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 How To Get Away With Murder (14)


Podcast: Smackdown Companion Discussion

Nathaniel welcomes fellow team members Murtada, Chris, and Abstew to discuss this year's Supporting Actress race. It's a verbal companion piece to the "Smackdown" we just held

Index (42 minutes)
Longform discussion of this year's supporting actress contenders Nicole Kidman, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, their futures, their films. What, if anything new, did they reveal to us this year and what would we like to see next from them?

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Smackdown Companion - 2016 Supporting Actress


Viola & Edie

Viola Davis and Edie Falco, who are both in their early 50s and SAG Award nominated again for their show carrying work on How to Get Away with Murder (S2) and Nurse Jackie (S7, the final season) were interviewed together for the New York Times on their early days as actors and success coming when you're older.

Here's one interesting tidbit on embracing acting in their youth.

You both had rough childhoods. Viola lived in extreme poverty, and Edie’s parents kept marrying and divorcing, lots of family instability. Why choose careers that put you right back in that place?

EF: It seems cuckoo, doesn’t it? I haven’t seen Robert [Iler], who played my son on “The Sopranos” since the show wrapped. We come together so intimately as actors, then break apart, which was the exact narrative I grew up in.

VD: I stumbled onto the best profession to heal my childhood. The only one that lets you release and express whatever is ugly and messy and beautiful about your life. We’re in the business of creating human beings. The more we spew, and the more honestly we do it, the better. Try that on Wall Street. It’s why they throw all the kids with bad behavior into drama. We don’t care how screwed up you are. We actors love it. You can use it.

You felt that release as kids?

VD: No, I just wanted out. As much as I loved my parents, I wanted an escape.

EF: Same here. My parents did the best they could. But I grew up with so much craziness and turmoil at home, and I was in charge of fixing all of it. Being at school, or in plays, was a relief to me. I had such responsibility beyond my years at home.

You can read the whole interview here.


Emmy Watch: Actress in a Drama Series

Andrew here with a final Emmy tribute before the Emmy Awards are announced tonight.

When we tallied our lists of favourite nominees it was Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series which was the most mentioned category and since all Film Experience writers and readers love actresses we devoted a special post to the category. In a few hours the category will see a new winner that will be historic in some way - a win to put Claire Danes among the most feted in this category? A rare win for a sci-fi show? A win for the first Black actress in this category? The first acting win for Mad Men or the first win in a non-guest category for a Netflix show? Although popular vote will eventual coalesce among a single performer, each of these women in their submission reveals something special in their performances worth remembering. And, so, as a tribute to this talented sextet, our writers take a look at each of the nominees.

Click to read more ...


50 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Viola Davis' Birthday

Margaret and Anne Marie here, with suggestions of how best to rejoice in 50 years of national treasure VIOLA DAVIS...

  1. Set something on fire with only the power of your measured, penetrating gaze
  2. Look sensational in a jewel-hued gown
  3. Drink a tall glass of bubbly while wearing said gown
  4. Enter a room with unparalleled grace
  5. Have a professional task you feel is beneath you? Pick it up and blow it out of the water. Because you can.
  6. Make your coworkers look great
  7. Give sage & loving advice. Or take someone else's
  8. Pull up a dick pic on your phone, and accusingly approach strangers with it

  9. Consider making a donation to the Segue Institute for Learning or the Hunger Is campaign, which are two of Viola Davis' preferred charities
  10. Visit Rhode Island
  11. Do a few sets of tricep curls 
  12. Write a thank you note to Shonda Rhimes.
  13. Paper your neighborhood with Emmy For Your Consideration ads.
  14. Walk up to the most respected person in your chosen field and gracefully, modestly, utterly outshine them.
  15. Outshine some nobodies too, just for fun

    35 more ways to celebrate after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Best American Films & Television This Year? 

Does production money really equal nationality? The American Film Institute does many wonderful things in the world including the highly enjoyable AFI film festival in Los Angeles each year (free for movie-lovers! and not many things are) but each year I feel the side-eye urge when they announce their top Ten American films and TV programs.

They use a shifting jury each year but I always wonder how they choose those jury members because the lists often betray an obvious desire to be "relevant" when it comes to TV usually including a defining popular hit even if the quality is shit (Look, I think "trash" has a place in "best of" lists but it needs to be good trash and How to Get Away with Murder is, frankly, bad trash. Poorly written, unevenly acted. Etcetera. I watched it and wrote about it, so I know) whereas with movies they seem quite beholden to Oscar buzz each year, often opting for films that don't fit their criteria as a result (The Imitation Game is a movie about Engand, starring British actors and directed by a Norwegian) or which haven't opened; this year's top ten list, which includes 11 films so AFI is even worse at math than I am, is 36% movies that haven't opened yet. 


