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Entries in Oscar Trivia (228)


PGA Documentary Nominations: Are They Actually Bad Luck for Oscar?

Precursor awards are like microwave popcorn. It takes a second for the bag to heat up and then things really start popping. Today the Producers Guild of America named their nominees for Theatrical Documentary Features. The Producers Guild Award winners will be presented on Saturday, January 23, 2016 in Los Angeles. 

Documentary Feature Nominees

The only one of these titles I hadn't personally heard of before today was Something Better to Come, a poverty-doc about children living on a gabarge dump in Moscow. More on what this list does and doesn't mean for Oscar after the jump...

Click to read more ...


His & Hers Oscars? Happy 10th to June & Johnny

Ten years ago right about now Reese & Joaquin took the stage in movie theaters with a full sung duet as June and Johnny Cash. Both were Oscar-nominated for their ringed fire as tempestuous country superstar marrieds with Reese going on to win in a strangely non competitive Best Actress year. His & Hers Oscar nominations for lively onscreen marriages aren't anything new of course but they also aren't dependable since one of the partners is often foregrounded while the other is window dressing or is equally brilliant but just not nominated.

But of the ten double nominees who did it best in the intervening years? (I included the divorced couples just to up the numbers). You decide. To make this more exciting, judge the performances FUSED. Who wins your vote then? These are your ten options

Lead unless otherwise noted
2005 Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon*, Walk the Line
2005 Heath Ledger & Michelle Williams (supporting), Brokeback Mountain
2010 Helen Mirren & Christopher Plummer (supporting), The Last Station 
2011 Colin Firth* & Helena Bonham Carter (supporting), The King's Speech  
2012 Daniel Day Lewis* & Sally Field (supporting), Lincoln 
2012 Amy Adams & Phillip Seymour Hoffman (both supporting), The Master 
2013 Bruce Dern & June Squibb (supporting), Nebraska 
2013 Christian Bale & Jennifer Lawrence (supporting), American Hustle 
2014 Eddie Redmayne* & Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything 
2014 Patricia Arquette* & Ethan Hawke (both supporting), Boyhood 

*won the Oscar

What of 2015?

The "His & Hers" teams of married possibilities this year are Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl (Hers & Hers in that case, though she's pretending to be supporting), and Charlotte Rampling with Tom Courtenay in 45 Years. Neither of those pairs are locked up for nominations just yet. As befits this year with blessed multiple female-centric films, Vikander and Rampling both have more nomination heat than their male actor screen spouses.



Top Dozen List: Saoirse Ronan & The Youngest Best Actress Nominees

Saoirse Ronan, who does such a beautiful job carrying Brooklyn, the film about falling in love with and in a new world, is only 21 years old. Should she be Oscar-nominated in two months time she'll be among the 10 youngest ever so honored in that category. She's the same age now as Marlee Matlin was when she competed for Children of a Lesser God; Matlin won and still holds the title of Youngest Best Actress Winner of all time.

Most 21 year-old Oscar nominees are newbies but not Saoirse. She was nominated at 13 for her role as the tattle-tale sister in Atonement. "I saw it with my own eyes!" But should Saoirse be nominated again, she won't break a record of first to two nominations. That record has belonged to Angela Lansbury for over 70 years when she accomplished it by the age of 20. 

For fun and movie-history purposes let's look at the...


The immediate reveal of note is that 70% of the top ten have emerged in just the past twenty years. How much younger can this list get? 

01 Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) was 9 (though years younger than that when she filmed it)

02 Keisha Castle Hughes, Whale Rider (2003) was 13.

Several more young starlets after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Why I Love Carrie Fisher

The Film Experience would like to wish Carrie Fisher a very happy birthday. Here's Kyle Stevens, author of a new book on Mike Nichols on why he loves her...

For various reasons, I’ve never cared for the use of “asshole” as an epithet. However, calling Carrie Fisher a “jerk” or “irreverent” plainly misses the point. She can be an asshole, and that’s why I love her. 

My favorite evidence of this fact comes from her DVD commentary for Postcards from the Edge, the film adapted from her memoir-cum-novel of the same name. I’ve written elsewhere about the brilliance of this film, how Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep use Fisher’s story (and her personal narrative as daughter of Debbie Reynolds) to dramatize the shift from the old Hollywood star system, in which audiences liked to think that they really knew the star (and to see them play similar roles again and again), to a contemporary kind of stardom, where stars are celebrated for being convincing in a range of different kinds of roles. That’s what I appreciate about the film. But there is much to love about the film that is all Fisher, like the tragically plausible names of Suzanne’s past, vacuous movies (for example, “The Night of a Thousand Shoes”). 

Early on in Postcards, Suzanne’s mother Doris throws her a very unwelcome welcome home party. Suzanne is complaining about the fact that she doesn’t even know anyone at the party to her friend Aretha (played with a voice like dark corn syrup by the wonderful Robin Bartlett), when the two are interrupted by a member of Doris’s staff, a maid, who informs Suzanne: "Your mother wants you inside to cut the cake."

Gif provided by Adam Sass (@TheAdamSass)


Fisher cast her personal cook, Gloria Crayton, as the maid, and the level of apathy with which Crayton delivers her line is astonishing. It is presumably the culmination of the evening’s festivities, and she could not care less. Crayton’s delivery is devoid of all feeling, seemingly evidence that the actress struggled simply to disgorge the line. 

But this is where Fisher’s Wildean assholery comes into play.

We had a whole campaign about Gloria. We ran it in Variety nominating her for Best Supporting Actress. We got quotes from [Richard] Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss’s quote was “It’s the finest one line walk-on since Richard Dreyfuss in The Graduate…[There were] quotes from Meryl, Gene Hackman…”

On one hand, Fisher and crew are thumbing their noses at the Academy Awards, and the whole system of campaigning for Oscars. On the other, this gag makes us wonder about what makes a performance compelling or convincing. Why would a servant care about the party? Who wouldn’t be dead tired after working for Doris and her persnickety guests? While it might ultimately be impossible to tell whether Crayton is playing nonchalant or is talentless, it might just be the case that she has given us one of the most convincing and accurate portrayals in the history of cinema. It’s this sort of clever foolishness that makes Fisher the kind of asshole I can get behind.


Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 5: We do love our trivia!

"everything u ever wanted to know about the foreign film category
*...but were afraid to ask"

Pt 1 81 Trailers | Pt 2 Women Directors & Debuts | Pt 3 Zoology | Pt 4 I know that face! 

who will follow Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland's IDA) to an Oscar win for Foreign Language Film?OKAY OKAY. We promise to calm down now.

We hope you've enjoyed our week long attempt to get you really pumped up for an Oscar category that's sometimes hard to get invested: Best Foreign Language Film. The films can be hard to track down making this competition less accessible, so we try our statistics and anecdotes and lists to pique your curiosity!  

But from here on out we'll try to track down as many as we can and actually see them. Imagine it: seeing movies! Please do share this series on twitter and facebook and whatnot. It's so much work and so many websites just depressingly print text only lists of titles and call it a day! We've already reviewed or done interviews from 11 of the pictures: Argentina's The Clan, Austria's Goodnight Mommy (now in theaters), Colombia's Embrace of the Serpent, Dominican Republic's Sand Dollars, France's Mustang, Germany's Labyrinth of Lies (now in theaters!), Hungary's Son of Saul, Norway's The Wave, Portugal's Arabian Nights Volume 2, Sweden's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch, and Taiwan's The Assassin (opens Friday!). Off blog we've lined up screenings of 8 more in the next two weeks so we'll be sure to report. We'll never get to 81 but we can try.

Let's talk running times, previous Oscar nominees, and returning directors who've been submitted before.

Click to read more ...


Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 2: Female Directors & Debut Filmmakers

Pt 1 - All 81 Movie Trailers
Pt 2 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category...  *But Were Afraid to Ask

Mustang has a female director and female cast. Will this be a good year for women in Oscar's Foreign Film race?

The next time you see someone tweeting about the lack of female directors that get work in Hollywood, please point them to Oscar's Foreign Language Film category. This category reminds us, year after year, that Hollywood is not the entirety of Cinema. We'd do well to commit that to memory. And progressive thinking moviegoers would do well to seek out the alternate voices that already exist that they say they want... even if that requires reading subtitles.

You see, each year countries around the world are asked to submit one film to represent their entire country at the Oscars (it need no longer be in an indigenous language to that country, just not in English). Each year at least a handful of countries submit films directed by women. This year it's much more than that. Now, that might not be a direct correlative to "it's better for female directors in ____ than in the USA" but it's not nothing!

Consider the act in reverse. Can you imagine Hollywood, if they were forced to submit one film that represented them for a whole calendar year, choosing a female-directed film to speak for them? Given their lack of interest in films about women let alone films directed by them, this seems unthinkable. The sole exception is probably Kathryn Bigelow's military drama The Hurt Locker (2009). 

Where are the Women? Right Here!
This year the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film has 81 contenders. A total of 13 of those films are directed or co-directed by women. [More...]

Click to read more ...


"Oh, what a tweet. What a lovely tweet!"

In case you needed another reason to love Edgar Wright...




P.S. I know this is a terribly silly thing to worry about but I worry about it every day. Can Mad Max manage any Oscar nominations?

Mad Max Fury Road is a freaking miracle. Obviously a Best Picture nomination would be a lot to ask for (though deserved) and without precedent (No live-action sequel has ever been nominated for Best Picture unless its predecessor had also been... no not even The Dark Knight or Skyfall despite their abundant nominations elsewhere. And, no, Silence of the Lambs was not a sequel to Manhunter. The only sequel to win this honor was Toy Story 3... in an expanded field). But if Mad Max Fury Road isn't on track for cinematography and sound and editing and the like... what good are any of these craft branches at all since they're meant to recognized inspired work?