Oscar History

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Entries in Isabella Rosselini (11)


NYFF: Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words

Manuel, adding a belated capper to our Ingrid Bergman centennial coverage. While I’m well-versed on Streep, Davis, Hepburn, and other towering female stars, Bergman has always eluded me. It is my one big actressexual blindspot. Is it because she’s effortlessly aloof, somehow always beyond my grasp?

When I wrote about Cactus Flower and that amazing dance sequence, I realized the only other film of hers I’d watched is (obviously) Casablanca. So, when I saw the New York Film Festival would be screening Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words, well, I couldn’t deny myself the pleasure of taking Bergman 101, a general survey of the actress crafted out of Bergman’s own letters and diaries (hence the title) and made up mostly of her own home videos. You get to see a young Isabella Rossellini, a bumbling Hitchcock, and Rossellini playing papa to his young kids, and even Ingrid’s very first “no makeup” screen test; I’m sure they had to add the qualifier because those deep red lips popped even in black and white.

I’m unsure how the film plays for those who know everything about the mythic beginnings of that enigmatic Swedish star, all the gossip surrounding her banishment from Hollywood (and her triumphant return), and who can trace the history of cinema by tracking the star’s own move from small national markets to Hollywood to Europe and back again, all the while gracing the stage in Italy, France, the West End and Broadway. But for those of us uninitiated -- or at the very least, not well-versed -- in Bergman, this was a treat, particularly paired with so many home movies that showcase not only her great eye. As her daughter Ingrid says, while most families have as many home tapes as them, Bergman’s were never boring, and you can see in her obsession with recording her visits with her kids an attempt to capture moments that were always much too short and fleeting. 

Much like Bernstein’s look at his mother Nora Ephron (boy what is it with mothers at this festival!), Stig Björkman’s film is not really interested in hagiography; frank conversations with her children paint a picture of an ambitious woman who did everything and anything she needed (and wanted!) to do what she wanted to do above all: be in front of the camera, in many cases at the expense of her children and her marriages. Pia Lindström, her daughter from her first marriage, is asked at one point whether there’ll one day be a Mommie Dearest book about Bergman. Oh no, she says, I can’t imagine that ever happening. She was always so loving. If anything, we all just wanted more of her.

Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words plays Monday October 5th and Tuesday October 6th.



TIFF: An LGBT Winner "Closet Monster" 

Portions of this piece were originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

The Toronto International Film Festival closes shop on its 40th year tonight (imagine the stops they'll pull out for the 2025 festival!) and I'm probably on a plane as you're reading this. Given the breakneck pace of seeing so many movies there are more reviews to come from both Amir and Nathaniel (c'est moi). In other words TIFF will have something of a half life here at the blog and the Oscar charts must be updated Monday/Tuesday and so on. With the end of the big three fall fests tonight (Telluride, Venice, TIFF) it's officially on for Awards Season. Cue: marks, gunshot, running campaigning. The first prizes won't roll around until late November / early December of course.

And for many 2015 festival films winning distribution is the only thing worth campaigning for at this moment. If you're into LGBT cinema you should also check out the reviews of Desde Allá and Girls Lost. My favorite LGBT picture of the festival was Canada's own Closet Monster. More after the jump...

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Red Carpet: Cannes Begins!

A New Season of "Red Carpet Lineup" Begins...

NATHANIEL: Bonjour Jose. You're back on red carpet duty by popular request. I dared to post about the Met Gala without a conversation to go with it and I heard it from the readers.

JOSE: I'm moved but if they saw what I'm wearing now they wouldn't ask for me.

NATHANIEL: Always blame it on Laundry Day.

Before we begin proper can I just say that one thing I find exceptionally annoying about Cannes is when stars don't pose alone but only with groups. This seems to happen most with the Jury who are joined at the hip like they will be judged as a team in this maxi-challenge. And tonight Deneuve, the great lady of French cinema, stuck with her director Emmanuelle Bercot (whose opening night film Standing Tall has received warm notices) and the cast despite a rather becoming two-looks-in-one dress.

