And all our Middleburg Film Festival Coverage

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.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
English Patient Reunion

"This is my all time favorite. I have seen it at least fifty times -I used to watch it after breakup." -John T

"Still so enigmatic & mesmerizing after all these years..." -Claran

Keep TFE Strong



Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.


Entries in American Hustle (37)


Link Becomes Her

Anya Taylor-Joy photographed by Gregory HarrisThe Washington Post interesting visual analysis of Tom McCarthy's Oscar winner Spotlight
Interview M Night Shyamalan interview Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch
Pajiba Agent Carter in limbo after second season finale. (Is limbo the new code word for cancelled? I've never seen a network burn off that many episodes that quickly if they weren't going to cancel something)
My New Plaid Pants "I would like to talk about... Madeline Ashton." YES. Death Becomes Her is getting a special edition BluRay next month
Kotaku Ghost in the Shell finally adds a famous Asian actor to its cast list, Beat Takeshi. 
Playbill This is cool 15 ambassadors from the UN saw a special performance of Fun Home The Musical. Can we please get a film version? That show is sublime
Film School Rejects looks back at Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991) for its 25th anniversary
NY Times profiles Sarah Paulson who talks about her Marcia Clark role, her romance with Holland Taylor, and why she's drawn to older people in her life. 
The Playlist Matthias Schoenarts will star in Kursk, a Russian submarine survival drama 
MNPP on Kenneth Lonergan's new play Hold on to me, Darling starring Timothy Olyphant 
MTV briely, with wit, on Leo's Oscar win 
Tracking Board Joseph Gordon-Levitt developing a movie called K Troop, about a US Army division assigned to take the Ku Klux Klan down during their rise. 

By know you've probably read that Amy Adams has confirmed what those  leaked Sony emails suggested that she was quite unhappy on the set of American Hustle. It was her second film with David. O. Russell but I suspect there won't be a third given what she told British GQ.

Photo by Norma Jean Roy

I was really just devastated on set. I mean, not every day, but most. Jennifer [Lawrence] doesn’t take any of it on. She’s Teflon. And I am not Teflon. But I also don’t like to see other people treated badly.. It’s not ok with me. Life to me is more important than movies. It really taught me how to separate work and home. Because I was like, I cannot bring this experience home with me to my daughter.




Interview: Carol's Production Design Judy Becker 

Judy Becker. Photo © Tom Uhlman at New York TimesThis won't have escaped you but we're a little bit obsessed with Todd Haynes's Carol. We tried to devote a week to it but the love can't be contained by calendars. The romantic drama about a glamorous society wife and a young shopgirl is rolling out slowly -- agonizingly slowly -- to more cities each week. It leads the Golden Globe nominations and though the Academy's decisions about the year's "best" are yet to come, there's reason to be hopeful that they'll embrace the filmmaker's triumphant return to the silver screen.

The Oscar-nominated production designer Judy Becker (American Hustle), is responsible for most everything you see onscreen in Carol from Therese's humble apartment to Frankenberg's Department Store, the Aird estate, and much more. "The props, there are close-ups on them, so I don’t know how you can say, that’s not important," she says passionately, underlining the fact that everything we see is part of 'the look'. She describes herself as a very hands-on designer and is sure this drives new members of her staff crazy but she has high praise for her frequent set decorator Heather Loeffler. "She never gets upset if I veto something but, at the same time, she brings a lot to the table and surprises me all the time with great stuff."

Though Becker is best known for her frequent collaborations with  David O. Russell this is not her first Todd Haynes film, having also designed his abstract Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (2007). We began our chat marvelling at his genius. Though I'm Not There was a larger scale task, essentially designing multiple worlds, Carol wasn't much easier for different reasons. "Every film has its challenges," she explains. And films as gorgeously realized as Carol don't happen without a lot of planning, work, and inspiration. 

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Q&A: May/December Romance? Actressy Titles? Streep Sans Sophie

This week's Ask Nathaniel session didn't get as many questions as usual -- you were intimidated by the request for donations surely which sucks because life ain't free and we work hard here -- but here are 9 questions anyway because I'm such a giver. Let's start with a trip back to 1995 and move on to smackdowns, actressexual directors, Nicole Kidman in Paddington, and Hollywood's love of pairing older men with younger woman... 

Golden Globe Comedy Wins Don't Always Lead to Oscar Noms

COCO: I'm in a very 1995 mood. Were you obsessing and predicting twenty years ago?

NATHANIEL: LOL. Yes, I was.  I've been obsessed since I first discovered the Oscars 82/83 (my family was mystified since none of them had interest) and started making list of "dream nominations" each year when I was a kid even though I didn't see most of the actual nominees since they were rated "R" (VERBOTEN!) so I was madly scribbling things like  "Best Actress: Daryl Hannah for Splash !!!" and such early on. But honestly I can't remember when I started "predicting" in the classic sense but it was definitely before The Film Experience.

