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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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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

"A miracle of a performance." -Mike

"Horrible, unwatchable performance." -Patryk

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Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough, he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way. His adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director. Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V), Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn), Director (Henry V), Screenplay (Hamlet), Live-Action Short (Swan Song). People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn but it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative. Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie, Disney's live action Cinderella (2015) opening today, let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen? 

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Ask Nathaniel 

How come noone has said anything about the new banner? Don't you like?! What's your favorite movie or performance about photography? Oh, wait. You're supposed to be asking me the questions. 

Time for our weekly collection of reader questions (trusting you enjoyed the last two Q&As and would like another on Monday night) so have at it in the comments. Remember the tighter the question the more likely it is to be answered.


We Can't Wait! #9: Taxi

Jafar Panahi poses as a taxi driver in "Taxi"Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Amir...

Who & What: Politically troubled Iranian auteur, Jafar Panahi, returns with his third film in four years. Any other director would be considered prolific with numbers like that, but consider that Panahi has managed it despite being under an official, though increasingly lenient, ban on filmmaking. His latest film, a realist comedy set in the confines of his car, stars him as a taxi driver whose interactions with his passengers form the narrative. It won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, making him the only Iranian filmmaker with two top prizes from the big three festivals – the first was Venice’s Golden Lion for The Circle.

Why We’re Excited About It: Panahi has been cranking out masterpieces with such regularity that his inventive, powerful cinema is often taken for granted, especially since his political situation pushed discussions about his films to the background. His insightful, heartfelt and often humorous social studies are some of the best films of the past two decades and Taxi seems to be a return to his earlier interests, after a couple of self-reflexive experiments. The reviews from Berlinale showered the film with unanimous praise, and coming off the best film of his career, Closed Curtain, Panahi continues to work at his very peak. (Nick Davis discussed that film and Panahi’s earlier work with me at length on the Hello Cinema podcast.)   

What If It All Goes Wrong: Before the film had its premiere, my only fear was whether the car setup of the film would read as gimmicky or become tiresome. Reviews suggest those fears were baseless. Otherwise, I don’t see how this can go wrong.  

Jury Chairman Darren Aronofsky presented Jafar Panahi's crying niece with the Golden Bear in his absence.

When: Specialty arthouse distributor, Kino Lorber, has acquired the North American rights. Whether they want to build renewed momentum in the fall festival circuit or capitalize on the film’s Berlin win earlier in the summer isn’t yet clear.

previously in 'we can't wait'


A Twist On a Classic With "Ever After" (1998) 

Cinderella Week continues with abstew ...

The Barrymores and the Hustons. Two dynasties that over decades and generations left their legacy on stage and screen, taking their place as acting royalty. It's fitting that the classic tale of the young cinder girl that manages to actually become royalty would finally bring these two families together on film. Other than a 1939 documentary about the history of America called Land of Liberty which contained footage of John and Lionel Barrymore and Walter Huston (and if you look at the cast list from IMDB, apparently every star in Hollywood at the time...), it was 1998's Ever After that marked the first time a member of the Barrymore family acted alongside a member of the Huston family. And for Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, representing their respective families, the pairing proved to be as enchanting as the timeless tale. 

Unlike the other magical, musical versions of Cinderella that we've been discussing, in this version, made during the height of late '90s "Girl Power" our main character is far from passive and pet mice aren't trying to help win her the love of a prince. Renamed Danielle de Barbarac, you are more likely to find her reading a tattered copy of Sir Thomas More's Utopia and debating the worth of all human beings than you are to see her harmonizing with songbirds. Tough, determined, and able to fend for herself, thank you very much (punches, daggers, and apple throwing employed when need be), at one point in the film she even rescues the prince (Dougray Scott) by throwing him over her back and carrying him away. Screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) created a modern woman (that just happens to be living in the 16th century) for modern audiences perfectly embodied by modern-day Drew Barrymore. [More...]

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15 Tweets: Wes, Thor, Shearer, Dietrich, Bond Girls

It's that time again. An incredibly random collection of the week's best showbiz themed tweets. Or at least the best ones that we happened to see on our timeline at incredibly random times of the day. Herewith a dozen byte-sized amusements curated just for the TFE crowd for those with similarly truncated attention spans that made us laugh or think or nod this week. 

Please note that we already shared the Julianne-centric tweet from our friend Ali Arikan that wins the week all weeks which is why you don't see it here.

Anyway, proceed...  

 more enjoyables follow. You know you wanna see them all. It's just a little click and you have the time.

