Best Pick: A Journey Through Film History and the Academy Awards

Rowman & Littlefield. Feb. 2022. 332p. ISBN 9781538163108. $36. FILM
Drawing from their award-winning podcast, actor and writer Dorney, actor and audio artist Jessica Regan, and Tom Salinsky (coauthor, The Improv Handbook) take readers on a warm and witty trip through motion picture history, weaving in the story of the Academy Awards. Decade by decade, they explore the Oscars, who won them and why, and what happened backstage. Each chapter begins with lists of the decade’s best pictures and its biggest earners, and the contrasts between the two are striking. The authors examine film trends and technical innovations in moviemaking and provide brief reviews the winners of the Best Picture award thus far, as well as immensely entertaining discussions that attempt to answer the question, “Did the Academy get it right?” (Midnight Cowboy is dubbed “a deeply affecting and confidently made film”; the authors critique the racism of The Green Book and its use of the white savior trope.) Rounding it out is an extensive bibliography. Neither dry academic treatise nor gushing fanzine, this is an informative and entertaining book for anyone who adores movies, written by three people who love them and are adept at expressing their views.
VERDICT A treat for movie fans: Two thumbs up!

Correction: A coauthor of this book was erroneously listed as Tom Sainsky. It has been updated to read Tom Salinsky.

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