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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Smackdown 2016
Nicole vs Naomie vs Octavia vs Michelle vs Viola

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When Actor & Actress are a package deal

"A very cool list though to be honest I wouldn’t have handed these wins to any of the pairs in these years." - Joel

"NETWORK should have easily won The Big Five. It's so weird to see 3 acting winners from a movie whose characters barely even interact with each other, if ever really. " - Craver

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Oscar Interviews
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)
Saroo & Sue Brierley (Lion)
Martin Butler & Bentley Dean (Tanna)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival



Podcast: Smackdown Companion 1979

You've read the new Supporting Actress Smackdown. Now hear its companion podcast. Our panel widens its view from the supporting nominees to talk about the unique cinematic landscape of the late 1970s, the women's lib movement and concurrent movie gender wars, and which movies give the best period punch and which we've misremembered completely.

Host: Nathaniel R
Special Guests:  KM Soehnlein,  Kristen SalesBill Chambers, and StinkyLulu.


  • 00:01 Introductions and memory vs. reality w/ Breaking Away
  • 03:20 Gender Wars of 1979. Misogynistic or merely non-coddling and complicated? 
  • 09:00 Cynicism and Optimism in Starting Over and Manhattan, which is particularly self-critical and discomforting
  • 15:50 Contextualizing the movies. 1979 versus what was to come with shifting tastes. Do people still make movies about "how we live now?"
  • 21:00 Meryl Streep's command of subtext and Kramer vs. Kramer as a film 
  • 28:00 The oddity of Starting Over's comedy - we recommend
  • 31:30 Movies we wish we had had to watch for the Smackdown: Alien & All That Jazz and non-nominated supporting actresses
  • 36:45 Final random observations: valium, money in 1979, and new actors who weren't yet famous
  • 39:00 Meryl Streep then vs Meryl Streep now. Of course we spend the last five minutes on Meryl Streep.

And because we joke about it - Here is Candice Bergen's off-key hit single "Better Than Ever" from Starting Over.

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes tomorrow. THE NEXT SMACKDOWN IS AT THE END OF JUNE. WE'LL BE LOOKING AT 1948 SO ADJUST YOUR QUEUES ACCORDINGLY.

Smackdown Companion 1979


Tony Awards 2015 Live Blog 

Tonight's festivities will be hosted by Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth ("You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown") and Alan Cumming ("Cabaret") and if Cheno doesn't win herself later on for "On the Twentieth Century" it's going to continue to be forever weird to refer to her as a 'Featured Actress' Tony winner from before she was even KRISTIN CHENOWETH and still not a Best Actress winner. Cheno only having one Tony? Unthinkable!

...and that's my new philosophy!


Click to read more ...


Melissa McCarthy Rules the Box Office Yet Again

This weekend I was too caught up in 1979 (see the Smackdown) and birthday festivities (the celebration of meeeee!) to see any new pictures -- though Spy was previously seen and Rose Byrne is magnificent! The weekend box office went pretty much as people expected, Melissa McCarthy still being a huge draw. Though it remains a mystery how there were ten million dollars worth of people who missed HBO's Entourage. Who knew?!

June 5th-7th Weekend
01 Spy NEW $30 
02 San Andreas $26.4 (cum. $92.1) 
03 Insidious Chapter 3 NEW $23
04 Entourage NEW $10.4 (cum. $17.8)
05 Mad Max Fury Road $7.9 (cum. $130.8) Review & Podcast
06 Pitch Perfect 2 $7.7 (cum. $160.9) Review 
07 Tomorrowland $7 (cum. $76.2) Review 
08 Age of Ultron  $6.2 (cum. $438) Review & Marathon & Podcast
09 Aloha $3.3 (cum. $16.3) Review
10 Poltergeist $2.8 (cum. $44.4)

What did you see this weekend? Or are you busy counting down the minutes until the Tony Awards to think about the movies?


Smackdown 1979: Barbara, Candice, Jane, Mariel ...and Meryl Streep!

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '79. Three divorcées trying to find themselves or build new lives (a white hot character type / movie theme in the late 70s) battled for the statue with a simple suburban mom and a precocious student at the 52nd Annual Academy Awards.



