1st Academy Awards

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929 at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show. Tickets cost $5 (which would be $73 in 2018 considering inflation), 270 people attended the event and the presentation ceremony lasted 15 minutes. Awards were created by Louis B. Mayer, founder of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation (at present merged into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). It is the only Academy Awards ceremony not to be broadcast either on radio or television. The radio broadcast was introduced the following year in 1930.

During the ceremony, the AMPAS presented Academy Awards, now known as the Oscars in 12 categories. Winners were announced three months before the live event. Some nominations were announced without reference to a specific film, such as for Ralph Hammeras and Nugent Slaughter, who received nominations in the now defunct category of Engineering Effects.[2] Unlike later ceremonies, an actor could be awarded for multiple works within a calendar year for the same category. Emil Jannings, for example, was given the Best Actor award for his work in both The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. Also, Charlie Chaplin and Warner Brothers each received an Honorary Award.[3][4]

Major winners at the ceremony included 7th Heaven and Sunrise, which each received three awards, and Wings, receiving two awards. Among its honors, Sunrise won the award for Unique and Artistic Picture and Wings won the award for Outstanding Picture (now known as Best Picture). These two categories at the time were regarded equally as the top award of the night intended to honor different and important aspects of superior filmmaking. The next year, the Academy dropped the Unique and Artistic Picture award, and decided retroactively that the award won by Wings was the highest honor that could be awarded.[2]

1st Academy Awards
1stOscars 1929
The first Academy Awards was at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
DateMay 16, 1929
SiteHollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Hosted byDouglas Fairbanks
Highlights
Best PictureWings[1]
Most awards7th Heaven and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (3)
Most nominations7th Heaven (5)

Background

In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was established by Louis B. Mayer, originator of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation, which then would be joined into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Mayer's purpose in creating the award was to unite the five branches of the film industry, including actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers.[5] Mayer commented on the creation of the awards "I found that the best way to handle [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them ... If I got them cups and awards, they'd kill them to produce what I wanted. That's why the Academy Award was created".[6] Mayer asked Cedric Gibbons, art director of MGM, to design an Academy Award trophy.[5][7] Nominees were notified through a telegram in February 1928.[5] In August 1928, Mayer contacted the Academy Central Board of Judges to decide winners.[5] However, according to the American director King Vidor, the voting for the Academy Award for Best Picture was in the hands of the AMPAS founders Douglas Fairbanks, Sid Grauman, Mayer, Mary Pickford, and Joseph Schenck.[8]

Ceremony

The ceremony was held on May 16, 1929[9][3][4][10] at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, located in Los Angeles.[3] It consisted of a private dinner with 36 banquet tables,[11] where 270 people attended and tickets cost five dollars (equivalent to $72.96 in 2018).[3] Actors and actresses arrived at the hotel in luxury vehicles, where many fans attended to encourage celebrities.[11] The ceremony was not broadcast on radio or television,[3] and was hosted by AMPAS director Fairbanks[9][3][4][12] during a 15-minute event.[10]

Winners and nominees

Winners were announced three months before the ceremony.[3][4][10] The recipients included: Emil Jannings, the inaugural first award recipient [3] for Best Actor (The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command);[4][10] Janet Gaynor for Best Actress (7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans); Frank Borzage for Best Director, Drama (7th Heaven); Lewis Milestone for Best Director, Comedy (Two Arabian Knights); and Wings for Best Picture (the most expensive film of its time).[9][2] Two presentations were made of a Special Award: Charlie Chaplin, a multiple nominee for one movie (Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy; all for The Circus) having been removed from the list so as to recognize his total contribution to the industry;[4] and Warner Brothers, an award for pioneering talking pictures (The Jazz Singer). Three categories were eliminated for subsequent presentations: Best Engineering Effects, Best Title Writing, and Best Unique and Artistic Quality of Production.[2] The larger film producers received the preponderance of awards: Fox Film Corporation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Radio-Keith-Orpheum, and Warner Bros..[5]

