“’Coming up on 15 sec’s to air. 015. Ladies & gentlemen, please take your seats!’ [Standing on a milk crate] The envelope, please. And the Oscar Goes To…[I drop an apple]: Gravity! AGAIN?? “Oh hi, I’m Mr. Marino. I know you guys usually call me Paulie, but now that I’ve won an Oscar, it’s Mr. Marino.” Mine is for Best Film Critic and was presented at our 2014 Oscars Party by Ralph Famigletti. “It was a great party: A number of people working very hard on very unglamorous things for a long time, with a tremendous risk of failure. And that’s Hollywood!”
Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman’s And the Oscar Goes To… is a fabulous new documentary on the history of the Oscars that’s full of Red Carpet interviews, film & on-stage clips, and made-for-the-film narratives by Robert Osborne, Steven Spielberg, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Cher and Whoopi, to name a few. Released on 2/1/14 on Turner Classic Movies during their run-up to the Academy Awards, it’s too new to have any accolades. It does, however, have a score of 80 Rotten Tomatoes. Well not Critics or Top Critics Tomatoes. But 80% of the 25 users who rated it, liked it.
Bob Hope is noted as the seemingly house host – he hosted or co-hosted an incredible 19 times between 1940 & ‘78. There’s footage of the 1st Academy Awards in ’29, including all the cars arriving at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The ceremony heralded the oncoming change to the talkies when Warner Bros was given an Honorary Award for producing the pioneering new talking picture, The Jazz Singer. Excitement & nervousness of everyone there was always part of the ceremonies, even before they were broadcast. The purpose of the Awards then & now is to legitimize the genre as worthy of scholarly scrutiny, rather than it being a popularity contest. The creation of the Academy Awards helped fuel the population boom in L.A., as 100’s of 1000’s came to Hollywood with dreams of working in pictures. The clips are great: Watch for a tween/young teenage Angelina Jolie on the Red Carpet with her father, Jon Voight; did you ever want to see Hattie McDaniel’s Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech for her brilliant portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind? It’s here! And, of course, it includes scores of great clips of fantastic movies. And the Oscar Goes To… is a treasure chest full of Golden Age & Silver Screen Nuggets! But it’s not all peaches & cream. McCarthyism Blacklisting, the Vietnam War, and other controversial topics are discussed. Sports & film are contrasted. In motion pictures, the black & white of winning or losing is meaningless, and comparing great movies is difficult. “Is The Godfather better than 2001? [Shrugging my shoulders] I don’t know.” Of course, like many good sports programs, we get a bloopers reel while the credits roll.
Did you ever wonder how a film gets nominated for & receives an Oscar? For the 86th Oscars: Rule 1 defined the Awards; 2-4 specified a feature as over 40 minutes, released in L.A County only once with a start time during 2013, on specific mediums, run for 7 consecutive days with proper credits, and submitted for consideration by 12/2/13; 5 detailed nomination & voting rules for Academy members; and 6-27 are Awards specific rules including the Honorary, Technical & Scientific, Foreign Language, and Shorts. The rules for the 87th Oscars have been published but I have not yet reviewed them. Now, click on the links below to watch a slightly edited version of Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman’s And the Oscar Goes To…. 4 Stars