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 Dianne Wiest (19)


Months of Meryl: Falling in Love (1984)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#10 —Molly Gilmore, a married woman who, against her better judgment, falls in love with a married man.

JOHN: Falling in Love is my favorite movie. Well, not exactly. I only just watched it for the first time, so I can’t exactly gauge the extent of my affection. But I’ll repeat: Falling in Love is my favorite movie. It’s hard not to fall in love (sorry) with a movie where Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro have an affair in 1983 New York City, aided by best pals Dianne Wiest and Harvey Keitel. After a chance encounter at the beautiful Manhattan bookstore Rizzoli on Christmas Eve, the two meet again months later, care of the blessed Metro North, and eventually have their desires and marriages tested. One could say it’s a Mazursky-inflected Deer Hunter reunion, minus the wit, or The Bridges of Dobbs Ferry, minus the tension. But Falling in Love is an almost lovingly clichéd brief encounter featuring two unexpectedly nuanced lead performances. It’s cinematic comfort food of the loveliest order.

Streep is Molly Gilmore, a graphic designer with a stiff doctor husband (David Clennon) and a dying father (George Martin), and nearly nothing else of a backstory to report. In our last entry I noted that Streep as Karen Silkwood is ostensibly the closest character to her own personality that she had yet played, but Falling in Love quickly bucks that distinction...

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Christmas Classics: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Team Experience has been sharing their favorite Christmas flicks. Here's new contributor Jorge on a Burton special...

Edward Scissorhands, at first sight, not the most Christmassy movie. It is not an iteration of a Charles Dickens’ novella, there are no Santa Clauses, and no one is chasing anyone through a snowed-in airport. Falling snow is a big motif throughout, but only the last third takes places during that time of year.

But it beautifully captures the sentiment of Christmas in the most important sense... 

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Tweets and Where To Find Them

Before we get to this week's best and most amusing tweets on topics like HBO's Westworld, film reviews, Ben Affleck, Hillary Clinton and more after the jump, let's start with a few tweets on the next franchise no one has seen yet but is still eager to spend billions on... Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. (sigh)

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Beauty vs Beast: Heroes Divided

Jason from MNPP here, using this week's "Beauty vs Beast" to enthusiastically fire the starting pistol on this year's Civil War. No, not the Republicans vs the Democrats, they're still too busy with in-fighting for that Battle Royale just yet; I speak of the competition that many many Americans care about (don't judge me for pointing that out, I am simply the messenger) - Superhero vs Superhero. And since we're already attempting to forget that Batman V Superman happened, we're swiveling to the next big cage match, Marvel style - Captain America: Civil War, which is out in about a month, and which faces off several beloved characters but first and foremost Cappy himself and his co-Avenger Tony Stark aka Iron Man.

I figure in about a month when the movie's actually coming out we'll all be sick of it already (that's the way these things work now) and so when I saw that today is Robert Downey Jr.'s birthday I knew - the time is now. And it's not like with three Iron Mans, two Captain Americas, and two Avengers movies we don't already know enough going in to this battle to choose our sides. Have at it!

PREVIOUSLY We made like Mia Farrow last week and considered our Hannah and Her Sisters co-stars, and over 70% decided that the Oscars were on point, giving our golden love to Dianne Wiest. Said mareko:

"Weist really is amazing in Hannah and Her Sisters. I didn't care for her character Holly *at all* in the beginning, but man does she have an impressive, if somewhat unbelievable, character arc. To go from bitter and cynical to warm and luminous, without losing her way (or ours), is to be applauded. A true breakout performance. (Hershey is good, too, if a bit histrionic for my taste.)"


Beauty vs Beast: Hannah's Sisters

Jason from MNPP here, looking out across this rainy New York City day and thinking of Woody Allen, as I'm wont to do. Today specifically we're thinking about his great 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, because today is the great Dianne Wiest's birthday, and that film won Wiest her first of two much deserved Oscars. (It doesn't hurt that the movie just celebrated its 30th anniversary on March 14th.) So today's edition of our "Beauty vs Beast" series it is!

