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80 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards Hardcover – November 25, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Osborne is a columnist and critic for The Hollywood Reporter, one of Hollywood's most important daily newspapers, and primetime host and anchor on the Turner Classic Movies cable television network. He has written a dozen books on the film world, many of them focused on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also a frequent host of the Academy's in-person tributes, both in Beverly Hills and New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; First Edition edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789209926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789209924
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.8 x 12.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By calvinnme HALL OF FAME on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is not a history in the since of most history books. It does not detail how the academy began, or how it changed over the years, or give you any kind of insider view of its workings. Instead, it is a complete listing of every nominee and every winner in every category since the award ceremony's inception in 1927. There are plenty of photographs of the nominees and images of scenes from the nominated films for each year, so it is not dry in the way many reference books are. In fact, Mr. Osborne's love of film and its history really shine through in the book. It is interesting to look through this book and see what we consider to be films that have withstood the test of time versus which ones were rewarded by the academy at the time. For example, in 1939, the Academy did recognize that "Gone with the Wind" was the best picture of the year, which people were lining up to watch in movie theaters until its television broadcast premiere in 1976. However, in 1941, "How Green was My Valley" won best picture, which is a film that hardly anyone watches anymore, while "Citizen Kane" was completely ignored. It's also interesting to see how the Academy compensated for past oversights by awarding performances that were less than stellar in subsequent years. For instance, in 1934 Bette Davis was overlooked in her performance in "Of Human Bondage". This caused a huge public outcry. The following year the Academy gave her the best actress award for her performance in "Dangerous"- a move that has largely been seen over the years as a consolation prize for what happened the year before.

This book is full of little insights such as these, and it is a fun book that gives hours of entertainment for film history buffs. I bought my first copy of this history by Mr. Osborne back in 1987 when he was then detailing the 60 years of the Oscar, and I enjoyed it so much I have been updating my copy every time he releases a new edition. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
"80 Years of Oscar..." is a fairly entertaining look at the Academy Awards from the first ceremony in 1927 through 2007. Each year is about a 5 page chapter, starting with a brief essay on the year's highlights and a small shot of the movie poster for the winner of "Best Picture of the Year".

Each chapter has a complete listing of all the categories, the nominees and an asterik near the winner and about 7 or 8 photos . The photos are accompanied by a plot summary and sometimes a trivia fact similar to the type Robert Osborne gives when introducing movies on the Turner Classic Movies channel.

Though it remains fairly entertaining, when considering the book's price, the author's vast film knowledge and the self-proclamation as "The Official History...", I expected more. The full list of categories and nominees is available on several websites for free, so I was hoping the book would offer more.

The trivia is a mixed bag and never controversial. It's usually superficial, such as it was an actresses fifth nomination or a film wasn't expected to be a hit. None gave the feeling that you were getting an insider's view of Hollywood. However, quotes from the actors on how they felt winning the oscar help capture some of the excitement of oscar night.

The photos are clearly secondary to the category listings. They are mostly black and white, even for color films and many are crammed into the margins of the text. There does not seem to be any attempt to arrange them in a way that would generate excitement or more than passing interest. Predictably, there are many movies stills and pictures of the actors holding their oscar. There are no full page, color photos.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is revised every five years and I always put it on my wish list when a new update is due. It contains a goldmine of information for the movie buff, listing all the major nominees and winners for every year. It is generously illustrated with black and white photos includes a photo from the Best Picture, Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Actress and the Best Director for each award year. A first-rate reference book that provides hours of entertainment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Oscars for every year since 1927 with appealing photos and pertinent facts from the Best Picture to lesser awards. The comprehensive book includes the history of the Motion Picture Academy and bio's of past and present stars, supporting actors, directors, writers and all things Oscar, from Alan Alda to Darryl Zanuck. Also includes notes on world wide locations.
Drama, comedy, mystery, romance and westerns, it's all here. 439 pages including a thorough index.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For once, I'll keep my review super brief. If you love movies in general or the Academy Awards in particular, this is, simply, a must have. Concise, informative and with just enough illustrations to keep it visually interesting, it's an indispensable reference tool. It's really first-rate book but that's hardly surprising seeing that it's an Abbeville Press publication.
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I really enjoy having this book. It includes so many tidbits about the Academy Awards over the years and insight to stars and their famous roles. I recommend this book to any movie buff interested in the history of Cinema and a summary of past great performances that can still be enjoyed.
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