Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Guest Actress in a Drama
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April Showers: "Home For the Holidays"

waterworks each weeknight at 11. This particular installment of April Showers was first published in 2009.

One of the greatest disconnects I've ever had between consensus response to a movie and my own reaction was in 1995 when Jodie Foster's second film Home for the Holiday debuted. It was mostly ignored by the public and the critics were out for blood. Maybe Jodie Foster had just been too successful and too lauded and it was time for the pendulum to swing back? Perhaps the undercurrent was along the lines of 'Does she have to be good at making movies in addition to acting in them?'

Even Robert Downey Jr playing Tommy got bad reviews for his performance as teh gay brother to Holly Hunter's Claudia. Though his performance is pretty out there with his needling rapid fire joking -- he's consistently pushing things too far -- it's also exactly in line with the movie's own sense of humor. And Bonus points: the sibling chemistry between Claudia and Tommy is pretty damn credible. If you're not familiar with the movie I urge you to rent it. You protest: But it's one of thousands of quirky dysfunctional family holiday comedies! I counter: it arrived before that ultra specific genre was wildly over saturated and it's actually very funny.

Holly's shower scene is fairly typical of the movies fast, funny and familial nature. Anne Bancroft, playing Adele the mother, is talking at Claudia but not really with her. Claudia is talking at Adele but not listening. They're on different pages and both of them never shut up. The older woman exits the scene leaving her daughter showering in an open bathroom...

Mom, close the door behind you okay?
okay, no problem, I usually shower in public.
I have no pride.
I have no rights.
I'm only four years old.

I don't need to tell you that Holly Hunter is one of the funniest people in the movies and she was still in her incredible prime at the time (roughly 1987-1998). She makes every pause and emphasis count in a line reading. So many laughs to be had in four sentences. After Claudia is done complaining about the unplanned exhibitionism, she gets down to business. She's vigorously shampooing, suds flying, until she freezes in place with a gasp. Her mischievous brother is lumbering towards the shower curtain like some comic monster.

I swear to god, Tommy, I'm naked in here and I am too old...


Holly's blind recoil from the polaroid flash is the split second punchline and Foster immediately cuts to the next scene, no time to waste... more rapid fire joking to follow.


Coming Soon to "Hit Me..."

Have you been following along with season three of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"? This series thrives on your comments and/or visual participation and dies without them. So don't leave us in solitary confinement staring at the movies obsessively. In season three we've already covered Snow White (30s Disney), Easter Parade (40s musical), Bonnie & Clyde (60s landmark) and Ladyhawke (80s fantasy). Because we aim for a true variety of genre and time periods in this series, here's the next six weeks of the movie schedule.

Please consider joining the fun.

Apr 18th Serenity (2007) and/or Firefly (2005)
Joss Whedon is having a huge film year (Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing) so we're looking back at his directorial (feature) debut. Or if you have never seen the TV series on which Serenity is based for this episode only of the cinematic series you can do "best shot" with a television pilot. Both are available on Netflix Instant Watch.

Apr 25th Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
This Oscar nominee and arthouse hit helped make international sensations out of the legendary director/muse pair Zhang Yimou & Gong Li. We love them both so let's dive into this sad gorgeous concubine's den in 1920s China.

May 2nd  Pariah (2011)
We've never done a brand new movie just as it hits DVD so I chose this one about a closeted lesbian teenager because it's a) very good b) underseen and c) not principally acclaimed for its visuals and those films can be interesting challenges in this series which tends to focus on more visually ambitious pictures.

May 9th  The Exorcist (1973) 
It was just voted the best horror movie of all time, it's a massive touchstone film, and if I don't force myself to watch it (I know I know) I never will. Will our heads spin until we're vomiting trying to choose the single greatest shot? Currently available on Netflix Instant Watch.

May 15th Edward Scissorhands (1990)
With Dark Shadows in theaters, we'll look at the Burton/Depp collaboration that started it all.

May 23rd Possessed (1947) 
I've been itching for some Joan Crawford lately and this acclaimed noir brought her her second Oscar nomination (shortly after the win for Mildred Pierce). I've never seen it so join me as Joan obsesses so hard over a man that she ends up in a psychiatric ward.

You'll be possessed by the love-madness of POSSESSED

Will you be joining us for any of these? Truly it's the more the merrier with this series. I can't be the only best shot participant that loves loves loves seeing the wide range of opinions when a lot of people look at the very same piece of art.

Sound off on this series in the comments. What do you think of it?


Katniss on the Catwalk.

Jose here. You know you've made it when your movie not only is the number one movie in the planet, but you also start influencing fashion. If you disagree, I have no trouble doing Meryl's "Cerulean monologue"...or quoting anything Effie Trinket says in The Hunger Games.

Effie's movie isn't only on its way to becoming one of the top grossing movies of all time, it's also becoming an influence for fashion designers. Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa has just designed a lovely dress inspired by Katniss Everdeen (the heroine played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie).


The peach colored, silk-crepe dress perfectly embodies Katniss' simplicity with the rich fabrics one would imagine they wear at the Capitol but with its hefty price tag of $5,000, isn't the dress a bit of an oxymoron? It would be like having a bread brand named after Marie Antoinette.

Any way, what are some of your favorite movie-inspired, real life style trends?


