Oscar History
Welcome

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.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment Du Jour
Personal Ballot: Best Supporting Actress

"Must admit to not having seen "20th Century Women" yet. I'm already an Elle Fanning admirer. So I'm looking forward to seeing whether she or Greta Gerwig can shake up my list." - Ken

Keep TFE Strong

Love the Site? DONATE 

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

THANKS IN ADVANCE

INTERVIEWS

Pablo Larraín (Jackie)
Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)
Gael García Bernal (Neruda)
Billy Crudup (20th Century Women)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival

 

Subscribe

Entries in Directors (227)

Saturday
Aug292015

Autumn Sonata: Ingrid's Swan Song 

Happy Ingrid Bergman Centennial! The great movie star was born 100 years ago on this very day in Stockholm, Sweden. Jose closes out our 10 film retrospective with a look at her final feature film - Editor

Jose here. True story: there was a time when I thought Ingrid Bergman and Ingmar Bergman were the same person. Not because I had seen Persona and dreamt of metaphysical unions between both great Swedes, but merely because I was a child.

I first laid eyes on Ingrid on the box of my grandma’s tape of Casablanca, when I was 6, and there was something about those eyes filled with longing and sorrow that one day drew me to insert the tape into the player. Bewitched by the earthy qualities and the warmth she exuded, I devoured as many of her films as I could get my hands on, until one day I heard someone talk of Ingmar. Convinced that it was merely a mispronounced version of Ingrid’s name I remained oblivious until the day I saw The Seventh Seal at age 12. The more I learned of Ingmar’s work in the following years, the less I thought there would be room for Ingrid in his world of damaged, oft cold human beings.

Then I watched Autumn Sonata and not only did she make sense in Ingmar’s universe, it seemed to be the place she was born to be in. Playing world famous pianist Charlotte Andergast, the director allowed her beautiful features to reflect a severity she had merely suggested in earlier roles during her career, as if she chose not to be breathtaking. The film has Liv Ullmann play Charlotte’s daughter Eva, who resents her mother for not having been around much when she was a child. To say that their exchanges are unkind would be an understatement, when every word seems like a dagger aimed for the ultimate kill.

Cinema's Legendary Bergmans. No relation.

Ingmar’s kind of existentialism often drew from his own life, but in Autumn Sonata he seems to have made a film all about Ingrid. For starters, the very notion of a mother abandoning her children was something that allegedly tormented Ingrid who left her own child in America to pursue a relationship with director Roberto Rossellini in the 1950s, in traditional Bergman fashion though, Charlotte isn’t entirely filled with regret though, and she seems pleased with having Eva’s contempt, rather than having spent her life pretending she wanted to be with her children. It’s a bold performance that breaks from the nurturing qualities Ingrid had shown all throughout her career.

Charlotte turned out to be the Oscar winner’s big screen swan song, she would then go into semi-retirement only to act in a Golda Meir biopic that would win her an Emmy and a Golden Globe, but her work in Autumn Sonata makes for a beautiful bookend when juxtaposed with her first big role in Intermezzo. In fact, we could propose a theory that Charlotte is another version of Intermezzo’s Anita Hoffman, in fact she could even be the same woman, a professional musician who realizes her art is more important than anything else in the world, after being subjected to endless heartbreak at the hand of the man she loves. It’s a thing of beauty to realize that she had been showing us shades of Charlotte more than 40 years before. Could it be that Ingmar had seen Intermezzo as a young man and dreamed this part for his leading lady before he began his own career? Even though Ingrid and Ingmar weren't the same person after all, they were meant to do transcendental art together all along.

previouslyIntermezzo (1939), Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1942), Notorious, (1946), Joan of Arc (1948), Journey to Italy (1954), Indiscreet (1958), The Inn of Sixth Happiness (1958), Cactus Flower (1969) and 10 Best Ingrid Bergman Kisses (1935 through 1970)

Thursday
Aug272015

And The Honorary Oscars Go To... Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowlands, and Spike Lee.

