PERFORMING ARTS

50 Oscar Nights: Iconic Stars & Filmmakers on Their Career-Defining Wins

Running Pr Jan. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780762486328. $30. FILM
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Turner Classic Movies host Karger compiles fascinating interviews with 50 Oscar winners, who discuss their films, nominations, fashion choices, winners’ speeches, and the after-parties that followed. Speaking with actors, directors, screenwriters, songwriters, costume and production designers, and sound mixers, Karger finds that most awardees cherish the Oscars, didn’t expect to win, and stress the importance of collaboration in film. Several non-white winners—John Legend (Selma), Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball), Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman)—consider the award a particularly meaningful recognition. Others, such as Emma Thompson (Howards End and Sense and Sensibility), believe it signified the long-overdue appreciation of women in film. And a few felt that the Oscar highlighted such social issues as climate change (Melissa Etheridge, An Inconvenient Truth), the battle against genocide (Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List), and LGBTQIA+ rights (Rob Epstein, The Times of Harvey Milk).
VERDICT In only four pages of text for each award winner, the book captures the strong feelings of camaraderie among the tight-knit film community, the tension-filled waiting period, the elation of victory, and the after-party giddiness or loneliness that the interviewees experienced. Highly recommended.
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