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Before the Title, Past
A Nonfiction Column
By Jeff Shelby

"And The Winner Is…"

    Every March, my wife and I mark Oscar night on our calendar like we would an anniversary or birthday. We watch the red carpet shows, make our last minute predictions and groan when the winners we disagree with are announced.

     We are passionate movie fans and take Oscar night seriously. The phone goes unanswered. Dinner is eaten in front of the television. Debate is intense. (Last year - Halle Berry over Sissy Spacek - are you kidding me? I don't even know how to address this.)

     Oscar night has given us lots of memories and here are a few movie-related books that might help you enjoy the night:

70 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne
     Osborne is a writer for The Hollywood Reporter and he covers the history of the awards as thoroughly as possible. Great photos, movie posters for every Best Picture winner and a myriad of facts, trivia and insights from past award winners make this the encyclopedia of the Oscars.

The Academy Awards Handbook by John Harkness
     This handy dandy guide compiles every nomination in every category for every year of the awards. Harkness includes every winner in each category, tons of photos and a fun and considerably accurate method of picking the winners. This is a great book to keep near you when you're watching the ceremony or old movies.

The Great Movies by Roger Ebert
     Love him or hate him, Ebert is the voice that people listen to when looking for a movie to go see. This book compiles his essays on what he believes to be the 100 greatest movies of our time. His writing is accessible and straightforward and you will have a hard time arguing with any of the movies he has included. A must have for any movie fan.

Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2003 by Roger Ebert
     This guy again. (Obviously, I am in the "love him" category.) If you own a VCR or DVD player, tuck this book in the glove compartment of your car and take it with you every time you head to Blockbuster. He's compiled his reviews for the last couple of years here, as well as covering several other facets of the movie industry. If you can't find anything to rent, open this book and he'll find you something.

     You've only got a couple of weeks left to see this year's nominees. I'd tell you who I'm picking, but then that accounting guy at Price Waterhouse might get mad at me for announcing the winners early...

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