JOSE: She wants others to bask in her light, maybe? I do love her double gown. Two Face in a couture Batman

NATHANIEL: Opening Night always brings out the A listers so we have some of Oscar's favorite gown-wearers to discuss after the jump Natalie, Naomi, Lupita, and Our Juli...

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Top Ten: Movie Shoes

The new Cinderella really goes all out in fetishisizing the glass in glass slippers, in a way that few renditions of Cinderella have, from their translucency to their refracting beauty, to the way one of them shatters when Cate Blanchett's wicked Lady Tremaine has had it with the talk of them.

She will cut you!

It reminded me of an anecdote I shared a few years back about a brunch conversation with a friend's daughter when I asked her who her favorite Disney Princess was:

The question rendered her completely shy. I had given up hope of an answer, reverting my attention to the food when she shouted "CINDERELLA" at the top of her lungs over her waffles. "But why" I say? This answer came much more swiftly, like it was the silliest question any adult had ever asked her. "The glass slippers."  She didn't add "...duh" but it was right there, loud and clear, in her squeal of laughter

So for today's top ten let's celebrate the best of movie footwear from slippers of ruby or glass to fake legs to super boots. What lurks beyond the jump? Do they come in your size?

Be as curious as rollerskating Kira and find out... 


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Beauty vs Beast: Legend In Blue Jeans

Jason from MNPP here, eyeing the white-out weather outside the window of my office as I write this to you from New York City - everybody stay safe on the East Coast over the next couple of days! It's apparantly gonna be a biggun, this storm. I know, here, I'll give you something to keep you warm - Paul Newman!

It's the 90th anniversary of Paul Newman's birth today. A few years back I'd have wagered he'd still be around to celebrate this one with us - he retained his youthful glimmer right up til the end - but it wasn't to be. His death was one that hit me hard -- he was "The Legend" of my youth, still going strong, still beautiful and affecting. But hey his lifetime love the great Joanne Woodward is still around, so let's all send our happy movie memory vibes her way. And so today's "Beauty vs Beast" is for Paul, and my favorite performance of his...



Paul Newman is totally a beast in this movie - drunken, boorish, and an attempted rapist to boot - but all that said it's still a major struggle slapping him with anything but "Beauty. Beauty. BEAUTY." Ya know? Ya know. (See the episode of TFE's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series devoted to this movie right here.)

PREVIOUSLY Last week we got lost in the picket-fence nightmare of David Lynch's Blue Velvet, pitting Dennis Hopper's PBR lover against Isabella Rossellini's dewy-lipped songstress - well turns out y'all love the sultry way Dorothy suffers, as she sauntered away with 70% of the vote. Said Mike in Canada:

"Team Dorothy all the way. I'm always looking for her in my closet."


Beauty vs Beast: Blue Beauty On Velvet Beast

Jason from MNPP here wishing everyone a blue blue Blue Monday. When I tell you that it feels as if I've been having an awfully Lynchian series of months, I'm sure your first reaction is to 1) shudder and 2) to call the police on my behalf. But this is not a cry for help, don't worry - I haven't turned into a door-knob or anything.  It's just been a random confluence of events - I saw David Lynch speak at BAM a few months ago; then I read Lynch on Lynch (a terrific book of interviews with the director); then there was the news about the Twin Peaks revival; then I met Laura Dern at a party and told her she needs to get herself into the Twin Peaks revivial; then I went to Philadelphia and saw an exhibit of his paintings. It's been Lynch up the wazoo, basically.

And since tomorrow is Mr. Lynch's 69th birthday it seems a heck of a good time to give him the "Beauty vs Beast" treatment. I mean, what other director works in such extremes of dreamy beauties and nightmare beasts after all? Laura Palmer and the BOB at the end of her bed, for instance. And when the beauty & beast meet, watch out - you could argue that Laura Dern's become the perfect muse for him since she can so effortlessly stretch her sunny beauty out out out way too far for comfort. Those examples aside, it was pretty clear where we needed to mine this week's competition from...


Treat yourself to some cherry pie, climb inside a stranger's closet, do whatever it takes, and then hit the comments to tell us whose disease you want put inside of you in the next seven days, and why and how. And here's to your...


