Five of the Best Books About the Oscars to Read Ahead of This Year’s Academy Awards

books about the oscars

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Variety may receive an affiliate commission.

The 96th Academy Awards are almost here, marking the final night of an eventful award season and potentially offering a definitive answer on whether 2024 was the year of the “Barbie” or…the atomic bomb. Both films, of course, are headed to the Oscars as winners in their own right, boasting eight and 13 nominations, respectively. Check out the full list of nominees here.

Ahead of film’s biggest night, we rounded up a few of the best books about the storied awards ceremony — from recent bestsellers such as Michael Schulman’s “Oscar Wars” to gorgeous coffee table books such as “Red Carpet Oscars.”

50 Oscar Nights by Dave Karger

Released last month, Dave Karger’s “50 Oscar Nights” offfers an exclusive look behind the scenes of the Academy Awards as top stars and filmmakers discuss their Oscar wins and tell never-before-told tales of Hollywood’s biggest night. Some interviews bring to light fun stories like why Hilary Swank decided to celebrate her Academy Award at the Astro Burger in West Hollywood, or insight into the work as Elton John explains why he was convinced he won his Best Original Song award for the wrong tune.

Oscar Wars by Michael Schulman

In his most recent book, award-winning writer Michael Schulman offers a lively history of the Academy Awards, focusing on the brutal battles, the starry rivalries, and the colorful behind-the-scenes drama of the most famous award ceremony.

The Academy and the Award by Bruce Davis

For “The Academy and the Award,” Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy for over twenty years, was given unprecedented access to its archives, and the result is a revealing and compelling story of the men and women, famous and infamous, who shaped one of the best-known organizations in the world. Davis writes about the Academy with as intimate a view of its workings, its awards, and its world-famous membership.

Red Carpet Oscars

As the title suggests, “Red Carpet Oscars” is a comprehensive, chronological history surveying over ninety years of fashion on the Oscars red carpet. From homemade and preloved dresses to ready-to-wear and haute couture, it tracks the style evolution of Hollywood’s leading stars, the commercialization of the red carpet, the emergence of stylists and the radical shifts that reshaped formal dressing.

Oscar Night Sessions by Mark Seliger

If you can’t get into the ultra-exclusive and star-studded Vanity Fair Oscar Party, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, then this coffee table book offers the second-best thing. For the past decade, photographer Mark Seliger has set up an elaborate pop-up studio inside the annual after-party , producing exquisite portraits of Hollywood’s A-list personalities in the immediate afterglow of cinema’s biggest event of the year. This book gathers the best of these portraits, along with a foreword by Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones and an afterword by actor Alan Cumming.

Oscar Awards Quiz by Ben Wells

Once you’ve gotten through the above texts, you can put your Oscars knowledge to the test with this handy trivia book. Go through the questions and answers as a way to hone your memory of the nominees and winners, or use the workbook as a trivia game with friends during an Oscars watch party on Sunday.