Oscar History

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Reader Spotlight: Santy Calalay

Today on Reader Spotlight we're talking to the very talented Santy Calalay from The Philippines whose interview was lost in my inbox for months. Sorry Santy! Without further ado... here he is with "the only Oscar winner I know"

Santy with Greg Curda, who won Best Sound for The Hunt for Red October"

TFE: Do you remember your first movie?

Santy: It was either one of three Disney movies: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or Bambi. That or it was a Filipino film from the 70's where my father played the bad guy. Haha. My most vivid childhood memory regarding movies though is with Ghost. My mother loved watching that when it came out but she would never watch it alone. My sister and I were only 6 and 8 at the time so when THAT SCENE as we called it (clay. hands. white shirt. need I type more?) came up, my mother would tell us to go to the other side of the room and bury our faces in pillows while she watched.

I only saw that scene for the first time when I participated in Stinkylulu's 1990 Supporting Actress Smackdown. (Go Diane!)

Why do you read TFE?

Because you write about the movies the way I think about them. Plus TFE must be the most open-minded community when it comes to discussing movies as a business, as an art and as an obsession. I've learned so much from the knowledge of your contributors and commentators.

You're a photographer. How do you think that coincides with your movie love? 

Photography is in-between writing and filmmaking. It's Hit Me With Your Best Shot. It's me stopping the narrative and saying, "wow, this is what it's all about." For me, the most beautiful shot is still when Brigitte Lin takes her wig off in the alley in Chungking Express. My breath was taken away. Even the movie stood still for that moment. A photoshoot is just like making a movie, only you try to show your greatest frames and angles to tell the whole story. The brevity of a picture always appealed to me.

Brigitte Lin & Takeshi Kaneshiro in the mindblowingly beautiful "Chungking Express"

Have you ever broken up with someone over a movie?

Yes. After she said Orgazmo was a better movie than Casablanca. Have. Not. Spoken. Since.

Three favorite actresses 

Deborah Kerr because I have always loved a lady. Glenn Close because I have always admired someone who goes big and broke every time. And lastly, Thelma Ritter for Pick-up on South Street and the sincerity she always gave in her roles. Sorry Maggie Cheung, Nathaniel said just three.

Favorite director?

Robert Altman. Those casts! Enough said.

Take away an Oscar. regift it.

I'll do it but I'll hate myself in the morning: Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby to Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind since I only get ONE regift. [Editor's Note: He hated himself in the morning and sent a new response] Sally Field's Oscar for Norma Rae to Bette Midler for The Rose!

What's the last movie you saw before these questions?

Detective Story. Kirk Douglas growls. Eleanor Parker cries. Lee Grant is KOO-KY.

And in theaters?

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. I actually enjoyed the first movie because of Uma's delicious and highly-affected line readings as Medusa, reminiscent of her Poison Ivy. No such treasure in this one and it only reminded me that Shoreh Aghdashloo has no Oscar.

If you'd like to see Santy's photo work, check it out here. Such a good photographer and recently published in Vogue Italia. Congrats! 

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Reader Comments (12)

These are always so fun to read.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

People always forget how undervalued Bette Midler is as a dramatic actress.

The Rose was off the charts bat shit crazy good.

Hell even Beaches moved me. lol

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I regretted saying that there were no such treasures in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters a couple of hours after when I remembered how Missy Pyle, Yvette Nicole Brown and Mary Birdsong were enjoyable treats as The Grey Sisters. :P

At last, thanks Nathaniel! I must say I was eagerly anticipating how you were going to cut down my very wordy responses. Haha. :)

David - Beaches was another childhood staple in my house!

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSanty.C

People seemed so obsessed with Bening vs. Swank Round 2 but that really should've been Winslet's year. Completely different from anything she has done and acted in a way that 99% of other actresses in similar 'quirky girl' roles fail at.

What warped childhood did I have that the pottery scene was the only thing I EVER saw from Ghost for years?

And mentioning Deborah Kerr and Ghost in the same post is a good reminder and laugh about Nick Davis' index card for Black Narcissus. Deborah, you in danger gurl!

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Sally Field is so freaking awesome.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

I love both of those "Ghost" stories so much!

August 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

OMG that's the Oscar I would regift too! I don't feel so alone anymore! lol. I lovvve Bette Midler, and I thought she was absolutely amazing in that film. Makes me sad that she didn't win (even if Sally Field was deserving ... still haven't seen Norma Rae. but she doesn't deserve two Oscars!).

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I'd re-gift Field's Places of the Heart but oh dear, that year was weak among the nominees. I guess give it to Judy Davis but I really would rather give it to Mia Farrow in Broadway Danny Rose.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Philip H -- Norma Rae is great. I dont get why people don't love it anymore. Or at least I remember it was great. And Sally was great in it.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

So so so happy about the Bette Midler love! She definitely deserved the Oscar in 1979. Sorry, Sally. You can keep your 1984 Oscar... maybe.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJesse T.

Anyone who shouts out Ms. Aghdashloo is good people to me.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Takeshi Kaneshiro was in Chungking Express?! I only remember him when he played that blind guy in the (admittedly brillian) martial arts movie. I always thought it was such a shame that he was the only one who couldn't see his beauty. ;-)

I need a friend like Santy to watch movies with. Everyone I know barely knows anything about movies and I (sorta) work in the movie business! I bet if I asked everyone on this floor, NO ONE would know who Thelma Ritter and Deborah Kerr and Maggie Cheung are. Heck, I'd settle for two out of three.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

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