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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New Q & A - Actors who should be more famous and more...

"For the life of me I will never understand why Audra McDonald isn't bigger outside of Broadway." - Brian

"I will add to that list Irfhan Khan; he gets roles steadily, but in my mind he should be a household name." -Rebecca

"I'll also echo that Rosemarie DeWitt is one of the most talented working actresses, full stop. There is no other Best Supporting Actress of 2008." - Hayden

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Burning Question: What current star would have benefitted most from the Studio System?

This post is brought to you by agonizing advertisements for The Huntsman: Winter's War. Which looks dreadful.

Sometimes when I look at Charlize Theron, it hurts. She has such old school "MOTION! PICTURE! SPECTACULAR!" scale to her persona, this inarguable magnificence / screen beauty. The catch: she's almost never in movies that do anything for her when she's doing so much for them.

She might be my #1 choice for current star whose career is alright but would have been spectacular under the Studio System when star magnetism was carefully catered to, packaged, and regularly served up rather than an "extra" your random movie can sometimes benefit from.

Who is yours?


Where My Girls At? The Maybe Cannes Bound Edition

Here's Murtada speculating about which lovely ladies might appear at the Cannes Film Festival.

There is one thing that is certain to happen at Cannes every May. Marion Cotillard appears on the famous steps, resplendent in Dior couture, to represent a film in competition. She knocks everyone's socks off with her performance, then invariably fails to win best actress from the jury. It happened with Rust and Bone (2012), The Immigrant (2013), Two Days One Night (2014) and Macbeth (2015). Is there a Cotillard/Cannes awards curse?

This year she will have two more chances to lose, and cement the legend of the curse...

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Oscar Isaac Joins Alex Garland's Annihilation, Not Even Most Exciting Part

One would be forgiven for thinking a movie called Annihilation sounds a little too close for comfort to a cataclysmic retread in the vein of Batman v. Superman. And if someone told you that all signs currently point to Oscar Isaac joining the cast, you’d politely let them know that they must be thinking of the also very loud sounding X-Men: Apocalypse, where he’ll join fellow motion captors and prosthetic prisoners Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Brolin, and Idris Elba in what sounds like the cell to be! in franchise jail. But no earplugs necessary, just your rapt attention, because Annihilation is writer/director Alex Garland’s follow-up feature to Ex Machina and a rousing science fiction thriller by the sound of it. Per Variety - not only is Isaac set to partner up for another dance with the director but join what is already shaping up to be the most promising and diverse fist pump of an ensemble for a 2017 release.

On second thought: maybe hold onto those earplugs. While no one can hear you scream in space, here on Earth the names “Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez” are enough to break the sound barrier. Annihilation, based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, tracks the expedition of a four-woman team charting a mysterious territory chocked full with deadly unknowns of both chemical and zoological varieties. Portman is set to play the biologist – whose husband (Isaac) may or may not be dead – while the other three top-tier actresses will gear up as an anthropologist, surveyor, and psychologist. Point me to the nearest fainting couch!

Where to begin. How about the mere fact that Black Swan, Amy Archer, Sam White, and Jane the Virgin are about to do a Mission Movie together that promises a journey into the unknown packed with scares and science? This could be the Ghostbusters of paranoid, alliance shifting, contamination adventure movies. Television’s brightest shining star, and reliably sharp eye of the storm, Gina Rodriguez is one big screen smash away from the boundless stardom she’s projected since before her Golden Globes speech. Tessa Thompson perfected the art of cool and detached authority in Creed and Dear White People, so she’s a no-brainer for this crew. And Isaac? He’s just the cherry on top of the sundae.

Which of this beloved quintet would you most want watching your back while on expedition?


Q&A: Artists in Movies and Uninspiring Best Pic Lineups

For this weeks Q&A I asked for an art theme to celebrate the joint birthday of Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco de Goya on this very day! So we'll start with a few art-focused topics before venturing to rando questions.

TOM: Which film about an artist (in any field of the Arts) that you were not particularly knowledgeable about made you want to see/hear the real work by that artist? 

I vastly prefer non-traditional biopics so I'm susceptible to stuff that piques curiosity rather than gives you a greatest hits. So I like bios like Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993). I have some problems with I'm Not There (2007) which is my least favorite Todd Haynes film but I respect the hell out of it conceptually. In terms of movies about painters I definitely became more interested in Francis Bacon after Love is the Devil (1998) and not just because of Daniel Craig in the bathtub! I already cared about Caravaggio before seeing Derek Jarman's Caravaggio but I hope people see that one, too. 

BRIAN: If you had to recommend a budding Cinephile a movie based on an artist, a work of art, or has artistic themes what would it be?

Hmmm. A lot of movies about painting aren't very good (Watching someone paint being only a notch more interesting than watching someone write). So let's do "artistic" theme and the answer there is easily Amadeus (1984). It's such a useful movie to reference in ways both commonplace ("too many notes!") and contemplative (what makes the difference between competent journeyman skill and true genius?). One of my other favorite "art" movies is High Art (1998)...

8 more questions after the jump

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Patty Duke (1946-2016)

As I'm sure you've heard Patty Duke, the third youngest actor ever to win an Oscar (she was 16 when she took the industry's top prize for The Miracle Worker) and the former President of SAG, has died at the age of 69. Her birth name was Anna Marie Duke and by the time she was 14 she was already a famous thespian. She originated the role of blind and deaf Helen Keller in the hit Broadway play "The Miracle Worker". She and her Tony winning co-star Anne Bancroft both transferred over to the film version two years later to bring Helen Keller's incredible story to millions more. It really is a shockingly good movie, with two stellar performances, and it's devoid of the sentiments and easy comforts that you're expecting if you've only heard of it secondhand; that movie earns its "triumph of the human spirit" appeal. 

Photos, her son Sean Astin, and her charity work after the jump...

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HBO’s LGBT History: Bessie (2015)

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

 Last week we looked at the grim, if necessary, doc Hunted: The War Against Gays In Russia which dove right into the ugly homophobic “hunting gays for sport” pastime which has been legitimized by a Russian government that, ahead of the Sochi Olympics, passed propaganda legislation that made it all but illegal to openly support and advocate for gay rights. This week, we’re turning our eyes to Dee Rees’s Bessie.

It’s a film that’s already been discussed quite a bit around these quarters. Angelica Jade Bastién wrote an in-depth review upon the film's release which, as she reminds us, “wonderfully explores the way black people relate to each other.” Anne Marie looked at it as part of her Women’s Pictures series, singling out the way queerness and blackness dominate the proceedings. I won’t rehearse their arguments because, frankly, I don’t think I could improve on their canny assessments of this ambitious film. Instead, I figure we could use the film to talk about the oppressively whitewashed LGBT representation that even a forward-thinking network like HBO cannot help but replicate.

Just as I was sitting down to write this piece, thinking that perhaps I was setting myself up for the usual cries of “ugh, another diversity article? Why must the PC police continue thumping that tired ass drum?” a mini-tweetstorm kerfuffle was taking place.

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