Classic movie channel honors Academy Awards month again
The structure changes annually, but for Turner Classic Movies, each February (along with early days of March) means “31 Days of Oscar.”
This time, the month’s theme is “360 Degrees of Oscar,” echoing the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game by linking each Oscar-winning or -nominated film to the next via a performer who’s in both. The opening example on Saturday, Feb. 1, is Laurence Olivier; seen first in “The Entertainer” (1960), he appears after that in “Wuthering Heights” (1939).
With Monday nights and Saturday afternoons his usual shifts, veteran entertainment journalist Dave Karger is the first TCM host up for 2020’s “31 Days of Oscar.” He says he’s “super-excited” about Feb. 15, when he starts with “The V.I.P.s” – “and then, through Orson Welles, we connect to ‘The Third Man.’ And through Joseph Cotten, we then connect that to ‘Gaslight.’ Those are three of my absolute favorites.”
Though films of a given actor generally tend to fall within the same era, the friendly Karger relishes introducing movies of a talent that cover a wider span. He does that with John Wayne on Feb. 10, introducing 1939’s “Stagecoach” and then the 30-years-later “True Grit,” which brought the Western icon an Oscar for best actor.
“Occasionally, we’re going to get these great, big jumps because of stars who worked for decades,” Karger confirms. “You get to move around in a great way … and also, this format allows for some people who might not always be featured on TCM. There’s a Tom Cruise connection, and we have Meryl Streep, and that is really exciting for me as someone who’s also been covering contemporary film for the past 25 years.”
Karger also gets to end the event on March 2 with one of his favorite stars: “I am a major Gene Tierney fan. She was so gorgeous and such a great actress and so underrated, and I’m showing ‘Laura’ and ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.’ I saw ‘Laura’ in a film class in college, and that was the first time I really got to appreciate what a classic film can bring.”