16 May 1929: In a ceremony at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood, California, U.S.A., “Wings,” a Paramount Pictures silent motion picture released in 1927 and directed by William A. Wellman, won the first Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won an award for Best Engineering Effects.
The silent movie about combat pilots of World War I, was filmed on location at Kelly Field, Texas, at a cost of $2,000.000. More than 300 pilots were involved, and 3,500 extras in the land battle scenes.
The leading actors in the film were Clara Bow, Charles (“Buddy”) Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper.
William A. Wellman, the film’s director, was himself a combat pilot during World War I, credited with three “kills” and five probables (perhaps as many as 9 enemy aircraft destroyed). He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with two palms.
© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes