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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Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots

"With only a few scenes at her disposal, Samantha Morton was an amazing, amazing Mary Queen of Scots in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Don't expect that portrayal of the lady will ever be topped." -Ken

"Saoirse Ronan is an inspired choice for Mary. But... Who signed off on Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I? What is this madness." - BillyBob

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It's May for Meryl

As Meryl Streep starts her jury duties at the Berlinale, Murtada has news about her next film.

Streep at the Berlinale Jury Press Conference

Gird your loins! There must be a rupture in the movie universe because we might not get the new Meryl Streep movie when we usually do. Since 2008's Mamma Mia, movies led by Streep have had only 2 release dates. The December prestige slot (Doubt, The Iron Lady, August Osage County, Into the Woods). Or late summer blockbuster comedy counter programming (Julie and Julia, Hope Springs, Ricki and the Flash). Plus one anomaly with the comedy It's Complicated inexplicably slotted into the December prestige date. Yes comedies get released year round, but not Meryl comedies!

2016 is changing all that. Pathe have announced a May 6 UK release of Streep's latest, Florence Foster Jenkins. Directed by Stephen Frears and also starring Hugh Grant and Rebecca Ferguson, the film is based on the true life story of the titular character, who was an amateur opera singer, known and ridiculed for her very bad singing and her complete delusion about her abilities. A US release date is expected soon and will probably be around the same time. Ater Ricki fizzled at the box office, it looks like Spring is now the best time for adult oriented female driven counter programming. Specially with the success last year of Woman in Gold and Far From the Madding Crowd.

Meanwhile in Berlin, Streep started her jury duties with a bit of a controversy. At a press conference on Thursday, she began her remarks well talking about how she would give each film careful consideration because she's been on the other side, “a compassionate heart is important as an actress”. When she was asked about diversity, Streep applauded the gender diversity within her jury group.

“This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions. So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game.”

But then she delved into murkier depths when addressing the lack of racial diversity within the same group:

“There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we’re all from Africa originally. Berliners, we’re all Africans really.”

The quote sounds like a riff on JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech but when taken out of context reads clueless and clumsy. Maybe first acknowledge the omission of people of color before deflecting the question with humor. 

How excited are you for Florence? Do you think the May release date is significant in anyway?


Interview: Tobias Lindholm on the Oscar Nominated 'A War' and Creating Time on Film

Writer/Director Tobias LindholmJose here. In Tobias Lindholm’s A War, the hardest battle for Danish commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) comes not in the warzone of Afghanistan, but in a courtroom back home where he faces prison time for a tactical decision that ended the lives of civilians. A thoughtful essay on the rules of humanity during wartime, the film remains largely apolitical while still engaging audience members who might question the very nature of foreign invasions, the need for war, and our roles as humans in a world that pits us against each other. Directed with confidence by Lindholm, the film remains outside any specific genre while providing a master class in how to create tension, intimacy and thrills.

A War has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and Lindholm isn’t completely unfamiliar with the experience, having also worked as a writer in the 2012 nominee The Hunt. The versatile filmmaker is next working on yet another screenplay with Thomas Vinterberg and is also writing Paul Greengrass' next film. I had the opportunity to talk with him the day after the Oscar luncheon, and he shared his insight into creating time on film, his cinematic pet peeves and the excitement of awards season.

Our interview is after the jump...

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Silence of the Lambs Pt 5: The Nightmare Finale

Team Experience tag-teams a revisit of 1991's Best Picture The Silence of the Lambs for its 25th anniversary. And now... the finale. 

Part 1 The case. The players. An FBI "errand" 
Part 2 Buffalo Bill's next "Special Lady"
Part 3 Clarice & Lecter's "Quid Pro Quo"
Part 4 Monstrous escape. Gruesome realizations.

pt. 5 by Timothy Brayton

Jose left us in the wake of a most repulsive discovery, and Agent Starling is beside herself with ragehorror.