Awards

Winners are listed first and indicated with double dagger double-dagger

Best Unique and Artistic Picture
Best Engineering Effects
Best Title Writing

Honorary Awards

Multiple nominations and awards

The following six films received multiple nominations:

Nominations Film
5
7th Heaven
4
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
2 The Crowd
The Last Command
Sadie Thompson
Wings

The following three films received multiple awards:

Awards Film
3 7th Heaven
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
2
Wings

Gallery

Wings poster

Wings is the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, which was at the time known as Outstanding Picture. Also won an award for the Best Engineering Effects[9]

Sunrise vintage

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won the Academy Award for Best Unique and Artistic Picture, the only year that such a prize was awarded. The prize was intended to honor prestige art films separately from "commercial fare".[13]

Frank Borzage 001

Frank Borzage, Best Director, Dramatic Picture

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-07770, Berlin, Rückkehr Emil Jannings aus Amerika

Emil Jannings, Best Actor

Janet Gaynor Argentinean Magazine AD

Janet Gaynor, Best Actress

Chaplin2

Charlie Chaplin, Honorary Award

Warner Bros 1920

Warner Brothers Production, Honorary Award. In top image First National Studios, Burbank, c. 1928.

See also

References

  1. ^ "The 1st Academy Awards Memorable Moments". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Official Academy Awards Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2012. Reader must select "1927/28" in the "Award Year(s):" drop-down menu and press "Search".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of the Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on April 8, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dirks, Tim. "1927–28 Academy Awards Winners and History". Filmsite. Rainbow Media. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e Cosgrave 2007, p. 1
  6. ^ Eyman 2005, p. 117
  7. ^ Eyman 2005, p. 209
  8. ^ Eyman 2005, p. 138
  9. ^ a b c d "This day in History". History. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c d Pawlak, Debra Ann. "The Story of the First Academy Awards". The MediaDrome{{inconsistent citations}}
  11. ^ a b Cosgrave 2007, p. 4
  12. ^ "Names make news". Time. Time Inc. May 27, 1929. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  13. ^ Decherney, Peter (August 14, 2012). "Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American". Columbia University Press – via Google Books.

Bibliography

1929

1929 (MCMXXIX)

was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1929th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 929th year of the 2nd millennium, the 29th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1920s decade.

This year marked the end of a period known in American history as the Roaring Twenties after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ushered in a worldwide Great Depression. In the Americas, an agreement was brokered to end the Cristero War, a Catholic counter-revolution in Mexico. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, a British high court, ruled that Canadian women are persons in the Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General) case. The 1st Academy Awards for film were held in Los Angeles, while the Museum of Modern Art opened in New York City. The Peruvian Air Force was created.

In Asia, the Republic of China and the Soviet Union engaged in a minor conflict after the Chinese seized full control of the Manchurian Chinese Eastern Railway, which ended with a resumption of joint administration. In the Soviet Union, General Secretary Joseph Stalin expelled Leon Trotsky and adopted a policy of collectivization. The Grand Trunk Express began service in India. Rioting between Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem over access to the Western Wall took place in the Middle East. The centenary of Western Australia was celebrated.

The Kellogg–Briand Pact, a treaty renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, went into effect. In Europe, the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy signed the Lateran Treaty. The Idionymon law was passed in Greece to outlaw political dissent. Spain hosted the Ibero-American Exposition which featured pavilions from Latin American countries. The German airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin flew around the world in 21 days.

3rd Academy Awards

The 3rd Academy Awards were awarded to films completed and screened released between August 1, 1929, and July 31, 1930, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

All Quiet on the Western Front was the first film to win both Best Picture and Best Director, a feat that would become common in later years. Lewis Milestone became the first person to win two Oscars, having won Best Director – Comedy at the 1st Academy Awards.

