Day 2 of our Oscar Countdown and we're looking at some of the best books out there to get you in the mood for the big day.
Bloomsbury, December 2006
A heavily research history of fashion at the Academy Awards -- it's a splendid idea, and one that is executed beautifully by Vogue contributor Bronwyn Cosgrave. This book not only celebrates memorable dresses, like Cher's star-shaped Bob Mackie and Diane Keaton's suit dresses, but looks at how integral fashion is to the ceremony. Women nominees learned early on that a good frock meant extra copy and so the night was used as stepping stone as well as a celebration. Cosgrave takes us through the fashion partnerships that have come to define Oscar glamour -- Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy, Grace Kelly and Edith Head, Liza Minelli and Halston to name a few.
Oscar Season by Mary McNamara
Simon and Schuster, January 2008
Perfectly times, this Jackie Collins-esque look behind the Oscar stage is full of murder and intrigue! Clearly, it's satirical, but you just know nuggets of truth are hidden throughout. The plot: a top PR chick must join forces with an aging superstar to find the killer (or killers) behind a series of shocking and Oscar-related murders. Despite it's apparent "clunkiness", EntertainmentWeekly gave it a B.
Faber and Faber, December 2005
If it's Oscar gossip you want, look no further. Premiere writer Steve Pond takes us on an all access tour of Academy Awards ceremonies over many decades. The result is a funny, smart look behind the big gold curtain. Pond takes a thorough look into 10 specific ceremonies from 1994 to 2004 and reveals the wheeling and dealing we never see, and probably wouldn't understand even if we did. Pond looks at the best Oscar moments and some of the most embarrassing and lets us know what happened afterwards.
The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History by Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza
Black Dog and Leventhal, May 2006
Exactly as you would imagine, this book is look back at Oscar the year he turned 78. All rather standard -- news and gossip, style and speeches, memories of shining moments and big stumbles. This one is up there with the best Oscar books because its photos are superb, big and glossy, and it's got some great quotes from Oscar's best speeches in there, too.
This is a great idea -- a beautifully designed catalogue celebrating African American Oscar nominees past and present. I found this for sale at Amazon where you can look at little thumbnails of the glossy pics inside of Cicely Tyson in Sounder, Alfre Woodard in Cross Creek, Ethel Waters in Pinky and heaps of others. Each month also features trivia and facts about the pictured films. It's a cool idea for an Oscar gift.