Oscar History

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On This Day: Glenn Close Born, Ben Kingsley Knighted, Sean Connery Bonded

Programming Note: Apologies that we're off schedule on episodes of Pfandom and Three Fittings. Performance anxiety (aka writer's block) at Film Experience HQ. While Nathaniel course corrects...

On this day in showbiz history...
Here are a few cinematic things to think about today March 19th. Which will you feel most festive about?

1859 Charles Gounod's Opera Faust premieres in Paris. There are multiple Faust operas just as there are multiple film versions of the 
1897 Betty Compson (The Barker, 1928), the only Best Actress nominee born in Beaver, Utah (I mean, she'd have to be, right?) enters the world. 
1915 Happy 102nd birthday today to 40s star Patricia Morrison (Dressed to Kill, Song of the Thin Man). Yes, she's still alive!
1947 Glenn Close is born in Connecticutt. 70 years later she still hasn't won her Oscar! She's back on Broadway in Sunset Blvd at the moment...

1951 Herman Wouk's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Caine Mutiny is published. Just three years later the film adaptation is a major awards player with 7 Oscar nominations. (I once did a study of 1954 and having seen a lot of films from that year, let's just say that Oscar's fascination with this one is confounding. The year has many riches)  
1952 Shaper of many future Oscar races, Harvey Weinstein, is born in Queens
1953 For Oscar's 25th anniversary, the very first televised ceremony! The Greatest Show on Earth wins Best Picture of 1952 and Shirley Booth trips on the steps. She won't be the last actress winner to do that.
1955 Bruce Willis, future classic action star, is born in Germany
1957 Elvis Presley purchased his new home Graceland for just over $100,000. It's been a tourist destination for years and has factored into several movies as well including This is Spinal Tap
1962 Bob Dylan releases his very first album, titled "Bob Dylan." Later in his career he'll win a Nobel, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and 12 Grammy Awards. Todd Haynes, who will later make the abstract Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, is only 14 months old when it comes out so his fandom must have come significantly later.

1964 Sean Connery has his first day shooting the James Bond classic Goldfinger, which we loved writing about. Just under six months later it premieres in London. Post-production times were shorter back then, apparently.
1975 The movie musical Tommy premieres. It goes on to two Oscar nominations: Actress for Ann-Margret and Best Song Score for Pete Townshend

1982 Eduardo Saverin is born. Meets Mark Zuckerberg in college and the rest is The Social Network history. Andrew Garfield receives a Golden Globe nomination playing him.

...on this same day two controversial movies open: the raunchy teen sex comedy Porkys (which became a huge hit) and the stage to screen mystery Deathtrap which featured a kiss [GASP!] between two major male stars (Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine). It opened just two weeks after another gay mainstream film Making Love with two famous male leads (Harry Hamlin & Michael Ontkean). It makes you wonder what might have happened to gay representation in cinema if the AIDS crisis hadn't hit so forcefully so quickly thereafter. Gay love on the big screen was basically relegated to indies thereafter until Philadelphia and Birdcage in the 90s both of which were timid about romantic affection between men. 

1984 Kate & Allie premieres on CBS, remember that one? Jane Curtin wins two Emmys for the series which runs for six seasons. 
1985 Spin magazine began publishing. Their first cover (dated May) went to Madonna. The music magazine ran in print until 2012
1993 Bridget Fonda does her best Anne Parillaud and starts assassinating people in the American remake of the French Point of No Return
1999 The ridiculously contrived romantic comedy Forces of Nature with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck opens

2002 Oscar winner Ben Kingsley becomes "Sir Ben Kingsley," knighted by the Queen on this day. The actor, who never seems to stop working, has 4 movies coming this year. What's your favorite of his performances? I'm partial to Sexy Beast but I also think he's amazing in the underappreciated Penélope Cruz drama Elegy in 2008
2010 "ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!" The Runaways opens in movie theaters, arguably the first film that predicted the current Kristen Stewart rather than the Twilight Kristen Stewart. Underappreciated movie as Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon and some tech elements are also noteworthy in it

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Reader Comments (46)

Kingsley is TREMENDOUS in Elegy, as is Cruz. They should have been nominated.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Oh Ben kingsley - how he loves that knighthood!

Has anyone else seen that supreme bit of shade from Maggie Smith on the Graham Norton show? Where she's talking about how you don't use your titles when you're working and everyone does that except for, 'who is it? Sir King Bensley'.

So shady - I love it!

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMorganb

Ann-Margaret was nominated for Best Actress for Tommy. She once called me out at a film festival because I told her my mother was Swedish (true) but when she spoke to me in Swedish I responded in English.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Ann-Margret was up for Beat Actress for Tommy, not Best Supporting Actress. I know you know that!

I remember liking Elegy quite a lot.

Bogart is great in The Caine Mutiny... So poignant.

All the best with the writer's block. My cure? Don't think about quality and don't think about us!

