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The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards

The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An “entertaining, fly-on-the-wall”* look at everyones favorite Hollywood circus and what it reveals about the business of moviemaking

 

Love it or loathe it, the Oscars are an irresistible spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Big Show is the only book ever to offer an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event, along with remarkable insight into how the Oscars reflect the high-stakes politics of Hollywood, our obsession with celebrities (not to mention celebrities obsession with themselves), and the cinematic state of the union.

 

Steve Pond has been writing about popular culture and the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years for publications including Premiere, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post.
The Oscars breed their own peculiar mania, and a billion people worldwide are alleged to tune in every year—a tremendous audience for what is essentially a television program. But this is no ordinary show. Love it or loathe it, the Oscar show is an irresistable spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Big Show offers an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event, along with insight into how the Oscars reflect the high-stakes politics of Hollywood, our obsession with celebrities (not to mention celebrities' obsession with themselves), and the cinematic state of the union.
"The Big Show feels like it's narrated by an invisible bumblebee who could flit from room to room, shoulder to shoulder, noting who smokes (everyone) and who doesn't (no one, it seems), who throws tantrums (everyone), and who keeps cool (Steve Martin) . . . Pond's wry and dry attitude about all these shenanigans allows him to pull back and put the event in context."—John Freeman, The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
"Better than the best seat in the house . . . A masterful writer, Pond gives you the wonderful feeling that you're along for the ride as his exclusive guest . . . whisk[ing] readers backstage, behind the curtain, and into the inner sanctums."—Cameron Crowe, Oscar-winning writer/director of Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire
 
"Oscar fanatics will reel through the years with Pond . . . And they will relish the journey."—Dennis Moore, USA Today
 
"A decade-and-a-half of gossip from the world's most overblown awards show. Originally assigned to the Oscars in the late 1980s by Premiere magazine, Pond realized he was going to have more on his hands than a onetime story. With the access he was able to secure, there was just too much in the way of gigantic egos, unbelievable amounts of tension and celebrity-gawking to fit inside even a lengthy feature article—and so now we have The Big Show, a dessert tray of goodies for Oscar junkies. Pond starts off in 1989, if only because the show produced by the Coppolaesque Allen Carr crashing and burning on live television was just too tasty a morsel to pass up. After that, Pond breezes through a quick background of the awards, in a way that sets up a template for the rest of what follows: we're not going to hear much about the titanic struggle between mainstream and independent cinema, Pulp Fiction vs. Forrest Gump. Pond is more interested in the hot-tempered machinations of the show itself. While this does mean that little of the story is in any way important, it also divorces Pond's narrative from the usual notions of inflated importance that comes with tales about the Oscars, an essentially meaningless gimmick that over the decades has somehow accrued the patina of near-royalty. Pond's fly-on-the-wall style keeps things humming, even as we're treated to lengthy exposition about one producer's preference for a particular kind of dance routine or to the reasons why it is that rehearsals for a host went so poorly (David Letterman) or so well (Steve Martin). It's an effective technique, since the writer seems to be everywhere, eavesdropping on conversations between A-list actors and nobodies, hearing which singer can't get served at the bar or which actress is being told that her nipples are showing. Insider without smarmy, and fun without pointless: a fascinating peek behind that big, ugly, coveted statue."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"Entertainment journalist Pond opens this bluntly informative look at the 'negotiations and machinations, the politics, the compromises and the excesses' of the Academy Award process by discussing the legendary tastelessness of the show Allan Carr produced in 1989, a production so savaged by critics that it destroyed his reputation (it began with Snow White and Rob Lowe performing a 'Proud Mary' duet, prompting a lawsuit from Disney). Pond covers Oscar's early history, including such injustices as Norma Shearer's 1930 win over Greta Garbo, a victory triggered by MGM's orders that employees vote for studio chief Irving Thalberg's wife ('What do you expect?' Joan Crawford famously commented. 'She sleeps with the boss'). He devotes many pages to the disastrous choice of David Letterman as host in 1995, whose excruciating jokes ('Oprah. Uma. Uma. Oprah') and pet tricks set a ludicrous tone; and cites Madonna's profane tirades during a 1991 rehearsal. The book covers Academy campaigns over the past 15 years, and effectively dramatizes how the show changed under the leadership styles of Richard and Lili Zanuck and current producer Gil Cates. Little-known anecdotes about Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal and Halle Berry confirm that Pond knows this backstabbing territory well, and fans of Hollywood gossip will find plenty of colorful new material."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Written by the only journalist ever given carte blanche access to the Oscars(, this unprecedented look at the the high times and dirty dealings backstage at the annual Academy Awards( offers an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event.

Synopsis:

An “entertaining, fly-on-the-wall”* look at everyones favorite Hollywood circus and what it reveals about the business of moviemaking

Love it or loathe it, the Oscars are an irresistible spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Big Show is the only book ever to offer an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event, along with remarkable insight into how the Oscars reflect the high-stakes politics of Hollywood, our obsession with celebrities (not to mention celebrities obsession with themselves), and the cinematic state of the union.

About the Author

Steve Pond has been writing about popular culture and the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years for publications including Premiere, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780571211906
Subtitle:
High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards®
Publisher:
Faber & Faber
Author:
Pond, Steve
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film - History & Criticism
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20051227
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 Pages of Color Illustrations/8 Pages
Pages:
440
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 x 1.19 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism

The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 440 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780571211906 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Written by the only journalist ever given carte blanche access to the Oscars(, this unprecedented look at the the high times and dirty dealings backstage at the annual Academy Awards( offers an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event.
"Synopsis" by ,
An “entertaining, fly-on-the-wall”* look at everyones favorite Hollywood circus and what it reveals about the business of moviemaking

Love it or loathe it, the Oscars are an irresistible spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Big Show is the only book ever to offer an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event, along with remarkable insight into how the Oscars reflect the high-stakes politics of Hollywood, our obsession with celebrities (not to mention celebrities obsession with themselves), and the cinematic state of the union.

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