Oscar History

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Entries in Frank Langella (8)


Stage Door: The Father

Frank Langella is an imposing figure. Standing 6'4" tall, with a countenance absolutely befitting a man who has played both Dracula and Richard Nixon, the man simply looks like a force to be reckoned with. His sense of gravitas demands attention and respect. All of which makes what he does in Manhattan Theater Club's Tony-nominated production of Florian Zeller's play The Father even more impressive.

Langella plays André, an elderly man living in Paris with his daughter, Anne (Kathryn Erbe). At the start of the play, Anne is explaining why she has to get him a new helper: The last one apparently quit after André called her "a little bitch" and threatened her with a curtain rod. For his part, André at first denies the incident, then laughs it off, saying that he is perfectly competent to care for himself.

And here is where talking about the play gets difficult...

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Tony Nominations: Hamilton, The Color Purple, Etcetera

In what we're choosing to interpret as a "changing of the guard" moment, two Book of Mormon stars (Andrew Rannells and Nikki M. James) announced the Hamilton Awards this morning. Or, rather, the Tony Award Nominations though the bulk of them went to the hot show of the now, Hamilton. In fact it busted the previous record of most nominations which was 15 (held jointly by The Producers and Billy Elliott) by 1 nomination.  Shouldn't Rory O'Malley have been present, too, in this announcement since he's the only Tony-nominated Book of Mormon alum in Hamilton (having just replaced Jonathan Groff)?

The Tony Awards will be held on June 12th and broadcast on CBS at 8 pm EST.

Most Nominations Musicals:
Hamilton - 16
Shuffle Along - 10
She Loves Me - 8 

Can Jessica Lange add a Tony to her trophy shelf for "Long Day's Journey Into Night"? She already has 1 SAG, 2 Oscars, 3 Emmys, and 5 Golden Globes

Most Nominations Plays:
Long Day's Journey Into Night - 7  
The Humans - 6

All the nominees (including several Oscar players) and some errant thoughts come after the jump...

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A.I. "Robot & Frank"

We're going Sci-Fi (in part) and Artificial Intelligence especially in these last days of April. Here's Sebastian... 

Here's a film featuring artificial intelligence very much unlike those in theaters right now: Jake Schreier's Robot & Frank (2012) starring Frank Langella as an aging man reluctantly learning to accept a robot, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, taking care of him when he begins to show signs of dementia. Robot & Frank garnered some critical acclaim but didn't make much noise at the box office. It's a quiet film, a deliberate one, set in "the near future" with a sentient, talking robot as a title character. It might be labelled as science-fiction but it isn't actually all that interested in playing to that genre's tropes and familiar storytelling devices.

The exact year Robot & Frank is set in is never explicitly stated, but it can't be too far off into our future from what we see on screen. In fact the technological advances shown in the film aren't so much future as they are extremely current present. The phones, screens, cars, and appliances in Robot & Frank are of our time, they're just not common in our time. Some of those choices are made out of necessity by the film-makers – it's cheaper to have characters drive the very latest car models than make up and build new ones – but it also serves to give the world of the film a rich, lived-in feel that wouldn't be achieved if every single thing in it was new and shiny and ultimately strange to us. [More...]

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Tribeca: "5 to 7," Or Why Frustrated Writers Should Back Away From Final Draft

Tribeca coverage continues with Diana on 5 to 7 with Anton Yelchin & Glenn Close

Based on the imaginings of an out-of-touch, middle-aged writer-director, 5 to 7 is about a 24 year-old “writer” (Anton Yelchin) who becomes involved with the 33 year-old wife of a French diplomat (Berenice Marlohe). Brian lives in Manhattan, presumedly on his parents’ dime (Glenn Close and Frank Langella, both painfully misused), and attempts to write, his creative juices facilitated by posting a multitude of rejection letters on his wall and playing lonely man wiffleball in his apartment. Arielle also lives in Manhattan  and is oh so very “French” -- husband, two kids, posh neighborhood, and ability to balance high heels with a well-fitting dress.

