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DAY FOR NIGHT -another great movie about movies

I'm not sure if I like it more than 8 1/2 or Singing in the Rain, but when the majestic trumpet music plays, it reminds me of why I love cinema in the first place. The actors are terrific in this film as well. However, nothing will top Topsy-Turvy for me about the mystery,repetition, and heartbreak of the artistic process.❞ -Lars

 

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Entries in Oscar Trivia (164)

Tuesday
Dec172013

7 Things You Need to Know About the 289 Eligible Oscar Contenders

As you may no doubt have heard AMPAS released the list (included below) of 289 Feature Films which have qualified for Oscar consideration this year in all categories beyond the specialties with complex eligibility rules (documentary, animated, foreign film, shorts). Here are seven things you should know about the list. 

Most Will Come Nowhere Near a Nomination
This list is 289 pictures long but typically only 25-30 feature films each year (excluding, again, the specialty categories which play by different rules) receive nominations of any kind with a few key pictures hogging the goods. In 2012 only 22 pictures won nominations (!) with Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miz, and Silver Linings hogging the goods whereas the wealth was spread out more in 2011 when 32 pictures were nominated in some capacity.

Too Easy
This year five films will be nominated for the Best Animated Feature title but only 19 animated films are eligible. Can you imagine if it was that easy proportionately for features, animated or otherwise, to win Best Picture nominations? If it was we'd literally have 75 Best Picture nominees this year since 289 films qualified. Instead we'll have a more sensible number, somewhere between 5 and 10 according to current rules, the number determined by how many films can rustle up enough high ballot support in the Academy membership. MORE TRIVIA AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec162013

100 of the Oldest Living Screen Stars of Note

Updated on 06/13/2014

With the recent back-to-back departures of Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine I've been really bummed about losing great artists from Hollywood's Golden Age. The Golden Age is roughly considered to be from Hollywood's 1930s through the 1950s. I still hadn't recovered from the loss of Eleanor Parker, an underappreciated actress I had honestly planned a retrospective of but never got around to. 

One morning in my movie grief I inadvertently killed dozens of people off on twitter by claiming there were only six stars of the Golden Age still living. So consider this list my penance. In the past I've published a semi-annual list of all living Oscar-vets in any capacity. It was never meant to be a morbid countdown list but a way for us to honor people while they're still theoretically conscious of our appreciation for their indelible contributions. So though I normally publish such a list on Ms. Luise Rainer's birthday and it normally includes all crafts, I thought I'd publish an actor specific list that is NOT about Oscar... so send out telepathic waves of appreciation to these talents. Rent one of their movies this month!

100 OLDEST LIVING SCREEN STARS OF NOTE

 DISCLAIMER: Not all screen actors who are old enough for this list are represented. We had to stop somewhere lest the list become a full time job. 

01 Luise Rainer (1/12/10) 
She is 104 going on 105 ♫... that doesn't have a great ring to it but The Sound of Music is such an earworm and Hollywood did like to pretend she was Austrian nicknaming her "The Viennese Teardrop" (she was actually German but that wouldn't do in late 30s Hollywood). Oscar's first back-to-back Acting winner for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) was recently name-checked not so flatteringly in Hitchcock (2011) but she can handle it. The outspoken actress was very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood, her unsatisfying films, and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in. Other key works: Not really. Her acting career was short-lived.

02 Lupita Tovar (7/27/1910)
Appeared in the Spanish Dracula (1931), mother to Oscar nominee Susan Kohner and grandmother to the Weitz brothers who are now directors in Hollywood 

03 Mary Carlisle (2/3/1914)
B movie actress of the 1930s in films like Baby Face Morgan

04 Norman Lloyd (11/08/14) Actor and producer. 

05 Eli Wallach (12/7/1915)
This beloved character actor and recent Honorary Oscar recipient, played "Mr Freeze" on the Batman TV series. He's most famous for frequent television apperances and for his role as "Tuco" in The Good The Bad and The Ugly (1966).  In terms of contemporary film, he popped up in Oscar favorite Mystic River (2003) and his most recent acting gig was in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). Other Key Works: He was busiest from the late 50s through early 60s stretching from Baby Doll (1956 - Golden Globe Nomination) to The Magnificent Seven (1960) and on throughThe Misfits (1961) and Moon Spinners (1964).

06 Olivia de Havilland (7/1/1916) 
The oldest truly enduring movie star on this list had won Best Actress twice by the time she was 33 for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Olivia's legend was cemented years earlier than either of her Oscar wins, though, with her first nomination as the kind-hearted "Melanie" in the immortal Gone With the Wind (1939). She is the one of the only four remaining living actors with speaking roles from that historic film. The Snake Pit (1948) and Hold Back the Dawn (1941) also won her Oscar attention. Other Key Works: Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), My Cousin Rachel (1952), and Light in the Piazza (1962). 