Click to read more ...


Tim's Toons: Animated features to watch for in 2015

Tim here. Team Experience is in the midst of unrolling our We Can’t Wait list, and Nathaniel has already devoted some attention to some of the more intriguing potential blockbusters that missed out on our top 15. And so now it falls to me as the Film Experience’s resident animation guy to draw your attention to some of the animated features set to show up in 2015. None of the big names here - I assume you’ll be able to find the new Pixar films without my help - this is all about some of the little titles that might otherwise slip between the cracks.

When Marnie Was There

The 20th, and perhaps the last theatrical film produced by Studio Ghibli, is about a lonely young woman sent to the country for her health, who befriends one of the locals, Marnie. But as the two spend time together, it becomes clear that something slightly paranormal is going on.

Click to read more ...


Empire Mania (and Other Links)

Arts Beat Kerry Washington to star in HBO film Confirmation about Anita Hill. Great casting
Playbill Not that it was ever in doubt but Disney is officially at work on Frozen 2
Comics Alliance Robert Downey Jr presents a one arm kid Avengers fan with an Iron Man arm. Sweet
Broadway World talks to the legendary Ben Vereen about new projects, Bob Fosse movies, and the return of the movie musical

D Listed Steve Carell as Fabio? Fabulous. Especially the low-fi hair blowing... which is particularly funny since we just saw the same "effect" in Paris is Burning 
Pajiba Courtney schools Lindsay Lohan on photoshop manipulation for her Instagram account
Disney promises no more smoking in their films ever. That's fine but if they digitally erase the smoking in their archive like in 101 Dalmatians we will feel murderous
/Film PETA wants new ending for Tim Burton's Dumbo remake and though we'd prefer the movie not be made at all, we'd like to co-sign this proposal
Howard Stern Show I keep hearing this very lengthy Madonna interview is awesome but I haven't listened yet. I'm too busy mainlining "Rebel Heart" now that it's here in full (favs: Living For Love, Ghost Town, Rebel Heart, and I think I might love the totally filthy and juvenile Holy Water but I haven't decided yet)
MNPP I never talk about John Barrowman since he doesn't make movies but I L-O-V-E him and here's Jason paying tribute in a crotch-grabbing way that I think Barrowman himself would enjoy

Today's Moment of Nostalgia
Elle Magazine reminisces about Winona Ryder's "Lydia Deetz" as fashion icon and talks to Beetlejuice costumer Aggie Guerard Rodgers about working with Tim Burton and creating the looks.

Unlike the rogue Babysitter who tired of the Club or Brenda when she finally stopped seeking Kelly's approval, Lydia Deetz was actually an original. And whether she was wearing a schoolgirl outfit stuffed with crinoline, a nondescript painter's smock, or a blood-red wedding dress to match her evil stepmother's, there was something aspirational about how few fucks she actually gave. 

 Mania - Some Links, Several Thoughts

Towleroad Some fan has made a video of Empire meant to ape the Dynasty opening. I appreciate the connection since I turned to the Boyfriend a few episodes of this show and said "I feel like this writer's room really studied Dynasty - best nighttime soap in forever." but this mashup is not really a great visual match. I grew up on Dynasty (my parents were horrified at how obsessed I was with it) and you have to have those vertical line splits and the sectional images for it to really read as Dynasty Reincarnated.
Good Black News Ratings for the show are up for the record-breaking 9th straight week. It's now starting to rival TV's mega hit The Walking Dead (!!!) I'm so happy for Lee Daniels. But I hope he doesn't quit movies because we need him there with his crazy ass Paperboy/Precious/Butler provocations.
Xfinity Jussie Smollett talks about "the closet" or rather his lack of one on Ellen. He's beyond adorable, really. And the third best reason to watch Empire after 1) Taraji of course 2) how worthy it is as a night time soap giant overall. (The Smolletts are so talented. Remember how great his sister Junee was on Friday Night Lights?) This is my favorite performance of Jussie's on Empire thus far. I may have listened to it four times as I was typing this. 

"But what are the fourth and fifth best reasons to watch the show, Nathaniel?" you ask. SINCE YOU ASKED. 4) the music . 5) the guest stars are fabulous. Courtney Love and Naomi Campbell were superbly well cast and just killing it to cite two examples. Though we probably shouldn't mention new guest star Jennifer Hudson. That girl cannot act, sorry AMPAS. The past 9 years have proven otherwise. Great voice, though.