The Love Parade received six nominations, the greatest number of any film to that point. However, it did not win in any category.

Best Sound Recording was introduced this year, making it the first new category since the inception of the Oscars. It was awarded to Douglas Shearer, brother of Best Actress winner Norma Shearer, making them the first sibling winners in Oscar history.

7th Heaven (1927 film)

7th Heaven (also known as Seventh Heaven) is a 1927 American silent romantic drama directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. The film is based upon the 1922 play Seventh Heaven, by Austin Strong and was adapted for the screen by Benjamin Glazer. 7th Heaven was initially released as a standard silent film in May 1927. On September 10, 1927, Fox Film Corporation re-released the film with a synchronized Movietone soundtrack with a musical score and sound effects.

Upon its release, 7th Heaven was a critical and commercial success and helped to establish Fox Film Corporation as a major studio. It was one of the first of three films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (then called "Outstanding Picture") at the 1st Academy Awards held on May 16, 1929. Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film (she also won for her performances in 1927's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and 1928's Street Angel). Director Frank Borzage also won the first Academy Award for Best Director while screenwriter Benjamin Glazer won the first Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

In 1995, 7th Heaven was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Academy Award for Best Actor

The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actress winner.

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Emil Jannings receiving the award for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. Currently, nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy.In the first three years of the awards, actors were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. However, during the 3rd ceremony held in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots. The following year, this system was replaced by the current system in which an actor is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.Since its inception, the award has been given to 80 actors. Daniel Day-Lewis has received the most awards in this category with three Oscars. Spencer Tracy and Laurence Olivier were nominated on nine occasions, more than any other actor. As of the 2018 ceremony, Gary Oldman is the most recent winner in this category for portraying Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Academy Award for Best Actress

The Academy Award for Best Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. The award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actor winner.

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Janet Gaynor receiving the award for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise. Currently, nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy. In the first three years of the awards, actresses were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. However, during the 3rd ceremony held in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots.The following year, this unwieldy and confusing system was replaced by the current system in which an actress is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year. One actress has been nominated posthumously, Jeanne Eagels. Only three film characters have been nominated more than once in this category: Elizabeth I of England (twice by Cate Blanchett), Leslie Crosbie in The Letter, and Esther Blodgett in A Star Is Born. Seven women on the list have received an Honorary Academy Award for their acting; they are Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Mary Pickford, Deborah Kerr, Gena Rowlands, Cicely Tyson and Sophia Loren.Since its inception, the award has been given to 75 actresses. Katharine Hepburn has won the most awards in this category, with four Oscars. Meryl Streep, who has a total of 21 Oscar nominations (three wins), has been nominated in this category on 17 occasions, resulting in two awards. As of the 2018 ceremony, Frances McDormand is the most recent winner in this category for her role as Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Academy Award for Best Director

The Academy Award for Best Director (officially known as the Academy Award for Best Directing) is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of a film director who has exhibited outstanding directing while working in the film industry.

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with the award being split into "Dramatic" and "Comedy" categories; Frank Borzage and Lewis Milestone won for 7th Heaven and Two Arabian Knights, respectively. However, these categories were merged for all subsequent ceremonies. Nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the directors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy.For the first eleven years of the Academy Awards, directors were allowed to be nominated for multiple films in the same year. However, after the nomination of Michael Curtiz for two films, Angels with Dirty Faces and Four Daughters, at the 11th Academy Awards, the rules were revised so that an individual could only be nominated for one film at each ceremony. That rule has since been amended, although the only director who has received multiple nominations in the same year was Steven Soderbergh for Erin Brockovich and Traffic in 2000, winning the award for the latter. The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have been very closely linked throughout their history. Of the 90 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 64 have also been awarded Best Director.Since its inception, the award has been given to 69 directors or directing teams. John Ford has received the most awards in this category with four. William Wyler was nominated on twelve occasions, more than any other individual. Damien Chazelle became the youngest director in history to receive this award, at the age of 32 for his work on La La Land. Two directing teams have shared the award; Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story in 1961 and Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men in 2007. The Coen brothers are the only siblings to have won the award. Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have won the award, for 2009's The Hurt Locker. Since the 82nd ceremony held in 2010, when the Best Picture category was no longer limited to five nominees, only Bennett Miller and Pawel Pawlikowski have been nominated for films not nominated for Best Picture. As of the 2018 ceremony, Guillermo del Toro is the most recent winner in this category for his work on The Shape of Water.

