From the abolition of slavery to the 'war on terror', this year's Academy Awards are dominated by heavyweight political films
Follow our live coverage of the Oscars 2013 red carpet
Early in 1927, Louis B Mayer, the head of MGM studios and soon to be the highest-paid executive in the world, met a handful of fellow conservative thinkers to create an elite Hollywood organisation with the grandiose title of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The aim was to deter the development of unions, or at least to control and arbitrate their operations. The academy, and the awards set up the following year as an expression of the good taste of its members (of whom there are now 6,000), began in politics and continue to be influenced by it.
Twenty years later, MGM went for three years without winning an Oscar and Mayer was fired by the company's ultimate boss in »
- Philip French
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