We’ve arrived, once again, to the annual Academy Awards – I’m an unabashed movie fan, and I still love the Oscars. I know the show has been bashed in recent years – mostly for being overlong, dull and self-centered. It may be those things – at some points – but it’s also a thrilling, unpredictable night of glitz and glamour, sometimes poignant, often impressive and occasionally even funny. When those acceptance speeches go on (and on), I remind myself, this is ‘their party’. The men and women who make the movies, throw themselves a party and give out awards to who they thought did the best work. We’re just invited to come along and watch – right? Over the years, the show became a TV ratings juggernaut, and now with changing times and viewing habits, it may need tweaking – as a TV show. But, at its heart, it’s still an industry event for self-congratulations. Every industry has its awards – these just happen to be of wider interest to more people.
Oscar started with a brief private dinner party and some awards – back on May 16th, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It wasn’t even broadcast – just a gathering of 270 friends, each paying $5.00 (today’s equivalent about $73.). The ceremony, hosted by legendary actor Douglas Fairbanks, lasted only 15 minutes, with winners in 12 categories – which had already been announced three months earlier. That first awards event was 90 years ago this spring. The second year’s awards in 1930, were the first one broadcast – by radio.
The Academy launched the ‘Best Song’ category 85 years ago, in 1934. On ‘Vintage Favourites’ this year, I’ll key in on one landmark Oscar winning song for each decade from the 30s through the 2010s. So – whether you like the Oscar telecast or not – if you’re a fan of the movies, and great songs from movies – you’ll love this Sunday’s ‘Vintage Favourites’.
In the second hour I’ll continue my year-long salute to ‘the greatest groups of our time’ – in alphabetical order – with Chicago, and in Vintage Canadiana, The Bells. I’ll wrap up the program with ten terrific Canadians who’ve recorded classic movie songs – from Oscar nominees and winners, to great songs that just ‘made’ the movie memorable. That’s all on my next ‘Vintage Favourites’ this Sunday between 2:00 and 4:30pm. I hope you’ll join me – no red carpet or fancy designer clothes – just great music ! Cheers. Gene.