Alfred A. Cohn

Alfred A. Cohn (March 26, 1880 – February 3, 1951) was an author, journalist and newspaper editor, Police Commissioner, and screenwriter of the 1920s and 1930s. He is best remembered for his work on The Jazz Singer, which was nominated for (but did not win) an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in the 1st Academy Awards of 1929.

Cohn was born in Freeport, Illinois but subsequently moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he began work as a newspaper editor and journalist. He then moved to Galveston, Texas where he ran a newspaper.

Following his career in journalism, he moved to Arizona and participated as a secretary in the Arizona constitutional convention which led to its statehood in 1912.

In the 1920s, he moved to Los Angeles, California and began working as a writer, first doing title cards for silent films and, later, scripts and adaptations. He was a co-writer on the 1926 film The Cohens and Kellys, the first of the six-film Cohens and Kellys franchise. His work on adapting The Jazz Singer, one of the first motion pictures with sound, from a play and short story by Samson Raphaelson, led to his first and only nomination for an Academy Award. During this period, he was a prolific writer and wrote more than 100 scripts, roughly 40 of which were produced into films.

In the 1930s, he retired from screenwriting and was appointed the Police Commissioner of Los Angeles, and he continued writing as a short story writer. He died of a heart condition in 1951.

Anthony Coldeway

Anthony W. Coldeway (August 1, 1887 – January 29, 1963) was an American screenwriter who had an extensive career from 1910 through 1954. Although most of his work was on films, he did some writing for television and also was the director of a silent film, entitled Her Great Dilemma, in 1917. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1928, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1st Academy Awards for his film Glorious Betsy.

Gerald Duffy

Gerald C. Duffy (1896 – June 25, 1928) was a screenwriter of the silent film era, as well as a journalist, and short story writer and copyeditor. He is best known for his many contributions to Redbook magazine, which he edited, as well as being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Title Writing in the 1st Academy Awards for the film The Private Life of Helen of Troy. His prolific fiction career brought him to the attention of First National Pictures who hired him on as a writer.

Gerald died in 1928 while dictating a script in Los Angeles, California.

List of Academy Award Best Actor winners by age

This is a list of winners of the Academy Award for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. More popularly known as the Academy Award (or the Oscar) for Best Actor, this award was initially presented at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony for 1927–1928 and was most recently presented at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony for 2017. Throughout the past 90 years, accounting for ties and repeat winners, AMPAS has presented a total of 91 Best Actor awards to 80 actors. This list is current as of the 90th Academy Awards ceremony held on March 4, 2018.

Little Golden Guy

Little Golden Guy is a website which presents statistical data related to the Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars). Launched by Brian Barney in 1999, the search engine provides a method of tabulating the films and individuals holding records for the most nominations and awards within a particular category or within a specified timeframe. The website maintains data from the 1st Academy Awards ceremony, honoring films from 1927 and 1928, to the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, honoring films from 2011. The site's search results also provide internal links to annual summaries, as well as statistical breakdowns of individual awards categories. The site has not been updated since the 2013 Academy Awards.

Roy Pomeroy

Roy Pomeroy (April 20, 1892 – September 3, 1947) was an American special effects artist. He won an Academy Award for Engineering Effects for the film Wings at the 1st Academy Awards.

