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All about Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards Paperback – October 28, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0826415554 ISBN-10: 0826415555

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826415555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826415554
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Levy's book is right on the money and right that the Oscars deserve analysis. As a former staffer for Variety and editor of Film International, he is among the best-informed writers about the Oscars." - Tom O'Brien, America

"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….The concluding charts listing, among other things, the most nominated films and the highest-grossing Oscar winners are welcome." - Publishers Weekly

"A largely comprehensive study of just about every aspect of the Academy Awards. For this 75th anniversary edition, Levy has updated and revised much of the information….a smart analytical look at the Oscar process and is far more informative than many of the oversized coffee-table book takes on the subject." - Variety

Mentioned –The New York Times, Sunday, 2/13/05

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Delia Jeston on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid collector of film books and films and I usually rely on book reviews in such trades as Publishers Weekly and Kirkus.
I recently bought Emanuel Levy's new, updated version of his old Oscar book, All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards (Continuum International, 2003).
I own the previous version, whose title, Oscar Fever, was better (Continuum, 2001). There's no doubt in my mind that All About Oscar is a better, more comprehensive, more up-to-date, and more illuminating book than Oscar Fever.
Yet when I consulted Publishers Weekly, I was shocked to realize that Oscar Fever had received a much more favorable review than All About Oscar. The reviewer of Oscar Fever wrote: "Levy draws an extraordinarily detailed knowledge of Hollywood history, providing intriguing factoids to supplement his assertions and analysis about subjects such as gender, age, and race in Hollywood, probing such essential questions as whether the Oscars are a "popularity contest." His analysis of why films about race receive Oscar nominations is thoughtful and savvy. No sociological question escapes Levy's notice, and he's got an answer for everything."
The review of All About Oscar was lukewarm, but not as favorable as that of Oscar Fever, even though the latter is a better book. What has happened to book reviewing? Is it that subjective? Does it entirely depend on the reviewer's personality and taste" The least a respectable publication like Publishers Weekly could have done is to assign All About Oscar to the same critic who had reviewed Oscar Fever. This would have been the only way to avoid the problem of subjectivity and arbitrariness in book reviewing.
If I were asked to rank both version, I would give Oscar Fever 3 stars and All About Oscar 4.
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By Sarah Hawkinson on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I acquired this book for research and it offered all the information I needed it to. I was looking for information on the AMPAS and Levy covers all the important development of the categories, etc.
Very easy to read and well organized.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Glenn on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you want to understand which movies are nominated for and win Oscars, and which kinds of screen roles are considered "Oscar stuff" I highly recommend that you read Emanuel Levy's new book, All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards.
But Don't expect to get many insights about the screenplays nominated for Oscar and their writers. Though Levy analyzes in great depth at least ten of the Oscar categories, the only place where writers are mentioned in the chapters dealing with the various films genres (dramas, musicals, historical epics, comedies, Westerns).
But don't writers deserve their own chapter? After all, there are no movies without ideas, stories, narratives, and the Academy acknowledges this fact by honoring not one but two kinds of screenplays: original and adapted.
I do understand that a single volume about the Oscars can't deal with each and every category, anbd I myself don't care much about art or costume design. I learned a lot from reading All About Oscar, I can't fully praise or embrace a book that is more concerned with directors and actors than with screenwriters. For this reason, I give All About Oscar the grade 4.

If you want to understand which movies are nominated for and win Oscars, and which kinds of screen roles are considered "Oscar stuff" I highly recommend that you read Emanuel Levy's new book, All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards.
But Don't expect to get many insights about the screenplays nominated for Oscar and their writers. Though Levy analyzes in great depth at least ten of the Oscar categories, the only place where writers are mentioned in the chapters dealing with the various films genres (dramas, musicals, historical epics, comedies, Westerns).
Read more ›
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am one of those people who loves the Oscar show and reads everything available about the Oscar Award. I just finished reading Levy's latest book on the subject, All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards. In my view, it represents a vast improvement over his previous, Oscar Fever.

Let me explain. For one thing, there is new information that was not available before about the Oscar's discrimination against women and ethnic minority artists (not just blacks). In fact, the chapter "Is the Oscar a White Man's Race" reveals that many of the biases that operate in the Oscar awards simply reflect biases that exist in American society, and that the Oscar is just a microcosm of a much larger problem that we Americans need to deal with.
The second new chapter that I like is the one titled, "Oscar's Middle-Brow Sensibility," which documents why, year after year, the Oscar-winning films are not necessarily the best ones artistically, but those that contain uplifting and hopeful messages in their stories. Prime example: A Beautiful Mind, which in the guise of a biopicture was presented as a struggle and triumph of the mind against all odds.
In short, one of the great merits of All About Oscar is that it approaches the subject not just from an artistic or cinematic perspective, but from a social and political one as well, showing that both the Oscar's are much bigger than the movies they recognize. I therefore gives Levy's Oscar Fever the highest rank, 5, and recommend that it be read by anyone interested in American pop culture.
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