Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Book thumbnail image

Why we watch the Tony Awards

By Liz Wollman
Awards season bring out everyone’s inner analyst. The moment that nominations are announced, everyone starts trying to figure out what the list of nominees says about the state of whatever medium is being lauded.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Normal Heart and the resilience of the AIDS generation

By Perry N. Halkitis
On 25 May 2014 and nearly 30 years after first appearing on the stage, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart will be aired as a film on HBO. This project, which has evolved over the course of the last three decades, documents those first few harrowing years of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

A different Noah, but the same God

By Y. S. Chen
Aronofsky’s Noah Movie has aroused many criticisms for the ways it has rewritten the biblical story of the Flood. It is observed that not only has the movie added extra materials to, as well as removed original elements from, the biblical account, but more seriously it has also modified and darkened the character of Noah and even of God.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

“There Is Hope for Europe” – The ESC 2014 and the return to Europe

By Philip V. Bohlman
4–10 May 2014. The annual Eurovision week offers Europeans a chance to put aside their differences and celebrate, nation against nation, the many ways in which music unites them. Each nation has the same opportunity—a “Eurosong” of exactly three minutes, performed by no more than six musicians or dancers, in the language of their choice, national or international—to represent Europe for a year.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Unknown facts about five great Hollywood directors

Today, 11 May, marks the anniversary of the founding of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. It wouldn’t be until 1928 until the award selection and nomination process was established, but this elite group of actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers were leaders in the early film industry.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Shakespeare and the music of William Walton

By Bethan Greenaway
On 23 April 2014 we celebrate the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Nearly 400 years after his death he is still a source of inspiration for countless authors, composers, and artists all over the world. His plays are performed again and again in hundreds of languages, and have been the inspiration for numerous operas, ballets, and films.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The American Noah: neolithic superhero

By William D. Romanowski Reports suggest that Hollywood’s sudden interest in Bible movies is driven by economics. Comic book superheroes may be losing their luster and the studios can mine the Bible’s “action-packed material” without having to pay licensing fees to Marvel Entertainment. Maybe this explains why director Darren Aronofsky’s pitch to studio executives was […]

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Discussing Josephine Baker with Anne Cheng

By Tim Allen
Josephine Baker, the mid-20th century performance artist, provocatrix, and muse, led a fascinating transatlantic life. I recently had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Anne A. Cheng, Professor of English and African American Literature at Princeton University and author of the book Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface, about her research into Baker’s life, work, influence, and legacy.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Reflections on Son of God

By William D. Romanowski
2014 is being heralded Hollywood’s “Year of the Bible.” The first film to reach theaters is Son of God, a remix of material by the same producers of the History Channel’s successful miniseries, The Bible. It seems hardly a coincidence that Son of God opened on Ash Wednesday, ten years to the day after Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was released. The promotional campaigns for both movies relied less on broad market advertising in favor of creating grassroots awareness in religious circles.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Grand Piano: the key to virtuosity

By Ivan Raykoff
“Play one wrong note and you die!” The recently-released feature film Grand Piano, directed by Eugenio Mira and starring Elijah Wood, is an artsy and rather convoluted thriller about classical music and murder.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Shirley Temple Black: not a personality to be bunked

By Gaylyn Studlar How does one talk about a child star without lapsing into clichés? Shirley Temple was “the biggest little star,” the “kid who saved the studio,” and as she was called in the 1930s, “the baby who conquered the world.” Temple, who died 10 February 2014, at the age of eighty-five, was not […]

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Five things 300: Rise of an Empire gets wrong

By Paul Cartledge
Let’s be clear of one thing right from the word go: this is not in any useful sense a historical movie. It references a couple of major historical events but is not interested in ‘getting them right’. It uses historical characters but abuses them for its own dramatic, largely techno-visual ends.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Beyond Ed Sullivan: The Beatles on American television

By Ron Rodman
Sunday, February 9, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the American television broadcast of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. For many writers on pop music, the appearance on the Sullivan show not only marked the debut of the Beatles in the United States, but also launched their career as international pop music superstars.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Steve McQueen’s low-tech triumph: Looking at this year’s Oscar winners

By James Tweedie
The annual Academy Awards ceremony draws weeks of media attention, hours of live television coverage beginning with stars strolling down the red carpet, and around 40 million viewers nationwide on Oscar night. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences relegates the awards for technical achievement to a separate ceremony a couple of weeks before, a sedate affair in a hotel ballroom rather the spectacular setting of the Dolby Theater.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Best Original Score: Who will win (and who should!)

By Kathryn Kalinak
This year’s slate of contenders includes established pros (John Williams, Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat) along with some newcomers (William Butler and Owen Pallett, Steven Price). This used to be a category where you had to pay your dues, but no longer.

Read More