The Academy Awards is a spectacle to behold. Glittering with bright lights, colorful dresses, and the biggest stars in Hollywood, this annual event celebrates the artistic excellence of the movies with filmmakers, financers, and fans from around the world. But as Ronny Regev ably demonstrates in Working in Hollywood, the organizer of the dazzling ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), embodies a less glamorous function: representing the interests of the industry’s diverse workforce. In fact, when originally formed in the late 1920s, the AMPAS, in spite of its highly selective membership, actively lobbied to protect the wages and rights of everyday workers against the cost-cutting decisions of the major studios.

Working in Hollywood probes into this rather ordinary and mundane aspect of the movie industry. Building on studies about the vertically integrated business enterprise, the narrative...

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