ALL ABOUT OSCAR: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards
Offering an assemblage of facts rather than a specific point of view, this survey of the Academy Awards is admirable for its breadth but tiring in its uninspired presentation. Building on his earlier Oscar Fever, film scholar Levy imparts a "sociological view of the historic, cultural, and political contexts" in which Oscar nominations are made. He explores the award from many angles, e.g., how genres have been represented, how popularity figures into the awards and what winning an Oscar means. Some of the freshest information comes in the history section, particularly in the discussions of unions and the Academy, and the ending of studio sponsorship of the Oscar ceremony. There are references galore to past Oscar ceremonies and many original observations, such as Levy's reasoning for why so many of the actors in William Wyler films were nominated for Oscars (he says it was because the films' long takes and deep focus helped actors achieve "real dramatic continuity"). But overall, the book is tedious, with many names per page and a fairly commonplace conclusion: Oscar-winning movies are often long, glossy epics. The concluding charts listing, among other things, the most nominated films and the highest-grossing Oscar winners, are welcome. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Forecast:A photo of a triumphant Halle Berry on the book jacket and the book's publication date coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Academy Awards could attract browsers.
Release date: 10/01/2003