The Book "Oscar Wars" by Michael Schulman: The Other Side of the Oscars


Oscar Wars

Oscar Wars: The Political Battles Behind the World's Most Famous Awards 

 The book "Oscar Wars" reveals the political battles that lie behind the world's most famous awards. Although the Academy Awards for American Cinema cannot claim ownership of all the films in the world, they have established the standards against which a successful or failed film can be measured. Actor and writer Michael Schulman presents this insight in his book, which became a New York Times bestseller within two weeks of its release on February 21.

According to Schulman, the Academy Awards began as an industry ceremony in 1929 in the hills of Hollywood and has evolved into a sacred ceremony, complete with red carpets, envelopes, and little gold men (golden Oscars).

However, Schulman warns against being fooled by the pomp and glamour, as the Oscars are more than just an awards show. They are a battleground where the history of Hollywood, and America itself, unfolds in dramas big and small. The road to the Oscars may be golden, but it is also paved with blood, sweat, and broken hearts.

In his new book, Michael Schulman provides a detailed and engaging look at the history and politics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He examines the internal backstage of the organization that oversees the Oscars and explores the various controversies and scandals that have plagued them over the years.

Schulman's book delves into the many political and social issues that have arisen throughout the history of the Oscars. He examines the impact of race, gender, and sexuality on the Academy's decisions, as well as the role of lobbying, campaigning, and financial incentives in the selection of nominees and winners.

The book also sheds light on some of the behind-the-scenes machinations that have shaped the Oscars over the years. For example, Schulman discusses the various tactics used by studios and filmmakers to influence the Academy's decisions, such as hosting lavish parties and events, and hiring public relations firms to promote their films.

In addition to examining the controversies and scandals that have plagued the Oscars, Schulman also highlights some of the positive changes that have occurred in recent years. He notes that the Academy has made efforts to diversify its membership and increase representation among women and people of color.

Overall, "Oscar Wars" offers a fascinating and thought-provoking exploration of the politics and history of the Academy Awards. It provides readers with a nuanced understanding of the many factors that go into the selection of nominees and winners, and sheds light on the complex relationships between Hollywood, the Academy, and the wider world.

Policy & Awards: 

 The book "Oscar Wars" begins by providing some background information on the history of the Academy Awards. It traces the origins of the Oscars to the early days of Hollywood and the efforts of influential figures to recognize and celebrate the best achievements in filmmaking. The book describes how the Oscars have evolved over time to become a major cultural event that is watched by millions of people around the world.

One of the central themes of "Oscar Wars" is the politics that surround the Academy Awards. Schulman explains how these awards have always been subject to intense lobbying and campaigning by studios, filmmakers, and advertisers who seek to influence the opinions of Academy members in order to secure nominations and win their films. Schulman also explores the various controversies and scandals that have arisen over the years, such as accusations of racism and sexism in the Academy's voting process, and the infamous mix-up of awarding the Best Picture at the 2017 ceremony.

In addition to examining the political landscape of the Oscars, "Oscar Wars" also explores the cultural and social significance of the awards. The book discusses how the Oscars reflect and shape cultural values, and how they have been used as a platform for social and political activism. Schulman also examines the impact that the Oscars have had on the film industry and on popular culture more broadly.

Overall, "Oscar Wars" is a comprehensive and engaging exploration of the Academy Awards. It offers readers a rich and nuanced understanding of the history, politics, and cultural significance of the Oscars, and sheds light on the complex relationships between Hollywood, the Academy, and the wider world.

In the service of the army:

 In 2010, a heated competition for best picture emerged between "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar", leading to much controversy. These two films were seen as representing vastly different visions of America's role in the world. "Avatar" was viewed as a critique of US imperialism and its detrimental effect on the environment, while "The Hurt Locker" was celebrated as a portrayal of American heroism and sacrifice.

This political controversy contributed to a tense and divisive awards season. Some critics accused the academy of favoring "The Hurt Locker" due to its pro-military stance, and the controversy surrounding its victory highlighted the political tensions often present during the Oscars.

The book offers an interesting discussion of the role money plays in the Oscars. The author explains how studios and producers use their financial power to influence award choices, often by spending large sums of money on lavish campaigns. These campaigns can include everything from billboards and bus ads to expensive gala dinners and parties for Academy members.

Furthermore, Schulman notes how the growing importance of international box office revenues has impacted the Oscars. Studios are increasingly producing films that appeal to audiences in countries such as China and India, recognizing the significant impact these markets can have on their bottom line.

This shift towards global appeal has led to a greater diversity of films and perspectives being represented at the Oscars. However, it has also raised concerns about the influence of foreign markets on the content of American films and the potential for cultural appropriation.

Another aspect of the Oscars that Schulman explores is the impact of social and political movements on award choices. For example, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign brought attention to the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees and prompted changes in the Academy's membership and voting processes.

Overall, Schulman's book highlights the complex and often controversial nature of the Oscars. While the awards ceremony is often viewed as a celebration of artistic excellence, it is also influenced by political, financial, and social factors. Understanding these dynamics is essential to fully appreciate the significance of the Oscars and the films that are honored each year.

Diversity Battle:

 Beginning in 2016, the book chronicles one of the most famous Oscar crises when the American Academy faced backlash for its lack of diversity. For the second year in a row, all 20 nominees for the acting awards were white. Schulman describes how this controversy ignited a broader debate about racism in Hollywood and the lack of opportunities for people of color in the film industry. The author traces various efforts that have been made to address these issues, such as the Academy's decision to expand its membership to more women and people of color.

In the book, Schulman provides a glimpse into some of the key players in the Hollywood and Academy world, offering insights into their personalities, motivations, and relationships, and how their battles for control influenced films, actors, and the Oscar trajectory. The author offers a study of some lesser-known aspects of the Academy Awards, such as the secret nomination process and the complex system by which films are evaluated and voted on. This reveals how the Academy's rules and regulations have changed over time, sometimes in response to public pressure or criticism, and how these changes have affected the outcome of the awards.

Moreover, the book examines the impact of the Oscar crisis on the film industry and its implications for society as a whole. Schulman delves into the historical context of Hollywood's representation of people of color and how it has evolved over time. The author also discusses the role of activism and advocacy in pushing for greater diversity and inclusion in the film industry.

The book is a comprehensive and insightful analysis of one of the most significant moments in the history of the Academy Awards. Schulman's meticulous research and engaging writing style make this an essential read for anyone interested in the intersection of race, representation, and popular culture. It provides a nuanced and thought-provoking exploration of the complex issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the film industry. Ultimately, the book offers a compelling argument for why the pursuit of equity and social justice in the entertainment industry matters to us all