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Man, he wanted to swallow Hollywood like a cat with a canary. And he did it! The parts got bigger, and Frankie was hooked! Like a junkie shooting pure quicksilver into his veins, Frankie got turned on by the wildest narcotic known to man: success! The parts got bigger and bigger... Frankie got hungrier and hungrier.—Hymie Kelly, saying what someone (quite possibly Harlan Ellison!) thought would be meaningful dialogue.
The Oscar is a 1966 film adapted from the 1963 novel by Richard Sale. It concerns the tale of Frankie Fane, a Jerkass actor nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. At the ceremony, he recalls the events that got him there. Once, he had a girlfriend named Laurel, whom he dumped for Kay. With his buddy Hymie Kelly's support, he breaks into show business. He gets an Oscar nomination, and he becomes an ever bigger Jerkass than ever.
This work features examples of:
- All-Star Cast: Stephen Boyd, Ernest Borgnine, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams and Frank Sinatra as himself. The list goes on, but I won't.
- Assumed Win:
- Curse of the Ancients: "Birdseed!"
- Drama Bomb: Hymie reveals to Frankie that Laurel died years ago miscarrying Frankie's baby. One suspects the plot twist was going to be a botched abortion but there may have been a reluctance to mention abortion in a 1966 film.
- Follow Up Failure: Director Russell Rouse and his writing partner Clarence Greene had previously won an actual Oscar for Pillow Talk. They made only one other film after this.
- Jerkass: Frankie Fane, especially in the novel where he deliberately tries to sabotage his fellow nominees' chances for success.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Not likely to get a DVD release anytime soon, and only has an occasional showing on TV.
- Non Actor Vehicle: Tony Bennett's only acting role. He reportedly hated it so much that he opted never to do another movie.
- Though he does appear as himself at the end of Analyze This.
- Oscar Bait: It's pretty obvious what they were gunning for here.