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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

"Don't help the man with the broken arm! Don't get in his van! Too late... She does it every time. Which is why this is such a good movie: it really makes us care, and even when we know what's going to happen, we hope it won't."- Edward

"Such a great BP winner. I remember seeing it when I was a teenager and even then I noticed the eyelines being so close to the camera, and the way Clarice was framed in a male-dominated world as though she was being watched and judged." - MSD

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Entries in Glenn Close (37)

Sunday
Dec132015

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Saturday
Dec052015

Robert Loggia (1930-2015) ...and 80s Oscar Movies.

Tough guy Italian American actor Robert Loggia, arguably best known for supporting roles in gangster classics, has passed away at age 85. He had been suffering from Alzheimers. Condolences to his family and his fans.

The enduring character actor's career began on the Broadway stage in the 1950s but he quickly began mixing it up on television where he starred in a few short lived TV shows and made numerous guest appearances over the past five decades (!). His first big screen role (uncredited) was as "Frankie Peppo" in the Paul Newman classic Somebody Up There Likes Me but his film career didn't hit its peak until the 1980s with a string of hits including An Officer and a Gentleman, Scarface, Prizzi's Honor, and the comedy Big with Tom Hanks.

Though the earliest Oscar ceremony memory I have is Shirley Maclaine winning (1983), the first Oscar race I actively followed was in 1985, the year Robert Loggia was nominated for the courtroom thriller Jagged Edge. Now in the paleozoic pre-internet era "actively following" the race was much different. It required 1) going to movies that adults thought were great and 2) reading a few articles in weekly and monthly magazines about who might be nominated. That's it! [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep222015

List Mania! Frances McDormand and all the "Triple Crown" Icons

Since I'm on record as being annoyed that all anyone cares about is the EGOT and since Steve asked in the comments of the Emmy post-mortem about my preferred obsession (The Triple Crown of Acting) to date only 21 actors* have accomplished this, two of them within this very calendar year (Dame Helen Mirren and Frances McDormand). Of course this has become more commonplace than it used to be given that actors no longer feel like they should be solely a movie star, or solely a tv actor, or only a thespian of the stage. With more and more people willing to do all three, sometimes consistently, these ranks will likely swell in another 20 years.

Currently the rarified list of actors who've won The Tony, The Oscar and The Emmy for their acting reads like so...

Frances McDormand is your latest Triple Crown Winner. From Fargo (1996) to Good People (2011) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

  • Jack Albertson (Tony: 65, Oscar: 69, Emmy: 75)
  • Anne Bancroft (Tony: 58, Oscar: 63, Emmy: 99)
  • Ingrid Bergman (Oscar: 45, Tony: 47, Emmy: 60)
    Our Ingrid Bergman Centennial was fun wasn't it? You're welcome. Ingrid is the youngest performance to complete the trinity at age 45. 
  • Shirley Booth (Tony: 49, Oscar: 53, Emmy: 62)
  • Ellen Burstyn (Oscar: 75, Tony: 77, Emmy: 09)
  • Melvyn Douglas (Tony: 60, Oscar: 64, Emmy: 68)
    Did you know that this Hud star was Illeanna Douglas's grandfather? I certainly didn't.
  • Helen Hayes (Oscar: 32, Tony 47, Emmy: 53)
    (Though IMDb does not state what her Emmy was for so who knows if she's a special case or not)
  • Jeremy Irons (Tony: 84, Oscar: 91, Emmy: 97)
  • Frances McDormand (Oscar: 97, Tony: 11, Emmy: 15)
    The most recent inductee to this hall of fame. 
  • Helen Mirren (Emmy: 96, Oscar: 07, Tony: 15)
    And yes she won all three for playing Queens named Elizabeth! Though she has multiple Emmys so she's won for other roles, too. 
  • Thomas Mitchell (Oscar: 40, Tony: 53, Emmy: 53) 
  • Rita Moreno (Oscar: 62, Tony: 75, Emmy: 77)
    The second youngest to the Triple. She was 46 when she completed it with the Emmy for The Muppet Show
  • Al Pacino (Tony: 69, Oscar: 93, Emmy: 04)
  • Christopher Plummer (Tony: 74, Emmy: 77, Oscar: 12)
  • Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar: 78, Emmy: 81, Tony: 03)
  • Jason Robards (Tony: 59, Oscar: 77, Emmy: 88)
  • Geoffrey Rush (Oscar: 97, Emmy: 05, Tony: 09)
  • Paul Scofield (Tony: 62, Oscar: 67, Emmy: 69)
    The youngest male actor to the Triple. He was 47 when he completed it with the Emmy for Male of the Species 
  • Maggie Smith (Oscar: 70, Tony: 90, Emmy: 03)
  • Maureen Stapleton (Tony: 51, Emmy: 68, Oscar: 82)
  • Jessica Tandy (Tony: 78, Emmy: 88, Oscar: 90)

Weird Statistic
The Emmy, which seems like the easiest to win since they have so many damn categories, is actually won last by the majority of Triple Crowners. How about that? 

Eddie Redmayne is very young to have already won two of the big threeWho do you think will join the list next?
Of currently working stars Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Barkin, Hugh Jackman and Bryan Cranston are just missing the Oscar which is obviously the hardest to win.

Overachiever Glenn Close has three Tonys and three Emmys but (sigh) zero Oscars. Kevin Spacey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dame Judi Dench, Denzel Washington and Marcia Gay Harden are just missing the Emmy. The youngest immediate threats are Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne: she is only 32 and just needs a Tony; he is only 33 and just needs an Emmy... though he isn't currently doing any TV so the Triple Crown will probably have to wait. 

