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Entries in Oscar Trivia (175)

Friday
Nov222013

Posterized: Judi Dench, Leading Lady

Good things come to those who wait. For Judi Dench that good thing would be movie stardom. She's been acting on stage since 1957 (as Ophelia in Hamlet at the age of 23), on tv since 1959 (the title role in Hilda Lessways), and on the silver screen since 1964 (The Third Secret)...  but it wasn't until 1997/1998 when Dench hit her sixties that true movie stardom happened, prompted by the double whammy of her first Oscar bid (Mrs Brown) and its follow up "oops sorry about last year" Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love (recently discussed). Isn't her career trajectory unheard of? Who doesn't even start being a movie star until their sixties? Dame Judi thats who.

Though she may soon retire (she's turning 80 a year from now) she's still in her movie prime. Her latest starring role is as Philomena, the story of a woman seeking the grown son she gave up for adoption, and it opens today in limited release. Will it bring her her 7th career Oscar nomination (her 5th in lead)? Only seven women in the history of movies have ever accomplished it before (Streep, Hepburn, Davis, Page, Berman, Fonda and Garson are the current top seven in Oscar's Actress Hierarchy each with seven or more nominations). And, finally, why is Philomena rumored to be categorized as a Drama at the Globes when the poster is screaming "COMEDY!" at the top of its marketing lungs. 

JUDI DENCH'S BIG ROLES
How many have you seen? 
To pad out her leading lady resume from these peak stardom years, I've included TV films


Mrs Brown (1997) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2001) - Globe win, Bafta win, Emmy nomination
Iris (2001) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win

Ladies in Lavender (2004)
Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) - Oscar nomination
Notes on a Scandal (2006) - Oscar nomination, and my vote for her all time best performance

Cranford (2007) Golden Globe, Emmy, Bafta Nominee
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) - Globe nominee
Skyfall (2011) - some may say this isn't a leading role but the plot of this film suggests otherwise 

Which of these posters brings back your fondest Dame Dench memories? 

Wednesday
Nov202013

Celebrating International Transgender Day of Remembrance (With a List)

Today marks the annual commemoration event honoring those who've been killed in anti-trans crimes. You can find a list of events taking place from now through the weekend here if you're so inclined. Not all of the events are today some waiting for the weekend for better attendance numbers. Here in NYC the march starts in the Bronx and walks down to Harlem.

Since this is The Film Experience, and since identity politics are always shifting/evolving and since hate crimes don't care about the particulars of self-identification we thought we'd commemorate the day with a broad cloth. And with a list in chronological order..

27 Oscar and/or Globe Nominated Trans (or Cross Dressing*) Characters
*we realize these are different things
How many have you seen? Which are your favorite?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov182013

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse

Tim here. Today, the short film Steamboat Willie celebrates the 85th anniversary of its theatrical debut. And that makes today, according to Disney, the 85th birthday of Mickey Mouse, cinema icon and greatest company mascot in the history of mascots. This despite Steamboat Willie being only the third Mickey short completed (it was, however, the first one commercially distributed). But if the giant media conglomerate wants to semi-arbitrarily choose by diktat which day we are to gather in celebration of their most famous son, who I am to disagree?

Anyway, It’s an ideal excuse to revisit Steamboat Willie, one of the best of all early sound cartoons. Of which it was not the first, no matter what you might have heard; it’s certainly the most technologically sophisticated, though, and the one that introduces the idea that animals and inanimate objects make melodically squeaky noises when you poke at them. Thus revolutionizing the world of cartoon sound effects down to the present day...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov162013

Chart Revision & Trivia: Supporting Actress

June SquibbHaving recently seen Nebraska a second time (full review coming), I'm more confident that Alexander Payne favorite June Squibb (who played Jack Nicholson's wife in About Schmidt) can ride her scene-stealing laughs in the new film to a nomination. The film opened yesterday in limited release and though the Oscar attention is all on Bruce Dern at the moment, that could well change since the film is endearing on more than just the Dern-level.

Trivia Alert #1 If June Squibb is nominated she will be the third oldest nominee ever in the Supporting Actress category after Gloria Stuart (Titanic) and Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

August Osage County and Jennifer Lawrence trivia after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov132013

True Oscar Stories: Hey Nonny, Nonny

Emma Thompson was nominated for Best Actress in 1993 for Remains of the Day in which she is very good but it really should have been for Much Ado About Nothing, in which she is utterly radiant, the classiest and most consummate romantic comedy lead the 90s could have ever dreamt up.

The following year, the Oscars made the same mistake nominating Winona Ryder for period drama Little Women instead of the post-collegiate comedy Reality Bites, which I'd argue is her single greatest screen performance if less iconic than her star turns in Beetlejuice or Heathers. 

The moral of this story: Even when they're great, comedies have such a tough time being appreciated in their time. Soon you'll be able to add Frances Ha (2013) to that infinite list of under-rewarded laughers!

Tuesday
Nov052013

True Oscar Stories: Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou has two Oscar nominations.

 

One for each pec.

 

this post is dedicated to Dame James

 

Saturday
Nov022013

Happy Centenial, Burt Lancaster!

Anne Marie here to celebrate a Hollywood icon on his 100th birthday.

November 2nd is the centennial of that charismatic giant of an actor, Burt Lancaster. He had Clark Gable's charisma, Cary Grant's charm, The Grin, a mop of hair that couldn't be tamed, and a voice that dripped sweetness from every syllable. With all of these admirable qualities, Lancaster could have settled into a career as a leading man, however he chose to pursue challenging roles and a career directing and producing as well. I first saw him in The Rainmaker starring opposite Katharine Hepburn. It takes something special to tear my attention away from Kate The Great, but the minute Lancaster appeared I was starstruck.

But if we're going to talk about iconic Lancaster performances, we have to start here:

 

While this particularly sexy kiss is what we all remember the film for, it's worth mentioning that Lancaster's also very good in the film. As Sgt. Warden, Lancaster balances military bravado, empathy for his soldiers, passion, vulnerability, and steeliness on his well-muscled shoulders. He was rightfully nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. [Trivia Note: From Here To Eternity is tied with 8 other pictures for "most acting nominations from one film" with 5 (!) an achievement that is now extremely rare, ending with Network (1976)] 

Lancaster wouldn't win the gold until Elmer Gantry in 1960...

Elmer Gantry is a role tailor-made for Lancaster's particular brand of charm. Gantry is a con man who starts starts evangelizing at revivals because he wants to get into the habit of Sister Sharon (Jean Simmons). Gantry is a bad man preaching the Good Book. But my goodness, I could listen to him read the phone book! It's impossible not to root for him or fall for him. Lancaster roars and cajoles and cries while he's preaching, but his quiet moments are equally powerful. One such quiet scene is between Gantry and a prostitute played by future Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones. Lancaster portrays Gantry's powerful personality with an equally potent physicality, so when the wordsmith is temporarily broken, you can see it in his shoulders as well as his eyes. Elmer Gantry is more a whirlwind than a simple performance.

Burt Lancaster's career was as long as it was diverse. He played pirates, preachers, thugs, Nazis, conmen, convicts, and cowboys. One thing's certain: he was definitely never dull. Happy Birthday, Burt!

What's your favorite Burt Lancaster movie?

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