Oscar History

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Entries in Original Song (144)


OTD: The Whisperers, Marlee Matlin, and "The Power of Love"

On this day (August 24th) in showbiz-related history...

1890 "Father of modern surfing" and part time movie actor Duke Kahanamoku born in Hawaii. We've written about him before. Where's his biopic?

1967 The Whisperers premieres in London. It's about an old poor woman living in solitude who is beginning to lose her grip on reality. Dame Edith Evans sterling work was instantly lauded - she won Best Actress at Berlinale and from such disparate groups as the NYFCC, NBR and the Golden Globes. She landed her third and final Oscar nomination in the Best Actress lineup (sadly only the winner, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner's Hepburn, was less than superb in that shortlist!). At the time Evans was the oldest Oscar nominee of all time in any acting category having just turned 80 years old. That record has since been undone but she's still the third oldest lead actress nominee after Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (also 80, who won) and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (who was 85).  Have you ever seen The Whisperers? It's haunting and quite a time capsule of contemporary British cinema of the time. [And check out Nick Davis' 5 star review of this legendary performance]

1985 Huey Lewis and the News hit #1 with their theme from Back to the Future "The Power of Love". The music video had a cameo by the car and Christopher Lloyd's "Doc" though it was mostly just the band playing in a bar. Best Original Song was one of the film's 4 Oscar nominations (it won for sound effects editing).  In case you haven't yet heard, 1985 will be our "year of the month" in September as we build to the next Smackdown.

2012 Remember that movie where Michael Shannon was evil (wait, that's not helpful) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a bicycle messenger (now that's more specific). Premium Rush opened on this day. Isn't it weird how some movies, like that one, feel much more ancient than they actually are while others from years earlier feel fresh as daisies? 

Happy Birthday to Them!
Oscar Winner: Usurper of Kathleen Turner's and/or Sigourney Weaver's Best Actress statue. More generously we must admit that it's super impressive that Matlin trailblazed by refusing to be a one hit wonder, turning that splashy debut into such an unlikely but full career. She's been working ever since!
Oscar Nominees: Ava DuVernay (13th), Anne Archer (Fatal Attraction), Ronee Blakley (Nashville), Robert Pulcini (American Splendor)
Cool Talents: Actress Elizabeth Debicki, Wit Stephen Fry, Auteur Takashi Miike, Novelist A.S. Byatt
80s Touchstones: Steve Guttenberg (Cocoon, Can't Stop the Music, and so many more) and Gordon Wanecke (My Beautiful Laundrette!)


link to the feeling

• Film Doctor UK good interview with a action film storyboard artist
• IndieWire David Ehrlich makes a great case that Oscar needs to change their rules about Original Song. "Cut to the Feeling" from Leap is not eligible (incidentally for the same reason "Come What May" wasn't eligible... originally written for something else and then unused for that something else)
• Variety Morgan Freeman will be this year's SAG Lifetime Achievement Recipient
• NYT and LAT remember the career of movie & television star Jerry Lewis (RIP)

• AV Club more drama for that Han Solo movie. Michael K Williams, currently Emmy nominated for The Night Of, has had his entire part cut out.
Deadline another new role for Roland Møller (in the action film Skyscraper). The Danish actor is hot hot hot after Land of Mine. You'll understand if you've seen that Oscar nominated picture
The Guardian we're promised a definitive victor in the forthcoming action film Godzilla vs Kong. But either way audiences probably lose.

• Variety the annual survey of who makes what per episode of hit TV shows. Casts of Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Modern Family, and Robert DeNiro (in a new series) are swimming in money. Cast of This is Us will surely eventually be but not quite yet.
• Out RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars season 3 is a go... and already filming!
• Variety Peak TV still hasn't peaked. At least in terms of quantity. One executive predicts 534 new series next year so you're not just imagining that it's impossible to keep up
• Coming Soon 'everything we know about Star Trek Discovery'... though can someone explain to me the deal with this. I keep hearing that it'll be on Netflix and that Netflix is distributing. Yet often times and sometimes even in the same single paragraph in various articles it will say "exclusively on CBS All Access" so I'm confused. Anyone?

Comic Book Resources fun article on that time that the Incredible Hulk could fly in the comics


Looking Ahead at Best Original Song

Chris here. What with Nathaniel's updated Oscar predictions and my regular Soundtracking duties, my mind has been on that ever pesky Best Original Song category. How will this year shake out for the sometimes maligned category?

