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 Lord of the Rings (29)


Ashley Judd might have been Arwen... or Galadriel 

by Nathaniel R

Ashley Judd in her blockbuster breakout "Double Jeopardy" in 1999I keep getting into trouble when I tweet out semantic arguments on the internet as if I'm missing the point of very serious topics. So let me assure you that I'm not missing the point. I am filled with rage when I read these stories about the toxic treatment of actresses in Hollywood but the only way I can cope (I live for actresses, duh) is to nerd out and take deep dives into thinking about their filmographies, or looking at Oscar stats, or other less fraught things to rage less. Lashing out in all directions with rage or feeding my rage by continually sharing it is just not my way and has never helped me cope with pain. So, in other words, I'll save my little semantics quibble until the end of the post. 

Anyway the reveals of what Harvey Weinstein was up to in his most powerful days keep getting worse. To stay within the confines of Weinsten adjacent imagery, let's just say it makes me want to watch an Inglorious Basterds ahistorical style rewrite in which some Ashley Judd gets the Brad Pitt role and her team of merciless female soldiers gives Weinstein what he deserved back then...

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110 days 'til Oscar. More Lord of the Rings?

It's only eleventy days until Hollywood's High Holy Night. If you aren't familiar with "eleventy" think back to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

That whole Oscar winning trilogy kicks off with the celebration of Bilbo Baggins eleventy-firth birthday or 111th birthday in human years. Eleventy can refer to 110 or numbers much larger; one stops counting after awhile...

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Link Trip

Decider this Tiffany Haddish Oscar nomination could happen. 'Let's do this!'
Guardian when should cinemas turn their house lights on? During credits? After them?
Movie City News Jodie Foster talks at length about The Silence of the Lambs 
NathanielR... you've maybe already seen my anger about this topic when it comes to Call Me By Your Name, which is absolutely not over when the credits begin no matter what the house lights or your fellow moviegoers think. Stay in your seat. Respect the art. 
IndieWire Paul Thomas Anderson explains why there will be no cinematographer credited on his new film Phantom Thread


EW interviews Beanie Feldstein who is so wonderful in Lady Bird
GQ Dacre Montgomery on his shirtless dancing audition tape for Stranger Things 2
Guardian a new exhibit on 100 years of Australian film in pictures from the silent pictures through The Babadook
Variety Critics Choice Awards return to the CW. January 11th. 
Boy Culture reviews the new production of Harvey Feirstein's Torch Song
Coming Soon Jessica Chastain for the It sequel. Sure sounds plausible
TFE... in case you missed it: the full awards calendar for the rest of the season
Awards Daily Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit is getting a rerelease with a new FYC trailer to try to generate awards buzz
Tracking Board in the worst idea we heard this week news, there's a discussion about making The Lord of the Rings into a TV series. make it stop make it stop. Not everything needs to go on eternally. Let some things be. 
Variety Swords and Scepters, a historical epic about an 1857 Indian rebellion led by the Queen of Jhansi, is assembling a great cast including Rupert Everett, Devika Bhise, Derek Jacobi, and Jodhi May. There's also a Bollywood picture coming about the same story

Must Watch Video
Uma Thurman on the recent Hollywood flood of sexual harassment stories.

If she can channel this rage (it's so audible despite her careful reflective words) into a performance, she'll be Oscar worthy again. Have always loved her. Hoping for another classic role soon to go with Mia Wallace, The Bride, Mrs H, Cecile de Volanges, and June Miller. 


King Aragorn... and Other Luminaries

It's a big day for your Lord of the Rings fans, even if you don't know it. Read on.

On this day in history as it relates to the movies
1882 Bela Lugosi is born in what was then Hungary (and now Romania). He vants to suck your blood as the original big screen Dracula. A century later Martin Landau will win a justly deserved Oscar for playing him in Tim Burton's wonderful Ed Wood (1994).
1895 Rex Ingram, one of the earliest successful black actors in Hollywood was born. Credits include: The Thief of Baghdad (as the genie), Huckleberry Finn (as Jim), and Cabin in the Sky (as Lucifer Jr)... 

1901 Frank Churchill is born in Maine. He wrote songs people still listen to today including "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Tragically he committed suicide at age 40 mere months after his winning his Oscar for Dumbo...

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Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic

Our celebration of Actors this month continues with Lynn Lee on Viggo

Is Viggo Mortensen the most interesting man in the world?  Based on his peripatetic history and eclectic interests, he’s certainly a contender.  In addition to acting, he’s a prolific painter, photographer, composer, and poet who founded his own publishing house.  A dual American and Danish citizen who spent his early childhood in South America and Denmark before returning to his native New York, he speaks multiple languages, with greatest fluency in English, Spanish, and Danish.  Oh, and his ex-wife is punk singer Exene Cervenko, with whom he has a son. 

As my husband put it, “Viggo Mortensen is who James Franco wishes he was.”

I can’t speak to the artistic merits of Viggo’s off-screen pursuits, but I do see him as a kind of anti-Franco in keeping them largely off the public radar.  And while he’s clearly driven by a need to express himself via many outlets, he still exudes a sense of some private, fundamentally unknowable core self.  It permeates his screen presence, too, and is part of what makes him so intriguing as an actor.  (Well, that plus the rugged Scandinavian good looks and dimpled chin don't hurt, either.)  More...

