Oscar History

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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Interview: Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Wiggles Around" Toward Acting Glory

Not all actors are adept at every platform. Movies, tv and stage can require require different charismas and subtle changes in scale. In the case of bonafide television superstars like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (16 Emmy acting nominations and 4 wins from 3 different hit series) who rarely work outside their chosen platform, there’s every reason to suspect that they’ll stay put... and should! But with Enough Said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus threw us a divine curveball. Though she's never had a lead film role she carries Enough Said with a beautifully modulated mix of comic and dramatic impulses as Eva, a lonely massage therapist who second-guesses her new romance with Albert (James Gandolfini). If she isn't Golden Globe Best Actress nominated on the 12th, I'm planning to riot. 

Despite the warm reviews and indie success, she was modest about this new achievement when we spoke on the phone last week and very gracious when her work was complimented. “It means a lot to me, especially since you saw it twice”. She’d sprained her ankle earlier that same day “I’m such an ass!” but was still in good spirits, with one leg elevated and her inimitable laugh strangely comforting in its familiarity, like someone had left my TV on in the background. The publicist introducing us sounded unusually ominous "You have 15 minutes." which proved a great ice breaker.

"I feel like we have to take an SAT or something," Julia says.

"In 15 minutes, put your pencils down." I counter.

"Right?!" And we're off...

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Cinematic Companions: 'Nebraska' and 'The Last Picture Show'

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, finally coming up for air from my last few weeks of undergrad to comment on Alexander Payne's fantastic new feature, Nebraska, and note some uncanny resemblances it has with another particular favorite of mine.


It's not a far stretch to imagine why these two films have been linked to one another so often in various articles and reviews lately. Aside from the obvious aesthetic choices made on the part of the creative team to shoot in black-and-white, the framing of the eerily silent, seemingly deserted locales or the clarity with which both films perceive and study their unique characters, Nebraska and The Last Picture Show both manage to tread a fine line in American cinema of empathizing with their characters without fully submitting to them. 

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MTV News hilarious bit w/ Julia Roberts and Josh Horowitz talking Jennifer Lawrence
Juan Luis Garcia writes an open letter to Spike Lee about Oldboy poster designs that are being used without the designer's permission. Horrifying story of freelancer abuse
Gawker collected the key floats and Roker silliness for Thanksgiving Day Parade ICYMI 
Variety Evan Rachel Wood vs the MPAA over a recent sex scene 

List Mania
Gurus of Gold we list nominations we'd be thankful for and update our charts
THR Feinberg's Forecast. It's exhausting to read all the stuff that happened this week. Once campaigning starts it's just impossible to keep up, right?
The Playlist on the Breakout directors of 2013 from Destin Cretton (Short Term 12) to Sebastian Lelio (Gloria)
Variety also reviewed the week from Jean Claude Van Damme's epic split stunt to Frozen on your phone
Vulture all the times Peeta messes up in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. LOL. Get it together, Josh Hutcherson! 


Happy Leftover Pie Day!

Did you save any pie? 

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Team FYC: In a World... for Best Original Screenplay

In this series Team Experience sounds off (individually) on their favorite fringe Oscar contenders. Here's Tim Brayton asking you to consider "In a World..." The Spirit Awards did, nominating it in this very category...

What’s a talented comic actress with no good parts coming her way supposed to do, anyway? If you answered, “write herself a damn starring role, already”, then you’re on the same page as Lake Bell, the immensely likable and talented star of the TV series Childrens Hospital, making her feature debut as writer, producer, and director with In a World… Though for all her hypens, it’s as screenwriter that Bell most impresses with this project, a hugely ambitious affair all around despite how utterly low-key and normal it all feels.

There are three things happening here all at once, and the script pays equal attention to all of them. First, In a World… is a conventionally satisfying romantic comedy, with the added benefit of having interesting people who act like human adults and have interests and personalities far beyond “if I’m not in a relationship THIS EXACT MINUTE, I will die, and also I am a failure as a woman". Second, it’s one of the best peeks inside the movie industry we’ve gotten in a lot of years, attending with focus and what feels like a great deal of authenticity to the world of trailer voice-over artists, paying tribute to their skills and lightly mocking them for the puffed-up egos common to all actors. Thirdly, and most impressively given the things mainstream cinema likes to talk about in 2013, it’s a cutting investigation into how gender is experienced both in culture generally and in traditionally male-dominated industries. Not just because of the expected “arrg, girls can’t narrate trailers!” plotline, but in how it anticipates and subverts the way we expect to see these people behaving, given the film’s generic requirement, and in Bell’s pet-observation about “sexy babies”, and how women are encouraged by the media and society to diminish themselves and their autonomy.

Heavy-duty stuff, treated with a light, wry tone that gets all of its ideas across without ever forgetting that first and above all, this is a comedy, and it needs to be both funny and fun. There’s no doubt that In a World… is both of those things, and insightful and truthful along with; it looks and acts like a lightweight confection, but it has more ideas packed into its tidy frame than the most wordy and self-important prestige pictures would know what to do with.

previous FYCs  Costume Design Lawrence Anyways | Sound Mixing in World War Z  | Cameron Diaz in The Counsellor | Spectacular Now for Best Picture | MakeUp for Warm Bodies 


Beauty Break / Best Shot: "Making a Scene" with Oscar Contenders

One of my favorite Oscar traditions is the New York Times short films celebrating Oscar contenders, locked contenders and longshots alike. And by short films I mean very very short. Like one minute. You might remember that previous year's editions have given Casting Directors a ton of brilliant ideas which, for the most part, they've been slow to pick up on like Viola Davis as a frightening villain. Remember that?

This year's shorts, eleven in total, are all directed by two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski who is most famous for shooting Steven Spielberg's filmography (and less famous for once being married to Holly Hunter but that's cool, too.) The shorts are sublime in concept -- they mismatch contender actors with one or two lines from screenwriting contenders (update: not from the writer's actual contending films, which I initially thought since the Bradley Cooper bit sounds like a near lift from the All is Lost's opening monologue) -- though not always in execution since this multiplied tradition can't help but be a bit uneven each year. 

Cate Blanchett with a line from the writer of "Computer Chess"

For fun, and as a shout back to the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series that's currently on hiatus, I've selected my favorite single image from each of the shorts [10 more after the jump]. But by all means go and watch the shorts. It'll only take you 15 minutes and there will be many delicious thanksgiving feasts for your eyeballs beyond the ones posted here.

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Live Blogging: THR's Actress Roundtable

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Today I am thankful for... actresses.

In other words it's a Thursday. Well, listen, I'm always thankful for actresses but now I finally have a tiny bit of time to say so. Can you believe I've held out until now to watch The Hollywood Report's Actress Roundtable? If you've already moved on I forgive you but I wanted to do it in one sitting and finally had the time. As you read this I'm probably on my way to feast with my besties but right now as I write, I'm pretending I'm settling in for a Thanksgiving dinner with (drumroll please) two-time Oscar winning ham Emma Thompson (who I just had cocktails with!), Julia Brockovich-Roberts who brought fish ("eat your fish, bitch!"), Lupita Nyong'o who provides the appetizer (to what we hope is an overflowing career o' plenty), Amy Adams who brought stuffing (she's in everything!), Oprah Winfrey (who paid all the grocery bills) and Octavia Spencer (who brought choc... no, too obvious! abort. abort.)

So let's begin...

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