Per usual we haven't had many obvious contenders, though I would argue that Beauty and the Beast's "How Does A Moment Last Forever" is one of the film's bright spots - can you just imagine Celine Dion taking the Oscar stage for the first time since Titanic. Perhaps our best chance at an Original Song behemoth like last year's La La Land and Moana were is The Greatest Showman, this season's original musical. But other questions and curiosities remain: what documentary song will surprise this year? Can credits song queen Sia finally land a nomination (she'll at least have one option with Wonder Woman)?

One contender I'm already hoping has some staying power is A Ghost Story's "I Get Overwhelmed" by Dark Rooms. The track flows fluidly in and out of Daniel Hart's score (naturally, he heads Dark Rooms), encompassing both the film's intimacy and cosmic expansiveness. Lyrically, the song carries meaning for Casey Affleck's songwriter and has a whole new context in the afterlife - so it carries the kind of narrative weight the Academy's songwriting branch has been seeking. But will it even make the eligibility long list?

Do you have any Original Song hopes already?


OTD: Annie, John Cameron Mitchell, and Field of Dreams

On this day (April 21st) in history as it relates to showbiz...

Anthony Quinn

1904 Oscar winning cinematographer Daniel L Fapp (West Side Story and Desire Under the Elms, among many films) born in Kansas City

1914 Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor born in England. Though he was BAFTA nominated Oscar never bit despite high profile films and collaborations with famous directors. Credits include: Repulsion, The Omen, Dr Strangelove, Star Wars, Frenzy, Dracula (1979) and MacBeth 

1915 Oscar's all time favorite Mexican actor Anthony Quinn born (Lust for Life, Viva Zapata, Wild is the Wind, Zorba the Greek, La Strada, etcetera)

1918 "The Red Baron," the famous German fighter pilot, shot down in World War I. Snoopy in Peanuts fantasizes about him repeatedly and he's also been a character in many films including Wings, Hell's Angels, and Darling Lili 

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Score, Sound, and Songs ~ April Foolish Oscar Predix

by Nathaniel R

It's April which means April Foolish Oscar Predictions as we throw up the new Oscar charts. Today we're talking Sound Categories.

Dare we hope that last year's anomalous Original Score list, comprised of nearly all newcomers, happens again? We can hope it but it would be foolish to predict given that the music branch is notoriously insular and a lot of the big name composers have high profile films this year...

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Review: Disney's recreation of "Beauty and the Beast"

This review was previously published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Tale as old as time
True as it can be

You wouldn’t think that ‘tales as old as time’ would need so much retelling but they do. Certain properties never go away or are open to constant reinterpretation like the Shakespeare oeuvre or, well, fairy tales. A cursory bit of research reveals that there have been at least a dozen feature films or TV series from various countries based on Beauty and the Beast tale.

If you have never existed before today, here’s what you need to know: A cruel prince is cursed and transformed into a beast. If the Beast doesn’t learn to love and be loved in return by the time the last petal on a magic rose falls, the curse will become permanent. Enter a beautiful girl who could be the one to break the spell...

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Revisiting Beauty and the Beast (1991) - Rank the songs!

By Lynn Lee

With the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast just around the corner, what better time to revisit the original animated masterpiece and its endlessly hummable songs?  If you saw the movie when it came out in 1991 and happened to be a bookish, musical theater-loving little girl (or boy) at the time, odds are you got the soundtrack and learned it by heart.  (I plead guilty on all counts.) 

While I have no idea what happened to my copy, every beat and lyric – by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, respectively – are still firmly etched into my memory.  I never saw the Broadway musical, which restored a song that had been scrapped from the movie (“Human Again”) and added several new songs by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, but reportedly the new movie isn’t including any of the latter.  Instead it’s adding four newly new songs by Mencken and Rice.  However, fear not, fellow original Disney B&B enthusiasts: it appears that all of the Mencken-Ashman songs from the 1991 movie will be in the mix.  As Cogsworth would say, “If it’s not ba-roque, why fix it?” 

We’ll have to wait to debate the merits of the new songs but we can discuss how the original ones stack up against each other.  With the caveat that this feels a bit like picking one’s favorite kid, here’s my ranking from lowest to highest...

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Oscar Night Performances: Lin-Manuel Miranda and More

By Nathaniel R

With just 16 days until the Oscars more news hits each day. We now know that all five Original Song nominees will be performed on the broadcast but we can safely expect at least two of the songs to be significantly altered.

Lin-Manuel Miranda will perform Moana's "How Far I'll Go," which is a solo, with Moana herself Auli'i Cravalho so one wonders what kind of arrangement we'll get for the song as a duet. Nevertheless it's a safe bet to say that this will be a highlight of the show since the song is rousing and everybody loves Miranda...

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