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

ELEGY is so great. Coixet's best work by a landslide.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

just checked out "Get Out"'s numbers at Metacritic and RT... while 83 on Metacritic is impressive, 99% at RT and 8,3 and 100% and 8,1 CotC is something that inmediately launches to Original Screenplay contender at awards seasons (I'm unsure if it can get beyond that, maybe GG nom in Comedy/Musical, if they consider it a Horror/Comedy. I'd put it as a longshot so far for the Original Screenplay nom, depending how the year goes.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

I love Kingsley as himself in The Sopranos.

Best work: House of Sand and Fog & Elegy (tie)

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

No one ever mentions that kiss in Deathtrap. Does it even appear in The Celluloid Closet?

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Seriously? Has no one mentioned Gandhi? Kingsley was absolutely astonishing in that! He earned a much-deserved oscar for that performance! He is one of the few Asian actors to ever win an academy award. For those that don't know, Kingsley is half southeast Asian from his mother's side.

He was also great in the house of sand and fog. In the DVD commentary, Kingsley and another actor did an audio commentary for the movie, and the other actor, Ron Eldard, kept addressing Kingsley as "Sir Ben" throughout! I remember watching this and thinking, geez, dude, we get it, you're damn proud to have a knighthood, but lighten up and be modest like the other knights and dames and just go by your given name!

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBlinking Cursor

Oops! According to IMDB, it's Ben's father that is of southeast Asian descent.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBlinking Cursor

Ben's Elegy snub is one of the biggest Oscar snubs of the new millennium. Did the Academy even see it? Damn, they dropped the ball on that one.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSoSue

Kingsleys so good in Elegy,too small at the time and Langella sucked all the older guy nods.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

I once heard a nice anecdote told by Michael Caine about meeting Laurence Olivier for the first time when they were making 'Sleuth'. Caine was nervous, didn't know how he should address the man and simply asked him. His reply was something in the lines of: "For the sake of a formal introduction, I am Lord Laurence Olivier, and you, I have been told, are Mister Michael Caine. But now that we've known each other for such a long time, I'd suggest you will call me Larry and I will call you Mike."

Let's just say no such anecdotes will ever be told about Ben Kingsley. And yes, he is a great actor, and yes, he's especially terrific in 'Sexy Beast' (my pick for Best Actor 2000, even if everyone else classifies him as supporting in that one), but also quite great in 'House of Sand and Fog' - but he seems so terribly, terribly self-important that I can't bring myself to root for him. And his pompous personality makes it all the more unbearable for me that he won his Oscar against Paul Newman, who delivered a performance that was superior to his in every conceivable way - in fact, I'd rate every single one of the other nominated performances in 1982 a lot higher than his. Four great actors, every one of them delivering a performance that ranks amongst the greatest of a very distinguished career, and his performance, undeniably good and at the center of an epic spectacle, but, I'm afraid, nothing exceptional in its own right.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

And just to throw in a few more birthdays that shouldn't be forgotten:
1848, Wyatt Earp, who would go on to be portrayed by (amongst others) Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Burt Lancaster, James Garner, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and Val Kilmer; 1933, Philip Roth, whose novels have been adapted to some notable films, including 'Elegy'; 1936, Ursula Andress, mother off all Bond girls; and 1963, Neil LaBute, director, who quite possibly might make at some point in his career another film that at least comes close to the greatness of 'In the Company of Men'. Possibly not, though.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Gay love scene in mainstream cinema are still timid. Paul Francis was also featured in " The Caine Mutinity" a very handsome actor who tragically died in a plane crash after the film premiered.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

I’d say the one due for the big celebration is Patricia Morison. 102 is quite a milestone, and she’s always been a fierce ally to the gay community! Hollywood mangled her early career and wasted her in junk like Queen of the Amazons and B movie westerns and dramas then she shook that off and hit it big on Broadway as the originator of Kate in Kiss Me Kate and despite being a movie name STILL wasn’t cast in the film version, though Kathryn Grayson is terrific in the movie-perhaps her best work but a shame for Pat.

Give Glenn Close the Honorary Oscar already! I keep hoping that the one role will come along and get her the golden guy but at this point I’m doubtful.

Kingsley is wonderful in Sexy Beast but even though I didn’t like the film I thought he was extraordinary, along with Shohreh Aghdashloo, in House of Sand and Fog. I’ve also always had a fondness for what he did with his small role in Dave. He took what is basically a throwaway plot point and humanized the VP so when his character came into play later in the film it meant more than it would have if someone else had played the role.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Why won't Bridget Fonda come out of retirement.

I rewatched A Simple Plan the other day and she is more than worthy of a nomination in 98.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

Give Glenn Close the Honorary Oscar already!

One of my hopes for any new year.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I've always thought Glenn Close was a solid actor, but I don't understand the demands for an honorary Oscar. At least three of her nominations feel questionable. I haven't seen Dangerous Liaisons, but is her performance in it really so great that it moves a good career into legendary/honorary status?

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash


March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Cash -- You're embarrassing yourself. Watch first, talk later.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMerteuil

Merteuil -- That's my girl!

