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Oscar History

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20th Century Women is Amazing

"Thrilled to hear that the movie is a worthy follow-up to BEGINNERS!" -Eric

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...And the 3rd Annual Team Experience Award Goes To: 

Amir here, to welcome you to the third edition of Team Experience Awards, one of the most prestigious critics’ prizes around the world, bestowed on the best in cinema by members of this website sans Nathaniel. We previously honoured Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (with a lot of support for The Master) and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (with several awards for Gravity). There was a similar situation this year, with two films gaining most of our attention across the categories. Our pick for best picture, however, was a clear consensus favourite and won by a very comfortable margin. 

As always, individual ballots proved a lot more interesting than the final results, making the otherwise tedious process of making up spreadsheets really exciting for me. Though there is no sign of it on the list of winners here, there was passionate support for films as varied as We Are the Best!, Norte, the End of History, The Babadook, Godzilla, A Most Wanted Man and The Last of the Unjust. We will get to some of those titles in the trivia section at the bottom of the post, but for now, here are the Team Experience Awards’ winners:

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We Are the Link

Fistful of Film a wonderful personal take on We Are the Best from a father of girls 
Section Eighty a composer discusses the Oscar-nominated film scores
Coming Soon Milla Jovovich confirms she's about to make another Resident Evil movie, supposedly the final one. She turns 40 this year and started this series when she was but 25.
KCRW Actor Craig Chester believes he's haunted by the ghost of Montgomery Clift 
Out Alexis Arquette taking no prisoners in an interview. But bizarre that she didn't know her own sister was up for an Oscar! 


Indie Wire the lineup of New Directors New Films this year The Tribe and White God are both featured. They feel like anything but "new" to me after a whole year of festivalling but I still haven't had the chance to see either - will they ever open theatrically or just keep doing festivals like this one for a second year?
In Contention most anticipated films of Sundance 
We Recycle Movies you should check out Anne Marie's rainbow countdown to the Oscars
The Carpetbagger welcome to Phase 2 of the Oscars. Also: Mark Schultz changes his tune again on Foxcatcher. I am not saying this snarkily but with concern: this is why we need universal health care and easier access less stigma for mental illness treatment. Something is seriously wrong with this guy 

American Sniper Mania
Grantland excellent piece by Mark Harris on why American Sniper's box office won't help its Oscar run ... "success breeds scrutiny"
Rolling Stone on American Sniper's stupidity - they use a similar comparison to Forrest Gump like the one I tweeted icymi
Movie City News David Poland doing some train of thought hand wringing on the extreme combativeness of theAmerican Sniper and Selma Oscar battle... that isn't really a battle but that people have suddenly made it into one 
Playbill ...but perhaps the worst American Sniper news is that its leading Broadway's Elephant Man revival to cancel several performances due to Bradley Cooper's awards schedule 

Off Cinema
Pajiba the one reason to keep watching Girls 
NYT John Cameron Mitchell returns to Hedwig, the role which made him and also, not so incidentally, brought us a brilliant film director. Make another movie, Mitchell! All three of yours are heaven.
i09 looks at lesser known characters in the public domain. Will any of them be revived? 
i09 they also look at the case of James Bond, now public domain in Canada! But not in the US or Europe.
Towleroad's the story of Björk's new album, released two months early. Sad she broke up with Matthew Barney. They seemed like such an iconoclast match


Costume Designers to Fete Naomi Watts 

Manuel here. The Costume Design Guild has announced that they’ll be celebrating Naomi Watts with the Lacoste Spotlight Award when they announce winners for their film, TV and commercial awards on February 17th. While they bill the award as honoring an “actor whose talent and career personifies an enduring commitment to excellence, including a special awareness of the role and importance of costume design,” their choices so far (previous recipients include Anne Hathaway, Kate Beckinsale, Halle Berry and Emily Blunt) have yet to really reflect the award, no? Whither Keira, Nicole, Tilda or heck, even Colin Firth? The man can wear a sweater (among other things), you know.

Anyways, we should really focus on the positive and be thankful Watts was able to bounce back so quickly from that horrible triple-whammy of Movie 43, Adore and Diana. Let's just hope she can keep up the momentum going. And so to think along with the Guild's award, here are, off the top of my head, 5 of my favorite costumes from Naomi’s films:

5. Have you seen St. Vincent? I’m kind of in love with Naomi’s trashtastic looks.

Costume designer: Kasia Walicka-Maimone (CDG nominee for Capote, 2005, and Moonrise Kingdom, 2012)

4. Her gorgeous umbrella in The Painted Veil

Costume designer: two-time Academy Award nominee Ruth Myers (Emma, 1997 & The Addams Family, 1992)

3. Ann Darrow’s pretty evening gown in King Kong

Costume designer: Terry Ryan (who also gave us Muriel's Wedding!)

