Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Newest Topic-Theme

After I recently completed my self-induced challenge to profile every US State here on my blog (LINK) I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and, oddly enough, a keen sense of loss. After one full year of effort, one of my blog topics was now completely finished! After less than a month I found that I missed the confines (if that is the correct term) of having a set deadline. Sure, sometimes I regretted the strict discipline required for the assignment; after all, if you missed a day there was no way to go back and "do it over." I'm proud to say that I was only late once out of fifty articles, and that was by one day. On the other hand, for most of my life I have been given assignments and I enjoy the challenge of meeting deadlines. With that in mind, I went looking for a new theme or topic that I could challenge myself with.

I initially added various sub-genre topics to already established themes, such as the specific "Beatles" and "Mission: Impossible" icons in "Music" and "TV," respectively. However, I quickly realized that that would only help me organize my themes without actually adding anything new to them. Then I thought about and seriously considered doing a profile of an entire run of a television series, such as "Scrubs." I watched two episodes and made copious notes on both of them. However, I abandoned that idea not only because it seemed like a lot of work, but because it took a lot of the "fun" out of actually watching the episodes! And lastly, I don't have any graphic software that allows me to capture nice-looking screen shots from DVDs. So although I *may* end up doing something like this in the future, I gave it up for now.

This is where serendipity comes in. Totally coincidentally I had recently watched Grand Hotel and Wings. Although they had nothing to do with each other, they both happen to be two very early Academy Award-winning films. I wrote blog "reviews" on both of them for Film Friday. Then I happened to look at my Event Calendar for May and saw that the very first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929. Suddenly I had an epiphany: I would write blog reviews on ALL of the Academy Award Best Pictures! Like I said, I had already seen two of them, haha! So I began my research, printing out a list of all of the 85 winners, reading books about the films, actors, actresses, directors, and ceremonies, and reserving at the library the earliest winners. Now, if I profile one Best Picture every month, this assignment will last more than 8 years! More likely I will start to get a pace going where I review two or even more per month; we'll see. I promise to do at least one review every month for the foreseeable future,  anyway. Right now I as I write this I am watching a new film every night, trying desperately to set a schedule and get ahead of it! After all, I can't review the films if I haven't seen them, right?

I have high hopes for this series. I hope it turns into a fun read for all of you in the Peanut Gallery, because at the very least I'm going to enjoy watching 85 plus movies!

So join me here again tomorrow as I start my new series with the very first Academy Awards Best Picture, a little film called Wings.

As for the first Academy Awards ceremony itself, according to the book The Academy Awards The Complete Unofficial History by Jim Piazza and Gail Kinn, "The winners had been named three months before, which eliminated any suspense during the five minute presentation ceremony. Douglas Fairbanks called out their names, they came forward to collect either statuettes or honorary scrolls, and sat at the head table. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck gave the only speech after picking up a Special Award for the first talkie, The Jazz Singer."

1929 Academy Awards Banquet
a photo supposedly of the 1929 Academy Awards Banquet
No one knows for sure why the statuette came to be called "Oscar," but everyone agrees that the design of the statue has not changed in more than 80 years. The 14 inch high, 7 pound statuette of a man standing on a reel of film holding a sword was designed by MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons.

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