Not every category is a winner. Categories have changed, evolved, been added, and in a few cases, been done away with. The only original categories from 1928 that still exist with the same name are Actor, Actress, Director and Cinematography. Everything else has had something change.
The following categories no longer exist in pretty much any form. So I’ve gathered them all together in one fell swoop. I have no grades for them, because for some of them I wouldn’t really know what to do with it. They’re not categories that anybody thinks about anymore, let alone just the Academy. Although this does seem like a good place to mention that the Academy still doesn’t have an award for Best Ensemble. It’s long overdue.
The following three categories were all dropped after the first year (1927-1928). The first was kind of a second version of Best Picture (that’s how I classify these films), the second, they simply decided not to distinguish the two, and for the third, well, Silent films were quickly dying off so it was no longer necessary. (Seen: 66.67%)
Best Artistic Quality of Production
1927-1928 AA: Sunrise / The Crowd / Chang
Best Comedy Direction
1927-1928 AA: Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights
- Charles Chaplin for The Circus
- Ted Wilde for Speedy
note: The Charlie Chaplin nomination was later removed. Originally, Chaplin was nominated for Actor, Comedy Director and Original Story, but all three nominations were nullified and he instead was given the first Special Award to, according to the Academy, honor his “writing, acting, directing and producing The Circus. The collective accomplishments thus displayed place you in a class by yourself.”
Best Title Writing
1927-1928 AA: Telling the World / The Private Life of Helen of Troy / Oh Kay!
note: Well, this was the list of nominees as displayed on the IMDb when I first collected all of the information in one notebook. Of course, if you look at older sources, like Movie Awards or Inside Oscar, they will list Joseph Farnham as the winner for Telling the World, The Fair Co-Ed and Laugh, Clown, Laugh (or, depending on the source, as the winner for Telling the World, but nominated for the other two). They will also list nominations for Charles Duffy for The Private Life of Helen of Troy and George Marion, Jr. for Oh Kay! However, current Academy records (and the IMDb) only list Farnham as the winner with no specific film mentioned and Marion as a nominee, but for no specific film.
Then, in 1934, the Academy added a rather bizarre choice: Best Assistant Director. How they can tell how good a job the Assistant Director did, I have no idea. (Seen: 100%)
Best Assistant Director
1934 AA: Viva Villa / Imitation of Life / Cleopatra
1935 AA: Lives of a Bengal Lancer / Les Miserables / David Copperfield
1936 AA: The Charge of the Light Brigade / Anthony Adverse / San Francisco / Last of the Mohicans / Garden of Allah
1937 AA: In Old Chicago / The Life of Emile Zola / Lost Horizon / A Star is Born / Souls at Sea
In 1935, they then added Best Dance Direction. Again, a category that certainly doesn’t exist with any group today, and one that was short-lived. It was gone after 1937, along with Assistant Director. (Seen: 43% 87.50%)
Best Dance Direction
1935 AA: Broadway Melody of 1936 / Folies Bergere (also wins) / Top Hat / Gold Diggers of 1935 / Broadway Hostess / Go Into Your Dance / King of Burlesque / Big Broadcast of 1936 / All the King’s Horses / She
1936 AA: The Great Ziegfeld / Gold Diggers of 1937 / Cain and Mabel / Born to Dance / One in a Million / Dancing Pirate / Swing Time
1937 AA: Damsel in Distress / Varsity Show / Ready, Willing and Able / A Day at the Races / Ali Baba Goes to Town / Thin Ice / Waikiki Wedding
There are other categories that no longer really exist, but they are sub-sets of still existing categories (Comedy Score, Adapted Score and Song Score will all be covered under Best Score), so this is it for the defunct categories.