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Entries in Jennifer Hudson (18)

Wednesday
Jan232019

Soundtracking: 2018's Original Song nominees

by Chris Feil

Best Original Song always gets its fair share of side-eye among Oscar snobs and agnostics alike. Granted, some recent nominees have made a decent enough case for their argument - Alone Yet Not Alone, you are lost but not forgotten (or... alone in terms of being a bad nomination). But does this year's crop of tracks continue the category's uptrending in quality? I would argue it does and then some.

While our most expected nominee ("Shallow" obviously) provides the lineup a genuine hit song, we also have idiosyncratic picks as well as musicals and major artists nominated. This leaves the telecast with no rational choice but to allow all numbers to perform on the show, as they have been hesitant to do with lesser known nominees. So in addition to ranking the nominees, I have some suggestions on how to present all of them...

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Wednesday
Dec052018

Soundtracking: FYC 5 Original Song Outliers

by Chris Feil

In lieu of a regular deep dive into the soundtrack of one film, Soundtracking is indulging in some For Your Consideration tracks before the season narrows down to a few contenders. Naturally, all of the talk for original songs this season has been gobbled up by A Star Is Born with some hopes being thrown towards the likes of Mary Poppins Returns, Black Panther, and even Radiohead's Thom Yorke for Suspiria. I'll unpack the field once Oscar reveals its shortlist on December 17 (remember that quiet news item that the Academy will be announcing song and score shortlists all at once along with such categories as visual effects?).

But the outsiders deserve some love too, so allow me to champion a few solid tracks...

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Monday
Oct222018

Middleburg Celebrates Diane Warren with the "Impact Award"

by Nathaniel R

Each year at the Middleburg Film Festival, TFE's favorite event is a live concert honoring a film composer. This year Sheila C Johnson, the co-founder of BET who created the Middleburg Festival opted to do things a bit differently. Though there was a composer honored at a smaller event (29 year-old rising talent Kris Bowers who scored both the likely Oscar smash Green Book and the critically acclaimed indie Monsters and Men this year) the main concert and "Impact Award" was reserved for hit-machine songwriter Diane Warren.

This year Warren co-wrote the much memed "Why'd You Do That?" from A Star is Born but her Oscar bid for 2018 will surely be the theme song from the documentary hit RBG, "I'll Fight"

More after the jump including a couple of song snippets...

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Wednesday
Jul252018

Still shook about "Cats" becoming a movie

by Nathaniel R

Betty Buckley in her Tony-winning role as "Grizabella, the glamour cat"By now you've heard the comic news (oh no wait, they're serious!) that "Cats" is being turned into a movie. The news took me so off guard that I was silent for five days. Cats got my tongue. (I'm sorry). The Andrew Lloyd Webber megahit from the 1980s was based on T.S. Elliott poems and as such it has no real story to speak of. It's basically a very successful song cycle (albeit with only one famous song "Memory") elevated by utter nonrealism in the form of humans pretending to be cats in campy makeup, tights, and acrobatic dancing. It's so hard to imagine as a movie that they made the potential of the making of one into a running joke in the play turned movie Six Degrees of Separation (1993). 

Grizabella the glamour cat is the marquee role but, in fact, it's a "featured" role since it's truly an ensemble show...

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Thursday
Dec292016

Modern musicals and the supporting actresses we give Oscars to

by Jorge Molina

During the 85th Academy Awards, there was a somewhat arbitrary musical tribute to three modern musicals in between Seth MacFarlane's sexist monologue and Jennifer Lawrence's fall: Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Les Misérables. Besides being the soundtrack of my college experience, I noticed that all three had one thing in common: they had all won Oscars for their Supporting Actresses.

This threw me into a rabbit hole of IMDb pages, Wikipedia charts, and showtune playlists to look into the historic relation between movie musicals, supporting actresses, and the Academy Awards. If I’d put this much effort into my thesis, I might have graduated in time...

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Monday
Dec262016

The Furniture: Fame Flattens Your Dreamgirls, Boys

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

 This probably goes without saying, but movie musicals tend not to take place in the real world. Gene Kelly doesn’t just serenade French children in An American in Paris, he leads the cast through a dream ballet of wild abstraction. The oddness of public singing is often just the door to an even more fantastical world. Even those about actual musicians, who need no special excuse to croon, often break free from realism.

In this context, Dreamgirls is a bit of an odd duck. Director Bill Condon tries to split the difference. Some of the songs are entirely within the context of a real performance, while others incorporate non-musician characters and non-realistic settings. The back and forth can be a bit confounding...

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Thursday
Dec152016

"Dreamgirls" at 10

by Chris Feil

With La La Land, isn't it great to have a musical out in front again this Oscar race, especially one that brings such joy (sideyeing you specifically, Les Miz)? And as Nathaniel pointed out, that shouldn't be taken for granted.

Ten years ago, Dreamgirls was a more traditional genre high, and ulitmately taught us not to get too comfortable with a musical's Oscar chances after it landed that year's highest nomination tally but missed Best Picture and Director. But maybe that miss resulted from voters tiring of a campaign that started a full year before release, and not from the quality of the film.

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