When I was ten years old, and my brother Tom was eight, we had gone to the theater together to see “The Poseidon Adventure”, and it made a huge impression on both of us. When that years’ Oscar broadcast came around, the movie was nominated for one supporting actor, the best song category and a smattering of special effects and technical awards. Tom and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching the entire broadcast together to see how our ‘horse’ did in the ‘races’. We have never missed an Oscar broadcast since, and are both avid film buffs. Even after we grew up and left home, we would still religiously watch it and call each other on the phone to compare notes. My brother, for many years, would throw an ‘Oscar Watching Party’ at his home, and then, later, when he opened a restaurant in Chicago, host a similar event at the eatery.
For about fifteen years I have been creating an ‘Oscar Poster’ for my brother, as a keepsake for each of his parties (see the entire collection at the bottom of this page). The restaurant was closed in 2021, so the impetus to create these posters has gone away, but I have so much fun creating them that I have decided to expand on the idea in the form of an oversize coloring book, and setting myself the massive goal of doing each and every year of the Oscars since their inception in 1929.
The 100th anniversary will be coming up in 2029, and I’m hoping I can get them all completed in time to collect them all into some sort of deluxe volume. I’ll be shopping this idea around to various publishers in the future, once I have a few more consistent pages under my belt and a clear vision of what the final product will look like. For now, the pages above are the ones I have completed, and each will have a facing page with a list of the nominations (examples below). I am limiting myself to Actors, Actresses, (and later Supporting Actors and Actresses) Directors and Best Picture, just to keep it from getting out of hand). I’m still debating with myself whether or not to include Animated films in the later years, as I don’t want to mess with Mickey Mouse and his army of lawyers.
This ongoing project has been going through various revisions and tweaks along the way.. The way I envision the page layout, is pictured below (thinking of an oversize format, 9.25 x 13.5).
My thinking at the current time is to collect them in groups of 30, and release them over the course of the next several years as both a way of testing the waters, and then hopefully combining all of the volumes into one large book of all 100 years by the time the anniversary rolls around. So I envision a book covering 1929-1959 (volume one), 1960-1990 (volume two), 1991-2021 (volume three), and then the remaining years of 2022-2029 collected with all the previous books into one 100 page collection. Another plan could be two volumes plus a large deluxe collection (1929-1974, 1975-2021, 1929-2029), or two volumes of 50 each (1929-1979, 1980-2029).
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to this idea, I felt, was the issue of copyrights. I have done some thinking on this, and perhaps have a solution in mind. Nowhere in the book will the words “Oscar” or “Academy Award” be mentioned, nor will there will an image of the Oscar statuette. From what I’ve read online (and I’ll be sure and check with a copyright lawyer as I get further along in this project), as long as I’m using these likenesses as a ‘mash-up’ in my own work, there shouldn’t be any infringement issues.
Below are examples of some of the ‘Oscar Posters’ that I have done in the past, for my brother (and several ‘retroactive’ posters I did just for my own amusement – 1929, 1972-74, 2004). As you can see, they range in style and layout quite widely, and in the early years (2005-2008) I use the statuette quite liberally. I’ll likely be recycling the preliminary work done on these posters, but will be redesigning them to fit the layout and parameters of the book.