No sooner had I published a list of speculation / suggestions for November's Honorary Oscars then the actual awards were announced. (I  must have misread the date on the Academy's meeting about this so we've unpublished and will revisit that topic at a more appropriate time.) For now, a hearty congratulations to a satisfying trio of recipients with very different appeals. We're throwing streamers and popping out of (okay eating) cakes this afternoon to celebrate!

Our Oscar Theme Song

All I do... is dream of you... the whole night through
with the dawn... i still go on... and dream of you
you're every thought... you're every thing
you're every song i ever sing
Summer. Winter.... Autumn and Spring 

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, "America's Sweetheart" back in her heyday (roughly speaking the 50s through the mid 60s), is your populist choice, not unlike Maureen O'Hara last year. Well liked showbiz legends that were never really critics darlings or in the Oscar hunt competitively can win Honorary Oscars if they stick around long enough. So here's to longevity! Reynolds, who is 83, made her first credited movie appearance in 1950, received her sole Best Actress nomination for the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)... and has literally never stopped working. This is a true showbiz trouper.

OF NOTE # 1: Carrie Fisher is going to be much in demand for the next several months given a) her mom's Honorary Oscar victory lap, publicity for her new memoir, and her own return to her signature Princess Leia this December in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

OF NOTE # 2: Postcards from the Edge, the thinly veiled Carrie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds comic biopic starring Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine hits its 25th anniversary in a couple of weeks and we'll be celebrating that too.

GENA ROWLANDS was a regular Oscar player in her heyday (roughly speaking the late 60s through the early 80s) and is easily your aesthete's choice this year. She's a hugely influential actor and cinephiles have been bemoaning her Oscar losses for years, due in large part to her groundbreaking early indie work with her husband John Cassavettes. She's also worshipped by discerning film buff actors. Consider Tilda Swinton's quote on her film Julia, which was a loose remake of Gena's earlier film Gloria.

One's always downloading one's heroes, I suppose, all the time.  I remember being asked whether I thought about Gena Rowlands for "Julia" and thinking 'well, I think about Gena Rowlands all the time!' Not just for 'Julia'.

SPIKE LEE you could safely and cynically call this point in the 2015 honorary triangle their diversity choice but he's also entirely deserving so bless the media for putting so much pressure on Oscar voters to diversify! There's more to cinema than old white men (many of them are worth celebrating, too, but Oscar amply covers that without prodding). What's more, unlike Debbie Reynolds and Gena Rowlands, who couldn't really be called mistreated by the Academy for various reasons, AMPAS truly owes this maverick auteur. His indisputable classic Do The Right Thing (1989), his biopic epic Malcolm X (1992), his late career best 25th Hour (2002), and his biggest hit Inside Man (2006) have a measly 4 Oscar nominations between them with no wins. His only nominations to date were for his documentary 4 Little Girls (1997) and the screenplay of Do The Right Thing which, insane as it may sound, both lost. 

AND HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN DEAR READER...

Last year we did mini-retrospectives on the Honorary winners when we noticed a dearth of coverage on movie sites (for shame) beyond obligatory news posts of the names and the later ceremony. Which films from each of their filmographies would you most like to revisit or discover for the first time with us before the ceremony on November 14th? 

Wednesday
Aug262015

Unlikely Couple: Robert Pattinson and Claire Denis

Here's Murtada with the week's most interesting casting news.

Robert Pattinson is starring in Claire Denis’ next movie. Are we being punked? No. Actually to judge from his last few choices it's just another day, another auteur. He’s becoming a top director magnet and has been using his bankability to make interesting choices. He’s confirmed as the lead of Denis’ untitled first English language film. The story is set in space in a “future that seems like the present” with Pattinson reportedly playing an astronaut.

