Friday, February 18, 2005
Oscars '05: Lifestyles of the rich & nervous
The hollow glitz of pre-Oscar mania not sating the urge? Pick up Steve Pond's new book The Big Show: High Times & Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, a decent primer for an enthusiast as the show of shows looms a week away. There isn't much dirty dealing delineated in the book, but the anecdotes are amusing and, occasionally, revelatory. You won't leave knowing who shtupped whom in the elevator on the way from the stage to the press gauntlet, but the book does a good job explaining how the show happens and why, starting from the maligned 1989 show with the Snow White opener to last year's Hobbitfest. Pond had exclusive access to all things Oscar through Premiere, and gives us a good look at the show's sheer recklessness, as the producer of this year's show tries to outdo the producer of last year's show. Read it, and the ceremony will definitely look different come Feb. 27. Read it, and you'll begin to see why producer Gil Cates opted for Chris Rock as a host, and decided to change the way awards are presented (from the seat-to-stage process to beauty-pageant-style lineup onstage for some categories). Pond's conclusion is that everyone behind the ceremony is interested in two things: ratings, and doing the show differently from every other show before it. Movies aren't really mentioned.