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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9 Foreign Film Finalists

"Cheering for BODY AND SOUL or LOVELESS for the win. - Travis

"My two favorites, BPM and Summer '93, were left out so now I'm rooting for Chile's A FANTASTIC WOMAN all the way." - Peggy Sue

"THE WOULD... I'm ecstatic its profile has been given this boost." -Goran

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The Furniture: The Color of Beaches

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber... 

Beaches, despite its enormous and enduring cultural imprint, still retains some surprises. It’s not subtle at all, yet it also contains countless little details, both of performance and design. It’s a melodrama that rewards rewatching, not only for the ritual of crying along with a beloved tearjerker, but also for the charismatic density of its images. And so, heeding the call of Nathaniel’s obituary and reappraisal of Garry Marshall’s long career (and a comment from Craver), here’s a look at the Oscar-nominated production design of Beaches.

The color palette of the film is almost schematic. That’s not a slight against production designer Albert Brenner and set decorator Garrett Lewis, either. It works, this insistence on pinks and greens reaching its emotional pinnacle along with the characters.

To be sure, Oscar nomination is probably owed specifically to the two fabulous production numbers, “Industry” and “Otto Titsling.” But rather than praise two isolated scenes, I’d like to take a look at this insistent thread of color...

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"Call Me Captain Marvel" 

Manuel here with what is arguably the most actressy news coming out of SDCC. The reigning Best Actress champ, one Ms Brie Larson will be joining the so-called MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as Captain (née Ms) Marvel.

Brie was brought out during Marvel's panel at Comic Con where she got to join the casts of Dr. Strange (which boasts Oscar winner Tilda Swintin and nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor), Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (which features Oscar nominees Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, and Glenn Close), and Black Panther (with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o). That's all a long way of saying that the MCU is already stacked with Oscary talents. It's nothing new: after all, Iron Man starred 3 Oscar nominees and one winner back in 2008. 

More on Brie's future after the jump


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The Smackdown Is Almost Here

THE SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 IS JUST ONE WEEK AWAY. Get your votes in by Friday early evening. This week will be a '77 blitz at the blog to get you in the mood. 

The Nominees were...

Leslie BrowneThe Turning Point
Quinn Cumming, The Goodbye Girl
Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters
Vanessa Redgrave, Julia
Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr Goodbar 

Readers are our final panelist for the Smackdown so if you'd like to vote send Nathaniel an email with 1977 in the header line and your votes. Each performance you've seen should be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts (1 being terrible 5 being stupendous) -- Remember to only vote for performances that you've seen! The votes are weighted to reflect numbers of voters per movies so no actress has an unfair advantage. 

Click to embiggen to see the 1977 goodies


We'll do this piecemeal so you don't feel overwhelmed. Here are two of our guests this time 'round...


Panelist: Nick Davis
Bio: Nick Davis writes the reviews and features at the website Nick's Flick Picks.  The site's unpredictable cycles of frenzied activity and long dormancy have to do with his also being an Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern, where his research and teaching mostly concern narrative film in different eras, genres, and countries. 
[Follow Nick on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

1977 is the year I personally debuted at the box office. My Star Wars-obsessed brother says it was the second-best thing that happened that year. Sadly, I drew only a modest "B-" on CinemaScore from males 18-29, but since I mostly appealed to middle-aged and older moviegoers, I turned out to have legs.  Shelley Duvall drove to the delivery ward, her skirt caught in the car door, and brought my parents pigs in a blanket and little pudding cups to celebrate my arrival.  When she left, she looked a lot more like Sissy Spacek, which confused all of us.  I was an odd-looking baby, but not as odd-looking as the one in Eraserhead, so that was some consolation.  My mom was just relieved she didn't have to be impregnated by a computer, like Julie Christie was in Demon Seed.  My parents were very careful about vaccines; Han Solo gave me my shots first.  When it was time to leave the hospital, Roy Scheider, Francisco Rabal, and two other guys drove us all home in trucks full of live nitroglycerine. It was a harrowing journey, especially the part on the rope bridge over a swollen river. Once at the house, we opened the door to a huge surprise party.  Liza Minnelli was in the living room belting "New York, New York," with backup from the aliens of the Creature Cantina. Gena Rowlands was sozzled behind her huge sunglasses in a corner, talking to someone the rest of us couldn't see. Charles Burnett, Laura Mulvey, and Derek Jarman were all screening brilliant new footage in the back of the house, wondering what it would take to get more attention from the mainstream partygoers in the front of the house.  Annie and Alvy arrived late, after a very long walk to the curb from where she'd parked.  Once they'd arrived, she sang "Seems Like Old Times" from a bar stool, which was weird, because I wasn't even a day old.  The party was fun until everyone got drunk and Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine started pulling each other's hair.  Everyone dispersed, at which point we all noticed Jane Fonda acting really agitated in her giant hat, and making strenuous excuses for why she didn't want a ride from anyone.  Once we were alone, my whole family expressed gratitude for what a fantastic universe of movies I'd been born into, and then we privately screened the only one from 1977 that really, really, really matters, which is The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Panelist: Guy Lodge
Bio: Guy Lodge is a film critic for Variety, a home entertainment columnist for The Observer, and plans to be Melissa Leo's official biographer whether she likes it or not. Born and mostly raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, he is currently based in what's left of London.
[Follow Guy on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

