Oscar History

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Entries in Celeste Holm (6)


The Furniture: Tom Sawyer's Stovepipe and Steamboat Nostalgia

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


On paper, 1973’s Tom Sawyer might be the oddest project of Celeste Holm’s entire career. It was her first big screen appearance in six years. She’d been splitting her time between TV and theater, making guest appearances on shows like The Fugitive and leading the national tour of Mame. And while it’s not unexpected that her return would come via an independent production, the company in question may surprise you.

Tom Sawyer was made by Reader’s Digest, during the company’s six year foray into the industry. This was their first feature, the accompanying risk of which might explain the bizarre product placement. Child star Johnny Whitaker is actually credited as appearing “through the courtesy of Elder Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of Tom Sawyer wearing apparel for boys.” Still selling uniforms today, their signature line of boys’ outfits appears not to have changed in a century.

For our purposes, however, the notable thing is the location. Tom Sawyer and its sequel are the only films based on Mark Twain’s beloved characters to be shot in Missouri after the silent era...

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Now Streaming: Luke Cage's Day Off - A True Story

The following titles are now streaming for your pleasure. We've freeze framed them at entirely random places and shared the first thing that came up as is our whimsical practice. Do you have any desire to see (or revisit) these based on this evidence? 


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
LOL. Totally forgot about this sly partners in crime shopping scene. Have you seen this recently? It's so great but for every cutaway to Mickey Rooney (sigh). Nominated for five Oscars including Best Actress. (It's actually kind of a surprise that this hasn't been remade since it was originally envisioned for Marilyn Monroe and could have obviously been an entirely different sort of movie.)

seven more after the jump including Marvel's Luke Cage and a 1940s Best Picture winner...

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Celeste Holm (1917-2012)

The oldest living Best Supporting Actress winner has now, unfortunately, left us. And to think we were just talking about the divinely appealing Celeste Holm. Holm died earlier today at 95 years of age in her Manhattan home with her husband at her side. She'd recently been hospitalized for dehydration and suffered a heart attack.

Celeste celebrating her Oscar at an anniversary screening in '12 and on Oscar nite in '48

Today's she's best remembered for her work in All About Eve (1950) and Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but her successful career also included Broadway stardom (she was the original Ado Annie in Oklahoma!) and her own television series "Honestly Celeste". She will most definitely be missed. 

In the last completed episode of Best Pictures from the Outside In (a series y'all bring up with regularity), we talked about Gentlemen's Agreement in which I found Holm fully deserving of her Oscar, writing:

In all seriousness Celeste Holm is tremendously good in this movie as a sassy career gal with a big but slightly lonely social life. At first I was worried it was one of those cases where you latch on to and overvalue a charismatic performance because it saves you from its dull surroundings (too many examples to name) but by the movie's end I was convinced that I would have found her sensational even if she hadn't been surrounded by so much dead air; the portrait was so vivid I could project a whole sequel with her character as the star.

Mike remarked that he wanted to meet her to thank her for being the best thing in so many movies.

Celeste and her husband at her 90th birthday party in 2007Celeste had been recently troubled by bitter family divisions and legal complications involving her depleted fortune, her much younger husband (from her fifth marriage in 2004) and her two sons. Our condolescences go out to all of them -- we hope everyone resolved their differences towards the end and hangs on to the good memories.

Program yourself a mini-Celeste fest in her honor soon. There are wonderful and/or storied films to choose from: All About Eve, Come to the Stable, Gentleman's Agreement, High Society, The Tender Trap, and the television musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella among them.


Q&A Returns: Whoopi 3, Actressexual 5, Batman 8

Gee, it only took me a month to answer your questions. So on top of it am I! But, silver lining, the Q&A column is back.  We'll do it again soon. I asked you to ask me questions and I choose a handful or two to answer after chucking out all the top ten and ranking questions (those require entire posts). So, let me reload my coffee (so sleepy) and we're off...

JOEY: What "hotly-anticipated" movie of the summer are you anxious to see disappear?