100+ more wonderful talents after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec152013

Remembering Peter O'Toole

Screen legend Peter O’Toole died today at age 81. The eight-time Oscar nominee retired from acting last year after a 50-year-long career that included iconic roles in The Lion in Winter, Lawrence of Arabia, and My Favorite Year. His filmography ran the gamut of genre, from slapstick comedy (How to Steal a Million) to period drama (Beckett) to animation (Ratatouille) to undefinably weird (The Ruling Class). Only recently, O’Toole made the Film Experience Team Top 10 Greatest Losers list twice for his roles. His performances were often surprising, always brave, and never boring,

 

Peter O’Toole means a great deal to me. The first time I encountered him was on a miserable day when I was sick at home. I happened to flip to The Lion in Winter, and was immediately shocked from my stupor by the crackling energy and vicious repartee he swapped with Katharine Hepburn. Watching them felt like touching a live wire. Years later, when I told my mother that I didn’t like epics, she sat me down for 3 ½ hours of The Lawrence Of Arabia. I was made into a believer, and I have loved him ever since.

Peter O’Toole played insanity better than any other actor, and considering the old adage that it takes a madman to play one, maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. He was the Irishman who turned down a knighthood. He was the actor who tried to refuse an honorary Oscar on the basis that "I am still in the game and might win the bugger outright." He was a handsome star with striking blue eyes that carried a hint of madness in them. He was a poet, and according to drinking buddy Richard Harris he could be a bit of a bastard too. All in all, he was a marvel of a man.

Goodbye, Mr. O’Toole. To borrow a line from The Lion in Winter: we would have been great fools not to love you.

(Post your favorite performances and memories in the comments below.)

 

Tuesday
Dec102013

Top Ten: The Oldest Best Actress Line-Ups

Statistics show us time and again that Oscar likes his ladies young. In fact 29 is the most common age that leading ladies win Oscars (for comparison's sake only one man under 30 has ever won Best Actor). And yet, as we speed towards the Oscar nominations, barring an extreme long-shot fresh-faced spoiler like an Adèle (20) or a Brie (26), this year's Best Actress Lineup will likely skew incredibly 'vintage'. If the expected five make an historic "all winners lineup" it's going to be the oldest lineup ever. Now, there is some degree of unusual feeling (I share it) that Meryl Streep (64) is vulnerable to a shut-out for her work in August: Osage County -- something that seemed unthinkable even a few months ago -- but even if she doesn't make the shortlist, there's no guarantee it'll be someone at the beginning of their career. Amy Adams (39) and Julia Louis Dreyfus (52) might still triumph over Brie or Adèle for that hotly contested fifth slot.

So let's look at...

The Top Ten Most Mature Best Actress Shortlists

This top ten is actually only nine years long. I'm reserving a spot for 2013. Barring a major upheaval, the 2013 lineup will be our oldest on average ever. Unless Adèle makes it... and even then it'll come close to being the very oldest. A funny thing occurred while researching this: the years I thought of as elderly weren't. I immediately thought of 1950, for example, with those grande dame performances by All About Eve's Bette Davis and Sunset Boulevard's Gloria Swanson (two of the best performances to lose the Oscar) but both of those women were barely 50 (Grande Dame used to start young!) and the rest of the category was young, younger and youngest. I was also wrong about these years which average a touch or a lot younger than I remembered or was expecting: 1960, 1962, 1974, 1990 and 1992.

Runners Up [3-way Tie] With an Average Age of 41.2 years
1997 As Good as It Get's Helen Hunt, the winner, was the median age of 34.
1996 Fargo's Frances McDormand, another median age winner, was 37.
1952 Come Back Little Sheba's Shirley Booth, pictured left and recently discussed, was the oldest at 52 and the winner. (She's still the only woman to win Best Actress during her fifties. Isn't that insane?) Can you guess which years made the list before you click to proceed? Try it silently for fun...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec062013

Team Experience: Great Losers, Actor Edition (Pt 2)

ICYMI we polled all contributors and came up with a list of The Greatest Losing Best Actor Nominees. As ever I must thank Handsome Joe Canada (aka Amir Soltani) for organizing these Team endeavors. If you really wanna dive in (and why wouldn't you?) you should also check out Michael, David and JA's individual lists here, here, and here.

My own list was topped by Dustin Hoffman's Tootsie who came in at #7 in the finals. It was a joy to be asked to think about that star turn again for the write up, though once I was happily ensconced in reminder clips it was hard to pull away; Tootsie is a longtime resident of the Rewatchable Hall of Fame!  A full 70% of my personal choices made the communal top ten, which is the most overlap I've ever had with a Team list. My missing heroes were Paul Newman in Hud (1963, previously discussed), Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995) and Roy Scheider in All That Jazz (1979, previously discussed).

Did these men almost make our group list? Find out who did after the jump...

Click to read more ...

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