Salon's 20 Years With Oscar

Two decades' worth of Salon writing on the Academy Awards as part of our #SalonAt20 celebration

By Salon Staff
February 25, 2016 3:00AM (UTC)
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Salon’s Oscar coverage launched twenty years ago when television critic Joyce Millman put forth a plan to makeover the 68th Academy Awards ceremony. Since then, Salon’s fearless analysis and critique of this seminal show has informed the national discussion and made it smarter. The below collection—two decades’ worth of Salon Oscar writing—reflects changing concerns, attitudes, technologies, and storytelling platforms.

1996 Joyce Millman suggested an “Oscars Makeover.”


1997 Bob Blumer’s blog, The Surreal Gourmet, cooked up “Oscar’s Big Night: Walnut Pasta di Momento,” Ann Hodgman pondered why people in the movies never “have to go” in “Show Me The Bathroom,” and Jenny Yabroff spoke with Billy Bob Thornton on the snobbery of the independent film ghetto, the prodigious talents of Chris Farley, and the Big Question of what to wear on Oscar night in “Billy Bob Goes Hollywood.” As Camille Paglia cried, people wanted "more cleavage and glitz! Less Crystal!" in "The Big Night," while Cintra Wilson covered the dowdy, the disabled, and the Devil in "The 69th Oscars."

1998 Camille Paglia gave an eye-view in “Camille Does the Oscars.”

1999 Camille Paglia discussed “And the Frumps Are,” while Cintra Wilson weighed in on the “most obscenely grandiose self-congratulation orgy in the culturally moribund entertainment world” in “Not Abhorrent!


2000 Amy Reiter dissected how attending the Academy Awards has strange effects on attendees in “Look Out! Here Comes A Sound Byte!” and Cary Tennis opined on the “Grand Delusion.”

2001 David Thomson lamented the “Oscars Folly” and Bill Wyman countered that “Oscar Plays Nice,” while Amy Reiter delved into “Oscarspeak 2001.”

2002 Oscars 2002: Someone Make it Stop!” exclaimed Cintra Wilson.


2003 For the 75th Academy Awards, Cintra Wilson chronicled how “Hollywood Dons its Warpaint.”

2004 Cintra Wilson’s examination of “Oscar Bombs” found that all the crooked teeth in New Zealand couldn’t save a dull Oscar night.

2005 The Salon Staff provided Monday Morning Quarterback analysis in “The Fix.”


2006 Salon experimented with its first Oscar podcast for the 78th Academy Awards, “Salon Podcast: Camille and Cintra Ravage Oscar,” (sadly the file is missing).

2007 In “Regarding Oscar” Salon writers and friends, including Mo Rocca and Choire Sicha, dissected the ceremony.

2008 Were these the ‘Stagflation Oscars’—replete with lame jokes—asked Andrew O’Hehir in “Oscars Night of Stagflation.”


2009 Andrew O’Hehir detailed the evening’s Hamlet-like self-torment in “Oscars Angst: Its Fun, for Now!

2010 Oscars: Hollywood’s War Against Itself (continued)” proclaimed Andrew O’Hehir in contemplation of artistic integrity or commercial suicide, Kate Harding advocated “In Defense of Mo’Nique’s Oscar Speech,” Mary Elizabeth Williams declared “Kathryn Bigelow Is Not A Dude,”  and Heather Havrilesky asked “Best Oscar Night Ever?” while Kerry Lauerman etched out “The Story Behind Oscar’s ‘Kanye Moment.’” More coverage of the 2010 Oscars here and here.

2011 For the 83rd Academy Awards, Andrew O’Hehir served up “Your Oscar Night Primer” and Matt Zoller Seitz weighed in on “James Franco’s Oscars of Apathy,” while Salon’s staff live blogged and served on fashion patrol in “Reviewing Tonight’s Red Carpet Outfits.” For more 2011 Oscar-related coverage, see our archived stories here.


2012 Salon Staff participated in a “Liveblog: Oscar’s Silent Night,” while Mary Elizabeth Williams tried “Digging Deep for the Oscars’ Most Memorable Moments” and Andrew O’Hehir muddled through “Oscars 2012: The Movies’ Most Painful Night.”

Pre-Oscar coverage included Michael Barthel on “The Oscars’ Woman Problem,” Mark Anthony Neal’s plea to “Stop Policing Black Actresses,” Andrew O’Hehir on “The Remarkable Reinvention of Brad Pitt,” Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s “The Secret Science of Stardom,” Bill Wyman on “The Oscars’ Growing Sequel Problem,” Brian Raftery’s take on “The Oscars Hated Savior” and more.

2013 A full list of Salon’s 85th Academy Awards-related coverage may be found here, including Andrew O’Hehir (“Sometimes Oscar Gets it Right!”), Katie McDonough (“The Brief, Wondrous Life of an Oscar Gown”), Kera Bolonik (“Jennifer Lawrence’s Fall to Grace”), and Benjamin Wheelock’s slideshow of “The Oscar Posters That Should Have Been.”

2014 Andrew O’Hehir sketched out “Best Moments Of the Oscar Frontrunners: Facing the Challenge of 12 Years a Slave” as well as “Best Moments of the Oscar Frontrunners: The Dazzling Breakthrough of Gravity,” Anne Thompson analyzed “How ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘House of Cards’ Killed the Oscars,” Sarah Gray commented on “The Often Overlooked Oscar Winners: Innovators Behind the Scenes,” Daniel D’Addario wrote “In Praise of the Mani Cam,” and Neil Drumming weighed in on “Matthew McConaughy’s Double Triumph." For more Salon coverage of the 2014 Oscars click here.


2015 Salon’s 2015 Oscar coverage included Mary Elizabeth Williams on how “Red Carpet Coverage Doesn’t Have to be Sexist,” Alex Trimble Young on “‘American Sniper’ Is Not a War Movie,” Anna Silman on “Neil Patrick Harris Plays it Safe With His Oscars Opening Number,” Grisel Y. Acosta’s take on “’Racism Begins In Our Imagination: How the Overwhelming Whiteness of Boyhood Feeds Dangerous Hollywood Myths,” Andrew O’Hehir on “’Birdman’ vs ‘Boyhood': The Oscars Race to Save Hollywood’s Soul” and more.

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