Oscar History

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A Smackdown Summer Cometh

When I announced that The Film Experience would be the new home of the long departed series Stinky Lulu's Smackdown last summer I figured you would be thrilled. It's our kind of party. I promised Stinky we'd do at least six smackdowns if we brought it back. With four battles already behind us -- pie throwing 1952shady and sinister 1968, warm and kooky 1980, and troubled histrionic 2003-- let's wrap it up with four more. 

Rather than announce at the end of each month, I figured we'd give you all four lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up over the hot months and cast your votes in the reader polling that accompanies each battle. Those votes count toward the final outcome, so more of you should join in. 

These annums were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and also to rope in prospective panelists (to be announced later) though I know you'll go bonkers for a couple of them.

Saturday May 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1941

Mary Astor won an Oscar for The Great Lie in which she co-starred with Bette Davis. Davis herself was something of a good luck charm that year for this category. Two of her other co-stars, Patricia Collinge and Teresa Wright, were nominated for their roles in The Little Foxes (a film we'll be covering very soon in "Seasons of Bette"). Rounding out the category were two formidable mamas in men's pictures:  Margaret Wycherly for Sergeant York and Sara Allgood in the Best Picture winner How Green Was My Valley.

Monday June 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1964

Women of a certain age for the awesomeness - somehow this shortlist escaped the usual attack of the ingenues. My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins were splitting the statuettes that year but neither took home a Supporting Actress trophy. That honor went to Zorba the Greek's Lila Kedrova. Also nominated that year were regular Oscar losers Gladys Cooper for My Fair Lady and Edith Evans for the Deborah Kerr picture The Chalk Garden, and two actresses from perpetually overheated... and perpetually wonderful genres: Agnes Moorhead in the grand dame guignol Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte and Grayson Hall from the Tennessee Williams Night of the Iguana

Thursday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1973

One of Oscar's most fascinatingly diverse Best Picture years also produced quite a range of peculiar one-offs right here. All five nominees were first timers and only Madeline Kahn (Paper Moon) was ever nominated again. The other contenders were showbiz trouper Sylvia Sydney (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams) and three young film newbies 26 year-old Candy Clark (American Graffitti), 15 year old Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and the youngest competitive Oscar winner of all time, 10 year old Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon).

Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1989 (Season Finale!)  

Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) took home the gold for playing mom to Daniel Day-Lewis on his first Oscar win. Her shortlist sisters? Quite a famous bunch they were. Oscar chose Oscar winner Dianne Wiest for the ensemble comedy Parenthood, both Lena Olin and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston from the underseen but  actressy Enemies: A Love Story, and brand new starlet Julia Roberts, then considerably less famous than brother Eric, for Steel Magnolias.

Drink your juice, Shelby, and join us for all of four Smackdowns. Queue up those DVDs. You know you want to for more movie merriment.

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Reader Comments (19)

"Drink your juice, Shelby."

Je t'aime, je t'aime, especially since I know that - metabolically - Steel Magnolias isn't your rhythm. x

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Exciting! Can't wait to hear people's thoughts, especially on the brilliant 'Enemies' ladies.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

My personal tragedy won't interfere with my ability to do good hair and watch every single movie on your list.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

how did 1964 sneak in with no double nominee film? especially when 1979 was just sitting there waiting...

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Awesome. Particularly interested to read about 1964, but they're all pretty great, with no obvious frontrunners (except maybe Kahn.)

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Great choice of years! Not a single one that's going to be anywhere near the torture that 2003 was. Looking forward to them all but I'm particularly intrigued by the '64 line-up.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

par - haha. all will be revealed. 1964 was selected by a future panelist who you'll love.

May 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wait, why only 4 more? Why isn't this an ongoing thing?

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

DjDeeDay -- it will probably come back but i don't trust that we'd be able to manage it in the fall what with all hte oscar coverage and the film festivals and all of that. we'll see.

May 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

64 was great, but I still haven't seen Evans. Morehead's nomination was one of those you just love that it happened. Just rewatched The Night of the Iguana, and Hall was terrific in a very tricky role. A very unusual career--she went on to great fame in my beloved Dark Shadows. Speaking of Iguana, how in the hell did Ava Gardner not get nominated for her marvelous performance?

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy - The Chalk Garden is up on YouTube, the whole movie which is what suddenly made 1964 available for smackdowning

May 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I love every single second of Lila Kedrova's performance in Zorba The Greek. Oh boy, what a great movie.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

If I remember the role right, Mary Astor in The Great Lie is one of the earliest cases of category fraud, as I remember her having a significant amount of screentime.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

John T- Mary Astor did have a goodly amount of screen time in The Great Lie but she also vanished for large parts of it leaving the main portion to Bette. She close to a co-lead but Bette's part is the dominant one. But she's such a strong presence in the film, both character and actress, she looms over it even when she's not on screen.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I want to read all of these immediately. I knew I was hoarding that VHS copy of "The Chalk Garden" for a reason.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I am *so* looking forward to all of these. The Little Foxes is one of my favorite movies -- and my favorite Bette performance after All about Eve -- and I would probably rank Patricia Collinge's performance there in my top five favorite supporting actress turns ever. Haha. No pressure when you write about that one. I'm also glad for the extra push to actually watch Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, which a friend bought me on DVD like eight years ago and I haven't even unwrapped yet.

May 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

I can't seem to find The Little Foxes anywhere, even on youtube. What am I missing...?

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Suzanne -- i felt for certain that that film was on iTunes as a rental but I see that it no longer is or that i was wrong initially. The only place i'm seeing it is for sale on Amazon. but no rentals. ugh.

May 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Patricia Collinge (+++++)
Teresa Wright (+++)
Mary Astor (+++)
Sara Allgood (++)
Margaret Wycherly (+)

May 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthomas

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