Spotting Arielle in front of the St. Regis, Brian pursues her through quips that sound more like early drafts of “wit” rather than the finished product (think Woody Allen without the neurotic charm). She tosses words back at him that are meant to signify mutual attraction. When they do end up in a hotel room together (after she hands him the key), there is zip chemistry between the pair, cringingly highlighted all-the-more when Arielle tells Brian that he is a natural lover and asks whether his other lovers had told him that. That’s the crux of the problem with this film - we are told things consistently through voiceover and character iteration (Brian loves Arielle, Arielle loves Brian, Brian’s mother can see that they love each other), but we’re rarely shown anything substantial enough to back up these assertions. [More...] 

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Yes, No, Maybe So: "Grace of Monaco"

Approaching trailers for movies you're going to see no matter what (i.e. anything with your favorite actor in it) makes the Yes, No Maybe So™ question a strangely hypothetical one. Such is the case with Grace of Monaco which is currently scheduled to open on ____. No, we don't know the date yet but people will be talking about it in May after its Cannes premiere. Let's hope those of us who can't afford $1000 a night for a trip to France in the summer don't have to wait seven months* to form our own opinions; a bit of glam adult counterprogramming in the summer (look at the scenery!) would be a kind thing to do!

But where were we?

Oh yes, Princess Grace. At the beginning of the trailer we learn that she'd like to return to Hollywood -- Hitchcock wanted her for Marnie (1962) but...conflict! Her formerly charming prince won't allow for it; this is not a Disney musical and there will be no Happily Ever After...

the Yes No Maybe So breakdown is after the jump. Non-Spoiler Alert: I'm a "Yes"

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Curio: Frank Langella at 75

Alexa here. I just couldn't let the day pass without paying tribute to Frank Langella on his 75th birthday. He has always been one of my favorite actors; something about his unctuous classicism makes him appear to be a larger-than-life Caravaggio, and my gothic sensibilities have only truly been satisfied with his turn as Dracula. His work continues to intrigue; 2007's Starting Out in the Evening was a recent high point in a career that has spanned more than 50 years. Plus, he revealed himself to be quite the debauched dandy in his memoir Dropped Names, making him all the more endearing (read what Nathaniel had to say about it here; it really is a fun read). 


I'm enough of a fan that I invested in an Edward Gorey-illustrated poster from his Broadway turn in Dracula, and I still hold on to my VHS copies of two of his early films... [more]

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Frank Langella, Name Dropper

On my way out west to see family, I found great escapist distraction in Frank Langella's memoir "Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them" When the book was first released earlier this year, I thought it sounded so distasteful so I didn't pick it up. As it turns out Billy Held an Oscar wouldn't let me go without reading it and sent me a copy as an early birthday gift. Thanks, Billy!

Frank Langella in his first flushes of fame. The book is about dead celebrities he met.

I hadn't realized that Langella was only talking about dead celebrities -- sorry, no shacked-up-with-Whoopi Goldberg or Frost/Nixon chapters! -- and I can't decide if that makes the sometimes unflattering anecdotes more wonderful or more distasteful. Probably both. Initial reservations aside the book is well written and a real page turner. Langella even predicts and silences most "they can't defend themselves!" criticisms with a clearly stated prologue, including this bit:

Separate and diverse individuals as they may be, my subjects have in comon the inevitable outcome awaiting us all: to live only in memories. In this case, mine.

I admit that they are most likely prejudiced, somewhat revisionst, and a tad exaggerated here and there. But were I offered an exact replay of events as they unfolded, I would reject it. I prefer my memories.

I am forcing myself to read the book very slowly so as not to exhaust all the juicy anecdotes quickly.  I still have a lot to read but my favorite story thus far is remarkably not about a movie star at all but about the movie starriest of American presidents John F Kennedy, who Langella met when he was all of 15 at a rich friend's parent's brunch. Langella, who is now 74 has a wealth of material to draw from given that his showbiz career started as a teenager and he's achieved success on the stage, in film and on television. 

Nothing shocks Bride of Frankenstein Elsa Lanchester!

I thought I'd share an example after the jump -- a little Elsa Lanchester bit...

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