AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…
US, 2014, 95 minutes, Colour.
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman.
Filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have specialised in documentaries, winning awards for The Times of Harvey Milk in 1984. They also made some feature films including the award-winning Milk, with Sean Penn as the gay activist who was assassinated in San Francisco, Penn winning an Oscar for his performance. They also made Howl, the poem of Alan Ginsberg, the film Lovelace, the story of Linda Lovelace and her life as well as her relationship with her brutal husband and the making of Deep Throat and the celebrity that ensued as well as her change of heart and her campaign for the rights of women.
This is a very entertaining documentary, an overview of the Oscars from the inception in 1928 to scenes from the awards celebration of 2013. It is narrated by Angelica Huston.
it is not presented in chronological order, though it does highlight the first celebration, the winners knowing that they had won before the announcement, only 12 awards and the best film, the silent film Wings. The screenplay then moves backwards and forwards in time, arousing of anticipation in audiences of what they are to see and whom they are to see.
The film highlights the role of Bob Hope as the MC for so many years, giving quite a few selections of his humour. And the transition from radio to television in the 1950s.
What the film does is to take the various categories, give scenes of where winners accepted their awards and spoke, as well as interviewing an expert in each of the various fields which gives some kind of explanation of the meaning of each.
Actors, like Benicio del Toro and Jane Fonda have extended time with interviews, quite illuminating in the perspectives of the actors, the feelings, the awards, the repercussions, dele Toro having a final word when asked where his Oscar is and he points to his head and says in his mind. Jane Fonda has an explanation of her stances on Vietnam when she received the Oscar for Klute and the explanation about her father and his award for On Golden Pond.
The writing and directing perspective is given by Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams).
Whoopi Goldberg is a key interviewee, especially from the perspective of hosting the Oscars and there are some comments from Billy Crystal and examples from Goldberg herself and Steve Martin.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy goes back to Spielberg and his continued losses of Oscar until his success with Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan – with discussion about this film and its making, based on Robert Capa’s 12 surviving photos of the Normandy landing, with Janus Kaminski elaborating. The Colour Purple had 11 nominations and no wins.
Throughout the film there is pleasant conversation with Helen Mirren and the experience of winning the Oscar for The Queen – and being applauded by people in the baggage collection area of an airport.
For those who have followed Hollywood, who love Hollywood movies, this collection of clips is a definite must.