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 Funny Girl (12)


10 Days Until Oscar. Stage to Screen Roles 

Paul Lukas and Bette Davis in "Watch on the Rhine"

It's ten days until Oscar and soon this post may be obsolete! To date, unless I've miscounted, ten actors have won the leading Oscar for reprising a role they won praise for first on the Broadway stage. Soon there could be 11 depending on how well Denzel Washington fares on Oscar night for Fences

They are...

• George Arliss for Disraeli (1929/30)
Arliss had played this role in the Broadway production in 1911

• Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine (1943)
He previously played this role from 1941 through early 1942 on Broadway -- the transfer to the screen was mighty quick! 

• Jose Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
He won the Tony for this iconic role in 1947. Later in 1990 Gerard Depardieu would also be nominated for playing the same role -- and Steve Martin arguably should have been for Roxanne -- but Depardieu didn't win...

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"I'm the greatest..."


Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Sharif Photographed by Andrew Walker in 2011Hollywood's first and still only Egyptian movie star passed away at 83 today of a heart attack. It had recently been announced that he was suffering from Alzheimers and after such a full life this may feel like a mercy to some, though his loved one are surely grieving and our hearts go out to them.

Though moviegoers roughly 35 and up surely remember him, here's the gist of it for younger budding cinephiles: Sharif began and ended his career in Arabic language cinema but in the vast middle (1960s-1990s) he achieved global stardom via Hollywood and British cinema. His English language debut Lawrence of Arabia (1962) brought him a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and he became a genuine superstar in short order, headlining one of the all time biggest box office smashes (Doctor Zhivago, 1965). In his third enduring classic from that decade he helped Barbra Streisand ascend into the pantheon in her film debut Funny Girl (1968). 

In fact, his performances in those three hits are rather fine illustrations of what was so special about his onscreen persona: his generosity and a certain intangible 'eye of the beholder' transference. He was one of the greatest romantic leading men precisely because he seemed so believably in thrall to the particular charismas of his co-stars. And he had great ones: Sophia Loren, Barbra Streisand, Julie Christie, Peter O'Toole, Julie Andrews and more. 

And while he drank in their inimitable beauty, he looked like this:

Dr Zhivago (1965)a portrait from the 1950s when he starred regularly in Egyptian cinema
The Tamarind Seed (1974) and More Than a Miracle (1967)

Double the pleasure, then, for moviegoers who were ready to swoon. And swoon they did, all over the world. 

What's your favorite Omar Sharif performance?



Podcast: Mother's Day Special

For this very special and ultimately quite spontaneous edition of the podcast, Nathaniel calls a few of his team members to grill them about their moms & the movies. Sadly the entire team was not available -- some of them were being good kids en route to visiting their mothers so they have a good excuse -- but you get to hear from a few of us and how our moms factor into our cinephila. Expect name-droppings of Margo Martindale, Susan Sarandon, I Remember Mama, The Lord of the Rings, A Separation and much more... 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes.

00:01 Intro
01:00 Amir
09:00 Abstew
14:00 Anne Marie
20:30 Tim Brayton
27:00 Funny Girl Interlude & Surprise Guest
32:00 The Guest of Honor, Nathaniel's Mom!
40:00 Exit Music "Baby Mine" with Bette Midler 

Nathaniel's mom & dad in 1960I can't interview each and every one of you out there listening about how your moms shaped your moviegoing but if you have any key stories, please share them in the comments. I actually teared up making this one. Keep the love a-going. And call your mama or take her to a movie today!

Further Reading To Enhance This Podcast
Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate"
Tim's Home Schooling Essay on "Mean Girls"
Amir's "Hello Cinema"
How Many Barbra Streisand's Have You Seen?
Loretta Young, Nathaniel's Mom's Favorite


Mothers Day with TFE


Supporting Smackdown '68: Lynn, Sondra, Kay, Estelle and Ruth

The revival of "StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown" now in its new home at The Film Experience continues. The year is... [cue: time travelling music] 1968.  Oscar skipped the Globe nominees in this category from For the Love of Ivy, The Lion in Winter and Finian's Rainbow and despite their love of Oliver! AND of women in musicals AND of prostitutes with hearts of gold they also skipped newcomer Shani Wallis. Instead they went with these five...

Tony Curtis presented the 1968 Best Supporting Actress Oscar


Estelle Parsons, the previous year's winner in this category for Bonnie & Clyde returned for a victory lap (though she skipped the ceremony). She was joined by two showbiz veterans: Ruth Gordon, a three time nominee for screenwriting who was in the middle of a surprising golden years reinvention as a beloved character actress, and Kay Medford, who had previously experienced her greatest successes on stage. Filling out the shortlist were two fresh faces nominated for their film debuts: Sondra Locke (who would later partner up with Clint Eastwood both on and offscreen for 14 years) & Lynn Carlin (who would later vanish into a series of guest spots on television).

Who will win the Smackdown? Read on 

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Kate, Barbra, and Oscar Part 2: The Diva

Anne Marie with the second half of the two-part post on the Best Actress tie for 1968. Part One is here if you missed it.

The audience of the 41st Academy Awards roared its approval when Ingrid Bergman announced that Hollywood newcomer Barbra Streisand had tied Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress in a Leading Role. But though Streisand has since achieved immense popularity and icon status, this win is still questioned by some. After all, Hepburn was a giant among giants, giving the performance of her career in The Lion in Winter alongside a stellar cast with a sizzling script. Barbra was certainly the best part of an otherwise unremarkable musical. As a highly fictionalized version of famous vaudevillian Fanny Brice, Stresiand packed a ton of charm, chatter, charisma, and chutzpah into one role. But is that enough to warrant an Academy Award?