Sorrell and Son (1927 film)

Sorrell and Son is a 1927 American silent drama film released on December 2, 1927 and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director in the 1st Academy Awards the following year. The film was based on the novel of the same name by Warwick Deeping, Sorrell and Son, which became and remained a bestseller from its first publication in 1925 throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

The screenplay was adapted by Elizabeth Meehan. It was written and directed by Herbert Brenon. Filming took place in England.

The Artist (film)

The Artist is a 2011 French comedy-drama film in the style of a black-and-white silent film. Written, directed, and co-edited by Michel Hazanavicius, and produced by Thomas Langmann, the film stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. The story takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932, and focuses on the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the "talkies".

The Artist received highly positive reviews from critics and won many accolades. Dujardin won Best Actor at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where the film premiered. The film was nominated for six Golden Globes, the most of any 2011 film, and won three: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score, and Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Dujardin. In January 2012, the film was nominated for twelve BAFTAs, the most of any film from 2011, and won seven, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Hazanavicius, and Best Actor for Dujardin.

It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture for Langmann, Best Director for Hazanavicius, and Best Actor for Dujardin, making him the first French actor ever to win in this category. It was also the first French-produced film to win Best Picture, and the first mainly silent film to win since 1927's Wings won at the 1st Academy Awards in 1929. It was also the first film presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio to win since 1953's From Here to Eternity. Additionally, it was the first black-and-white film to win since 1993's Schindler's List, though the latter contained limited colour sequences; it was the first 100% black-and-white film to win since 1960's The Apartment.

In France it was nominated for ten César Awards, winning six, including Best Film, Best Director for Hazanavicius and Best Actress for Bejo. The Artist has received more awards than any other French film.

The Devil Dancer

The Devil Dancer is a 1927 American silent romantic drama film directed by Fred Niblo and produced by Samuel Goldwyn.

For his work on this film, The Magic Flame and Sadie Thompson, cinematographer George Barnes was nominated for the first-ever Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.The Devil Dancer is now considered a lost film.

The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical drama film directed by Alan Crosland. It is the first feature-length motion picture with not only a synchronized recorded music score but also lip-synchronous singing and speech in several isolated sequences. Its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and ended the silent film era. It was produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system. The film features six songs performed by Al Jolson. It's based on the play of the same name by Samson Raphaelson which itself was adapted from one of his short stories titled "The Day of Atonement".

The film depicts the fictional story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. After singing popular tunes in a beer garden he is punished by his father, a hazzan (cantor), prompting Jakie to run away from home. Some years later, now calling himself Jack Robin, he has become a talented jazz singer. He attempts to build a career as an entertainer but his professional ambitions ultimately come into conflict with the demands of his home and heritage.

Darryl F. Zanuck won an Honorary Academy Award for producing the film; Alfred A. Cohn was nominated for

Best Writing (Adaptation) at the 1st Academy Awards. In 1996, The Jazz Singer was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" motion pictures. In 1998, the film was chosen in voting conducted by the American Film Institute as one of the best American films of all time, ranking at number ninety.

The Magic Flame

The Magic Flame is a 1927 American silent drama film directed by Henry King, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and based on the play Konig Harlekin by Rudolph Lothar. George Barnes was nominated at the 1st Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for his work in The Magic Flame, The Devil Dancer, and Sadie Thompson. The film promoted itself as the Romeo and Juliet of the circus upon its release.

This is now considered to be a lost film. The first five reels are rumored to exist at the George Eastman House, though this is disputed.

William A. Wellman

William Augustus Wellman (February 29, 1896 – December 9, 1975) was an American film director notable for his work in crime, adventure and action genre films, often focusing on aviation themes, a particular passion. He also directed several well-regarded satirical comedies. Beginning his film career as an actor, he went on to direct over 80 films, at times co-credited as producer and consultant. In 1927, Wellman directed Wings, which became the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony. He won the Academy Award for Best Story for his 1937 film A Star Is Born.

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