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« Cannes: Female directors making waves... | Main | Beauty vs Beast: Still I Think He's Rather Tasty »
Monday
May202019

Showbiz History: The Best Cannes Year? The Birth of Cher! 

Here are 10 things worth celebrating on this day in showbiz history, May 20th.

Federico Fellini and Jeanne Moreau were both winners at the 1960 Cannes festival but they look none too happy about it!

1891 Thomas Edison's prototype kinetoscope gets its first public display (to the National Federation of Women's Club). Could any of them have imagined the colossal artform that would spring forth in those early days?

1960 The 13th annual Cannes Film Festival wraps up with Federico Fellini's masterpiece (well, one of them at any rate) La Dolce Vita taking the Palme d'Or. The competition lineup was insanely rich...

Six of the competition films would go on to Oscar nominations: Greece's Never on a Sunday (5 nominations including Best Actress), the UK's Sons and Lovers (7 nominations including Best Picture) as well as Ingmar Bergman's Swedish classic The Virgin Spring, Mexico's Macario, Yugoslavia's The Ninth Circle, and Denmark's Paw (all in Best Foreign Film). Incidentally Denmark's Paw (which I've unfortunately never been able to find to screen) was the first film directed by a woman ever to be nominated in Best Foreign Film.

And that's not all! One of Russia's all time greatest films, Ballad of a Soldier, and Italy's L'Avventura with Monica Vitti (in the video above) were also in the Cannes mix. 1960 has to be in the upper echelons of Cannes years, doesn't it? 

1966 The 19th annual Cannes festival wraps with a tie for the top prize between The Birds and the Bees and the Italians and A Man and a Woman. Sophia Loren was the President of the Jury, and only the second woman to ever head the jury, Olivia de Havilland having presided the year before. 1965/1966 is the only time in history that Cannes has had consecutive female presidents.

Bob Fosse & Liza Minnelli on the set of Cabaret. They followed it up with the concert TV special "Liza with a Z," both were major hits / awards magnets.

1973 All in the Family and The Waltons win the top Emmys for Comedy and Drama, respectively. But the big still-exciting piece of this Emmy broadcast was Bob Fosse winning for Liza with a Z. He won the Emmy, the Tony, and the Oscar all within a three month period (as we saw documented, if briefly, in Fosse/Verdon). As for Fosse/Verdon, sorry we're one episode behind on the recaps; we'll pull double-duty this week to catch up.

1988 The fantasy adventure Willow opens in movie theaters. They've long been threatening a sequel or a TV series but now it's going to be a streaming series for Disney+

1993 Cheers airs its final episode "One for the Road" after an 11 season run. Ted Danson later wins his second Emmy as Sam Malone for that final season. Cheers and MASH are tied for most nominations ever for "Outstanding Comedy Series" as both ran for 11 season and were nominated each and every year of their run.

Kaminski & Hunter in 19951995 Holly Hunter (The Piano) marries cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Schindler's List), roughly a year after their same-night Oscar wins. They divorce in 2001 but we still haven't figured out quite how they met in the first place since he never shot her in a movie. But perhaps Steven Spielberg introduced them since Kaminski always works with him but, strangely, Always (1989) starring Holly Hunter, is one of the rare Spielberg pictures that Kaminski didn't shoot.

2011/2016 Weirdly on this day in history two different divisive Nicolas Winding Refn pictures opened at Cannes: Drive in 2011 and The Neon Demon in 2016.

Today's Birthday Suit: Cher was born on this day in 1946 and here's a totally spontaneous 100% candid photo of her from 1979. Happy 73rd birthday to the immortal diva.

Other Famous Birthdays Today: Jimmy Stewart, Tony Goldwyn, Mindy Cohn, Timothy Olyphant, Jane Weidlin (of The Go-Gos), Anton Corbijn, Tahmor Penikett, Gabriel Muccino, Busta Rhymes,  Constance Towers, Judy Kuhn, and Matt Czuchry.

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Reader Comments (9)

Did Holly and Janusz meet at the Oscars ceremony the night they both won? Their statuettes might have served as twin cupids!

1960 - yes, a pretty wow year at Cannes!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Cher! See you in London in October!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Wow, that is an incredible Cannes lineup, as was 1994's. Which, speaking of 1994, I'd like to imagine that Holly Hunter and Janusz Kaminski either were seated or stood next to each other at that year's Oscar nominees luncheon and subsequent "class picture." (Or perhaps Spielberg introduced them at the post-Oscars Governors Ball? Hmm...)

P.S. Thanks for Chering that epic pic. ;-)

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Cher was Best Actress at Cannes in 1985, for The Mask. The award was shared with Norma Aleandro for The Official Story - who went on the win the NYFCC. Curiously enough, come Oscar nominations time, they were both overlooked, in what was a very competitive year.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

you called the film "Never On A Sunday". Didn't it get titled "Never On Sunday". Just nitpickin'.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpea pickin' willie

Edward -- no, they were actually each other's dates that night, so they were dating before the double win i suppose.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Marcos, feel free to say it: Norma Aleandro deserved it more. Diosa.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

frankly, i'm a little offended that there's a film called the birds and the bees and the italians and 1966 sophia loren isn't it it!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpar

strangely, Always (1989) starring Holly Hunter, is one of the rare Spielberg pictures that Kaminski didn't shoot.

Schindler's List (1993) was their first collaboration as director and cinematographer.

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

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