 This particular project is intriguing beyond Pattinson. Denis of course is reason enough to be excited. Her last movie Bastards (2013) may have been less heralded than usual but it was a provocative visceral experience. Collaborating with her on the screenplay is novelist Zadie Smith (On Beauty, White Teeth) whose books have always been cinematic and full of fallible compelling characters. Smith writing her first screenplay? Now that’s exciting!

More...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug252015

Bergman & Rossellini "Journey To Italy"

Our Ingrid Bergman Centenary Celebration finally continues (sorry for the hiatus) with Nathaniel on Journey to Italy (1954)

The opening lines of Roberto Rossellini's marital drama Journey to Italy go like so

Mr Alex Joyce: Where are we? 
Mrs Katherine Joyce: Oh I dont know exactly.

The Joyces (George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman) are not yet talking about their marriage, but also: they are. Were the Rosellinis also examining their marriage through play acting marital drama? Who is to say. But Where They Were is just as important in our mini-history of Ingrid Bergman's career.

In 1949 while filming Stromboli (1950), Ingrid and the director that she was already a fan of (in short: she had written him a fan letter and he had countered with by writing her Stromboli) fell in love and got pregnant. Both were already married and the scandal was immense... at least in the US. Even the Senate got into it denouncing Bergman for her "immorality." They quickly divorced their spouses and married each other and Bergman journeyed to Italy to stay...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug242015

Miscellania: Tarantino's Quotes, Horror's ROI, and Crown's Actors

Dan Callahan interviews Ingrid Bergman's daughters for her centennial
Vulture Quentin Tarantino interviewed. He likes the films of the Duplass Brothers, loves The Newsroom (um, okay?) and disses on Cate Blanchett and Oscar Bait. 
Salon is Daniel (Ralph Macchio) the real bully in The Karate Kid? A contrarian reading
Planet Money Horror films continue to be the best return on investments for producers 
AV Club rumor has it that George Miller is being courted for Man of Steel 2. Danger! There's no way Warner Bros would let him go as expectation averse wild with that franchise as he allowed himself to go with his own franchise for Fury Road 
Grantland rising screenwriter Max Landis (yes, son of John) talks American Ultra, studio franchises versus original material and admits he "despised" Jurassic World

Salon talks to Gaby Hoffman (Transparent, Girls) about her unique roles of late
Mashable now superheroes are even entering the beauty industry with face mask treatments
Variety names ten actors to watch but some of them have been with us a long time like mumbling Emory Cohen (he's got a huge role in Brooklyn later this year, and thankfully he's dumped the mumbling and excessive tics for that one) or are couple of years into it like Short Term 12's Keith Stanfield. Glad to see Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) and Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) on the list
Empire the great Alfre Woodard joins the cast of Luke Cage for Netflix in a very big role 
Film School Rejects on the best shows of the summer coming from the most unlikely places (like USA's Mr Robot or Lifetime's UnReal). But maybe they kill their own argument with MTV's "Scream" which I keep hearing is truly terrible. 

About Male Privilege and Hollywood's Resistance to Female Directors
/Film good essay with very solid points on the lack of female directors being offered big studio jobs and Colin Trevorrow's recent responses about the problem. He clearly means well but his response is naive - suggested that women have too much integrity is a bit too flatteringly sexist -- like a 'but women are sugar and spice and too noble to lower themselves thusly!'

Off Cinema
The Hugo Awards this year's sci-fi literary awards had all sorts of drama with shady ballot stuffing and conscientious objecting to said ballot stuffing and so on so they've elected "no awards" in several categories. But big winners were Marvel's "Ms. Marvel" for graphic story "Guardians of the Galaxy" & "Orphan Black" for the drama prizes. The top prize for Best Novel went to "The Three Body Problem".
Boy Culture "Beat it, I'm Madonna" a great video mashup of Michael Jackson & Madonna
Vimeo Penis painting the Queen and Princess Diana. No really. And obviously NSFW 

Actors in The Regular News
Variety turns out one of the all time best French actors was on that Amsterdam to Paris train that was attacked. He sounded the alarm. Well done, Jean-Hugues Anglade.
The Wrap sad about this - Rosie O'Donnell's 17 year old mixed up with drugs, a 25 year old alleged heroin dealer arrested for endangerment of minor. And Rosie just played a sad mom with a troubled teen daughter onThe Fosters.

