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March 12, 2004

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And the Oscar Goes to…

Sanyat Sattar

Every January, when the calendar has turned to a new year, the attention of the entertainment community and of film fans around the world turns to the upcoming Academy Awards. The annual Oscar presentation has been held since 1929 and this year this widely watched programme celebrates its 76th anniversary.




The Academy Awards
Gail Kinn & Jim Piazza
Black Dog & Leventhal Pub; October 2003
ISBN: 1579123171

The maxim "You can't judge a book by its cover" is sometimes wrong, as in the case of this Must-Have "Complete Unofficial History" of the Academy Awards. The cool Coffee-table-able cover is awesome - all a-glitter - with an almost real envelope encasing "And the winner is ..." This big glossy galaxy is laid out by year, from the beginning Wings in 1927 to Chicago in 2002: each with a picture and blurb of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supportings.


75 Years of the Oscar
Robert A. Osborne
Abbeville Press, Inc.; November 2003
ISBN: 0789207877

75 Years of the Oscar is the official history of the Academy Awards written by film critic Robert Osborne in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It begins with a general history of the Academy followed by the author's lively, decade-by-decade overviews of the accomplishments, trends, and events that occurred during each ten-year period within the Academy and the film industry. The book also provides a year-by-year portrayal of the actual ceremonies, plus a complete listing of the nominees and winners in every category, making it the most comprehensive book on the subject. In addition to Osborne's text, there are personal remembrances of more than 100 Oscar winners, including Mickey Rooney, Mary Astor, Sir Laurence Olivier, Fred Zinnemann, Clint Eastwood, and Emma Thompson.



Inside Oscar 2
Damien Bona
Ballantine Books; February 2002
ISBN: 0345449703

This is the encyclopedic up to date, chronicling the past 5 years of Academy Awards. This is a somewhat more difficult task since the author has to make his calls on the fly without the benefit of hindsight or the shakedown in taste that happens over the years. Damien Bona is up to it and “ Inside Oscar 2” writes about the Academy Awards of the last millennium's tail end. And there's a lot more. The gowns and the gossip are here, but also some real insights into the process of making these films and promoting them. Bona is great at finding just the right quote or anecdote to represent a bigger story. He gives background information for the films (winners and losers) and tries to sort out why the film was received the way it was by the public and reviewers. The wheeling and dealing of Oscar campaigning is revealed as well as the machinations of the nominees. Bona is able to be critical of the state contemporary film and culture, yet show a real affection for good movies and the spectacle of the Oscar awards themselves.




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