2. This ridiculous outfit from I Heart Huckabees

Costume designer: two-time Academy Award nominee Mark Bridges (The Artist, 2011 winner, & Inherent Vice, 2014)

1. Her pink sweater in Mulholland Dr.

Costume designer: Amy Stofsky (CDG nomination 2002)

Naomi has also worked with Albert Wolsky (Birdman), Eastwood staple Deborah Hopper (J. Edgar), Cronenberg's sister Denise (Eastern Promises) and Hobbit-costumer Ngila Dickson (The International). What other Naomi looks do you think the CDG had in mind when they decided to cap off Naomi's great year in film? Let’s help out the CDG; which actresses (or actors!) do you think they should celebrate next year?


Far from Skid Row. I dream we'll go... 


GALECA Loves Transparent (and a little of everything else!) 

The Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Journalists Association have chosen their winners from the film year and, like so many other awards bodies they've opted for a Savage Grace mother/son reunion with Julianne Moore & Eddie Redmayne taking Actress & Actor of the Year for film. (The primary difference being only that they have probably heard of / possibly seen Savage Grace.) Lisa Kudrow & Jeffrey Tambor took the television version of those prizes and though there was significant spreading of the wealth elsewhere, Transparent, Amazon's Golden Globe winning breakout show about a retired father (Jeffrey Tambor) who comes out to her children as a trans woman thoroughly dominated the TV field winning five prizes. [More...]

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Bradley, Benedict, Eddie, Michael and Steve. OR...

The Best Actor chart is revised for your perusal with our usual game of 'how'd they get nominated' -- especially relevant in this stacked category (sniffle goodbye Timothy Jake Fiennes-Oyelowo) -- and the readers poll of who you think is actually best.

So check that out and vote, would you?

Though I've already expressed my disappointment in the Acdemy's shortlist given the wide variety of strong performances they didn't love enough, one thing that is satisfying about it is how many first timers we have. Indeed, had they not nominated Bradley Cooper and chosen, say, Oyelowo or Spall we could have had an all virgin Best Actor lineup.

Trivia Break: there's been a lot of talk about Cooper's 3 consecutive nominations (2012-2014 for Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and American Sniper). If you're curious, no, it's not an acting record. The all time consecutive record holders for men are Marlon Brando (51-54) and Al Pacino (72-75) each with four. Neverthless Bradley is the first to accomplish it since Russell Crowe (99-01) and if he is nominated again for this new year of film we're entering he'll be tied for #1 in the male division. Greer Garson (41-45) and Bette Davis (38-42) are the all time record holders with five consecutive acting nominations each. You can wish Cooper good luck if you're a fan but four consecutive is extremely rare; the last person to do it male or female was Al Pacino in the 1970s and even Meryl Streep hasn't managed it.

Enough trivia. I hope you haven't forgotten my own kudos. Here is my ballot for Best Actor as we continue the Film Bitch Awards (nominations have now been announced for Picture, Director, Screenplays, Animated Feature, and Actor)

For what it's worth I made my selections before Oscar votes and didn't expect the final list to be so contrary to mine so this is not to be misunderstood as a pointed corrective but actual opinion. The further we get away from the heat of nomination day the more sad I am that the wondrous "Gustave H", one of the best character conjurings in years, was not selected. In fact, I think it's Ralph Fiennes most Oscar-worthy work since Schindler's List


Top Ten Best Julianne Moore Performances

abstew here for a Tuesday Top Ten. Julianne Moore is known simply as 'God' at The Film Experience. That was Nathaniel's nickname for her even before the site was launched. It's winking hyperbole, sure, but if there's any other actress working today deserving of that moniker, it's this talented redhead who has given us countless transcendent performances for more than 20 years. This past Thursday, Moore earned her 5th career Oscar nomination for her beautiful performance in Still Alice and all signs indicate that this is the year that she will finally take home the gold. Since many are seeing this eventual win as honoring her impressive body of work, I could think of no better time than to look back over Julianne Moore's 10 Previous Best Performances. With such iconic creations as Amber Waves and Cathy Whitaker over the years, Moore's divinity has already been proven, but a golden statue still seems like a worthy offering. All hail, Julianne Moore!   

10. Maps to the Stars (2014)

Director: David Cronenberg
The Role: Havana Segrand, a self-centered, ageing Hollywood actress obsessed with playing her dead movie star mother in a film.
Awards: Cannes Film Festival Best Actress, Golden Globe Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy nomination

Why this Performance: I can't say that I'm a fan of the film as a whole (too many storylines and tonal shifts that seem unfocused and chaotic), but amid the chaos is Moore's livewire, crazy-committed performance. For an actress that has been working as long as Moore has, it can sometimes be difficult to surprise your audience with something they haven't seen before. But with Havana, Moore is able to suppress her natural intelligence and compassion as an actress by playing an actress so unlike her: needy, vapid, dim-witted, and something Moore could never relate to, untalented. In scene after scene we see Moore in unflattering positions (including one on the toilet that I'm sure most Oscar-nominated actors would balk at), but perhaps the most shocking thing about Moore in the film is that even after all these years, there's an excitement in knowing that she can still astonish us.   

9. Short Cuts (1993)

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