Candice Bergen and Mariel Hemingway were first-time Oscar players in 1979, but they shared the interesting distinction of being previous Globe nominees in the long since cancelled category of "Promising Newcomer/Acting Debut" in 1966 (The Sand Pebbles) and 1976 (Lipstick) respectively. Barbara Barrie , the eldest nominee, was no stranger to good reviews having previously won Cannes Best Actress (for the little seen interracial romance One Potato Two Potato in 1964) but was largely considered a TV actress. She returned to the small screen immediately after her most beloved film role  -- in a TV series based on that film no less making her the rare performer (the only one?) to have received both an Emmy nomination and Oscar nomination for the same exact role! But the Kramer vs Kramer ladies were the marquee draws in 1979 and not just because the public response to their divorce drama was so seismic: Jane Alexander and Meryl Streep had been nominated before and would be again. Especially La Streep. No one could have then predicted that she'd continually obliterate Oscar records over the next thirty plus years but everyone knew she was the Next Big Thing. 1979 was the year of her true ascendance, a third consecutive year co-starring in a Best Picture contender (Julia, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer) and the small matter of two other much-raved about performances in the same year (Manhattan and The Seduction of Joe Tynan). 


Here to talk about these five turns are author KM Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys") and film bloggers Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). There's also a must-listen Podcast companion conversation to the Smackdown where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado, the Smackdown...

An in-depth discussion after the jump... 

Click to read more ...


Are you playing along at home?

Look at this cute portrait a reader made for me. You know him as "Seisgrados" in the comments!It's my birthday and I don't ask for much from y'all. Only that you obsess over actresses with us and constantly readjust your instant watch and DVD queues to play along with our many series! To maximize your enjoyment this week make sure to catch Spy (2015), "The Knick" Season 1 (2015), Oscar favorite Amadeus (1984), Agnes Varda's highly watchable masterpiece Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), The Tony Awards, seminal miniseries "And the Band Played On" (HBO, 1993), and any film starring Cara Seymour!

Today's Reader Assignments

1. ASK NATHANIEL (right now) ~ he needs questions for this Wednesday night's Q&A column

- It's like blog fuel for the writers - pick any article

This blog is a full time commitment (as you can imagine) and it's been going forever to try and entertain you and it's always tough financially. If you subscribe for a small monthly donation ($2.50 or, you know, a cup of coffee) it helps a lot -- if only a few hundred more of you would do so it would make an enormous difference in stability.

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4. OR MAKE A ONE TIME DONATION for either your favorite series or something like "here's 5 bucks for each year I've been reading" If you specify why you're making the donation that would help. Let's say you want to support Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" or Manuel's "HBO LGBT" project or whatever then I would know to pass your donation along to the writer responsible rather than keeping it for expenses.


Unless you share my birthday and then happy day, Gemini Twins!


Rose Byrne in "Spy"

Let's make this happen universe.

Or we'll all be as sad as Bulgarian clowns. 


FYC: "The Americans" For Best Drama Series

Team Experience is sharing their personal Emmy dream picks daily around noon. Here's Lynn Lee...

Even after three brilliant seasons, FX's “The Americans” remains criminally ignored by both the Emmys and the viewing public, and I for the life of me can’t figure out why.  Set in Reagan-era D.C., the series about undercover KGB agents posing as the ideal American family-next-door works like gangbusters as a pure espionage thriller, brimming with nailbiting old-school spycraft, graphic close-quarters fight sequences, titillating sex scenes, doomed romances, double agents, and an endless supply of amazing costumes and wigs. 

But it’s even more effective as a psychological portrait of relationships in which truth and lies, work and love, family and country, are inextricably intertwined.  At the center of this web are super agents Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, both spectacular), whose fake marriage has only recently evolved into a real attachment.  It’s this bond that moves us to root for them even as they do terrible things for a cause that we know will end up on the wrong side of history.  It also, however, complicates their already-complicated attitudes towards their mission. 

Season 3 ratchets this emotional tension up to an even higher level and takes the show into some of the darkest territory it's ever explored, as Philip and Elizabeth are forced not only to push their moral boundaries to the breaking point but to confront the growing suspicions of their teenage daughter, Paige.  That’s a storyline that could have gone wrong in so many ways, yet “The Americans” succeeds where a show like “Homeland” failed, in making Paige not an annoying distraction but a particularly poignant embodiment of the show’s central dilemma: can you sustain the trust that’s required to keep a family, a marriage, any meaningful relationship, together when the very foundation is built on lies?  

The Americans is not quite entirely ignored. It recently won Best Drama Series at the "Critics Choice Awards" after 12 nominations (3rd consecutive for drama series). It has won no other prizes from that group. 

Previously on our FYC series
Lisa Kudrow, Best Actress | Jon Hamm, Best Actor | 20+ Contenders in Supporting Actress in a Drama Series