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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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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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Wednesday
Jun082016

Tony Awards Presenters & Broadway Carpool

The Tony Awards hit this weekend with James Corden, former Tony winner and current star of The Late Late Show,  hosting. Sundays ceremony will feature performances from the following musicals: Bright Star, The Color Purple (adapted from the film), Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, On Your Feet (the Gloria Estefan musical) School of Rock (adapted from the film), She Loves Me, Shuffle Along, Spring Awakening, and Waitress (adapted from the film).

But which stars of stage and screen will be presenting and which actually belong there?  Since the Tony Awards are televised they tend to give TV & film stars the honors of presenting even though they really ought to pair them with stage giants to make the festivities more attuned to the actual honors being handed out. That minor quibble aside at least the stars chosen to present generally have some sort of Broadway connection.

This year's presenters in the order of how much Broadway stage cred they have after the jump... but first the utter delights of "Broadway Carpool" with James Corden & Lin-Manuel Miranda. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Audra McDonald and Jane Krakowski absolutely kill it with the singing and comedy in the back seat once they get to Les Miz...

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Wednesday
Jun082016

The Smackdowns Are Coming! 

You thought we'd forgotten the Smackdowns. We have not! Here's what's coming this season. You know you want to join in the movie merriment! We're giving you a headstart so you can get to watching these 13 movies for the first time (or revisiting them) over your summer vacations. More details to follow as we get closer to the actual Smackdowns. 

Sunday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1977

The Oscar went to the legendary but controversial Vanessa Redgrave for Julia and while she might be impossible to beat, the movies are all juicy in this category. Tuesday Weld co-stars in the provocative Looking for Mr Goodbar, Melinda Dillon was part of the fine cast of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Quinn Cumming charmed voters in The Goodbye Girl, and Leslie Browne, a dancer, debuted in Oscar's all time biggest loser The Turning Point (nominated for 11 Oscars but it lost every category!).

 

Sunday August 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1984

Dame Peggy Ashcroft won the Oscar for her penultimate feature film role in A Passage to India. But her category was filled with powerhouse actresses: There was Glenn Close winning her third consecutive nomination for The Natural, Lindsay Crouse in the Best Picture nominee Places in the Heart, and Christine Lahti the scene stealer of Jonathan Demme's Swing Shift. The surprise nominee was actor's actor and Oscar darling Geraldine Page, nominated for a tiny role in The Pope of Greenwich Village

 

Thursday September 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963  

Only three films to watch for this one since September is always too busy for words: Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for The VIPs, a Liz & Dick show, Lilia Skalia was also popular in nun mode for Lilies of the Field but it was the Best Picture winning sex comedy Tom Jones that was the informal star of this category with three of Albert Finney's co-stars nominated (the all time record in this category): Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and '60s Oscar fixture Dame Edith Evans (nominated shortly thereafter for both The Chalk Garden and The Whisperers

 

What other titles from 1977, 1984. and 1963 would you like us to revisit for extra flavor and context? 

 

Wednesday
Jun082016

Judy by the Numbers: "A Great Lady Has An Interview"

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

Our time travelling comes to an end this week with a movie that was filmed before The Harvey Girls but, due to expensive reshoots, wasn't released until months later. Ziegfeld Follies (not to be confused with Ziegfeld Girl) is a plotless series of excuses for MGM to throw its considerable stable of talent into a series of comic and musical sketches tailor made to show off the stars - and the studio - at their finest.
 
The Movie:
 Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
The Songwriters: Kay Thompson (lyrics), Roger Edens (music)
The Players: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, William Powell, Esther Williams, directed by Vincente Minnelli 

The Story: According to rumor, originally this enjoyable little slip of a number was designed for Greer Garson. However, when Garson backed out, it became a number about Garson, lampooning her accent, image, and Oscar-bait dramatic roles. However, the satire was all in good fun, in large part due to the lyrics by Kay Thompson.

