This afternoon, Katie-Bar-The-Door and I are going to see A Trip to the Moon and a documentary about its director, Georges Méliès, at the AFI Silver. This might be a good time to re-start the Silent Oscars, my ongoing project to write a history of silent movies, one made-up award at a time.
When I left off, we were up to 1918, but that was some time ago, so just as I did with the Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards earlier this year, I'll be recapping the awards to date, beginning with 1902, which is not the beginning of movie history, but it is the year of history's first great movie, Georges Méliès's Le Voyage Dans La Lune. A good place to (re)start.
KC at Classic Movies recently wrote a terrific series of posts about Méliès (beginning here) and I myself wrote about him on the 150th anniversary of his birth (here), so I won't repeat it all for you now, except to say, the image of a rocket hitting the moon splat! in the eye is one of the defining images of the silent era—indeed, of all time.
From 1902 to 1909, I'll only hand out awards for best picture and director—actors didn't begin to receive screen credit until 1910 and before the widespread use of the close-up, were largely unrecognizable anyway. Beginning in 1910, I'll add a best actor and actress award, in 1912 one for screenplay, and in 1914, awards for supporting actors.
Here we go:
winner: Le voyage dans la lune a.k.a. A Trip to the Moon (prod. Georges Méliès)
nominees: Jack and the Beanstalk (prod. The Edison Manufacturing Company); The Little Match Seller (prod. Williamson Kinematograph Company)
Must-See: Le voyage dans la lune a.k.a. A Trip to the Moon
winner: Georges Méliès (Le voyage dans la lune a.k.a. A Trip to the Moon))
nominees: George S. Fleming and Edwin S. Porter (Jack and the Beanstalk); James Williamson (The Little Match Seller)