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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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Wednesday
Mar022016

The New Actor Hierarchy: Oscar's Most Beloved Male Stars


Leonardo DiCaprio is now an Oscar winner but where does he stand in history?

If you're feeling celebratory -- and we've all lived through his rise into cinematic legend so why shouldn't we? -- you really need to check out this cute video of Leo getting his Oscar engraved or this silliness of a party of bros celebrating his win like mad men (hey it's better than the bro-ness of the pussy posse reuniting) or the once mocking memes that have turned into odes to Leo Joy. Good funny stuff.

Even if you weren't enamored with The Revenant (*raises hand*) or find it downright suspect, his filmography is so loaded with memorable films that surely anyone can find one therein to direct all their feelings towards in this momentous week for the 41 year old superstar. I'm choosing to view the Oscar as a career achievement Oscar for specifically prompted by Gilbert Grape, Romeo + Juliet, and The Departed... love them all!) 

Last year when Julianne Moore won her long-awaited Oscar for Still Alice we quickly tabulated the All Time Oscar Actress Hierarchy; movement in the ranks at last!  Given that DiCaprio waited even longer for his eventual statue, nabbing his first nomination at the dewy age of 19 for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), four years before Julianne Moore's first nomination, it seemed only right to do the same thing for the men in the wake of Leo's coronation. 

What follows is Oscar's 32 All Time Favorite Actors !
It's restricted to men with 5 or more nominations. Only the acting statistics are accounted for so George Clooney, for example, is not (yet) ranked. If you counted non-acting nominations, you'd also see DiCaprio jump a rank as he was nominated for producing Wolf of Wall Street two years ago and Brad Pitt would also factor in since he won Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave. Now that many major stars are involved in producing these types of extra nominations stats are likely to make Oscar lists of the future progressively murkier so we're opting not to include them for now. 

If you'd like to see how the ranks were determined (it's not as simple as basic addition or there would be many ties) that's at the bottom of the post.

OSCAR'S FOUR KINGS
And 28 other Royals 

after the jump 

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Wednesday
Mar022016

Beauty Break: Greatest Photos from Hollywood's High Holy Night 

We'll promise to wrap the coverage on the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow but there's still a few things to discuss. Consider this is a catch all place for beauties we didn't otherwise write entire posts on. There's much to parse, celebrate or just plain gawk at in this collection of photos starring Todd Haynes, Tom Hardy, Cate Blanchett, Alicia Vikander, and more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Mar022016

HBO’s LGBT History: Remembering the Artist (2014)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

 For the past two weeks, we took an Oscar-themed break by looking back at the 1993 and 2003 acting races. We imagined a world where Ian McKellen and Lily Tomlin could have nabbed another nomination and wondered aloud if Jessica Lange could have earned nomination #7 had HBO films been released theatrically. This week, we're back to our normally scheduled history but there's still an Oscar winner involved: We're looking at Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr., a documentary on the Taxi Driver actor's artist father.

The detours into hypothetical Oscar history were meant to remind us that HBO’s LGBT content has been consistently strong for over three decades now, at times dwarfing the mainstream fare that has found itself invited to the Oscars this past few years. But sometimes, as we’ll see this week, the HBO imprint is not enough to guarantee that the issue of sexuality will be given its due.

In Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr., directors Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir offer us, we’re told early, an attempt by Bobby De Niro to give his father the due that so eluded him in his lifetime (he died of prostate cancer complications in 1993). [More...]

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Wednesday
Mar022016

Judy by the Numbers: "Over the Rainbow"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers…

How do you talk about this movie? How do you talk about this song? Sure, there are star-turns. There are underdog stories. But there is nothing in Hollywood legend so powerfully wedded as Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz. It's the kind of lightning-in-a-bottle marriage of star and song that comes once every couple of generations. This was the number that would define Judy Garland as she defined it. It would be her biggest hit; one she recorded and re-recorded. It would follow her throughout her career, and outlive her when she died. Every moment before and after in the story of Judy Garland, MGM, and Studio System Hollywood lives in the shadow of "Over The Rainbow."

