Entries in Birthday (38)
Here's abstew with a tribute to an actor we lost too soon.
Today, April 4th, 2014, would have been Oscar winner Heath Ledger's 35th Birthday. Tragically, the talented young actor's career was all too brief. (It's crazy to think that 2 of the 5 Best Actor nominees from 2005 are no longer with us.) But let's not dwell on the sadness, but celebrate the life and work of this amazing Aussie.
This past week marked the 15th anniversary of the film that brought Heath to movie-goers' attention, 10 Things I Hate About You. (No, the Fox show Roar does not count as his breakthrough. Even though it co-starred TV's Felicity and I do actually remember watching it.)
At the time, 10 Things seemed like just another late 90s teen movie based on a Shakespeare play. (You'd be surprised how much that was a thing back then. And they all starred Julia Stiles.) But there was something about Heath's charismatic turn in the film that made you just know he was destined for better things. (It would take us a little longer to realize this about co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt.) Perhaps because Heath, even while playing a teenager, seemed to already be a leading man, carrying a maturity and a masculinity rarely found in one so young.
My favorite scene in the film has to be when Heath serenades Julia Stiles' Kat with a rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" by Frank Valli, complete with marching band back-up:
Heath had actually auditioned for the part of Christian in Moulin Rouge! but was deemed too young to play Nicole's love interest. Imagine how great he would have been in a movie musical. Perhaps playing one of the princes in the upcoming film version of Into the Woods?
At the time of his death, he had also started to explore different aspects of his artistic career, directing some music videos and expressing a wish to do a documentary about singer Nick Drake. Having already worked with such great directors as Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, and Terry Gilliam, I'm sure he learned a thing or two from watching them on set.
What might have been?
What other directors would you have loved to have seen Heath work with? What roles do you think he would have tackled? Let's celebrate Heath in the comments
Did you know that only one other Oscar ceremony has ever been held on a March 2nd? That'd be March 2nd, 1944 which crowned CASABLANCA 1943's best picture. Let's hope Oscar chooses as well tonight.
May your favorites lose tonight ... if they're different than mine! Kisses.
Though Casablanca is one of those rare pictures that virtually everyone loves, it actually only won three of its eight Oscar nominations that night: Picture, Director (Michael Curtiz), and Screenplay. Only Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) won fewer Oscars among the Best Pictures of the 1940s with just two statues. So I don't wanna see any online snarking if 12 Years a Slave goes home with only a 2 or 3 statues including the big one. Spreading the wealth is not a new thing and i'd argue it's a healthier thing for the movies, too.
Happy Birthday March 2nd Oscar Babies!
• Jennifer Jones (Best Actress winner, The Song of Bernadette 1943) ...so, yes, she won the Oscar on her twenty-fifth birthday. One assumes that was the happiest of birthdays.
• Martin Ritt (Best Director nominee for Hud, 1963)
Today is actually Martin Ritt's centennial so if you've never seen Hud, one of all time greats, get to it. Ritt also directed Best Picture nominee Norma Rae but he was left out of the directing shortlist that year
• Jon Bon Jovi (Best Original Song nominee "Blaze of Glory" from Young Guns II, 1990)
• John Irving (Best Adapted Screenplay winner, The Cider House Rules, 1999)
... and future Oscar nominee Daniel Craig just because we love him and saw him first, long before Bond -- Love is the Devil (1998), bitches. Eat it.
PREVIOUSLY IN OUR 21 DAY RANDOM TOPIC OSCAR COUNTDOWN
1 day Kathy Bates * 2 days Final Predix * 3 days Oscar Genie wishes * 4 days Leo & Julia * 5 days John Williams * 6 days Alfonso Cuarón * 7 days AIDS dramas * 8 days Peter O'Toole * 9 days Twelve Years a Slave * 10 days Paul Newman * 11 days Bette Midler * 12 days 1934 Best Picture * 13 days Matthew McConaughey and Best Actress 2000 * 14 days All About Eve vs. Titanic * 15 Days Supporting * 16 days Irene Sharaff, Costume Designer * 17 days Randomness * 18 days Meryl Streep * 19 Days Julianne Moore * 20 days 1993 Oscars * 21 days Billy Wilder
Indeed I hope that hitting 50 is such a momentously joyous experience for her that it stirs a renewed something-or-other inside her belly and reignites Ye Olde Acting Bug, because I don't know about you all but I really miss this lady.