01:31:55 "And he c- he can sew, this guy, he's very skilled-" Jodie Foster is so amazing in this brief little exchange. Pacing back and forth jabbing her hands in the air with anxious fury. It's such a perfect extension of the arc she's built all movie: she's horrified and disgusted, but funnels all of that into hyper-professionalism.

01:32:09 Starling's frenzy in the homey little suburban bedroom is sharply contrasted with the Tom Clancy-thriller interior of an FBI plane, a sleek masculine space that is one of the conspicuously "lit" spaces in the film. Here is where Jack Crawford informs her that all is well, and the boys are riding in to save the day. He is, of course, wrong.

01:33:11 Ah, the famed mountain valleys of Calumet City, just outside of Chicago.

01:33:26 In the pit of horrors, Catherine Martin has struck upon an idea: using food scraps to trap Buffalo Bill's – make that Jame Gumb's – precious pet dog. It's a great reminder that the film would rather give its primary victim strength to draw on than just make her a bundle of nerves. [More...]

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Interview: Sandy Powell on Color, Character, Carol, Cinderella, and Cate

Sandy Powell on the set of CinderellaSome people rush to movies if their favorite movie star's face is prominent on the poster. Others swear allegiance to directors. Obsessive cinephiles go for all sorts of reasons. One of ours at The Film Experience is Sandy Powell. If she's the costume designer, we're there, no questions asked. We sat through The Tempest (2010) just for her and trust me that that's devotion.

Meeting her in person earlier this season to talk Carol and Cinderella, which brought her her 11th and 12th Oscar nominations and could well bring her a 4th Oscar, was a personal joy. I had talked to her once before by phone but in person we were able to look at costume stills together and had a great conversation. This cinematic MVP was a fun, lively, and personable interviewee. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 

NATHANIEL R:  I intervewed you once a long time ago and I was really taken aback by something you said. You implied that you were surprised and amused by analytical readings of your work.

SANDY POWELL: I was talking about that today with Judy Becker and she said thing "I've learned so much about my work today!". People read things into it that you weren't consciously thinking about. But they're not bad things! You start thinking "maybe subliminally..." You start taking credit for it! 

A lot of the time you work so fast that you make snap decisions and you don't know what it's based on. I do work instinctively and intuitively. I don't sit and analyze. I don't think about the significance and "What shall I consciously put on her or him or her to convey that?"  I do what feels right. And quite often just by doing that you've got it right, you actually have given something so symbolism.

NATHANIEL R: Do you start thinking of full outfits while you're reading a script?

her answer and much more after the jump...

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It's all over but the voting! Share your final FYCs...

Oscar ballots are out today so we've reached the homestretch. Beginning today and continuing on through February 23rd, Academy members can decide if Carol takes costuming and Mad Max takes editing or whether they'd like something far inferior to win those particular statues?

I kid I kid. They should vote on what they believe is "best". And that includes the Acting categories. Obstinate voters who refuse to run with the crowds / accept the status quo can decide who they'd most like for an "upset" in the Acting categories if they're not feeling the frontrunning quartet of Brie, Leo, Alicia, and Sly. But what the hell will they vote for in Best Picture and Best Director? It's a real scrappy fight this year but since it's the 25th anniversary of Silence of the Lambs, which happens to be both an atypical winner and one of their best, we hope they treat Mad Max Fury Road well. If they can't go there in Best Picture (even though they should) can't they at least hand George Miller a well-earned statue? That's my final prayer!

What's your final wish as they begin voting? 

P.S. If you're curious to see how pundits are viewing the races, here's the new Gurus of Gold chart. And here's our index of Oscar charts


Valentine's - Before Sunset

Team Experience is citing favorite love scenes. Here's Chris...

Richard Linklater's Before... trilogy is the perfect love story for the hopeless-romantic-turned-cynic in all of us. The romance between Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy giving their flawless best) is the kind of pure human connection that we hope for in adulthood, and only the tiniest bit of the fairy tale we're promised in youth. Each of the series' three chapters were released nine years after its predecessor, with the years in between a surprise for the audience. [more...]

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