BEVERLY HILLS–Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the world premiere of Oscar, a brand-new documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards, as part of its annual 31 Days of Oscar showcase, leading up to ABC’s live Academy Awards telecast on March 2.
Produced by Telling Pictures, Inc., in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Hollywood Newsreel,this fascinating special will take movie lovers on a journey through Hollywood history as it tells its story of the little statuette that became the industry’s most coveted prize.
Oscar is set to have its world television premiere on TCM Saturday, Feb. 1, the opening night of the 2014 edition of31 Days of Oscar. With the new documentary as its centerpiece, 31 Days of Oscar will be themed around the history of the Academy Awards. Featuring more than 300 Oscar-winning and nominated films, the month-long showcase will take a deep look into the world’s oldest, most important and most prestigious film award. Each night’s lineup will feature a complete set of nominated films that faced each other in a particular category, beginning Feb. 1 with all 10 Best Picture nominees from 1939: Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victoryand Love Affair.
Oscar is being written, directed and executive-produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt). Christopher Pavlick and Rick Spalla are also producing. The documentary is one of several major programming events leading up to TCM’s 20th anniversary in April 2014.
To bring its story to life, Oscar will be packed with great moments from 85 years of Academy
Award ceremonies, which were first held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, now home to the TCM Classic Film Festival each spring. The special will also feature extensive clips from Oscar-winning and nominated films, plus exclusive, behind-the-scenes ceremony footage from the archives of Hollywood Newsreel, much of it never shown before. CNN Films will air the encore presentation of the documentary on CNN, following the film’s first broadcast on TCM.
A growing list of Academy Award-winning and nominated actors and actresses are being interviewed for Oscar, including Annette Bening (American Beauty), Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Cher (Moonstruck), George Clooney (Syriana), Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Sir Ben Kingsley(Gandhi) and Dame Helen Mirren (The Queen).
From behind the camera, Oscar will feature interviews with such award-winning filmmakers and producers asSteven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan), Kathleen Kennedy (Schindler’s List), Freida Lee Mock(Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision), Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams).
The interview roster also includes Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan); Academy Award-winning editor Kirk Baxter (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo); award-winning production designer Jeannine Claudia Oppewall (L.A. Confidential); award-winning costume designer Jeffrey Kurland (Inception); Academy Award-winning make-up artist Ve Neil (Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire,Ed Wood); Oscar-winning visual effects designer Craig Barron (Titanic); Academy Award-winning sound designerBen Burtt (Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial);
In addition, Oscar will feature an interviews with frequent Academy Award ceremony host Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally…), ceremony producer Don Mischer and head writer Bruce Vilanch, as well as former Academy executive director Bruce Davis and cinematographer and Board of Governors member John Bailey (As Good as It Gets). The special will also include a chat with TCM host, author and Academy Awards historian Robert Osborne, whose book 85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards is set to be released Oct. 29from Abbeville Press.
Oscar will not only tell the history of the Academy Awards, but also highlight the relationship between the honored movies and major historical events and trends. Woven throughout the narrative will be segments about the major categories, including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture, as well as sidebars about the annual parade of fashions on the red carpet, memorable host monologues and emotion-packed tributes.
“We’re delighted to partner with TCM on this extraordinary 85-year history of the Academy Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Rob and Jeffrey are in the midst of producing a fantastic showcase of special Oscar moments that will take audiences on a memorable cinematic journey.”
“I can think of no better way to celebrate more than 85 years of Oscar than by telling the story of the Academy Awards,” said Jeff Gregor, general manager of TCM and chief marketing officer for TCM, TNT and TBS. “And there’s no network that can tell that story like TCM. We’re proud to make the February 2014 premiere of Oscar the centerpiece of TCM’s annual 31 Days of Oscar, where it will be surrounded by a carefully curated lineup of more than 300 Academy Award-winning and nominated films.”
Oscar is one of several major programming events leading up to TCM’s 20th anniversary in April 2014.