Oscar History
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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Podcast - 1996 Cannes Competition Revisit

"Never forget Madonna (!!) beating Frances McDormand for the Golden Globe that year" - David

 "Watson/McDormand/Blethyn? I couldn't even choose. All so perfect - my favorite kind of Oscar category." -Mike

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Tuesday
Feb182014

12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen

Tim here, with your daily dose of Oscar numerology. We’re now in the third year of the Academy’s undoubtedly well-intentioned "some random number that always turns out to be nine" approach to selecting Best Picture nominees, and for some of us, this is irritatingly arbitrary. But it could be so much worse. Think of how awful it must have been to been a rabid Oscar fanatic in the first decade of the award’s existence: depending on the year, there were anywhere from three to twelve Best Picture nominees, until it was finally nailed down at a nice, round ten at the 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.

The magic number of the day being 12, I'd like you to join me, for a closer look at 1934, the first of two years with 12 nominated films (for space reasons, I am alas compelled to leave 1935 to fend for itself) - the first year, as well, that the awards corresponded to a single calendar year. What can we learn about the Academy’s tastes and habits down the decades from each of these?

BEST PICTURE It Happened One Night (released by Columbia)
What It Is: One of the greatest of all screwball comedies, in which the sexily odd-looking pair of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable cross country and banter.
The Slot It Fills:
The long-abandoned "comedies are a valid form of artistic expression like anything else" spot. But, of course, the period in which the film came out was unusually good at producing top-notch comedies starring the best movie stars of the day.

Only 11 more slots to fill after the jump

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Tuesday
Feb182014

I am link parts, link skin, link heart... ♫

The Wrap Frozen nearing the $1 billion mark globally. Unreal.
Mail Online Matt Damon faxes his buttcheeks to Ben Affleck... for charity. No really. 
The Dissolve on the broken down grace of Bill Murray 
AMPAS you have to see this "moment" from the 68 Oscars with Jane Fonda and costume design!

LAist Spike Jonze in a very uncomfortable interview about Her
Gold Derby will Mickey Mouse finally win an animated short Oscar this year for "Get a Horse"? He's quite a loser in this category
TFE icymi Tim, our animation expert, reviewed that short here. (I loved it, too)
Mental Floss Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure just turned 25 years old. Can you believe I asked my team if anyone wanted to write about it and NO ONE did. sad face. 
Twitter I don't know why I find the 'Jake Gyllenhaal stole Taylor Swift's virginity' gossip so amusing but I do.(Jake used to have such better taste!)
Variety a review of that gay themed Brazilian film The Way He Looks that took a Berlinale prize 
Vanity Fair Katey talks to the Oscar nominated makeup artist on Dallas Buyers Club. the budget she had to work with is shocking.

It's a franchise world. We're just living in it only to consume
Pajiba the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot "shows off her, uh, Amazonian biceps"
The Film Doctor with 13 questions on The LEGO Movie
Den of Geek Star Wars Episode 7 rumors and Indiana Jones 5, too 
Hypeable new stills for Guardians of the Galaxy 
Cinema Blend Steven Price, Oscar-nominated for his Gravity score, will be composing Ant-Man 

Olympic-ness
Slate an interesting share on the extremely rigid rules about figure skating at the Olympics. I knew same sex couples were not allowed but I did not know any of these rules about costuming and I was just wondering aloud the other day why the costumes were so monotonous from year to year apart from color changes and the occassional surprise of where the bejazzlements occur. 

Tuesday
Feb182014

"Unbroken" Is it Middlebrow WW II Oscar Bait or Something More? 

Did you catch this preview of Angelina Jolie's Unbroken (2014) during the Olympics. The internet keeps calling it a "trailer" which it really isn't. I wish the internet would understand that words have meanings and the reason we often have multiple words for one type of thing is to illustrate the variations of meanings. Teaser, trailer, preview... these are different things. This paragraph you're reading is a "blog post" not "a blog" and so on) But I digress...

This early look at next year's Christmas movie Unbroken, which has slivers of the future trailer interspersed throughout, is like those very short historical reels meant to inspire you and tune you into some past Olympian story which illustrates the triumph of the human spirit / physical endurance right before you watch new Olympians reenact those ancient motifs again by trying to converts years of discipline, training, injuries, and personal struggles into medals for themselves and their countries.

I'm not really ready to talk 2014 Oscar race yet (geez, let's get through the 2013 festivities first!) but maybe Unbroken will be a biggie? I dunno, though. The Oscars are less susceptible to baldly straightforward 'Inspirational Triumph of the Human Spirit' narratives than they once were, right? Still, a screenplay by the Coen brothers suggests that it's maybe not as middlebrow World War II Oscar bait as it appears to be in this very traditional formula-friendly setting of Olympics coverage. Jolie isn't joking around on the below the line team either with Oscar regulars like Desplat (score), Sqyres (editing) and Deakins (cinematography) on board.

Regardless of whether it's an awards contender, though, it seems likely that this time next year it's relatively unknown stars Jack O'Connell (Skins, Eden Lake) in the lead role and Finn Witrock (the hustler on Masters of Sex) in support will be having some very happy holidays. (Domnhall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, and Jai Courtney are also in it but people already know who they are.)

