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Entries in Oscar Trivia (214)

Monday
Jul272015

Oscars vs. Blockbusters? No, It Isn't That Simple.

Jurassic World just beat The Avengers box office tally to become the third highest grosser of all time (when you don't adjust for inflation) which has Awards Daily wringing its hands over what the Academy should do to better honor the types of films people pay to see. As you may have guessed The Film Experience has strong feelings about this topic (including suggested new Oscar categories) all of which we will share with you right now...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul172015

Teasing "The Revenant"

I ain't afraid to die anymore. I done it already."

We don't yes no maybe so teasers but if we did this would be a YES with the small NO of "can already tell we won't be able to tell all these bearded sweaty fur clad men apart during action sequences and mayb even some closeups" 

Question 
As our Oscar charts have suggested all year we expect this one to go over well but this very gripping teaser makes you wonder: Could Inarittu win Best Director back-to-back? It has only happened once before and that was 74 years ago (John Ford won for Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley). No one has ever won Best Picture back-to-back... though David O. Selznick would have in 1939 (Gone With the Wind) and 1940 (Rebecca) if they had awarded Best Picture to producers back then as they do now. Four men have won Best Cinematography twice consecutively including Emmanuel Lubezki(Gravity & Birdman) and since he's lensing this one in what looks like continuous shots with only natural light, he could conceivably break the record and be the sole most consecutive Oscar winning DP. 

Monday
Jul132015

"Ghost" and Other Blockbuster Best Pics

Today is the 25th anniversary of Ghost (1990), that wildly successful supernatural-comedy-romance-adventure-whatsit from 1990 which briefly iconized Demi Moore's single teardrop face, revived the popularity of a 1955 song hit, made pottery-wheel lovemaking into a meme (before memes were called that) proved that Patrick Swayze was more than just Dirty Dancing, made the world hate the grandson of legendary movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, and won Whoopi Goldberg her Oscar, the first acting win for an African American woman since Hattie McDaniel in 1939 (it's since become far more common... at least in Supporting Actress).

Ghost is among the most atypical Best Picture nominees of all time, and one that would never have been nominated without its phenomenal grosses. It ended 1990 as the top global grosser with over half a billion in the bank, though Home AlonePretty Woman and Best Picture winner Dances With Wolves were not far behind). 

So here's a quick Oscar talking point about the last, oh, 40 years of Oscar history. Which of these Best Picture nominees, arguably none of which would have been nominated without their blockbuster phenom cred given their genres and non-prestige foundations, is your favorite?

Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Fugitive (1993)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
District 9 (2009)
The Blind Side (2009)

How do you think Ghost (1990) stacks up to that list? None of them actually won Hollywood's top prize in their year. 

Thursday
Jul092015

Oscar Trivia Detour: Albert Finney as Lawrence of Arabia?

In an alternate universe this could have happened...

Jigsaw Lounge posted that image to twitter last night in response to a thread started by Deux Ex Cinema, one I hadn't seen. It blew my mind to learn that the great actor screen-tested for Peter O'Toole's signature part and was, according to some, David Lean's first choice. The question posed: 

Did this five time nominee ever come close to actually winning an Oscar?

I'd argue that he never did though some will disagree. He was way too young for Oscar when he headlined a Best Picture Winner (Tom Jones, 1963) as he was only 27. That would have made him the youngest winner of all time in that category, a record that would have still held since Adrien Brody is the current record holder at 29. At the time I believe Finney was the sixth youngest man ever nominated for lead, but he's since been pushed out of the top ten in the last decade or so by 26 and 27 year olds who were a smidge younger in their years like Ryan Gosling, Heath Ledger, and Jesse Eisenberg. By the time Erin Brockovich (2000), his last nomination, rolled around he was up against a juggernaut contender in Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) who was so popular that he won the SAG as Leading actor before winning the supporting Oscar for the same role.

Albert Finney's last screen appearance was in Skyfall (2012) but he's still alive at 79. Will some filmmaker give him one last great role or should Oscar give him an Honorary?  

Here's a list to ponder...

Living Men with the Most (Acting) Nominations Who've Never Won

  1. Albert Finney (5)
  2. [Tie] Warren Beatty*, Ed Harris, and Leonardo DiCaprio (4 each) 
  3. [Tie] Brad Pitt*, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Bradley Cooper, Nick Nolte, and Kirk Douglas* (3 each)

* they have Oscars for something else but not a competitive acting Oscar

Friday
Jun262015

Welcome to the Academy - The Lucky 322

As is their annual tradition now AMPAS has released the list of the names they've offered memberships too. If you're new to the tradition, you'll note in the following list that most of the time a first nomination will results in an invite (but not always) and that generally a few people who weren't nominated but got a lot of buzz the previous season will be invited (hi, David Oyelowo & Gugu Mbatha Raw). Lately the lists have gotten longer and much more surprising too as the Academy attempts to broaden its demographic after years of being dinged for skewing too  'old white and male'

The complete list of 322 potential inductees is below. There's a welcome to the Academy reception in September for those that accept and then the process starts again. The Academy works on a referral basis of sorts so current members can nominated new prospective members and that process (a longer list of names than this - never publicized that I'm aware of) concludes in March each year. Unless they're all "You can't sit with us!" then they end up on this list which comes out in the summer.

So let's look at who was invited.

Multiple Branches
Damien Chazelle (Writer/Director) Whiplash
Malcolm D. Lee (Writer/Director) The Best Man Holiday
Paweł Pawlikowski (Writer/Director) Ida
Abderrahmane Sissako (Writer/Director) Timbuktu
Damian Szifron (Writer/Director) Wild Tales
Andrey Zvyagintsev (Writer/Director) Leviathan
Mathilde Bonnefoy (Documentary/Editing) Citizen Four

Damian Szifron, WILD TALES writer/director

These eight people must decide which of the two branches that invited them they will join. While members can be on more than one branch -- I imagine Warren Beatty, for example, is on a few since he's been nominated in four different categories -- they can't join two in one year. You'll notice that four of the Foreign Language Film nominees are accounted for though weirdly not the director of the Estonian film Tangerines

Actors and Actresses are in the same branch but I've separated them just for fun as befits the Oscar categories and also to point out that they invited way more men than women, more than twice as many! Hey, I thought they were working on the diversity thing! They also invited both men who got crying closeups at the ceremony earlier this year.

315 more people after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun252015

Tim's Toons: The state of animation in 1948

Tim here. We're talking about 1948 this week at the Film Experience, and it's my turn to take you back to the world of American animation in the aftermath of World War II. It was a fertile period: of the three studios that had dominated the medium prior to the war, Fleischer had been absorbed into Paramount and disappeared, while Disney had been badly damaged by an animators strike in 1941 and the loss of overseas markets, and spent the second half of the decade in desperate survival mode. That left a vacuum, which was filled by a sprawling variety of competitors that thrived even after Disney managed to find its footing again.

Pictured: Disney in 1948. Literally: it's from their film Melody Time.

In tribute to this unusually diverse marketplace, arguably not matched again in theatrical animation until the early 2000s, may I present three of the most unique and important animated milestones of 1948 after the jump... 

Click to read more ...