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Glenn Close should have won for FATAL ATTRACTION (she lost to Cher ! Really?!) and for DANGEROUS LIAISONS ( Oh my God : she lost to Jodie Foster in THE ACCUSED!)
And she deserved the nomination for THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterErick Loggia

Close is magnificent in "Dangerous Liasons" the entire movie is a class act- but her final scene wiping the make up in front of the mirror is a movie moment for the ages.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I feel no embarrassment for my opinion. Even if, as you say, that Glenn is remarkable in DL, is it enough for an honorary award? Because Glenn shouldn't be getting it on on the strength of The Big Chill, The Natural, or Albert Nobbs, that's for sure. I remember her being good in Garp, but perhaps I should revisit it to see if she's great. But I maintain, not in just Glenn's case but in general, does one remarkable performance in an otherwise solid career merit anyone an honorary Oscar?

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Cash -- i dont think anyone thinks Glenn should have an honorary for one remarkable performance. The issue, at least from my informal conversations, is that most people feel she's been remarkable AT LEAST three times (Garp + Fatal Attraction + Dangerous Liaisons) all three characters are very challenging for any actor, and two of those three films were 80s classics. And she's different in each and each time there are people who would argue that she lost to a far inferior performance*.

*I happen to not have much of a big issue with her losses (she's fucking amazing in Fatal Attraction but Cher is brilliant in Moonstruck, too, in a total movie star performance and it's always fun when those ones win), apart from Dangerous Liaisons in which I think she easily trounced the competition... at least of those nominated. But here's the thing: Honorary Oscars should always be used for people who were brilliant regularly in their careers without ever winning and she would definitely qualify under that description so why wouldn't people want that for her?

March 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not gonna be ignored, Cash!

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlex F.

Alex -- Touché. I'll hide my rabbit.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Close might still be able to find one great movie role that will finally get her an Oscar- at her age it might be a supporting one- would she be able to finance a film version of "Sunset Blvd- the musical"

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Cash, I'm on your side. I don't think she deserves an honorary by any means, but I also don't care for narrowing it down to "no oscar winners allowed" either.

Kingsley's greatest performance: Schindler's List.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

If it got made with Glenn Close, the Sunset Blvd movie would definitely win her long await Oscar. Since no one will finace the project because they don't believe Glenn can open the movie unless it's Meryl Streep and Meryl had said she would not take the role because it belongs to her friend Glenn. So I wish Meryl shoud just be one of the producers to get the project of the ground, Glenn took the lend and Barbra Streisand took direct chair and let this Sunset Blvd movie with the three of them conquer the world. Gosh, Sunset Blvd movie the musical with Glenn Close should happened long time ago.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Cher deserved the Oscar. And if she hadn't been in contention, Holly Hunter would have deserved it.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

What if Fatal Attractions came out in 1990? Would Glenn have won over Kathy?

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

@Cash - I think you have to put some of Glenn's performances in context. Both her Garp and Fatal Attraction performances were, at the time, extremely original, and spawned entire genres of female characters in the years after. There are entire PHD theses written on how FA spawned tons of similar lady-enraged movies. Before her FA, you didn't see that kind of rage from women. For example, you can see Rebecca De Mornay channeling FA Glenn in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. Her Merteuil in DL is widely regarded as the definitive Merteuil. It spawned about 10 offshoots of that story (just look up the number of DL productions since the Frears version). Much like every single mob movie playing off Brando's performance in Godfather, Glenn's performances have spawned many MANY an off-shoot. So, did she deserve a nomination for The Natural? Probably not. But that doesn't mean that she's not deserving of an honorary Oscar for the effect her performances had on cinema overall.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

If Jackie Chan got an Honorary Oscar, Glenn deserves two and a plaque.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

What Peggy Sue said.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Nobbs

Thank you dear! I'm sorry about your whole drama.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Anyone doubting Glenn Close's range in Fatal Attraction needs to have their heads examined. Like her or not, being objective is what counts. When subjectivity creeps in, we don't see things as clearly.

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Cher deserved the Oscar. And if she hadn't been in contention, Holly Hunter would have deserved it.

Cher was the least deserving in her category.

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I want this post to live forever!

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I should have been nominated but la Marquise is a total bitch and I love her.

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Savoy

Only her makeup removal scene can top my pìano scene.

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusie Diamond

I'm fucking marvelous in my movie but everyone prefers the one with the aliens!

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThe Real Peggy Sue


March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThe Real Peggy Sue

such illustrious company!

March 26, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh, and to Cash, Close is an unusual star in that she was only a leading lady at the top of her game for about a five year stretch. She has, however, always been applauded for turning in great performances for over 30 years, albeit many in supporting roles. A role is a role, and a nomination is a nomination. She has conquered television with something like 14 or 15 Emmy nods, theatre with 3 Tonys (ineligible this year but would have won for sure), and film (Oscar nods, Golden Globes, SAGs, etc.). Like someone else said, if Jackie Chan can get one, hell ... .

To Peggy Sue, my best performance was in an 80s band. Can you guess?

Finally, let's stop bashing Close vs. Cher vs. Hunter vs. Streep vs. whoever. They're all great and bring something different to the table. Court dismissed.

March 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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