And get this: Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Dianne Wiest and Jane Fonda who all have won multiple Oscars and multiple Emmys are all just missing the Tony though they've all worked the Broadway stage!

Depressing Three-Medium Stats: Sir Ian McKellen, a hugely lauded thespian has only won the Tony despite Oscar & Emmy nominations. The gifted Sarah Paulson who works all three mediums with regularity has not won any of the prizes and has only been Emmy-nominated. The Lovely Laura Linney, another regular three-medium threat has only won the Emmy despite multiple Tony and Oscar nominations. Marisa Tomei who works all three has only won the Oscar with no Tony or Emmy honors. Martha Plimptonwho does all three (though movies only occasionally) has only won the Emmy but has at least been nominated for multiple Tonys. Kathleen Turner who only occasionally does TV (unthinkably her work on Friends did not even win her a Guest Actress nomination) but used to be a huge movie star has been nominated for the Oscars and Grammys (once) and the Tonys (twice) but has yet to win any of the big showbiz awards beyond her two Golden Globes. Annette Bening has NONE of the top three prizes despite being nominated for all. The strange thing is that though she now regularly does stage work, she does not do it on Broadway. She could win a Tony if she came back!

* Special Cases: Notable superstars like Judy Garland (her Oscar was a non-competitive juvenile Oscar), Liza Minnelli (her Emmy was for a televised concert), Barbra Streisand (her Tony was a special award) and Whoopi Goldberg (her Emmy was not a Primetime Emmy which is all that people usually refer to when they talk about winning Emmys) won all three statues but they did not win them all in regular competitive categories or for performances exactly so they are special cases.

Thursday
Jul302015

Vintage '95

The Supporting Actress Smackdown 1995 Edition arrives on Sunday so let's talk context since we haven't revisited as much of 1995 as we'd hoped to! We've only hit the Jane Austen trend, Nicole Kidman's breakout year, a Bonus Podcast on Actresses and Films to Revisit, and Dolores Claiborne. Damn, we had planned much more. But many of you will already have your own personal context for the year, which isn't true of many years of "Smackdown" events so it's fine.

In many ways, though, 1995 was a completely different world. The internet was still in its list-serve infancy. The idea of computer generated movies was a joyful novelty. And aside from Batman, superheroes were still mostly relegated to "light" TV shows. Remember Teri Hatcher in Lois & Clark ?

EW photoshoot from June 1995

Great Big Box Office Hits: 1) Toy Story... the first wholly computer generated feature film 2) Batman Forever 3) Apollo 13 4) Pocahontas 4) Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls 6) GoldenEye 7) Jumanji 8) Casper 9) Se7en 10) Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Michelle & Coolio. They had a hit film, smash video, and the year's #1 single. But zero oscar nodsOscar's Best Pictures: Braveheart (10 noms / 5 wins), Apollo 13 (9 noms / 2 wins), Babe (7 noms / 1 win), Sense & Sensibility (7 noms / 1 win), and Il Postino (5 noms / 1 win).

My theories as to what was just outside the shortlist plus more '95 goodies follow...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun162015

HBO’s LGBT History: In the Gloaming (1997)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions. This series is usually on Wednesday's but tomorrow Ann Dowd is in the house. Stay tuned! - Editor

Last week we looked at the earnest adaptation of one of the best-selling non-fiction account of the early years of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On. It feels rather like a backhanded compliment to the well-meaning if sprawling film, but you should really watch it to see Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen, Swoosie Kurtz and Richard Gere doing their thing. This week, we’re still not done looking at the AIDS epidemic. You have to begin to wonder whether HBO knew there were other stories worth telling that included the LGBT community, but then AIDS really was seismic in the way it defined LGBT representation in the decade(s) that followed, so it’s hard to argue against its ubiquity.

But ubiquitous doesn't describe the next topic: Here we are with the moving directorial debut of a famous actor starring a six-time Oscar nominee, an Oscar winner, a future Oscar nominee, a startlet from a Hollywood dynasty, and a young actor who’d go on to become a Tony winner and then the star in a long-running successful medical drama, and it is almost impossible to find. This week we're talking In the Gloaming... 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr282015

Tribeca: "Anesthesia" and "When I Live My Life Over Again"

Pardon the onslaught but now that Tribeca has concluded we're wrapping up our coverage. Here's Abstew on two more star-heavy flicks. - Editor

Anesthesia 
Populated by familiar faces (Sam Waterston, Glenn Close, Kristen Stewart, and Gretchen Mol to name a few), actor turned writer/director Tim Blake Nelson (most recently seen as Kimmy Schmidt's bumbling stepfather on the Netflix comedy series) has assembled a multi-story film that revolves around a bloody mugging that happens in the first moments to Waterston's University Professor. As is usually the case with films that involved multiple storylines, not all of them are as compelling as others and some of them simply take too long to reveal how they connect to the main story. But Nelson, perhaps because he is an actor first, gives his fellow thespians meaty roles to play with such tough-hitting issues as drug addiction, self mutilation, infidelity, cancer, and even lose of virginity. But his hyper-intelligent dialogue often times threatens to overshadow the story he's telling (and sometimes reaches too far like a clunky bit that compares a character's wants to an everything bagel).

But it's the strong work of the actors that keep the story afloat...

Click to read more ...