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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Silence of the Lambs Pt 3: Quid Pro Quo

image via FangoriaTeam Experience is revisiting 1991's Best Picture, Silence of the Lambs for its 25th anniversary.

In Pt 1 We met Clarice and Hannibal and heard about the horrifying Buffalo Bill case.
In Pt 2 The FBI's investigation picked up steam with the discovery of another victim and The Death's Head Moth. Finally, we met Buffalo Bill and his latest victim Catherine, now "the girl in the pit." When we left her she was a disembodied voice shouting for help. Why won't you answer me please?

Answers are coming but not without a price. 

Pt 3 by Nathaniel R

00:49:50 A smartly judged sharp cut takes us from the dark abyss of Bill's pit to the brightly lit FBI training facility. It's like blinking from too much sun when you leave a movie theater in the middle of the day. Though Silence of the Lambs deals with gruesomely complex psychology its binaries of good and evil are the lifeline for mass appeal I think. (Craig McKay was nominated for Best Film Editing, losing to JFK's collage and barrage of characters and information)

The students. Demme never gets any credit for his multi-ethnic casting but he was doing it long before people were hating on Hollywood for *not* doing it.

00:51:34 A news broadcast about Buffalo Bill at the training center attracts a large group of students. Turns out the Girl in the Pit is actually a US Senator's daughter so there's yet more pressure to get this case solved. Ardelia whispers to Clarice that it's so smart what the Senator is doing, repeating Catherine's name so often; get her would be killer to see her as human and maybe he'll show mercy.

00:51:35 Another jarring cut and we're back at the asylum. Chilton has had it with Clarice's secrecy. Jodie Foster's performance is so sharp in this movie. You can see our heroine getting bolder and more confident each time she steps out; her body language is more confrontational, too. [More after the jump...]

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Judy by the Numbers: "Why? Because!"

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

With Judy Garland's growing success, MGM decided it was time to have her star in her own feature. The studio dusted off some musical numbers (arranged by Roger Edens) as well as a handful of contract players and Ziegfeld stars. Judy played a young aspiring actress stuck in a conservative school. Supported by her zany Russian maid (Fanny Brice), the young girl decides to join a musical. The result was another hit for Judy, and a delight for future Vaudeville nerds and historians.  

The Movie: Everybody Sing (MGM 1938)
The Songwriters: Harry Ruby & Bert Kalmar
The Players: Judy Garland, Fanny Brice, Allan Jones, Reginald Owen, Billie Burke, directed by Edwin L. Marin

The Story: In Everybody Sing, Judy was joined by not one but two famous Ziegfeld women: Billie Burke (aka Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld, who we'll see again later), and Fanny Brice, a Jewish comedienne whose life would eventually inspire the musical that would launch Barbara Streisand's career. At the time of Everybody Sing, Brice had successfully transitioned from Vaudeville to radio, and this musical number was based on one of her characters, Baby Snooks. I'll admit that this week's clip isn't so much Judy by the Numbers as Fanny by the Numbers, but there are so few films of Brice. Watching Fanny Brice in action, you see the blueprint being laid out for future funny girls like Barbra Streisand, Lily Tomlin, and Gilda Radner.


Trivia Break: Best Original Song

Glenn here bringing you some more trivia from this year’s best original song category. Obviously, I could be mistaken about some of these, but, well, in which case la la la, not listening, move along. 

Trivia #1 – 2016 marks the first time in Oscar history that two documentaries have ever been nominated in a category outside of the non-fiction categories. While documentaries have been nominated in the original song category in the past – Mondo Cane in ’62 being the first, I believe – and Hoop Dreams scored a best editing nomination in 1995, this year both The Hunting Ground’s “Til It Happens to You” and Racing Extinction’s “Manta Ray” make for a first that two have been cited.

Trivia #2 – This year’s nomination for “Manta Ray” is the third nomination for an enviro-doc in this category in the last decade. While Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth was a guaranteed nominee and winner (albeit, not a particularly good one), both Racing Extinction this year and Chasing Ice in 2013 were completely unexpected (and both written by J. Ralph). Are the music branch the most environmentally conscious voters in the Academy? Were they secretly hoping The Cove had a Bono theme song they could have nominated? Because they love him, too.

Trivia #3 - Lady Gaga is the fourth Oscar nominee(/winner) to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl following Diana Ross in 1982, Cher in 1999 and Jennifer Hudson in 2009. Gaga is, however, the first to do so in the same year as her nomination. Good work on whoever it was in her management that got "Academy Award nominee" listed before "Six-time Grammy winner" in her SB50 performance earlier this week.

Trivia #4 - Diane Warren and J. Ralph are the only nominees not on their first nomination. Warren now has eight nominations to Ralph's two. Ralph is a documentary good luck charm lately, however, with an additional five best documentary nominees to his credit (including Man on Wire and The Cove, which won). 