The Movie: The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)

The Songwriter: Harold Arlen (Music & Lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert LahJack Haley, directed by Victor Fleming

The Story: Louis B. Mayer did not take gambles. When he bought the rights to The Wizard of Oz, he wanted it to be the biggest, most expensive, most profitable musical in MGM’s history. Mayer started by assembling the best talent he had: producer Arthur Freed, director Victor Fleming, a cast of A-list comedians, and that no-fail, bonafide box office guarantee, Shirley Temple. By the time production was underway, 9,000 extras were dancing past cutting-edge special effects played on 65 sets built on all 29 MGM soundstages, totaling in a budget just under $2 million.

Of course, Fox wouldn’t release its tiny tapdancer, so Mayer had to resort to his second choice: Judy Garland. Since she was the new star of MGM’s biggest film, Judy’s studio education was put into high gear. Her teeth were capped, her hair was dyed, she was enrolled in dance and poise classes; all designed to polish down the rest of her rough edges. What this regimen couldn’t do was dull what made Judy unique.

Judy singing “Over The Rainbow” is the perfect distillation of star and studio power. She’d shown signs before of what would make her great - vocal power in “Americana,” joyful musicality in “Got a pair of New Shoes,”  deep longing in “Dear Mr. Gable,” - but with “Over The Rainbow,” the rest of the pieces fall into place. Judy loses her adolescent awkwardness, though she keeps her deep yearning. Accustomed to lip synching, she is able to act throughout the song - wistfulness, sadness, restlessness, hope. Judy Garland wasn’t even old enough to vote, but a combination of raw talent and rigorous training matured her into an exemplary performer.

previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938), “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (1938)

Tuesday
Mar012016

The 88th Oscars' Biggest Losers and Classics That Shared Their Fate

David here with some commiserations. The winners have been duly celebrated but what of those valiant souls who came, who sat, and who meekly applauded while silently ripping their pocket speeches to pieces? Are they over it by now?

Sometimes being the biggest loser can make you more famous than being a winner - just ask Leonardo DiCaprio, who may well just cease to exist now that his one purpose in life has been fulfilled and the internet’s long love affair with affectionately mocking memes has come to an end. Can we assume that Roger Deakins is up next for this treatment…?

The record for the biggest loser on Oscar night is jointly held by 1977's The Turning Point and 1985's The Color Purple. Since The Revenant walked away with 3 gongs from a possible 12 and Mad Max: Fury Road gloriously swept the technical categories for 6 out of 10, no film came close to the record - unlike recent failures True Grit and American Hustle, which both saw 10 noms come to sweet f' all. (The Color Purple's director Steven Spielberg was saved from indignity again with Mark Rylance's sort-of-surprise win for Bridge of Spies.)

Yet some of 2015's biggest movies still ended the night empty-handed. Since time has a habit of remembering movies differently to Oscar, let's see what hallowed company Sunday's biggest losers are joining in the hall of infamy. How might they fair in the collective memory in twenty years time? (Please forgive my Photoshop skills after the jump)

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Tuesday
Mar012016

Oscar's Sound Montages Show The Instruments and Play The Orchestra

Daniel Crooke here to talk about the pitch-perfect Sound Editing and Mixing montages from this year’s Oscar ceremony that ended in shiny, chrome, and hugely deserved wins for Mad Max: Fury Road. Known to some fair-weather film fans as the mystery stuffing that clogs the airtime between Best Supporting Actress and Actor, the sound categories are often the most overlooked because they’re the least understood. This gives the producers of the Oscars a daunting task – explain the intricacies and differences of two finely tuned crafts and hope that the audience both understands those definitions and why sound is crucial to creating cinematic universes. 

This year, the Sound montages demonstrated the transporting power of signals and noises and thrillingly distilled how exactly they’re shaped.  More onomatopoeias after the jump...

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