We're facing off the "and the Sisters" of the title -- Weist as the recovering actress Holly and Barbara Hershey as the brother-in-law snatching Lee. Granted the awardage (and the general consensus that she totally deserved it too) might immediately tilt this contest in Wiest's direction in your mind, but slow yourself and don't make the mistake of under-valuing Barbara Hershey's fine work in the film; she makes the difficult and confused character of Lee pretty darn sympathetic and funny too. Much to my emotional consternation if they made online quizzes asking us which of the three sisters we are in this film I am sure I'd end up being a Lee.

PREVIOUSLY Last week nathaniel took over and delightfully went Full Tabloid, asking you to choose between the recently y'all to choose between the recently fractured power-couple Bennifer 2.0 -- y'all had the good sense to stand with Jennifer Garner to the tune of just under 70% of the vote. Said John T:

""I mean ehh on both of them but Jen seems like a nice person off screen and Ben like a jackass. As they're both gorgeous I will use that as my tiebreaker"


How's Dianne? Still Great. 

Lukewarm off the presses! In a theater article at the New York Times a week ago about the new play Rasheeda Speaking starring Tonya Pinkins, her co-star, the two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest made a statement that quickly raised eyebrows that she didn't have enough work to pay her rent. It came when the actresses discussed the difficulties of finding good roles, which is surely depressing when you're basically a genius. (Tonya Pinkins, for what it's worth, gave one of the all time best theatrical performances I've ever seen in the musical Caroline or Change a decade ago. Idina Menzel winning her Tony was basically as ridiculous as say Benigni taking the one that shoulda gone to Norton or McKellen.)


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Podcast Pt 2: Steel Magnolias, Parenthood, and Movie Memories

Did you listen to part one and read the smackdown?
(If not, do both first.)

In the second half of our Smackdown 1989 companion conversation we discuss the 'regular family' subgenre in movies and television, and our histories with both Parenthood and Steel Magnolias. We also revisit Julia Roberts feud with her director Herbert Ross and debate how Parenthood has aged and where it sits in the raunchy comedy continuum.

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes Continue the conversation in the comments. We'd love to hear your thoughts on these two films. Who's your favorite from these huge ensembles? 

And a big round of applause please for our awesome panel: Nick DavisKevin B LeeTim RobeyTasha RobinsonTodd VanDerWerff  and your host Nathaniel R. We hope you'd give us at least ♥♥♥ 

until next time...

Smackdown Pt 2: Parenthood & Steel Magnolias


Smackdown 1989: Anjelica, Brenda, Dianne, Lena, and Julia Roberts

Presenting the Nominated Supporting Actresses of 1989. Motherhood was the loose theme of the shortlist with a determined mom (Brenda Fricker) facing off against a determined-to-be-a-mom bride (Julia Roberts). Add in 1986's Oscar winner in this category (Dianne Wiest) as a mom so exasperated maybe she wished she hadn't become one in one of 89's top ten box office hits. Rounding out the list was a late breaking pair of women with claims on the same married man. Only one of them is married to him but... well, let's just say it's complicated. It's complicated for all five of these women.



Then-unknown Irish character actress Brenda Fricker, gifted with a screen partner who would go on to become Oscar's most-winning Best Actor, took the gold. But the other four were in-demand hot commodities. Lena Olin who had emerged the year before (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) as a memorably erotic screen presence made good on that breakthrough. Anjelica Huston and Dianne Wiest, both recent Oscar winners, had yet more memorable turns in beloved films around the corner. But it was Julia Roberts who was the true breakout of the season... she went super nova literally three days before the actual ceremony with the release of her follow up Pretty Woman. Had the Oscars been a month later she might've won on in-the-moment global mania; the film was a hit everywhere grossing nearly ½ a billion dollars worldwide in 1990.


You've already heard 'what 1989 means to them' and now here to talk about these five performances are critics Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks), Kevin B Lee (Fandor Keyframe), Tim Robey (The Telegraph), Tasha Robinson (The Dissolve), Todd VanDerWerff (Vox) and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). With a shoutout to StinkyLulu for the original Smackdown inspiration in which we revisit Oscar shortlists of the past without all the campaigning and heat-of-the-moment politics that infect each awards race.

Without further ado, the Smackdown...


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