Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Silent Oscars, Or Alternate Oscars Before There Were Oscars: An Introduction

The next round of the Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards—1934 and what I think of as the first year of "the Golden Age" of the Hollywood movie—should be a good one. Bette Davis announces her presence with authority, Clark Gable competes for top acting honors, and Frank Capra, Howard Hawks and "One-Take Woody" van Dyke officially invent the screwball comedy. And some of the greatest acting teams in movie history make their mark: Astaire-Rogers, Powell-Loy, the Three Stooges ...

I'm looking forward to it.

But before I get to all that, there's another project I've been working on in my spare time, something I call "the Silent Oscars," or "Alternate Oscars Before There Were Oscars." Basically, it's the same idea as the KtBTD Awards except covering the years before the Oscars got started.

I confess that when I started this blog more than a year and half ago, silent movies were largely Terra Incognita for me (and compared to many of you, I'm still wandering in the wilderness), but I've been trying to rectify that situation, watching as many silent movies as I could in addition to my regular duties here at the Monkey—the equivalent of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, if you will.

Think of the Silent Oscars—fifteen essays covering the years 1888 to 1927—as the resulting map. Admittedly, it's a crude map and not always accurate, with sea serpents and Greenland the size of North America, but a map nonetheless.

If you know silent movies already, this might be a good opportunity to take a break for a while—say, through the New Year. Visit friends and family, take that trip to Paris, or just kick back and enjoy the holidays. Everybody else, I invite you to spend the rest of 2010 riding with me on the magic carpet I call Ignorance.

The Academy didn't start screwing things up until May 16, 1929. The screwing up that will be done over the next few weeks will be entirely my own.

Next: "The Silent Oscars: 1888-1905 (The Nickelodeon Era)"

6 comments:

Zoe said...

haha yay a monkey detour.Looking foward to it,
haha I like the comic strip and monkey (so cute!)

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

with sea serpents and Greenland the size of North America ...

But those are my favorite maps! "Here they be monsters!"

P.S. Do you like old maps? I do. If I had the money, i'd collect them in a serious way ...

Jump_Raven said...

Completely by chance, the next 60 films or so in my Netflix queue happen to be silent. I'll put on Steppenwolf and come along for the magic carpet ride.

mister muleboy said...

MythMon at the virtual staff meeting:

there's no way we'll ever win this case. . .

Mythical Monkey said...

Do you like old maps? I do.

When I was a boy, I had a globe that must have been a replica of a seventeenth century globe, with its vaguely defined sense of what North America might look like. At a time when the astronauts were sending back detailed photographs of the earth from space, I was fascinated by the notion that our planet could have ever been so completely unknown to the people who lived on it.

Now the only map I own is one my father had hanging in his office back in the 1960s. He drew bright red lines on it tracing all the air routes he had traveled around the world as he did business, and I'd say with the exception of the Soviet Union and China, which were pretty much off limits in those days, he went everywhere. An interesting guy, he was.

Avalon76 said...

Ooh yay! This should be pretty cool! =D