We'll be discussing 1995 at length in the July Smackdown so I'll save most of my comments for then but my biggest nail-biter and raucous-cheering and breath-holding was for Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas (who was my personal choice for the Oscar that year) since there were basically seven women with what seemed like actual traction for five spots. The oddwomen out were, of course, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Georgia) and Golden Globe Actress in a Musical or Comedy winner Nicole Kidman (To Die For).  Nothing against Leigh and Kidman but I knew there was only room for 1 of them since Sarandon, Stone, Streep, Thompson were locked up for various reasons some valid some not. That year's Best Actress race was so overstuffed and incredible which is why it comes up so often in Oscar circles as a point of discussion. 

On some posters (not this one) the tag line is "Raises screen acting to a new level of sexual knowingness" (!!!)PEDINHRO: What are your favorite movies with a female name in the title? My all time favorite is The Marriage of Maria Braun!

Well, you took the best one! Wait do you mean Best Title or Best Movie that just happens to have a female name in the title? If you mean best movie obviously I have to have things like Carrie and Annie Hall. But if you mean "Best Title" that's more fun so let's make it a whole top ten after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Interview: Michael Wilkinson. Before 'Batman vs Superman', Came 'Noah'

With Oscar voting in progress, let's talk costume design. With Best Picture contenders hogging all the conversation, we remain ever hopeful that the guilds remember to look beyond the films as a whole to the specifics of their particular craft when they scribble down their nominations. One of the most influential costume designers working today is Michael Wilkinson who regularly pushes the envelope in terms of costume technology (see Tron Legacy) and I'm not talking about the miraculous cleavage feats of American Hustle which won Wilkinson a well-deserved Oscar nomination last year. This year you can even see the influence of his 300 costumes in those Maze Runner harnesses (Fun fact: Christine Bieselin Clark, one of the costume designers on that film, was once Wilkinson's assistant!)

Prior to American Hustle he was best known for the films of Zach Snyder (Watchmen, Man of Steel) and the costume designer and I spoke  between fittings on day 104 of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shoot (he'd just finished the final fitting of our new Amazon Princess Gal Gadot). This superhero epic has occupied him for well over a year but he says "happily so" but Noah was no easy task either. He built an entire film's worth of costumes for Noah ...from scratch. 

No matter what genre or film he's working on, be it prestige dramas like Babel, indies like Friends with Money or huge superhero fantasies like Watchmen he's always look for ways to illuminate character. In his own words

Costume design is a subtle art but immensely satisfying.

We couldn't agree more. Excerpts from our conversation follow

Click to read more ...



MTV Movie Awards: Katniss vs. ...uh...Solomon Northup?

The MTV Movie Award Nominations arrive hot on the heels of the Oscar ceremony. This awards show happens on April 13th. MTV, even moreso than the Globes is all about nominating big stars they think we'll give them ratings even if they stick out like sore thumbs in their category. That's why I have to admit shock that 12 Years a Slave shows up repeatedly in their nominations.

I thought it far too sober, artistic, and adult for the awards show that kept holding the Twilight franchise up as some kind of pinnacle of filmmaking. It's hard to consider them being nominated for the same prize, much less existing in the same universe. Gravity, which weirdly isn't up for "Movie of the Year" would have been a far more MTV like choice. Honestly I can't figure it. 

In some way this is a bit more like the MTV Movie Awards of yore which would give prizes to Wes Anderson before he even had a fanbase to speak of. But maybe it's all merely a happy accident that two of the most Oscar nominated movies of the year (American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street) are also "fun" and so MTV responds in kind. 


• “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
• “American Hustle” (Columbia Pictures)
• “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Lionsgate)
• “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount Pictures)

Click to read more ...


Why Amy Adams Might Have Us All Fooled, or The Emancipation of Sydney.

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, gone for far too long, with something that I've been racking my brain over for the better part of two months.

Much has already been said about American Hustle, on this site and throughout the internet in general, and the film has taken on a kind of love-it-or-hate-it reputation that makes it seem even more controversial than Scorsese's touted lightning rod, The Wolf of Wall Street. Whereas that film is richly deserving of its many dissenting opinions, the criticisms being levied at Hustle tend to direct themselves at its lightness, so to speak. A puff pastry strutting about in sequins. Indeed, the general consensus for a long period of time was that the film was too light to be considered a threat for the Oscar for Best Picture. Its themes of survival are dwarfed by Gravity, a film where said theme is made literal and considerable. Themes of deception are dwarfed by the hedonists of Wolf of Wall Street. Jennifer Lawrence's show-stopping performance in particular has become a source of contention, with mentions of miscasting, ageism, an inconsistent accent all to blame.

And while I have my own reservations about the film, there has been one particular element of the picture that's been thrashing about in my head, one performance that I can't seem to lay my finger on entirely. It evades me, like a crook whose face I know and can identify, but who always seems just out of my grasp. [More...]

Click to read more ...