That Linking Feeling

Go Fug Yourself riffs hilariously on a photo of Noomi Rapace & Charlize Theron at the Prometheus premiere. Guldbagge!
Film Studies for Free "all that pastiche allows" looks at Far From Heaven, All That Heaven Allows and other examples of pastiche
The Kid in the Front Row discusses "the scene that made it all worth it" in Friends With Kids. I still haven't seen this one but love the cast. Same deal with Salmon Fishing... What's keeping me?
Liz Smith on all that's riding on the product known as Jeremy Renner who'd rather be "a good human" 

The Guardian Darth Vader and son. Tee hee
Indiewire wonders if Matthew McConaughey could be an Oscar contender for Magic Mike. I wish I had done a post about this last week. It occurred to me and I even wrote a wee note about it on the supporting actor page but my then original thought will now be lost in groupthink.
Clutch have you heard this shady catfight rumor re: Michelle Obama vs. Kerry Washington?
Metro on Kathleen Turner still touring with the play High. Love this quote from her on her many health problems and continuing on through all of them. I wish one of my other favorite actresses [ahem] felt similarly committed to her gift:

There has been a lot of work that had to be done to be able to continue and carry on and I can’t imagine not being able to act. It’s what I set out to do when I was a kid and I love it so much... I know that I would find another work for myself if I really couldn’t (act), but until I’m completely, physically incapable of acting. I am not giving it up.

Cinema Blend has a gallery from the digital artist TXE (name?) which illustrates 93 (!) characters from the Game of Thrones franchise
The Mary Sue has a piece on actors who have starred in multiple franchises. "Get Over It"... I know most people enjoy this but I can't be the only person who hates hates hates the same actors starring in everything? I am too much of a polyamorous film slut? I need some variety up in here! I really do. I don't like the idea of Storm being Catwoman and Iron Man being Sherlock Holmes and so on. 

Randomness: Here is the new poster for Rust & Bone. J'adore Jacques Audiard movies. I mean Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet...

What a roll, huh?

If Rust & Bone is as good as those it'll be one of 2012's highlights for sure.

offscreen just for kicks
Monkey See "I died on the Titanic" a personal memoir 
Boooooom shows you impossibly tinyfood sculpture
The Mary Sue animal mating rituals described in humanoid cartoons. Isabella Rossellini is surely sporting wood reading this.


"Titanic" Times Three. And Forever.

I had grand plans for the Titanic centennial, plans filled with a supersize hubris not unlike the power players at the White Star Lines albeit without the deadly consequences. It would be the biggest boldest blog post ever and would compare every last detail of all film versions of Titanic from costuming to art direction to special effects to young loves lost in the icy waters.  Film Experience readers would feel as if they'd won the lottery for a first class ticket, no slumming in steerage required! But before I drive this analogy into an uncomfortably tone deaf iceberg moment -- like the one James Cameron collided with when he mixed "King of the World" bragging with that moment of silence for a 1517 souls lost on the tragic night -- I will stop and just get on with it. Picture time!

Titanic (1943), Titanic (1953), and Titanic (1997)

Here is a brief visual history of the Titanic sinking via the greatest of all art forms, The Movies. All images are culled from films named Titanic directed by Germany's Herbert Selpin, the Romanian Hollywood success Jean Negulesco, and Canada's box office colossus James Cameron in 1943, 1953 and 1997. These are hardly the only films about the infamous oceanic disaster even if you exclude the filmed narratives where the disaster is only a minor plot point in everything from one of the earliest best picture winners Cavalcade (1933) to today's popular British series Downton Abbey (2010-)

The three Titanics begin very differently... before settling in as narrative siblings.

The German film begins with a board meaning at White Star Line staging the event as a cautionary tale about big business. The 1953 picture begins with an eery human-free depiction of the forming of an iceberg that Malick might love (though it instantly flips back to a stuffy 50s drama). The 1997 blockbuster begins with a contemporary dive with an explorer (Bill Paxton) and an old survivor Rose (Gloria Stuart) about to reminisce... cue three hour flashback!!!

After that they're much more similar. We get...

Click to read more ...


Box Office: Hunger Milestones & Reader Questions

With the box office ever in its favor, The Hunger Games just keeps climbing the all-time charts. With $337 million in the US alone in just four weeks, it will soon outgross last year's biggest hits (Harry Potter 7.2 and Transformers 3). If it can pass Toy Story 3's $415 million it'll be the biggest hit released since (gulp) Avatar stateside.

That fire dress was prophetic. Unfortunately that movie's bonfire heat makes writing about the box office even more boring than it usually is... which is why I always gussy it up with photoshop fun & reader question games.

chart via box office mojo

So herewith...

Eight Questions

  1. How many times have you seen Hunger Games?
  2. Did you at any point want someone beside Katniss to win?
  3. How many times have you seen Titanic in the movie theater (then & now)?
  4. Have you recently snuck into a movie so you didn't have to pay for a ticket?
  5. What kind of movies would you fund with $337 million?
  6. Who are the crazy people who paid for The Three Stooges this weekend? Justify your behavior!
  7. With Mirror Mirror about to hit $50, has the movie made back its costume budget yet?
  8. What did you see this weekend?


I'll kick things off by answering in the comments. Tag, you're it.