  • American Sniper
  • Birdman (Or, the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash 

Aside from Nightcrawler you could have lifted that list from virtually any 15 wide Oscar Best Picture prediction chart (like uh my own) and simply extracted the other British film (Theory of Everything), the film that opened the longest ago because "old" things are gross (Grand Budapest Hotel), Gone Girl (even though the AFI usually does try and throw one zeitgeist blockbuster into the list so its absence is surprising and at the very wrong time when we're trying to get people to notice Carrie Coon! ) and there it is, no thought processes required beyond Oscar-watching expertise!

Here is my favorite tweet about the list from A24 Films which missed...



And my own because, you know, i WOULD waste the question this way...




  • The Americans
  • Fargo
  • Game of Thrones
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Jane the Virgin -keep hearing this is great. guess I should watch
  • The Knick
  • Mad Men - here's to consistent pleasure even if the half season is a cheat
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent - brilliant. addictive

this is what i'll be remembered for ??? *shudder*

WHERE IS BOB'S BURGERS!?!?!? My heart just pooped its pants. 



HTGAWM: He Has A Wife

Manuel here catching you up on the latest #HTGAWM episode so Nathaniel doesn’t have to. 

This is it, everyone. We’re one episode away from knowing #WhoKiledSam (or, an episode away from ABC having to figure out what else to hashtag during the show, at least). Thus, much of “He Has A Wife” felt like watching a rather amateur chess game setting its pieces in place for the eventual check mate as our two timelines finally collided. 


Annalise may be talking to Bonnie, but I can’t be the only one who week in and week out wants to sneak out the door but is unable to do so precisely because of Viola. Yes, her Annalise pushes incredulity (why go to such great lengths to cover up her husband? I’m hoping she pulls a Patty Hewes and we find she’s been master-minding the entire show all along) but she’s endlessly watchable and every episode has a number of moments that show why this is one of the buzziest shows of the fall.

Five moments after the jump

Click to read more ...


HTGAWM: He Deserved to Die

Here's Manuel taking over How To Get Away With Murder Recap duties for the next two weeks.

Is it is me or was this the first wholly uninteresting HTGAWM episode yet? And might that have to do with the fact that we were focused on arguably the least fascinating character on the show, Rebecca Sutter? I can’t tell whether her schizophrenic characterization (is she wily or is she broken? is she indifferent or just cooly in control?) is an intentional if badly executed performance choice or a result of the show’s fragmented storyline which depends on withholding information in order to propel narrative tension from week to week. I’d recommend its writers watch every season of Damages to see how to use flashbacks to keep audiences guessing (and how to build tension by refracting known information rather than continually serving up new revelations) but it’s clear that HTGAWM is sadly constricted by its by-the-week network formula.

And so, with that said, watch me tackle this week’s episode with an attempt to break down said formula so you too can write your own HTGAWM spec script! (Beware, spoilers and a slightly NSFW gif ahead)

Click to read more ...


HTGAWM: "We're Not Friends" & "Whack-a-Mole"

It's true.  I didn't quit How To Get Away With Murder as intended. The people have spoken and the last writeup was so popular that I kept watching. But writing about it is harder when it's not being porny and forcing my hand and, um, jaw (see: previously on...)

"We're Not Friends" & "Whack-a-Mole"
It's two episodes in one post, a survival tactic. Manuel will be handling the next while I'm in LA, bless him for his sacrifice.

These latest two eppys huff and puff and cry and scream and the first at least is so (typically) hysteric that it has a jury picking montage with frenzied strobelight-editing set to housemusic from the 90s (I half expected Viola Davis to start pivoting and jacking while shouting "excuse" and "accept" and "dismiss for cause" at each potential juror.) Amidst all the heightened emotion the two rawest expression of feeling came in scenes between Annalise and soon-to-be-dead husband Sam. Their scenes together crackle in a way that little else on the show does which does not bode well for Season 2, unless they go supernatural and keep Tom Verica on as a ghost. Pretty please?! You're always jumping the shark when every character is a shark anyway and it's not like they're concerned with Ivy League or Legal accuracy.

These two scenes with have promising Emmy-seeking character moments, though they're a potentia mine field of regressive gender politics. In 'Not Friends' Annalise implies that she was once like the murdered student, a student her husband picked up "weak, broken ... a mess that he had to clean up" and in 'Whack-a-Mole' she delivers a pathetic but wholly human refrain of "I need you"

So...um... [cue Celine power ballad] she's everything she is because he loved her??? 

What the what now,Viola?

Click to read more ...