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RIP: Ron Moody & Christopher Lee

Though their careers were dissimilar, their images were not. The cinema lost two of its most deeply enjoyable sharp eyed bearded villains this week: Oscar nominee Ron Moody (Oliver!), died yesterday at 91 years of age; screen legend Christopher Lee's passing was also just announced though he died last week at 93. Both of these British actors, born in the 1920s, were best known for indelible villains and sorcerers and  both were singers, too. From there, of course, the careers significantly diverge.

Ron Moody was always best known as "Fagin," the petty thief with a whole gang of young pickpockets at his disposal in the Best Picture winner Oliver! (1968) for which he received a Best Actor nomination and won the Golden Globe. The role stuck to him as forcefully as the Emcee clung to Joel Grey defining him for decades and decades and audiences of multiple generations. His movie career, though it spanned 33 films, didn't contain many other highlights but he did play the sorcerer Merlin in two Disney films Unidentified Flying Oddball and A Kid in King Arthurs Court. He returned to the stage often including revivals of Oliver! (He didn't seem to resent how much Fagin defined him, calling the musical "magic".)

If you ask people to name Sir Christopher Lee's most famous role, on the other hand, they might well hesitate. There is nothing definitive or, rather, there is too much that is definitive. He was a genuine screen legend and worked what seemed like non-stop from 1948 through 2015 appearing in nearly 200 films before his death. Today it's nothing new for actors to be defined by franchise stardom but Christopher Lee was doing forever. He was best known for decades as the face of "Dracula" for Hammer Horror in several films, "Fu Manchu" in multiple films and "Rochefort" in two Three Musketeer films. The actor's fame rose again late in life through prominent popular roles such as "Count Dooku" in the Star Wars franchise and the wicked sorceror "Saruman" multiple times in Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptations. 

Please share your favorite screen memories of these two acclaimed Brits. 


Goodbye, Master of the Light, Andrew Lesnie

Glenn here with some sad news that broke late as America was tucking itself away in bed. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie has died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Most will know Lesnie as the man who photographed all of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, but he will also be well-remembered by the local Australian industry for a 35-year-long career that covered the broad spectrum of scope and genre.

Lesnie got his start in the Australian film industry just after the new wave of the 1970s. Unlike fellow countrymen and Oscar-winners John Seale, Dean Semler and Russell Boyd, Lesnie more or less remained in Australia and New Zealand. He only ventured over to work in America once his work on Middle Earth gained him a level of industry respect that would bring him to I Am Legend and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

His early career was made up of low-budget indie works and 'ozploitation' films like Fair Game. He lensed Kylie Minogue’s big screen debut in the delicately shot The Delinquents, and eventually found international acclaim working on Babe. He won an “Australian Oscar” for his superb sun-drenched work on Doing Time for Patsy Cline and would bring the visual extravaganza of Babe: Pig in the City to life before shuffling over to New Zealand to work on no less than eight Peter Jackson movies. Despite his newfound global success, he kept working locally on the indigenous pop-musical Bran Nue Dae, anthology film The Turning with Cate Blanchett, and last year’s ex-con drama Healing.

Devastating news from home. The master of the light, genius Andrew Lesnie has passed on.
Russell Crowe

Andrew Lesnie was a treat to work with. I am blown away by all he achieved. He'll be missed greatly. RIP.
Jamie Bell 

Lesnie died on Monday (Australian time). His final work was for Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, which was a giant success at the start of the year in Australia and has just opened in America. Perhaps it was his stubbornness to remain at home in his corner of the world that saw him never receive another nomination after winning in 2002 for The Fellowship of the Ring, but he won more than enough awards for the trilogy to make up for it. At only 59 he's far too young, but he leaves behind an admirable dedication to his home country's industry and an enviable roster of work.


Blog it: The Beauty of the Five Armies

You know you're in trouble when you have to buy three movie tickets to get to anything dubbed "the defining chapter"No, no. Not The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Just Five Armies. Those Middle Earth movies have long since passed their expiration date for TFE's interest, though, if you're curious for a review Timothy wrote an excellent one (as is his enviable habit). Peter Jackson, once an exciting, rowdy, and passionate human filmmaker is now a factory mogul. Contrary to popular belief, we love television here at The Film Experience but each medium has its place. Serialized storytelling is TV's most beloved strength. The movies aren't very good at it. And that's what annual franchises are, one season of an expensive show per year that's only two or three episodes long in which something may or may not happen depending on how much material the show-runner and writers room have come up with and how much money the production company is hoping to wring out of you for the next few seasons. 

Since this is technically the final Middle Earth movie (naturally, Peter Jackson is already threatening to continue. Won't any of his close friends stage an intervention?) let's celebrate with five armies -- extremely randomly chosen --  that are exceedingly nice to look at for a special military edition of Beauty Break.

We'll start with one of Jackson's own to be as nice as we can muster at this point...

Aragorn and the Army of the Dead

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
OH VIGGO MY VIGGO. Few romantic heroes have ever read so romantic and heroic simultaneously as Aragorn, the only regular non-superpowered human in the fellowship. And of all the charges he led into battle, none ever provided such deliciously flattering backlighting as that ghost army he gathered for the final film.


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