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Just days before this year’s Oscars telecast (Monday, March 3, 2014 AEDT), TCM is screening a new documentary, And The Oscar Goes To ... narrated by Anjelica Huston, taking viewers behind the scenes, behind the race to the awards – and behind some of the great (mostly) American films of the past 70 or so years.

Inevitably the most compelling moments in this 94 minute doco about the Oscars are the ones from the past – whether nostalgic for those who remember, or fascinating for those who weren’t around but know the stars involved. 

But there are other moments, too, moments of memorable monologues or emotional tributes – and perhaps above all, anecdotes from the set, revealed by all and sundry notably George Clooney, Benicia del Toro, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, John Voight, Sir Ben Kingsley and Dame Helen Mirren to mention a few.

And there are plenty of significant insights as well, such as producer Kathleen Kennedy talking about casting Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln and others about the making of films that are part of our collective cinematic memories.

The film is a potted history of Hollywood – very potted, as you would expect in this context, but enough to give us a taste of the tumult and the friction that was so much a part of what made Hollywood a concept, not just a place.

Iconic moments captured, iconic stars talking about their moments, iconic films revered: you can tell in these 94 minutes that America’s love affair with cinema has always been driven by the notions that founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, when Dorothy Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks designed an institution that would reward the pursuit of cinematic excellence. 

But that’s not the whole story ... fascinating and entertaining.

Published February 13, 2014

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Premiere screening:
Turner Classic Movies (TCM Channel 428 FOXTEL)
8.30pm (AEDT), Saturday February 22, 2014

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