Friday, February 24, 2012

Academy Awards Research

I love watching movies.

I remember crying hysterically while E.T. tried to phone home (E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982. Nominated for nine Oscars, won four at the 55th Academy Awards), and laughing hysterically as Forrest ran across the country, inspiring bumper stickers and smiley face t-shirts (Forrest Gump, 1994. Nominated for 13 Oscars, won six at the 67th Academy Awards).

I also like movie research. One of my favorite web sites for movie research (other than IMDB) is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Under the “Research & Preservation” tab, is a link to “Resources & Databases.”

You can conduct research using databases such as:

  • Academy Awards Database
  • Academy Awards Acceptance Speech Database
  • Motion Picture Credits Database
  • Motion Picture Scripts Database

To date, the Academy Awards Database includes 83 years of compiled history and fun film facts.

The Acceptance Speech Database is great for historical research. For example, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the theatrical release of To Kill A Mockingbird (1962).

Searching for this title in the Academy Awards database, I learn that Gregory Peck received the (best) Actor Oscar for his performance as Atticus Finch. I enter his name in the Acceptance Speech database, and I’m able to watch a clip of Frank Sinatra, introducing Sophia Lauren, who announces the best Actor Oscar winner, Mr. Peck.

Other details, including the date of the telecast (April 8, 1963), location (Santa Monica Civic Auditorium), and a transcript of Peck’s speech also are readily available.

Of course, many stories for motion pictures originate from books (including Forrest Gump by Winston Groom, and this year's best picture nominee The Help by Kathryn Stockett). For more on “reel” law, search the library catalog by subject headings such as:

Lawyers in Motion Pictures

Trials in motion pictures

Justice, Administration of, in motion pictures

Enjoy the 84th Academy Awards on February 26!

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