Guerilla television outfit TVTV went behind the scenes at the 1976 Academy Awards for this remarkable showbiz meta-documentary, locating the essence of the Oscars by skirting its periphery. We’re privy to nominees like Ronee Blakley and editor Verna Fields preparing for the ceremony and reflecting on the event (Lee Grant, for instance, speaks movingly about the blacklist), plus interviews with adoring fans. Tomlin here is featured in a dual role, as herself, a nominee that year for Nashville, and as one of her most beloved characters, the prim homemaker Mrs. Beasley, who watches the broadcast from her couch in the suburbs and provides a running commentary. Preceded by “The Quiche of Peace,” a sketch for Vito Russo’s pioneering television program Our Time in which Mrs. Beasley visits a gay bar to offer the dish as a symbol of goodwill on behalf of the heterosexual community.

TVTV Looks at the Oscars
TVTV, USA, 1976, 59m

The Quiche of Peace
Vito Russo, USA, 1983, 4m