My grizzled countenance and cranky Twitter rants may lead people to assume otherwise, but I wasn't close to being alive in 1977 — my parents wouldn't even meet for another two years — so my picture of the year is one informed entirely through history and pop totems. (Admittedly, not always the most popular pop totems: one of my most treasured thrift-store finds remains a double-disc vinyl soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's New York, New York, surely that year's most persistently undervalued triumph.) It's hard not to think of Star Wars when you think of 1977, since it so comprehensively altered the blockbuster template in ways we still feel today (and not just in the ongoing Star Wars films!), but it's a franchise to which I've never been sentimentally attached — perhaps because I never had the chance to discover it in theaters. I know I would have been Team Annie Hall in that year's Oscar race, one that continues to rankle with younger generations of acolytes: perhaps, in a sense, I think of 1977 as the starting point for today's polarized fan culture?

Continue on the Meet the Panelists Pt 2

How about you dear reader: What does 1977 mean to you?  


Yes No Maybe So: Wonder Woman

They're trying to trick us with this new Wonder Woman poster. Look at all that COLOR. From WB/DC? Could it be possible? Mmmm yes and no. 

Since it was Comic Con weekend the studios were working hard to inundate fans with new superhero footage and the second Wonder Woman trailer is here... which has some color to it but a lot of blue grays since that's how DC (and action movies) likes to play it these days. The trailer is a bit premature as the film is not due for 11 months but we'll take it. It looks pretty good and maybe, just maybe, they'll do right by the Amazon princess?

Our Yes No Maybe So is after the jump but first things first. You must know that we do deeply dig The Little Mermaid shoutout which begins the trailer. Steve Trevor is all washed up on shore like a Prince Eric thirst trap and Diana is eager to drink him up...

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Amelia, Nixon, Byrne, Wonder Woman, and the Original "Death of Superman"

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1802 Alexandre Dumas is born. He dies just before cinematic technology begins to blossom so he couldn't have known that his novels like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers series, and Queen Margot will all be adapted multiple times in a new artform.
1821 Gang leader William Poole, "Bill the Butcher" is born. Daniel Day-Lewis taps his fictional glass eye 181 years later on the big screen...

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Ten Favorite Things About Stranger Things

Kieran, here.  There’s something to be said about earnest storytelling in television.  It often comes packaged in projects that are deeply flawed, but somehow those flaws contribute to what make the show a singular experience. Such is the case with Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which premiered a week ago to much fanfare and online discussion.

Though “Stranger Things,” created by Matt and Ross Duffer very blatantly poaches elements from some very familiar markers it doesn’t resemble anything else on television at the moment. The aforementioned earnestness of this series about supernatural and…well, stranger things happening in 1983 small town Indiana could have easily served as a liability, but becomes one of the show’s greatest strengths. 

All of my defenses were up going into my viewing of “Stranger Things”. 80s-era Spielberg holds little personal resonance as it does for others. I’ve never seen The Goonies. I have a really sensitive gag reflex when it comes to inauthentic portrayals of children in movies and film. I was suspicious in the beginning, but "Stranger Things" won me over...

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