Awesome Dark Knight Rises billboard

I almost never wish for whole movies to disappear but I get advertising fatigue. I'm so happy to be done with The Amazing Spider-Man which already felt extranneous before its promotional onslaught. I'm anxious to get past The Dark Knight Rises too, both because of the bruising "you must love this or suffer death threats" weirdness that surrounded its predecessor and because then the marketing, however brilliant, will stop. I may not love Chris Nolan's movies as much as Composite American Moviegoer but I'd SO much rather be watching any of them than seeing them advertised incessantly. I also don't think I can take The Watch trailer even one more time; shouting is not comedy.

Mr W: Is there any way to donate a sum to you via Paypal without going for a monthly subscription? I'm not a fan of those, but I do feel generous at the moment...

Why yes there is, though considering it took me a month to do this column, your generous moment may have understandably passed. Donations help me pay basics like rent, groceries, movie tickets (I can't always get to screenings since I have to supplement my meager writing income with higher paying off-writing gigs), and travel expenses if I go to festivals (which I don't get to enough due to the costs). I've added a one time donation button under the subscription button.

JOHN T: A terrific actress that never gets discussed on Film Experience --  Whoopi Goldberg. What are your thoughts on her career? Do you have a fave role? And, most importantly, what would it take to get her a third nomination?

I like Whoopi but I've always viewed her as more of a celebrity than an actor. Maybe this is because she started as a comedienne and ended (well, you know what I mean) as a talk show host.

Whoopi, Joss Whedon, and an Actressexual Film Festival after the jump.

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Oscar Loves Two Women. In The Same Film. Often. 

Amir here. Since the Oscar nominations were announced on tuesday we’ve all heard tons of new stats about this year's slate. All the ‘oldest’ and ‘youngest’ and ‘most’s aside, the one thing that caught my eye was the double nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Help’s ladies Jessica Chastain & Octavia Spencer. This is now the fourth consecutive year that the category has included two nominees from the same film. For the trivia lovers among you, this equals the previous longest streak of double supporting actress nominations from 1947 through 1950: Gentleman’s Agreement, I Remember Mama, Come to the Stable, Pinky and All About Eve... (though the earlier run is more impressive since 1949 had two sets of double nominees.)

Trivia: The two longest double supporting runs (though 47-50 actually had a year with two double noms."Pinky" is not pictured by accident. Apologies). In both one actress appeared multiple times (Amy Adams and Celeste Holm) and one of those times she played a nun!!!

Last year’s winner, The Fighter’s Melissa Leo, was accompanied by her co-star Amy Adams, who had been nominated along with Viola Davis for Doubt two years earlier. When Adams was taking time off inbetween, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick filled in for her for their performances in Up in the Air. Had it not been for 2007's spread of wealth, the record could have been extended another two years since Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza were both nominated for Babel the year before.

If you look back through the history of the shiny gold man you'll find that in the 76 years since the Supporting categories were introduced 28 films have managed two supporting actress nominations. That’s an astonishing number but here’s what's more interesting. (Continued... with Pie Charts!)

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"I'm an excellent driver"

Yes, readers, the blog goes right here. Everything's now in one place. (Well, everything except co-productions which alternate location like Best Pictures From the Outside In and such.)

Fake Jew, Real ScientologistNick, Mike and I are proud to bring back "Best Pictures From the Outside In" series for its 20th episode (the halfway mark). The films are Gentleman's Agreement in which Gregory Peck poses as a Jewish man to write a scathing expose on anti-Semitism and Tom Cruise plays a cocky jerk who suddenly finds he is with family (no, not in that way) in Rain Man.

If you're new to the series and need a refresher, here is the index to all 20 episodes. Nick, being the overachiever that he is, also keeps a tournament list a readers poll and ranks all the winners.

Please join in the conversation of that episode at Goatdog's blog. There's so much to discuss. Do you love the 80s time capsule of Rain Man. Do you like being lectured to by Gregory Peck? Mike sums both films up in an animated 2 minute recap, I share my theory on how Tom Cruise inspired Twitter (no really) and Nick overshares his Scientology (not really).

P.S. I think you should know that Bull Durham was totally robbed of an Oscar nomination in 1988 and Black Narcissus (which we recently wrote about) was robbed in 1947. What were they thinking?