Posts tagged Oscars

Jerry Lewis and Audrey Hepburn closing out the Oscars in 1956 in a very special way.


Next month, the Academy is celebrating The Black Movie Soundtrack at the Hollywood Bowl on September 3rd at 8pm with special guest performances and screen clips honoring the multidimensional influence of music and movies. To celebrate this event, we have highlights of some select recordings from the Margaret Herrick Library’s Brad Bennett collection of soundtracks and the Music and Recorded Sound collection, featuring songs that defined a film and the music that transformed films into classics. In a nod to movie music nostalgia, here’s a curated vinyl jukebox of the Academy’s holdings dedicated to the black movie soundtrack.

Sometimes sound surpasses the visual, turning films into a powerful experience. Consider the revered anthem of Shaft, the emotional shading of the The Color Purple’s score, and the musical gem of 20th Century Fox’s Stormy Weather, whose use of dance and music brought a new vitality to the art form. 


Strong, dynamic vocals were the centerpiece of 1995’s Waiting to Exhale. Soundtrack producer Babyface assembled artists such as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, and Chaka Khan — the film and its music came to embody female empowerment. 


Music producers often have the vision to tie disparate songs into a cohesive theme, elevating a film’s soundtrack to cult status. Producer Quincy Jones’ soundtrack to the musical feature The Wiz enhanced the original Broadway score with imaginative compositions and the accompaniment of New York jazz musicians. Here’s the cover of a highlights album performed by the group Studio 79.


Singer, songwriter, and producer Isaac Hayes will forever be inextricably linked to the soulful soundtrack for Shaft, and was awarded with an Oscar for Best Original Song for the “Theme From Shaft” at the 1971 (44th) Academy Awards. 


Curtis Mayfield’s classically soulful Super Fly masterfully complements its energetic storytelling with irrepressible melodies. 


And not to be forgotten, “The Godfather of Soul,” James Brown crafted his meticulous vocal and instrumental soundtrack around the plotline for the 1973 crime drama Black Caesar.  


In 1985, Prince won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score for Purple Rain at the 1984 (57th) Academy Awards. The soundtrack produced by Prince and the Revolution was simultaneously eclectic, stylish, and enigmatic; the music did not escape its R&B roots, and its appeal crossed over to pop, rock, and heavy metal genres, achieving both critical and commercial success.

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Jack Black and Will Ferrell sing about the one song no one wants to hear at the Oscars.

Happy 100th birthday, Beverly Hills

In honor of the centennial celebration of Beverly Hills, we’re taking the opportunity to talk about our favorite Academy building, the City of Beverly Hills Water Treatment Plant No. 1.  This spectacular Spanish Romanesque building standing at the corner of La Cienega and Olympic is home to the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library

Constructed in 1927 as a way to ensure the fledgling municipality’s independence from the city of Los Angeles, the building’s primary function was to house the equipment that filtered the water for the citizens of Beverly Hills.  Over time, as the city became more firmly established and fears of annexation abated, Beverly Hills began buying water from Los Angeles.

The building sat empty from the mid-1970s until 1989 when the Academy stepped in to save it from demolition with an imaginative adaptive reuse plan.

The beautiful wrought iron doors at the entrance are among the building’s signature features.  

Equally captivating are the bell tower and the ornate windows above the entrance. The tower is one of a handful in the United States that was created to resemble The Giralda, the bell tower that sits atop the cathedral in Seville, Spain.  The windows, one small and one grand, resemble film reels, a happy coincidence for an organization devoted to the art and science of motion pictures.

With the building’s renovation, the water tanks and processing equipment gave way to bookshelves, climate controlled vaults and office space for a staff of more than 70 individuals dedicated to preserving the world’s foremost film historical collection. 

For the next two months we are helping Beverly Hills celebrate its Centennial with an exhibition exploring the city’s relationship to the motion picture industry. 

Come visit us and see photographs of early Beverly Hills and its famous residents at work and play, celebrity home movies and more.  We hope you’ll join us as we say thanks to the city for being a great home.  We love the waterworks and we’re looking forward to the next century.

Lupita Nyong’o - Actress in a Supporting Role - Oscars 2014


In 2006, the Academy commissioned Spike Lee to direct a series of short television commercials to promote the 79th Annual Academy Awards, which took place on February 25, 2007. In August of 2006 in New York City, Lee filmed 123 individuals delivering iconic lines from Academy Award-winning and nominated films.

Six commercials were released and aired on ABC and its affiliates.

The Academy Film Archive holds the master elements to the commercials, including dailies and behind-the-scenes footage of the 2006 shoot which can be seen here:

The Academy’s series “By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective” kicks off on June 26 with a screening of 25th Hour  and the opening of the exhibit “WAKE UP! David C. Lee Photographs the Films of Spike Lee” at the Linwood Dunn Theater. The exhibit showcases photographs by David C. Lee taken on the sets of his brother’s films over the years. The Spike Lee retrospective continues with screenings celebrating the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing on June 27 in Los Angeles at the Bing Theater and June 29 in New York, with more films running through July at the Bing Theater and the Linwood Dunn Theater.

Kermit and Scooter have technical difficulties opening the envelope at the 1986 Oscars. Jim Henson to the rescue.

A year after he won for Best Actor, Adrien Brody presented Charlize Theron with the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster (2003 film).

Hattie McDaniel being presented  the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Gone With The Wind” at the 12th Academy Awards in 1940. With this award, presented by Fay Bainter, McDaniel became the first African-American to win the Oscar.