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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Documentary Finalists for Oscar

Cameraperson is the best film of the year. Nothing else is even close. -Mark

Command and Control should be required viewing in public schools. Too bad we are entering a coupon voucher era. - Minerva

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Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
NWR (Neon Demon)

Previous Interview Index



The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

We're looking back into 1948 ahead of this weekend's Smackdown. A world away from all of those women, though, John Huston was making one of cinema's most famous films about men. Here's David...

It was evident from the gilded treachery on display in The Maltese Falcon that John Huston was a filmmaker fully aware and largely in thrall to the darker side of human nature. World War II changed him, as it did millions of American men. An adaptation of B. Traven’s 1927 novel, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was the first feature Huston made following his time making war documentaries for the U.S. government, and while its setting and subject are quite estranged from the war – three men mining for gold in 1925 Mexico – it betrays the even grittier experiences Huston had witnessed abroad. If the film is about greed, as has long been celebrated, it just as much about the deep insecurities of masculinity.


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HBO’s LGBT History: Gia (1998)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions...

Last week we looked at the tender In the Gloaming, Christopher Reeve's directorial debut starring Glenn Close. And while that film ultimately focused on Close's character (her gay son is dying of AIDS), today, for the first time since we started this project, we get to focus on an LGBT protagonist that isn’t a gay man!

We follow instead a gorgeous woman (Angelina Jolie) who's as sexually adventurous as they come, leading on men and women alike, lighting the modeling world on fire, and falling hard (to the point of stalker-ish behavior) for a certain make-up girl that'll be all too familiar for all of you LOST fans.

Angelina Jolie's "Gia" breakthrough is after the jump...

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FYC: Thomas Middleditch for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy

Team Experience is sharing their dream picks for the Emmys. Here's Michael C with our final acting FYC before we wrap up with a couple of other things...

The central comic conceit of Silicon Valley is that the tech industry has created a dynamic where the most power is now in the hands of those with the least social skills. Thomas Middleditch (perhaps best known previously for getting his gold fish eaten by Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street) embodied this idea so perfectly in the beginning he barely seemed to be doing any acting. He just is that guy. He need only show up in scenes with his wide-eyes, his stammer, and his never-seen-the-inside-of-a-gym physique and we instantly got the joke. That "Richard Hendricks" quickly graduated from being a type to a character is a credit to Middleditch, in particular his keen comic timing capable of shading the many subtle levels of Richard's ever-present anxiety, from basic discomfort all the way up to full-blown meltdown.

Were Silicon Valley a typical network sitcom Middleditch could spin variations on the same comic beats for nine or ten seasons, probably to much acclaim, but the stellar second season of Mike Judge's HBO show immediately upped the ante for Richard. The triumph of the first season finale dropped him into the deep end of the pool, swimming with the tech equivalent of great white sharks. Where before he could succeed with a bolt of lightning burst of genius. the new season requires him to be not just a brilliant programmer but a brilliant leader, a renegade capable of inspiring his team and strategizing against the big boys on a tiny fraction of their budget. That Richard has floundered at every step of this process may have obscured the fact that Middleditch has succeeded in subtly evolving the character at pace with the show. The Richard Hendricks from the season two finale ready to burn his business to the ground (read: delete it) rather than see it stolen out from under him, was a far cry from the nervous nelly of the pilot who nearly had a breakdown trying to decide if he should just sell it and run. That Middleditch pulled off this incremental transformation believably (and hilariously) is an achievement that easily warrants inclusion among the five nominees for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy. I'm tempted to say he deserves the win.

Supporting Actress Specials!!! Cara Seymour & Ann Dowd
Series Drama The Americans and The Leftovers 
Series Comedy Jane the Virgin 
Actress (Comedy) Lisa Kudrow, Amy Schumer 
Actress (Drama) Ruth Wilson
Actor (Drama) Jon Hamm and Michael Sheen 
Supp. Actor (Drama) Matt Czuchry (Comedy) Tituss Burgess
Supp. Actress (Comedy) Lauren Weedman and Melanie Lynskey



Good luck finding an actress today that looks like thisFilm School Rejects a biopic of Ingrid Bergman during the Notorious era might be coming from James Mangold. I'm always hoping they'll cast unknowns rather than stars for these things, so that they'll look more like their subjects
Decider really funny ranking of all of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated work, judged by accents, struggles, co-stars, and random intangibles
Movies Now the box office wealth gap between blockbusters and everything else - interesting piece and worrisome, too
ArtsBeat Smash's "Bombshell" musical MIGHT (sigh) actually become a Broadway musical. Yes, they're still dangling that carrot since the one night only cast reunion of Smash went so well
MCU Exchange the deal is done and Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct Marvel's Black Panther film 
/bent is thrilled that Inside Out passes the Bechdel Test so easily on all counts

A Must Read
"The Decline of the American Actor" is a really engaging piece about today's leading men, the "Chris"es and beyond and the struggles they face without challenging roles or all that much in the way of training like their foreign counterparts. It's really fascinating and the writer Terrence Rafferty only threw me out of it once when he makes a very strange rather off topic dig at Masters of Sex's second season which had me questioning his sanity (I couldn't disagree more on all counts of what he's saying in that section). It also has a nice little detour into current 20 and 30something actressing by clever way of Clouds of Sils Maria... that movie sure did get a lot of people talking so it's a mystery why it didn't break through in a more major way since actual stars were involved. 

RIP - Exit Music
The film composer James Horner died in a plane crash at age 61 yesterday. He was a favorite of James Cameron and Ron Howard, and moviegoers of course. He composed so many well liked movies that it's tough to name a favorite though I remember always liking the scores to Aliens, Avatar, Apollo 13 and Willow. We will be treated to his three final scores this year with  Southpaw, Wolf Totem and the Chilean Miners movie The 33. The Oscar favorite won both of his Oscars from the phenomenon that was Titanic (for score & original song) and was twice nominated for movie songs. So here's a little Celine at the Oscars and a little something from An American Tail, too.



Curio: A Mug for Every Mood

Alexa here.  After more than a year on the wagon, I am back on the sauce with a vengeance. To clarify, I am talking about coffee.  In an effort to channel my more zen-like, less anxiety-ridden self, I cut it out. (I also hated feeling a slave to the Starbucks down the road.) But my chill, non-caffeinated self has become too sleepy of late; so I cleaned out our grind and brew, stocked up on some David Lynch Signature Blend, and decided to splurge on some new mugs. Here are some movie-centric ones I've considered buying during my trip back to the dark side...

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