A loving biography of Oscar on his 60th birthday, a compilation of the avarice and broken hearts he's left behind. Oscar books tend to repeat one another. How many ways can you say that Greta Garbo, Caw Grant, Paul Newman and Judy Garland were outrageously denied the industry's highest honor, aside from honorary career statuettes? Ditto for directors Alfred Hitchcock, D.W. Griffith, and Orson Welles (who did get one for his Citizen Kane script). The authors accuse the show's producers of doing anything to win the ratings game: allowing cancer-ravaged Susan Hayward to totter on stage; invading Pickfair for a memorial shot of aged, alcoholic Mary Pickford's last tear. The politics behind the founding of the Academy (as Louis B. Mayer's sly way of battling the unions) is keenly recounted. in the mid-30's, the Academy was saved from dissolving by president Frank Capra's reworking of the nominating process. The studios have managed to buy nominations for some of their costliest turkeys, including Cleopatra, Dr. Dolittle and Hello, Dolly. The shutout of The Color Purple and Steven Spielberg by Out of Africa is rehashed in depth, but the ""arrogant"" Spielberg is termed the ""uncrowned king"" of the Oscars, his pictures having earned 50 nominations and 12 gold statuettes. The freeze-outs on Citizen Kane, Yentl, Mask and others are thawed for dissection as well as those on Marilyn Monroe's glowing performances in Bus Stop and Some Like It Hot. If you've been around for 40 or more years, little of this will be news. Oscar Dearest goes more deeply into its stories than does this year's Inside Oscar, but the latter has its full cornucopia of gossip and is far more thorough as a reference.