It's been a full twelve years since she last acted - twelve years! Can you believe that? She side-stepped all of her 40s in the public eye - her last acting role was as the Snow Queen in the 2002 tele-movie of that name, about that same Hans Christian Anderson tale that inspired this year's hit Frozen. Maybe Bridget took her son to see Frozen and was all "Hey, I remember what it was like shooting icicles from my fingertips, that was fun! Acting ho!" If Frozen reinvigorates Bridget Fonda's acting career it'll be the greatest thing to come from that movie - yes, even better than "Let It Go."
Anyway to celebrate just a smidge of the twenty or so years of her career that we do have, for now, I figured I'd single out a few of my favorite scenes from her movies. The ones that come right to mind when I think of her....
IMDb --> Jane Horrocks --> trade mark: “Very strong Lancashire accent”. The specificity of that might not mean much to anyone outside of the UK (no judgment; I can’t locate Maine on a map), but you’ll know the voice whenever you hear it.
The piercing, excessively rounded vowels are unmistakably Horrocks, unique in the global film industry that so frequently sands off regional accents into indistinguishable homogeneity. Maybe that’s why Horrocks’ career hasn’t ever reached the peak she did in 1998, with a Golden Globe nomination for Little Voice – she simply sounds too strange for a Hollywood career. On her fiftieth birthday, let me, David, take you on a little highlight reel tour of this superb performer’s career.
Tim here. Saving Mr. Banks opens in New York and Los Angeles today, and Mary Poppins made its debut on Blu-ray this past Tuesday in a "50th Anniversary" edition bumped up a year for maximum cross-promotion effectiveness. Doubtlessly, neither of those events was timed to coincide with the birthday of Mary Poppins co-star Dick Van Dyke, who turns 88 years old today, but the confluence of events was just too perfect to pass up. Let us then spare a moment to thank one of the greatest avuncular figures in American pop culture in this moment when his most important film role has been brought back into the limelight so enthusiastically (though Van Dyke, as a character, is barely a blip in the context of Saving Mr. Banks, taking the form of an unbilled performance by Kristopher Kyer).
Anne Marie here with some happy news: It's Rita Moreno's birthday! The Puerto Rican showbiz legend has a list of awards as long as her gorgeous legs, and soon she's going to add to it! As Nathaniel reported earlier, the Screen Actors Guild is adding the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award to her much-deserved accolades in January.
In addition to being the third Triple Crown winner (Emmy, Tony, Oscar) and one of twelve EGOT winners (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), Rita Moreno has had an absolutely fascinating career for its depth and diversity. She's said that her success in West Side Story was actually a double-edged sword, after winning an Oscar in 1962 for her firey performance as Anita, most of the film roles offered to her were as the token minority. As a result, she refused to appear in film for another seven years. Moreno instead turned to television and theater. As part of the cast of The Electric Company (along with a very young Morgan Freeman), Moreno won her Grammy in 1972. In 1975, Moreno won a Tony for the play The Ritz. Then she completed her EGOT with two Emmy wins: first in 1977 for The Muppet Show, and again in 1978 for The Rockford Files. But her career didn't stop there. She's done everything from voice work (Carmen Sandiego in Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?) to TV Drama (Oz), and even an occasional Law And Order episode in the past few years. One thing she's never been in is a rut.
Today in honor of Rita's birthday, here are clips from her EGOT winning performances.
Emmy: The Muppet Show (1977)
Grammy: The Electric Company (1972)
Oscar: Anita in West Side Story (1961)
And finally her incredible Tony acceptance speech for The Ritz (1975)
What's your favorite performance by Miss Moreno?