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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Entries in Bette Davis (58)


123 days until Oscar... we've got Bette Davis eyes

by Nathaniel R

It's time for your morning dose of highly unneccessary Oscar-mad trivia.

Did you know that Bette Davis, Oscar's third favorite actress of all time (after Hepburn & Streep), had exactly 123 screen credits to her name?! Her debut film The Bad Sister (1931) was released a week before her 23rd birthday and her 123rd and final project, Wicked Stepmother (1989), was released eight months before her death of breast cancer at 81. That's 58 years of big-eyed, inimitably voiced, ferocious performances.  

Two Bette-inspired questions for the day...

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Letterman to Bring "In-Depth Conversations" to Netflix

By Seán McGovern

David Letterman has spent enough time growing his beard and is set to return to screens. Letterman is to host a six-show season on Netflix, which will be “in-depth conversations with extraordinary people, and in-the-field segments expressing his curiosity and humor.”

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Q&A: Best 'Best Actress' Decade? Gay for Play as Actorly Rite of Passage?

Four more reader questions to kick off the weekend. Wheeee. As ever, I'd love to hear your answers to these questions thrown my way.

MATT ST CLAIR: Is there an unseen awards contender this year that you are hoping doesn't fail?

NATHANIEL: My "please let this be successful" hopes reside with Blade Runner 2049 (because the original's reputation being tarnished would be such a pity), The Greatest Showman (because musicals MUST continue to thrive) and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (because it's infinitely annoying that Annette Bening doesn't have an Oscar yet and didn't even get nominated for such gorgeous work in 20th Century Women)While we're well- wishing please let Wonderstruck, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and The Florida Project could be bigger hits than usual for Todd Haynes, John Cameron Mitchell, and Sean Baker, since they're three of our most distinctive American auteurs. I could go on but I'll stop as no genie grants unlimited wishes.

CATBASKETS: I've been thinking a lot about straight actors getting their starts or big breaks playing gay roles--Hugh Grant in Maurice, Guy Pierce in Priscilla, DDL in Beautiful Launderette, Charlie Hunnam in Queer as Folk, Eddie Redmayne in Savage Grace, etc. etc. Do you think this was/is a major rite of passage for actors? Do you think this will slow down now that there's more awareness/active demand for gay actors to play these roles?

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Today's 5: "She's got Bette Davis eyes... 🎵 " 

Five mood-boosting showbiz anniversaries for today, and if it's a special day for you have a great one. Take these suggestions and let us know if they helped.

MAY 16th History

2003 The fabulous and seriously undervalued Down with Love opened in theaters...

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Cate Blanchett will be Margo Channing

by Murtada

Fasten your seat belts, 2018 is gonna be a glorious year. At least for London theatergoers. Cate Blanchett will star as Margo Channing in a stage adaption of All About Eve (1950). Eve, which originally starred Bette Davis as Margois the ultimate backstage rivalry story. Margo is the big star fighting her huge ego as well as ageism as she tries to survive being upstaged by the young ingenue Eve, who starts as her biggest fan and assistant. Blanchett playing Margo is very meta. Forget that she already played Katharine Hepburn and now gets a chance to play her similarly lauded contemporary's most famous part...

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Feud: Bette and Joan "Hagsploitation" 

Previously on Feud: Bette and Joan 
1. "Pilot" 2. "The Other Woman" 3. "Mommie Dearest" 4. "More or Less" 5. "And the Winner Is" (Part 1) (Part 2)

By Spencer Coile  

Although initially centered on the drama that took place during the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Feud persists. As we enter into episode six, "Hagsploitation," both Bette and Joan have no bona fide hits on the horizon. Sure, Joan is tackling Strait Jacket and Bette has her hands full on TV (much to Joan's judgement) on Wagon Train, but in 1964, the success of Baby Jane has waned. In fact, in a scene that features vase throwing and Mamacita standing her ground, Joan laments that it had been nine months since any offer came her way. Clearly, as the title suggests, there is something more pervasive and sinister that happens in Hollywood, far more dastardly than the actual feud that persists between Bette and Joan: the exploitation of older actresses for the benefit of their audience... 

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The Furniture: Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Your House Is Listening

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in much more magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

 “Hush hush, sweet Charlotte,” Patti Page softly croons, “He’ll love you till he dies.” The title song of Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte may not be as catchy as “Chim Chim Chiree,” which took the Oscar, but it has a much creepier sort of staying power. Here’s the final verse:

“And every night after he shall die
Yes every night when he’s gone
The wind will sing you this lullaby
Sweet Charlotte was loved by John.”

The music haunts Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis), along with everything else: her house, her family and her memories.

This Southern Gothic vibe is what separates the film from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Well, that and the fact that Joan Crawford walked off the set. But I will leave the offscreen drama to Ryan Murphy...

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Beauty vs Beast: Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" contest  - the older I get the more amateurish and obvious it feels to call F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby, which was published on this day in 1925, my favorite book... but then I go read the book again and it lifts me up and swirls me around wildly for 180 brief pages and drops me off along those boats beating against the current, and I'm reconvinced it remains the Great American Novel. So I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone - alongside me stand whole swaths of movie-makers who keep trying to turn it into The Great American Movie, time and time again, to wildly varying degrees of success.

So today let's focus in on the two highest profile adaptations - Jack Clayton's 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and Baz Luhrmann's 2013 jazzy flick with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. And because we're all good and proper actressexuals here at The Film Experience let's head down to the end of the dock and stare at the green light across the bay to dream of the ladies alone. (Since they're both playing the same character I'm going to skip the PROS & CONS this time around since we're judging them by their performances.)

PREVIOUSLY Last week we sent a letter to daddy telling him how much we love What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, and specifically Baby Jane herself, since y'all gave Bette Davis' performance a full 75% of your votes. (But don't worry about Joan Crawford - she just showed up at my house to accept the award in Bette's honor.) Said Jones:

"Bette as Baby Jane is a master act with continuous high-wire moments that never feel absurd or over the top. Her acting shines masterfully when she reveals the broken soul within through tender shifts in her facial expression or voice intonation. The last few minutes are particularly heart-breaking and makes you feel for her. Joan is amazing, but I'm team Baby Jane unflinchingly."