135. And the Oscar Goes to…

★★

Serving as half history of how the Oscars came to be and half biopic of notable films, filmmakers and the stars that have received the coveted golden statue, And the Oscar Goes to… gives a few interesting tidbits about Hollywood’s biggest night but all together doesn’t amount to anything award-worthy. It’s self-congratulating fluff, but at least it’s entertaining, self-congratulating fluff.

The film is best in its first half, depicting the history of the Oscars and how it transformed from small-time, banquet hall gathering to the yearly televised spectacle it is now. It’s a bit more of a cohesive timeline and actually is insightful. But it’s derailed later on when each of the actors and filmmakers present talks about their own Oscars story. It’s like the filmmakers realized halfway through just how difficult it’d be to research and present the entire history of the Oscars in a 90 minute format so they interviewed a bunch of celebrities and used famous speeches from the ceremony as filler. That’s good for making a promo about the Oscars but not so much making a film about it.

One thing that’s notable about this movie is its discussion about race at the Oscars, particularly the struggle of African Americans to make an impact at the awards show. This movie was made in 2014, a few years before the #OscarsSoWhite backlash began, so it feels a bit outdated in that sense, especially when former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs talks in the film about how the academy has made strides in diversity. It certainly is an awkward moment but truly illuminates how achieving true diversity and representation will always be a challenge, that no matter through whatever initiatives or strides that the Oscars or Hollywood in general may make, that you can’t really correct the 80+ years of the ceremony being pretty much a white dudes’ club.

If you’re willing to look past that and just watch a collection of some really notable Oscars speeches, this is a good doc for you. But if you really want to know just how Oscar came to be, this movie will provide few satisfying answers.

 

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