Trivia #5 - David Lang, nominated for "Simple Song #3", could become only the third Oscar winning composer in history to have won a Pulitzer Prize prior to his Oscar. He received the Pulitzer in 2008 for his composition "The Little Match Girl Passion". The first was Richard Rodgers* and the second was Stephen Sondheim**. Several other Oscar winning composers including Marvin Hamlisch (best original song, score, and adapted song score for The Way We Were and The Sting respectively), John Corigliano (best original score, The Red Violin) and Bob Dylan (best original song, The Wonder Boys) did, however, win a Pulitzer Prize after their Oscar.

*Rodgers won a special Pulitzer for "Oklahoma!", but won his official Pulitzer Drama Prize in 1950 after he won an Oscar for State Fair's "It Might As Well Be Spring"
**Sondheim's Pulitzer for Sunday in the Park with George is curiously in "Drama" rather than "Music", He later won the Oscar for Dick Tracy's "Sooner or Later"

Any more notes of trivia we should know about?


Hail, Caesar! is a secret musical. 

If you didn't catch the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar! this weekend it might surprise you to hear that it could actually be categorized as a musical. No, not a full blown musical with a good portion of their narrative emerging from the songs but musically inclined. It's more like "a film with music" as Yentl once said to the ticketbuying public. There are three distinct musical numbers in the film, which is three more than 95% of films get. More...

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Bye Instant Watch: United 93, Star Trek, and a Dutch LGBT Gem

Here's another batch of movies leaving Instant Watch services on Netflix of Amazon Prime if you'd like to catch up with them. It also provides us with an excuse to talk about a handful of random movies so why not. We've freeze framed randomly. Let's begin...

UNITED 93 (2006) ends February 11th on Netflix

United 93, Cleveland. Verify your altitude." 

This freeze frame is about 45 minutes in. The terrorists have just taken the cockpit when air traffic control tries to reach them. God this movie is upsetting. 

WERE THE WORLD MINE (2008) ends February 11th on Netflix

-Jonathan. You look luminous.
-I'm in love.  

I dont remember this well beyond its silly everyone straight becomes gay through magic plot. But I think there was a good musical number?  [More films after the jump...]

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Lupita In Space

Jason from MNPP here with today's best movie news -- with #OscarsSoWhite (side-note: I accidentally typed "OscarsSoShite" at first, ha!) dominating the movie conversation these past few weeks, and with all eyeballs slowly rightfully side-eyeing over to the studios themselves to see what they're gonna do about it, the number of projects that have been attached to Selma director Ava DuVernay has been a heartening development of the past few months, at least. She seems very much in demand. But she also seems very picky (thank goodness) - Marvel's Blank Panther movie? Notsomuch!

Anyway THR is reporting today that she's maybe going to direct a sci-fi movie called Intelligent Life, which Steven Spielberg's producing and Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow wrote, and in further "That's a Bingo" news the movie is set to star Oscar winner and baby fashion icon Lupita Nyong'o. YES I WANT THIS ALL OF THIS.

Intelligent Life is described as "the story of a low-level worker at the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs who accidentally makes first contact with a beautiful woman from another world." Three guesses who's the "beautiful woman from another world"? And thankfully, according to sources the alien is actually the leading role in the film. Let's just hope that Lupita's exquisite face is good enough, and we don't get any Star Wars style CG cover-up again. I wanna look at her, for goodness' sake.


Silence of the Lambs Pt 2: Head in Jar, Moth in Throat, Girl in Pit

Team Experience is revisiting 1991's Best Picture, Silence of the Lambs for its 25th anniversary.  In Pt 1 we met our protagonist FBI student Clarice Starling, given an errand by her boss to question serial killer Hannibal the Cannibal in hopes of gaining insight into a new case, a killer named "Buffalo Bill". We begin where Kieran left us with our intrepid heroine, Clarice Starling, sliding herself narrowly into an ominous storage facility thanks to a lead (of sorts) from Hannibal Lecter.

Let’s see what she finds inside, shall we?

Pt 2 by Angelica Jade Bastién

00:24:43 A bloody cut from some rotten wood will be the least of Clarice’s problems

00:25:35 Creepiest storage facility ever, right? Thus far we’ve seen disparate parts from pale mannequins, a taxidermy owl suspended mid flight, and other odd oddities covered in dust. 

00:26:05 The fear and curiosity on Clarice’s face is palpable. I think what makes her such a compelling lead are those qualities coupled with her bravery. I’ve been bothered recently by seeing many female characters who are either so strong they seem infallible or faux girl-power creations. Clarice is compelling because of her humanity and complications.

more after the jump...

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Oscar Luncheon

Yesterday the Academy held their annual Oscar luncheon for the nominees from 2015 cinema. Maybe we're all eager to move on to 2016 but all in good time. There's still 21 days of the 2015 film year given that it doesn't wrap up until the credits roll on Oscar night.

The luncheon is the event with the cheesy "class photo". So let's look at that and talk noteworthy moments and how we're all feeling at this point after the jump.

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