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The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards®

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
An “entertaining, fly-on-the-wall”* look at everyone’s favorite Hollywood circus and what it reveals about the business of moviemaking

Love it or loathe it, the Oscars are an irresistible spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Big Show is the only book ever to offer an
Paperback, 440 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Faber & Faber (first published January 12th 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jeanne Jackson
Aug 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I love old movies. I love new movies. I love the background and insider stories of the iconic stars of old movies, most of whom were at the peak of their careers before I was born. However, for some reason I've always been ambivalent to the back stories of current movies.

Having read The Big Show, I know why. Going by Steve Pond's observations, if you take the big screen away from these people, they're about as interesting as listening to my Aunt Angelina discuss the details of her gall bladder e
Mike Jensen
Feb 06, 2011 marked it as books-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I would have quit this one on page 70, but was on a trip with nothing else to read. The book is a look at Academy Awards broadcasts from the early nineties into the 2000s. It is mostly a catalogue of bad behavior by film people, behavior that makes the eventual success of each broadcast a miracle. If you enjoy gossip about people being jerks, enjoy this book. If you tire of one vainglorious episode after another, skip this one. It is intended for a general readership, and so will be of real but ...more
Mar 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-read
Steve Pond must have been invisible to get all this gossip. Unless you know or remember much about the Oscars in the '90s, though, you may not care.
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
The Big Show is exactly the kind of book you’d expect from a leading movie-magazine journalist who’d been given an all-access backstage pass to the Academy Awards ceremony for eleven years. It’s an “inside look” at an event most of us only see the outside of, but a carefully managed one.

The backstage personnel come across as so uniformly competent, dedicated, and funny that they begin to feel like characters from Singin’ in the Rain or Argo. Anecdotes about the stars never cut too close to the
Adrian Robbe
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards by Steve Pond (2005) is an excellent treatise of the former 11 year period (1994-2004) of the Academy Awards. In his book, he gives the reader an informative, comprehensive introduction to the planning, production, and backstage intrigue of the Oscars. Not only giving a 'behind-the-scenes' look at this spectacular event, Pond delivers astonishing insight into how the Oscars portray the high-stake politics of Hollywood. H ...more
Grindy Stone
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A much better book than the reviews here indicate. There may be something frivolous to the Academy Awards, but Miramax in the mid-1990s figured a way to game the contest and has reaped countless millions by exploiting awards season. That's one of the recurring themes of the book, along with the producers' uneasy efforts at putting Best Song nominees' performances on when most viewers wish they could skip past them.

If criticism of the book is that it's a bit breathless and dishy, at least the dis
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This isn't a salacious muckraker, thankfully - although that might've been more interesting for some. Rather, it deals with the behind-the-scenes production headaches and thrills of the biggest live televised stage show in the world. Touches on the star personalities involved - eg: Steve Martin low-maintenance, Russell Crowe a jerk - but more or less told from the producers' perspective of getting all the pieces together, directing the chaos on the night, and dealing with the post-mortem fall-ou ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge Hollywood fan and I've been watching the Academy Awards since I was literally six years old. I love the fashion and seeing who takes home gold. So, it was only natural that I picked up this book, that tells behind the scene stories. I found the book extremely interesting and even laughed a few times. Steve Pond, the author, was actually working behind the scenes during the show and was able to overhear some interesting conversations between major stars. The only thing I disliked about ...more
Rebecca Moore
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this recently (over the awards season). Every year I take on the massive task of watching every film nominated for an Oscar in all categories and I was interested in knowing a bit more about the politics behind nominations, the culture (or beginnings) of Oscar campaigning and what goes in to producing the show. This book finishes in the year that Lord of the Rings won everything (which was before I started my yearly challenge) so it was kind of good to get a bit of background. It was very ...more
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Anyone that knows me knows I am obsessed with movies - particularly those generally nominated for Oscars. I like my movies dark, dramatic, and thought-provoking. That being said, I am also addicted to awards season - the Oscars being one of my favorite nights of the year. This book goes behind the scenes of The Big Show, and is a must-read for any movie lover.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating "fly-on-the-wall" view of the Academy Awards broadcast, starting about a year in advance. The producers are under enormous pressure to keep the show to about 3 hours, and a large clock runs backstage to keep track of time to the second. Fun stories of live snafus, and celebrities acting like jerks. I really enjoyed this book, but perhaps only a real film nut would.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Entertaining and interesting back story for the Academy Awards shows, as observed by journalist Steve Pond. Meticulous planning and details go into this annual multi-hour extravaganza. The best chapters were about the individual shows. Probably not news that the celebrities are rather egomaniacal, smoke like chimneys, and can be just as star-struck as the average Joe.
Kathy Tallent
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pond, who was a writer at "Premier" magazine, was granted access to the production staff during the planning, rehearsals, and broadcast of 11 consecutive Academy Awards ceremonies beginning in 1994. This book is full of anecdotes about the famous. There are lots of high times, not so many dirty dealings.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting play by play of the last decade or so of Oscar ceremonies. The book came out in 2005, so unfortunately we don't get to see the Hugh Jackman/James Franco shows. Dry in places, but Bruce Vilanch gets in a few good zingers.
Richard Lynn
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: film fans
Interesting book about the history of the Academy Awards, what goes into putting the show on each year, famous moments, etc. If you watch the Academy Awards like I do, you will find this book interesting.
Mar 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
As someone who's worked on several of the Oscars mentioned in the book, I enjoyed reading someone else's take on the behind the scenes goings-ons, politics, and dramas that go on when producing the Oscars.
Book Concierge
Jan 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
Backstage at the Oscars can't really be this boring ... can it? I finished it, but I was really mostly skimming after the first three chapters.
Dan Fingerman
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is like crack for entertainment/pop culture junkies.
I've read it twice.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Interesting look at what goes on behind the Academy Awards each year. It gives some history of the show, but it mainly covers the past 15 years or so. Very interesting stuff.
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Delightful. This is a thick book, but it moves pretty quickly and there are quite a few pictures. If you're interested in celebrity culture, you'll enjoy this.
Mohammed Lajhar
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Bellais
Apr 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
What an utter waste of time. The backstage gossip is so inconsequential that by the time I got to the end of the book I was relieved.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting look behind the scenes of the Academy Awards. I don't watch them, but am intrigued by the process.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found it very interesting to see what goes on behind the awards ceremony.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A bit repetitive but fun to read.
Jackie Griffin
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A better book than I expected. Less gossip and more of the actual management of a complex event.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Much like the show it covers, the book has some interesting and fun moments, but often takes itself more seriously than it should and is far too long.
rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2015
Phil Scott-Devenport
rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2015
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