The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a professional honorary organization dedicated
to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

The Academy is composed of over 6,000 motion picture professionals. While the great majority of its members
are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world. As of 2004, the
Academy roster included theatrical filmmakers from 36 countries.

The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, informally known as the "Oscars."
In addition, the Academy gives Student Academy Awards annually to filmmakers at the undergraduate and
graduate level; awards up to five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting annually; and operates the Margaret
Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, California and the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood,
California, which will expand to include The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, to open as a tourist
attraction by 2012.

The current president of the Academy is Sid GanisThe notion of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and
Sciences (AMPAS) began with Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). He wanted to create an
organization that would mediate labor disputes and improve the industry’s image. So, on a Sunday evening,
Mayer and three other studio big-wigs - actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo, and the head of the
Association of Motion Picture Producers, Fred Beetson - sat down and discussed these matters. The idea of this
elite club having an annual banquet was tossed around, but there was no mention of awards just yet. They also
established that a membership into the organization would only be open to people involved in one of the five
branches of the industry: actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers.

After their brief meeting, Mayer gathered up a group of thirty-six people involved in the film industry and
invited them to a formal banquet at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on January 11, 1927.  That evening
Mayer presented to those guests what he called the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
and it was open to those who had contributed to the motion picture industry. Everyone in the room that
evening became a founder of the Academy. It wasn’t until later, when Mayer’s lawyers wrote up the
charter, did the name change to "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences".

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as the first president of the Academy. As one of his first acts, he added an
activity of bestowing “awards of merit for distinctive achievement.� No one back then saw it as more
than just an award. However, they were on the brink of forming something historical. A year later the voting
system for the Awards was established, and the nomination and selection process began. This "award of merit
for distinctive achievement" is what we know now as the Academy Award.

In 1929, the Academy in a joint venture with the University of Southern California created America's first film
school to further the art and science of moving pictures. The School’s founding faculty included Fairbanks
(President of the Academy), D. W. Griffith, William C. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg, and Darryl
Zanuck.

Membership

All members must be invited to join. Invitation comes from the Board of Governors. Membership eligibility
may be achieved by a competitive nomination or a member may submit a name based on other significant
contribution to the field of motion pictures.

New membership proposals are considered annually. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership,
although past press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join.

Academy membership is divided into 15 branches, representing different disciplines in motion pictures.
Members may not belong to more than one branch. Members whose work does not fall within one of the
branches may belong to a group known as "Members At Large."

Academy Branches

Actors                                                             
Art Directors
Cinematographers
Directors
Documentary
Executives
Film Editors
Make Up
Music
Producers
Public Relations
Short Films and Feature Animation               
Sound
Visual Effects
Writers

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History of the Academy
Original 36 founders
of the
AcademyActors

Richard Barthelmess
Jack Holt
Conrad Nagel
Milton Sills
Douglas Fairbanks
Harold Lloyd
Mary Pickford
Directors

Cecil B. DeMille
Frank Lloyd
Henry King
Fred Niblo
John M. Stahl
Raoul Walsh
Lawyers

Edwin Loeb
George W. Cohen
Producers

Fred Beetson
Charles H. Christie
Sid Grauman
Milton E. Hoffman
Jesse L. Lasky
M. C. Levee
Louis B. Mayer
Joseph M. Schenck
Irving Thalberg
Harry Warner
Jack Warner
Harry Rapf
Technicians

J. Arthur Ball
Cedric Gibbons
Roy J. Pomeroy
Writers

Joseph Farnham
Benjamin Glazer
Jeanie MacPherson
Bess Meredyth
Carey Wilson
Frank E. Woods
About The Academy
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