6 books on the Oscars

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With the Academy Awards’ long history and glamorous reputation, it probably comes as no surprise that people like writing on the subject. Whether it is the colourful films up for nomination, the star styles of Oscar night, or the supposed complicated politics that determine the winners, writers and critics have written insightful books on almost every aspect of these awards.

Here are some of the titles we’ve dug up, arranged in order of publication, from oldest to newest.

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Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History Of The Academy Awards (1977)

Authors: Mason Wiley & Damien Bona

Inside Oscar reviews every ceremony from the 1920s to the 1990s, dividing each year into three sections. The first gives a full account of the movies that competed for the season’s honours. The second section, entitled “The Big Night”, recounts the ceremony in full detail, conveying the suspense of the evening, relating the funniest quips by presenters and pundits, and describing the most arresting outfits worn by celebrities. “Aftermath” covers the press reactions to the event and follows the fates of some of the winners.

Oscar Dearest: Six Decades Of Scandal, Politics And Greed Behind Hollywood’s Academy Awards, 1927-1986 (1987)

Authors: Peter H. Brown & Jim Pinkston

Brown and Pinkston note the Oscar’s origins and list nominees, both winners and losers. They recall classic Oscar moments (such as the 1974 streaker!) and also examine various scandals, attempts to woo judges’ votes and efforts to engineer Oscar victories. A chapter considers the “Oscar Curse” on careers, and other parts are devoted to Oscar politics during the blacklist years.

Alternate Oscars (1993)

Author: Danny Peary

A noted film critic and author offers his lively and controversial year-by-year choices of whom he believes should have won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ highest honour. Looking at each year from 1927 until the 1990s, Peary lists the nominees and winners of each season and explains why, in his opinion, the wrong film or person was frequently honoured.

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Oscar® Fever: The History Politics Of The Academy Awards (2001)

Author: Emanuel Levy

This book is both history and love letter, filled with insider stories and little-known facts, such as who came up with the idea of the Academy Awards, who the youngest and oldest winners are, which film garnered the most nominations, who has been nominated the most times without ever winning, and lots more. Included are entertaining anecdotes and informative statistics, as well as a selection of film stills from the greatest winners, nostalgic and new, to tell the inside story of the Oscars. And from Joan Crawford to Joan Allen, Katharine Hepburn to Cate Blanchett, the history of fashion at the Oscars is all here too.

The Complete Book Of Oscar Fashion: Variety’s 75 Years Of Glamour On The Red Carpet (2006)

Author: Reeve Chace

Each year, Hollywood’s actors and actresses, the great and the lesser unknown, have put on their finest duds to prepare for their appearance on the red carpet for the Academy Awards. From glamorous get-ups to outrageous mistakes and sartorial risks that paid off, these pages present the pageantry of Oscar fashion in photographs culled from 75 years of Academy Awards ceremonies.

85 Years Of The Oscar: The Official History Of The Academy Awards (2013)

Author: Robert Osbourne

Following an introductory chapter on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the birth of the Oscars, the book presents the story of each year’s awards, beginning with the very first, the years 1927–28. Osbourne surveys the movies in competition, recounts the speculation on various winners, and describes events during the awards ceremony. He also provides a complete listing of the all the nominees and winners in every category.

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