Actually, yes it is...

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"Hello Gorgeous" How Many Streisands Have You Seen?

Today is the 70th birthday of the legendary Barbra Streisand who we always call Babs. We were chastized in the comments for not celebrating and we get it. There's only one of her, a national treasure. In fact, just a few weeks ago I watched Funny Girl (for the 6th or 7th time) and Funny Lady (for the 2nd time) almost back to back and that double feature is astounding. The first would have to be in the top ten Pure Star Vehicles ever made (♥) and the second one is just... just no, Barbra!

Like Jane Fonda, another screen icon from the 1970s who is on our way back to us, we're über pleased that she's suddenly decided she's an actress again even if we haven't seen the results yet. Barbra's big picture this year is Guilt Trip (co-starring Seth Rogen. November Release) which happens to be her first leading role since the stoney end stone age. Advanced word is positive but you never know who is doing the talking when it comes to advanced word so we're anxious. Comedy was always her forte  and there's no reason that La Streep should be the only elderly giant who younger audiences completely "get" as a Funny Girl.

So for today's big day, let's republish an old article called "Posterized Babs". 

Funny Girl (1968. Best Actress Winner Oscars & Globes) | Hello Dolly (1969. Best Actress Musical Comedy Golden Globe Nomination) | On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970))

15 more films and brief commentary after the jump

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Occupy Q&A! Purposefully Bad Acting & Post-Movie Etiquette

Roughly one hundred years ago on November 18th, 2011 I took questions for the next Q&A and after what was meant to be a short diversion answering the oddly abundant small screen questions I am now answering them. I am many things but I am nothing if not punctual. This is Part one of two as there is much to answer. Tomorrow's edition will actually arrive tomorrow night as it's already written. Yay me!

Just to stretch out the variety a bit I asked y'all to refrain from any questions about legendary actresses this time -- my favorite topic and apparently yours since many of you didn't listen ;) -- so  in this week's column, the men get a little time to shine. Let's go!

ANNIE: What was your favorite experience of seeing a movie with an audience, where the audience's reaction actually enhanced your viewing?

I've had many screenings like this that have enhanced my love of the movie we're all watching together. Which is why I believe so emphatically in the sanctity of moviegoing, and why I wish studios and theaters would lower prices before they price themselves out of populist relevance. TV is free and home theaters are getting larger so the movies really need to understand that they can't be making it so difficult for families to hit the multiplex or who will go? Movie attendance is a fraction of what it once was no matter how big the box office numbers seem and that is sad.

Jack and Leo discussing how awesome Barbra Streisand is in "Funny Girl"In terms of special events almost nothing beats Funny Girl's revival at the Ziegfeld several years ago here in NYC. It must have been sold out and that theater is HUGE. I saw at least one semi-famous person in the crowd and everyone was obviously there because they loved the movie. Seeing such a legendary star-making performance super-sized in a historic theater that had actual ties to the movie? Bliss. Nobody was raining on anyone's parades in there. It felt like oxygenated euphoria in that house. Also you know what movie was fun to watch with a typical noisy multiplex crowd just a few blocks from there? The Departed ! I still relish the audience reaction when you-know-who gets shot so mercilessly without fanfare or warning. It was as if there were tiny rugs under every individual theater seat and diabolical trickster Martin Scorsese had yanked them all at once and all OH.HELL.NO broke loose in there; the most fun you'll ever have watching someone get shot in the head!

How's that for a double feature: Funny Girl and The Departed ? Hee.

JOHN-PAUL: With three summer releases still alive in the Best Picture race (The Help, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life) and fall Oscar-bait movies seemingly underwhelming left and right (J. Edgar, The Ides of March, Carnage, A Dangerous Method, etc.), do you think the so-called "Oscar season" will become less relevant in the coming years?

I wish I could say "Yes" but this happens on a fairly regular basis and nothing changes. What's more this year has even more "one week qualifiers" than usual (4 or 5 by my count), so the system is definitely not changing for the better. I hate to be a broken record but I firmly believe that AMPAS should change the rules drastically. I don't think a film should be eligible for the Oscars unless it has allowed regular moviegoers to watch it in at least the top six markets. The current system gets called elitist on a regular basis but for stupid reasons ("Hey they didn't vote for that lame-ass blockbuster sequel that audiences flocked to for habitual lemming-like reasons!") and never for the actual elitist problem which is that you can show yourself for seven days in one theater in LA and ignore moviegoers totally and still be eligible for Best Movie prizes. That's all kinds of elitist, suggesting that the only audience a movie need concern itself with is 6000+ voting members of AMPAS. 

Mr. W: Any thoughts on Jean-Jacques Beineix' 'Diva'?

Have you ever seen DIVA (1981)? It's quite a time capsule.

Love it. Saw it three times at least in the 80s on VHS. Unfortunately I remember little about it other than its distinctly 80s new wave aesthetic and the fantastic diversity of the cast (black, asian and white characters on equal footing in the narrative? So rare in the 80s! And even now). I also liked that the story was built around something as mundane but unusual as a bootleg concert of an opera singer who refused to be recorded. No one speaks of "bootlegs" anymore -- they were put out of business by illegal downloads and leaking. 

JOHN T: Which legendary male actor would you like to pull a Christopher Plummer and make a comeback and get his first nomination-must be 65 or older to enter.

[The answer and more questions after the jump including awesome bad acting, Occupy Wall Street and post-movie etiquette.]

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