Oscar History
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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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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

"Double Jeopardy is my jam!!! I ain't mad at cha, Miss Ashley! " - Dorian

"Ashley reminds me of Ida Lupino, who in the '40s had a lot of talent but was undervalued because of her association with genre potboilers." -Brookesboy

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Wednesday
Feb122014

Best Actress: Nathaniel's Ballot & Oscars

It's time to get back to our Film Bitch Awards. I've 18 days to finish everything. Give me strength! 

I was rooting for Brie Larson all season, but Oscar had bigger stars in mind

When it comes to Oscar's Best Actress field this year I'd rank the performances in this order without hesitation: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) > Adams (Hustle) ≥ Streep (August) > Dench (Philomena) > Bullock (Gravity). But as usual my own lineup differs quite a lot. I looked beyond the twelve titles that voters were considering nominating for Best Picture and then conveniently dropping onto their ballots in each and every other category. I also had to consider shoeless Emma (Mr Banks) who obviously just-missed Oscar's cut-off since they were all about their ol' standbys this year (this year's amalgam of all five contenders has been nominated 7.6 times which is probably a statistical "most" record in any acting category). So in addition to Oscar's conversation topics I took long hard looks at the Before... franchise's Julie Delpy again (she was nominated right here in 2004), Jane Adams and Paulina Garcia in the little seen arthouse gems All the Light in the Sky and Gloria respectively, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said), too. And then there were the fresh faces (well, fresh before the spaghetti sauce and sobbing) like Adele Exarchopoulus and familiar young stars like Brie Larson (Short Term 12) and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) who are just now coming into what feels like their true power as screen stars. I even considered Melissa McCarthy in The Heat, she of the perfect line readings, who was quite unjustly robbed of a Golden Globe comedy nomination this year. 

It was a tough call. I tore my imaginary hair out. In the end, as always, you want six or seven nominees but you conly get five. And here they are with my capsule comments... The Best Actresses of 2013.

P.S. If Oscar voters choose anyone other than Cate Blanchett, it's going to be so catastrophic for my mental health that you'll see me on a park bench somewhere in 2014 chattering away to no one in particular as I replay the events of 2013 endlessly on a loop, torturing myself as to how it all went so terribly wrong.

P.P.S. The Best Actress Oscar Page now has "how they were nominated?" theorizing and a reader poll

P.P.P.S. Like TFE on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on twitter. Why haven't you already? Lot of exciting plans for 2014 including more interactivity with you.

Wednesday
Feb122014

18 Days Til Oscar. 18 Nominations For Meryl Streep

Here's a piece of trivia that even people who are clueless about the Oscars can recite: Meryl Streep is the most nominated actor of all time. Sometimes those same people will say she's won the most Oscars but you can't know everything if you don't pay attention. But, any way you come at it, her record is astounding (18 noms / 3 wins) 

Today I'm having fun repurposing her bitchy dialogue from August: Osage County and pretending its mockery of her fellow nominees and their (comparatively) puny Oscar histories.

You ever been married nominated before?
...More than once

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb112014

Weirdest News of '14 (Thus Far): Greta Gerwig To Headline 'How I Met Your Mother' Spinoff

It's almost like the universe is punishing me. For what I am unsure.

Greta Gerwig with a giant poster of her face this time last year

When I spoke with Greta Gerwig a few months ago she was singing the praises of Jacques Demy films and Leos Carax's Holy Motors and the movie musical; her indie cred was most definitely intact, she's actually a cinephile (unlike many actors) and her taste is impeccable. She was starring in stupendous music videos, keeping prestigious company in awards season, and coming off the high of a great run with the brilliant Frances Ha.

And now she'll follow all that with a spin-off of a formulaic old school sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" that's already many years past the season (5) where even the best shows start to falter from fatigue and stagnation?I understand that money is a powerfully motivating factor in most careers. I don't begrudge Gerwig a cash-in but I thought that that was what that dumb Arthur remake was for? I mean a sitcom on the most traditional of networks that's not even an original? Greta Gerwig with a laugh track? I'm so depressed.

Word is that she'll be producing, writing and starring which is smart given her talents but why not use them on something original? Why waste the Gerwigian gift on that format and for that franchise? The problem with sitcoms is that there is no return if they're picked up. When was the last time you saw, oh I dunno, Zooey Deschanel or Kat Dennings headlining a movie or even thought of as "actresses" rather than just celebrities? I'm aware that it is possible to do both TV and film simultaneously and successfully (Melissa McCarthy & Jason Segel) but it is most definitely not the norm.

Greta Gerwig had so much more to offer the movies. One hopes that her Untitled Public School Project with Noah Baumbach is finished and that its a beautiful cinematic swansong.

Tuesday
Feb112014

Seasons of Bette: Of Human Bondage (1934)

ICYMI - We announced last week that as a sidebar series to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate", Nathaniel will be discussing each of the Oscar Roles of Bette Davis, 11 in total or 10 if you're a purist, as they appear within Kate's chronology. There will be spoilers.

You should know as we begin this new mini-series that I am not, like Anne Marie with Kate, a Bette historian. My knowledge of Bette Davis is something like the cliff notes version that most people who love movies absorb along the way. The earliest and only pre-Jezebel (1938) Bette Davis performance I had seen before beginning this series was Three on a Match (1932) which didn't, in any way, prepare us for the Bette we know; she's not the MVP of that racy pre-code girls-gone-bad drama. So I'm happy to report that Of Human Bondage (1934) gives us the Full Bette-of-Legend Arc. She goes from unsatisfying bit player to unforgettable star to terrifying disintegrating old harpy all in the space of 83 minutes! It's quite the retrospective ride. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb112014

Looking at "Looking" (Episodes 1-4) 

I wasn't looking for Looking. My experience with gay or gay-adjacent television series has been hit and miss at best, mostly miss. I outright loathed "Queer as Folk" what with its hypersexualized fantasy version of Pittsburgh and occasionally questionable acting. But mostly I hated it because it was populated by sociopathic characters who consistently behaved like no one anyone would ever put up with in real life. Sociopathic characters are fine if its part of the point within your concept or setting but otherwise, nope. Will & Grace was fun but like most sitcoms, once it established its 75 jokes, it basically repeated them for years with new words like a long-running "fabulous!" game of Mad Libs. Recently though it seems like gay characters, at least on non-gay focused shows have been allowed something like two dimensions; we're getting closer and closer to three! 

And so far so good with Looking... 

Click to read more ...