Finally
Netflix is making a series The Crown about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth. Helen Mirren had to step down from her signature role this time since the series takes place when she was but 21 years of age and inherited the thrown. Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, plays the royal. People magazine has photos but they don't share this one so I thank Kevin Daly for providing. It's John Lithgow as Winston Churchill and the wondrous screen bitch Harriet Walter as someone... not sure who.

Love her. And she doesn't get enough credit. She's so terrifically callous in Sense & Sensibility (1995) and we've seen her several times in other costume dramas: Young Victoria, Downton Abbey, Cheri, A Royal Affair.

Tuesday
Aug112015

Scorsese + Leo: With Six You Get Body Counts...

We knew they would work together again and now we have confirmation:  Leonardo DiCaprio will headline Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil and the White City. That's a true crime novel about serial killer Dr. HH Holmes who murdered dozens or possibly hundreds in Chicago in the late 19th century. H.H. Holmes was born just a couple of years before the events in Gangs of New York so they're returning to roughly the same time frame of their first collaboration (hello Oscar nominations in craft categories) 

This will be Leo's first serial killer role (if not his first villain) though it's always amusing to remember that Hollywood intended him to be our Patrick Bateman in American Psycho before history course-corrected and gave us the one we needed: Christian Bale. But let's not get sidetracked.

The Devil in the White City will be the sixth collaboration between the director and star. DiCaprio is still well behind Robert De Niro as Scorsese's foremost muse both in number of films and quality of films, but maybe some day he'll catch up to him? Scorsese turns 73 in November. Though he's definitely not Clint (85) or Woody (79) with the indefatigable prolificness neither is he all that slow. He averages about 5 movies a decade and Silence, currently in post, will be his fourth this decade already. By the time they release this one (2018?), we'll have our five for the decade unless Marty squeezes one more in somehow. But don't hold your breath. We first heard about this project way back in 2011 when they hired a screenwriter so there's finally a little bit of movement on it (presumably the script is written now) 

In honor of Marty & Leo's partnership, their five movies together ranked in four ways just because...

THE MARTY & LEO FILMS

In Order of Release Quality 
(Best to Worst)
Global Box Office Success
According to Oscar (Most Loved to Least)
Gangs of New York (2002) The Departed
great 
Wolf of Wall Street
$392 million 
The Aviator 
(11 noms | 5 wins)
The Aviator
(2004)
The Aviator
underappreciated at this point
Shutter Island
$294 million 
The Departed
(5 noms | 4 wins incl BP so really it's #1)
The Departed
(2006)
Wolf of Wall Street
divisive for a reason
The Departed
$289 million
Gangs of New York
(10 noms | 0 wins)
Shutter Island
(2010)
Shutter Island
meh
The Aviator
$213 million 
Wolf of Wall Street
(5 noms | 0 wins)
Wolf of Wall Street
(2013)
Gangs of New York
ugh
Gangs of New York
$193 million 
Shutter Island
(zero noms)

 

Have you read this novel? Do you look forward to a Marty/Leo reunion or do you wish they would move on?

Wednesday
Aug052015

Beauty Break: John Huston & The Huston Dynasty

Today is the 109th birthday of the famed director John Huston. Of course he died long ago, just a few weeks after this picture with his daughters Allegra and Anjelica was taken in fact, at the age of 81. But what a filmography! And what a showbiz family.

The Hustons are one of the rare families with multiple Oscar-winning generations. They're also ridiculously photogenic, with faces that march straight past traditional pretty with strong noses held high as if they can't be bothered with generic beauty standards. Their faces fascinate. They have character. They're ideal for storytelling. More...

Click to read more ...