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Here Comes Oscar

220px-Wings_posterThe 85th Academy Awards will be held this Sunday night at the 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard. A worldwide audience of over a billion people is expected to view the proceedings.

Anticipation is building, and for weeks the odds for Best Picture have been changing daily.

Experts predict that Argo will be the winner, despite the fact that director Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated. As a thriller with humor dealing with the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, it’s pure entertainment in the context of a fairly recent historical event.

Lincoln, more of a moral history lesson, is second with twelve nominations while Silver Linings Playbook, a romantic comedy with dark undertones, is third, with its four stars for best and supporting actors and actresses all nominated.

The critically praised Zero Dark Thirty has fallen to fifth place behind Life of Pi with only a one in ten chance of taking the grand prize.  The buzz is that its depiction of torture in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is too politically incorrect for industry liberals.

The first Academy Awards presentation was a completely different affair.  Two hundred seventy guests paid five dollars each to attend the private dinner and ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  It was the only time that the event was not broadcast over radio or television, nor, possibly, lasting only fifteen minutes, went into overtime.

Louis B. Mayer, head of M-G-M, had created the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bring together actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.  As for the awards themselves, he commented, “I found that the best way to handle  [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them.”

Wings won Best Picture.  It was a silent drama about two friends in love with the same girl who serve together as combat pilots in World War I.  Only one makes it back.

There were no surprises that year as the winners had been announced three months earlier.  That didn’t keep fans from crowding the entrance to the hotel to cheer on their favorite stars.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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