Twins: Isabella & Isotta Ingrid

We're celebrating twins while we're in Gemini

Did you know that Isabella Rossellini had a twin sister? They aren't identical but she does. The legendary screen goddess Ingrid Bergman had four children, the first Pia arrived with her first marriage to Peter Lindstrom. After her scandalous affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini (which sank her career in the US for a good long while -- her third Oscar was seen, to some extent, as Hollywood's forgiveness) she moved to Italy, and had son Roberto Rossellini folllowed by daughters Isabella and Isotta Ingrid.

The Rossellini kids in 1959: Isabella, Roberto and Isotta Ingrid

Do you think Isotta Ingrid is as fascinated by animal sex* (Green Porno forever!) as her sister Isabella? Well, Isotta is in Academia, so... maybe.  

a more recent picture of the twins and more after the jump.

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Oscar Horrors: The Death-Defying Effects of 'Death Becomes Her'

Oscar Horrors continues...

Here lies...the 1992 Oscar for Visual Effects – err, here he would be lying, lamenting his fate as a reward to the f/x folks behind Batman Returns or Alien 3, had he not been bewitched by Isabella Rossellini's youth potion. Now, he stands immortal on a mantle shared by Ken Ralston, Doug Chiang, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Douglas Smythe, who brought you the butt-tightening, head-twisting, belly-blasting cinemagic of Robert Zemeckis's Death Becomes Her.

Kurt here. I LOVE this movie – or should I say, I'm "Mad as Hel" for it. Regardless of what it might say about me, it's a major film of my youth. Prepping for this post, I planned to just skip around and watch the expensive effects scenes, but by the time a grossly overweight and psychotically vengeful Goldie Hawn was twisting her hankie and growling through gritted teeth, "I want to talk about Madeline Ashton," I was hooked yet again and watched the entire thing. Flaws be damned, Death Becomes Her is so funny and so cleanly paced. There's hardly a wasted moment. It's packed with great sequences (such as the tongue-in-cheek imagined plot in which Hawn's Helen Sharp tells Bruce Willis's Ernest Menville how they're going to drug and kill Meryl Streep's Madeline), but what it's most remembered for are its nifty visual tricks, which support the crimes-against-nature moral by serving up the comic mutilation of two A-List actresses' undead bodies.

The film's centerpiece scene is one that sees all secrets revealed. After being pushed down a marble staircase by Ernest, an incident that twists her into a pretzel and makes a periscope of her head and neck, a pulseless Madeline takes her rage out on Helen, whose gut she blows a hole in with a double-barrel shotgun. When Helen stands up, it's clear both women have drunk the neon pink Kool-Aid, which gives eternal life, for better or worse. What follows is a shovel duel that, for me, is quite iconic, beginning with the immortal line, "On guard – bitch!"

In general, I'm no more easily surprised than the next seasoned moviegoer, but when it comes to visual effects, I do tend to be a "how'd they do that?" kind of person. For example, even looking back at a film from nearly 20 years ago (wow), I'm not sure how that Oscar-crowned quartet was able to seamlessly present Hawn with a dinner-plate-sized hole in her mid-section, through which you can clearly see the rest of the scenery. At one point during the duel, Helen sits down on a couch that's been speared with a broken shovel handle, and she lets the handle poke through her new orifice. There's a flash where you can see the handle nudge the edge of the hole. Streep's rubbery neck is one thing, but how'd they do that?

If you ask me, the true visual effects of Death Becomes Her are Hawn and Streep themselves, which sounds like a gooey cliché, but never, ever have these two ladies looked more breathtaking than they do in this movie. Streep was 43, Hawn was 45, and both looked utterly flawless, like they'd never passed age 32. The irony, of course, is that watching this movie now gives you a sting that validates Rossellini's rants about "life's cruel curse," and reminds of how even stunning actresses are slave to the ticking clock. Which is certainly not to say that time hasn't been kind to both ladies (it has), but you can't help but wonder if, when they revisit Death Becomes Her, they wish they had just a couple drops of that pink stuff.

"Do you remember where you parked the car?"

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