Though this was Thompson's first credit on a Judy Garland performance, she had been working with Garland since befriending the young starlet on a radio show in 1939. On top of a successful nightclub career, Thompson would become MGM's top vocal arranger and vocal coach, working with Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, June Allyson, and more. But more than Thompson's vocal control rubbed off on Judy. Watch this clip with Audrey Hepburn, and compare the physicality - from poses to gestures, between Kay and Judy.

While Kay Thompson would remain close friends with Judy Garland, eventually even lending Liza a hand, her own movie career never took off. Instead, Thompson would become world famous for another career: as the creator and writer of the children's series Eloise.

Tuesday
Jun072016

Best Shot: Trevor (1994)

For Pride Month... A great moment in Oscar gayness

This week's Best Shot spotlight shines on an adorable miniature. Since June is Pride Month we're looking at Great Moments in Cinematic Gayness throughout the month. Great Moments in Oscar Gayness are rarer things and usually come with significant caveats. When they award actors for playing LGBT characters it's literally only when they are straight and labelled "brave" for playing the character and the character is either dying or victimized in some way. Their ultimate Best Picture rejection of a universally acclaimed frontrunner in Brokeback Mountain (2005) left another stain on the Academy's rainbow colors.

But in Oscar's gay history, there is a beautiful moment that comes without so many uncomfortable footnotes.

Trevor, a sweet funny short about a boy who realizes his schoolmates have figured out his gayness took home an Oscar in a surprise tie, one of only six in their history, at the 67th ceremony. To make the moment even gayer in retrospect, the late producer and casting director Randy Stone thanked Jodie Foster ("Jodie, I love you") from the stage. (Stone and Foster were frequently each other's dates at film events in the 1990s and he was even rumored to be the biological father of her sons.)

More...

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Tuesday
Jun072016

Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

Eric here, with a quick review of the new movie from The Lonely Island comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping.  

Pop Star is one of those films, like Anchorman or Zoolander, that gives you two choices:  surrender or resist.  You can either dive headfirst into this mockumentary of pop music sensation Conner4Real, and enjoy a hodgepodge of hit-or-miss jokes…or you can yawn at the filmmakers calling in a favor to every famous person they know (Carrie Underwood, Adam Levine, Usher, etc.) to lend some authenticity to the piece. 

If you resist, Pop Star is probably a pretty unbearable sit, because it’s another movie from producer Judd Apatow that features a bunch of male comedy guys conning a studio out of about $30 million just so they can show the world (and themselves) how adorably imbecilic but ultimately likable they are.  While the film itself is about an egomaniac, there’s a lingering ickiness about the ego behind and in front of the camera too.  The film purports to skewer rap star narcissism, but the behavior is celebrated as often as it’s parodied. 

But if you surrender, the laughs deliver...

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Tuesday
Jun072016

Halt & Blade Runner

Jason from MNPP here with a quite happy bit of new news - we've been a little on the wary side of the Blade Runner sequel. Even as excellent stuff was announced - Harrison Ford returning is excellent stuff! And we're probably bigger fans of director Denis Villeneuve as of this moment in time than we are of Ridley Scott as of this moment in time (that's our way of saying if we were talking about "Ridley Scott as of the 1980s" it would be a different story). These are all net positives! 

And yet we're wary. We're talking about Blade Runner here! The film that basically built the entire aesthetic of cinematic dystopia on its slick neon-in-the-rain shoulders. You kind of can't look at any movie set in the future that was made in the past 34 years and not see its influence.

Well today we're a smidge less wary, and we might actually be on our way to excited, because the film's just cast one of our very favorite actresses - Mackenzie Davis from Halt and Catch Fire (which is so underrated it pains my insides) as well as the terrific upcoming thriller Always Shine, which I reviewed from the Tribeca Film Festival (and which she won Best Actress at that same festival for). No word on who she's playing (naturally they're keeping everything tight to the vest) but I get a little giddy picturing her done up a la Daryl Hannah's Pris, I have to say.