thanked "old friends for faith, new friends for hope and everyone for their charity".

The show was broadcast from 10:30 p.m. to 12:15 am, 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.