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« Last Words: The Court of Public Opinion | Main | Open Thread »
Friday
Feb072014

"Seasons of Bette" Coming Soon

Surprise! As a side bar series to Anne Marie's brilliant "A Year With Kate" project, I present to you "Seasons of Bette". Together with Streep, who we talk about a lot, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis form the Holy Trinity of Oscar's Best Actress category, with 41 nominations and 9 statuettes between them. Streep is bound to have another big year in 2014 with The Homesman, The Giver and Into the Woods all arriving but we're finally giving the other two their due. 

"Seasons of Bette" won't be a comprehensive film-by-film study like Anne Marie's (Bette made 80+ features and a ton of television so, uh, no.) but I will personally be visiting each of Bette's Oscar nominated star turns, as they come up within Kate's timeline. When Anne Marie pitted them against each other in her last episode, I realized that they'd only squared off four times at the Oscars but that I had not seen all of Bette's nominated work. So join me. It's the perfect opportunity for us to fill in Best Actress viewing gaps together. Titles in red represent the years where Kate & Bette competed head on for Oscar gold. If you'd like to play along that means you've got to watch Of Human Bondage (1934) right away on Netflix Instant, Dangerous (1935) by February 24th, Jezebel (1938) by March 30th, Dark Victory (1939)  by April 14th, The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941)  by April 21st, Now Voyager (1942) by April 28th, Mr Skeffington (1944) by May 19th, All about Eve (1950) by June 30th, The Star (1952) by July 14th, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) by August 18th.

Join us?

 

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Reader Comments (20)

Yeah! Even though I love Katharine Hepburn I adore Bette more. I've seen all her nominated films but it's been awhile for Of Human Bondage and The Star. I'll have to refresh myself on them and I'm always happy to have a reason to revisit Eve, Now, Voyager and my favorite of her films Dark Victory.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I will extol until the end the excellence of that 1962 Best Actress lineup. Still my favourite line-up of nominees in any category. I love Kate exponentially more than Bette and yet both giants with excellent turns and neither was my favourite that year. (That's Geraldine of course.)

(I always forget Bette was nominated for THE STAR.)

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

I'll definitely join, a resounding yes!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCurtis

I AM HERE FOR THIS!!!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngelica Jade Bastien

Obviously I'm highly biased. THAT BEING SAID, I'm really excited for this!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

This makes me very happy.

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

!!!!!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I've loved the Kate Hepburn features so much, can't wait for this to start!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Every day in every way I love this blog more and more.

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Can we use The Letter for a crossover post with Hit me Your Best Shot? What a cinematography!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal -- hit me with your best shot will be return in the spring too. but i haven't picked a date yet

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm such a Bette Davis fan, not just as an actor but for her business sense. She fought against some of the dumber contract restrictions in Hollywood and helped change the industry.

Plus, she did crazy things like a twist song about Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. She was in in on the joke a lot. I wish we got more crazy songs inspired by Academy Award-winning films. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIkwjXY7Nvw

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

So happy about this. Having only seen All About Eve and Baby Jane, I've been wondering which if Bette's early movies I should go back and watch. This seems like the perfect primer. Thanks, Nathaniel!

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmory Blaine

This will be fun. I haven't seen all of Bette's work, but I'm always impressed with her. Her run from 1938-1940 (Jezebel, Dark Victory, The Letter) is stunning. And, of course, All About Eve and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? are classics (of very different kinds!).

Nathaniel: One question about the inclusion of Of Human Bondage: do you count it as a nomination? The Academy doesn't, and I'm inclined not to either. There were a number of write-in nominations in the 1930s - and one write-in winner - but they tend not to get counted among nominees' tallies. I always think of Bette Davis as having received 10 nominations for Best Actress, not 11. But am I in the minority on this?

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Edward -- i do count it. I'm not sure if you're in the minority though. ANYONE ELSE?
My feeling is that since write-ins even resulted in one win, I think you have to count them... because it doesn't make sense to say someone won an Oscar without receiving a nomination, you know? They're part of Oscar's often bizarre ever-changing history.

February 8, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

That was sort of a quasi-nomination for Of Human Bondage, wasn't it? But it is a performance that definitely should be discussed.

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

This announcement just gave me a stargasm.

Bette, along with Jennifer Jones, Greer Garson and Myrna Loy, turned me into an old movie fan when I was a kid. She was fierce, fearless and fine. Bette made her own rules and changed the game forever. What a dame.

February 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

YES YES YES!! Bette is my fave!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

If she had been nominated for 'Of Human Bondage", there would have been no need for a write- in campaign....so, no nomination.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrob

Interesting alternative views on the Of Human Bondage 'nomination'. I'm inclined to agree with rob on the whole. Though I take Nathaniel's point that it's all part of the oddity of Oscar history. Strictly speaking, it wasn't a write-in nomination, because the 'writing-in' only happened at the voting stage for the winners. So, the voting ballots would have been, in effect, three nominees + whoever else you want to vote for to win. Maybe the answer, therefore, is for us always to call her a 'write-in candidate' for her Of Human Bondage nod. That way, we could say Bette received 10 nominations + was also a write-in candidate.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

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