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2014 Oscar predictions coming in April. Here's the current race.

Tuesday
Feb182014

Curio: Oscar Party Craftiness

Alexa here with the weekly arts and crafts curio.

Listening to Joe, Nick and Nathaniel's discussion of Oscar parties reminded me about all the Oscar games and crafts I've been ambitiously bookmarking over the years.  Maybe it's our overlong Chicago winters, but I seem to get an attack of laziness the week of the show and forgo the crafts in favor of making loads of comfort food.  But really, I want that to change this year, because, how sweet are some of these ideas?  Fun for everyone!  Even the Oscar-averse.  

Probably my favorite is the idea of spray painting Ken dolls Oscar gold.  I love the idea of going all Goldfinger on a thrift store Ken, and getting a posable Oscar statue as a result.

More craft and game ideas after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb172014

Box Office: Everything Is (Still) Awesome!

Amir here, with the long weekend’s box office report. It was Valentine’s so romantic flicks opened, one of which didn’t do too well financially. But enough about RoboCop! How about that About Last Night? It’s been a few weeks since the last time we were collectively surprised that a “black” film did well at the box office, so let’s go at it again: can you believe that a film with a non-white cast can sell tickets too? Unbelievable, no? It turns out Hollywood doesn’t need to cast white people in every role, not even in all romantic comedies. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the last rom-com to do this well, Think Like a Man, starred three of the actors in this quartet: Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Michael Ealy.)

oh, wait. that's not right somehow

BOX OFFICE
THE LEGO MOVIE
$63.5m (cum. $143.8m)
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
$28.5 new
ROBOCOP
$25.6m (cum. $30.3m) new
THE MONUMENTS MEN
$18m (cum. $46.1m)
ENDLESS LOVE
$15m new
RIDE ALONG
$10m (cum. $117.4m)
WINTER’S TALE
$8.1m new
FROZEN
$8m (cum. $378.2m)
LONE SURVIVOR
$4.7m (cum. $119m)
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT
$3.8 (cum. $21.9m)

The other new release targeted to the lovey-dovey crowd was Endless Love – three 80s remakes in one weekend is a new low for the creatively constipated Hollywood – and according to Box Office Mojo, it nearly broke a record for the absurd title of “the most front-loaded release of all time”; 56% of the film’s gross was pocketed on Friday. The LEGO Movie held on to the throne, though, and after two weeks, is already a major contender for 2014's year-end top ten. I re-watched it and it was even funnier and smarter than I’d remembered --  we already have our first solid contender in the best animated film race. I also watched Blue Jasmine a second time and this one also improved significantly upon a revisit. Later tonight, I’ll be off to see Palestine’s Oscar nominee, Omar. (You can always follow everything I see here on this page.)

What did you watch this weekend?

Monday
Feb172014

13 Days Til Oscar: Matthew McConaughey... And the 2000 Best Actress Race?

[The Oscar countdown continues with new contributor Matthew Eng - he wrote that popular Jennifer Lawrence piece! -- making a fascinating cross gender lines comparison to 13 years back]

Thirteen years ago, the only acting prize Matthew McConaughey seemed likely to ever win was a Razzie*. Or, you know, at least a Teen Choice Award. And yet, here we are, thirteen years later, all those Wedding Planners and Failure to Launches gone (but not forgotten), and Matthew McConaughey just so happens to be:

  1. an Oscar nominee
  2. the indisputable frontrunner of the Best Actor raceand
  3. a presumable Oscar winner.

It’s the Second Coming of McConaughey, a shockingly successful, rule-breaking career reversal that approximately zero people saw coming. But can you really blame us, especially considering that pre-Magic Mike McConaughey seemed pretty intent on solidifying his status as a Hopeless Hollywood Himbo, continually submerging his skills behind a pair of wide-eyed peepers, a self-satisfied smirk, and a notorious, Southern-fried catchphrase that may have made for one great Matt Damon impression but which can still send even some of the more willing McConaughey converts up the wall?

It’s always nice to see a performer sizably step up their game, to start choosing roles for the challenge, rather than the check. Maybe it’s the nature of the Dallas Buyers Club role or maybe it’s the inconsistent reputation of the genre he spent the better part of the past decade residing in, but McConaughey’s performance and subsequent awards trajectory have been giving me major flashbacks to Julia Roberts and the 2000 Best Actress Race, which culminated with Roberts’ inevitable coronation nearly thirteen years ago. [More...]

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Monday
Feb172014

Monologue: Kate Hepburn Jabbers Away in "Alice Adams"

It's actually difficult to find speeches for our monologue series which accounts for its haphazard appearance at The Film Experience. With Anne Marie's brilliant chronological "A Year With Kate" hitting the Oscar nominated Alice Adams (1935) in two days time, I thought it was time to revive an old episode of this series.

Screenwriters generally favor single sentence utterances and the ole trusty shot / reverse shot conversation, leaving the bulk of monologue-writing to playwrights. But watching Alice Adams (1935), it's easy to think of virtually every scene as a Katharine Hepburn monologue. Occasionally her co-stars will start a sentence in response but Kate as Alice rarely lets them finish a thought. She spends the whole movie jabbering away as if she's the only character...

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