Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

So the Academy Awards are being handed out tonight. There's that little statue, and before that, the red carpet down which all the celebrities walk on their way into the auditorium. I've already commented on my not caring so much about the production of awards shows, and as a fan of classic movies I'd generally rather watch older stuff anyhow.

The statuette itself has appeared in a number of movies, although the Academy holds the rights to its image, so any moviemaker who wants to use it is supposed to get permission from the Academy. If you watch The Bad and the Beautiful, you'll see a title card at the end thanking the Academy for allowing the moviemakers to use the Oscar statue as part of the story.

Technically, every time you use the word Oscar to refer to the statuette, or the term Academy Award, for commercial purposes, you're supposed to use one of the trademark symbols. Thankfully, though, blog posts would fall under "fair use" provisions. Whether Mommie Dearest, as a biopic, would be subject to the Academy's imprimatur is an interesting question. After all, it's a matter of public record that Joan Crawford won an Oscar..

Red carpets show up in classic films as part of the dramatization of movie premieres. There's a famous scene at the end of the 1937 version of A Star Is Born, with Janet Gaynor and Adolphe Menjou walking down the red carpet together, after Andy Devine and Mae Robson. If you don't want to wait that long for your red carpet, you might want to watch Singin' In the Rain, where the red carpet shows up at the beginning.

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