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Entries in Oscar Trivia (181)

Monday
Oct272014

Does Eddie Redmayne in "Theory of Everything" = Daniel Day Lewis in "My Left Foot"?

A consistent yet elusive golden thrill: that moment in each year's Oscar race wherein everyone disagrees on who and what is the frontrunner in this or that category.

There are a few different schools of thought out there about who might win Best Actor. I have always believed and probably will continue to believe that the race for Oscar nominations is a very different and altogether more interesting contest than who will eventually win them. Because of this I like to focus on that before I get to "who will win" but I'll make an exception today for fun. Most experts (see this handy Gurus of Gold chart) currently name Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as the leading threats to win the statue. I agree wholeheartedly with this and actually believe that they're the only three who could pull off a win in this particular year (unless American Sniper is some sort of late breaking Oscar stampeding Million Dollar Baby for Bradley Cooper... but I personally doubt it). Who will fill the other two 'not-in-it-for-the-win' slots is anyone's guess. I've returned again to the unpopular notion that Channing Tatum and Steve Carell will both win Best Actor nominations for Foxcatcher but I've mostly done so under the file labeled "Why Not? Who knows?" The competition for those two final slots is where the action is right now and there are about twelve guys who, with the right combo of precursor support, smart campaign moves, media approval, film heat coattails, and/or old fashioned luck could still pull it off. Any of the 12 who aren't out there fighting for it are, frankly, crazy.

Eddie at an AMPAS screening of THEORY OF EVERYTHINGBut, jumping ahead... who will win? 

On twitter today I was briefly discussing this with Kris & Jenelle and found them both sympathetic to my notion that Redmayne has a rather underdiscussed but considerable advantage in that he is enormously charming in person. When races are tight, charm counts for a lot. I've seen him in public thrice, met him once, and this charm is highly visible. What's more his charm never tilts toward cockiness but toward genuine-feeling humility. That's quite a trick if you stop to think about how actors build successful careers...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct242014

Posterized: Best Documentary Winners of the Past 30 Years

THE TIME OF HARVEY MILK (1984), a true classic. Have you seen it?
If there's anything that makes me feel unsophisticated when it comes to the cinema it's my general relationship to documentaries. Like your average movie consumer (non cinephile division) I only see them if the subject matter interests me. If there were a narrative equation wouldn't that be "i'll only see this or that genre"? And ewww, that's not the way to be. Variety is always best when consuming art. Man cannot live by multi-quandrant blockbusters OR art films alone. 

Over the years as The Film Experience has expanded we've given more space to documentaries largely because Glenn & Amir are obsessed with them. So for today's Posterized, a special edition surveying the last 30 years of the Best Documentary Feature category. I went back that far because The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) is basically one of my favorite things that I've ever seen in my life and I wanted to know if YOU have seen it. I enjoyed Milk (2008) a lot when it came out but it was very deja vu since so much of it was in this great film.

Anyway, I'm taking an informal survey to gauge your interest in this type of movie (and it's adjacent Oscar category) in the comments so do tell. How many of these Oscar winners have you seen?  There's actually 31 of them in the past 30 years since there was one tie. I have only seen 10 which I am embarrassed to admit as an Oscar pundit but there it is. I am not a total completist each year. Most of these films are available on DVD still though sadly not many are streaming.

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct212014

Lunchtime Poll: Multiple Acting Oscars

I was all prepared to list the most Oscar winning Actors for a quickie top ten list. Until I remembered there were only six with 3 or more Oscars (for acting)

Four Leading Oscars
01 Katharine Hepburn
Three Leading Oscars
02 Daniel Day-Lewis
Three Oscars (Lead/Supporting Mix)
[Three-Way Tie]
03 Ingrid Bergman
03 Meryl Streep
03 Jack Nicholson
Three Oscars (Supporting)
06 Walter Brennan

YOUR TASK: Make it a top ten by filling slots seven through ten. Name the four actors who most deserve to join them as three-timers or the ones who seem most likely?

Monday
Oct132014

75th: Absence of Melinda

Two time Oscar nominee Melinda Dillon turns 75 today. Since we don't like any major actresses to totally fade from public consciousness when they stop working, let's look back. Though her last working year was 2007 her most recent high profile gig goes back much further to a SAG nomination as part of the ensemble of Magnolia (1999, pictured left) in which she played wife and mother to Phillip Baker Hall and Melora Walters. 

Though she'd been working for a decade before it in small parts (TV guest gigs and improvisational comedy) her first real claim-to-fame came as "Memphis Sue" Woody Guthrie's wife in the Best Picture nominated bio Bound for Glory (1976). She received a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Acting Debut" (a now long defunct category) even though it wasn't her debut. Dillon's breakout led to bigger parts and two well-regarded Oscar nominations though curiously the Globes, who had first honored her, skipped her both times when her major hits rolled around. Her first Oscar nod made actually history: as the wide-eyed young mother in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1976) she was and will forever remain the first actor to ever receive a nomination for a Steven Spielberg film (it wasn't until The Color Purple when anyone else followed). Later she was nominated as a particularly fragile soul and key character at the heart of a war in Absence of Malice (1981) between journalist Sally Field and businessman Paul Newman (also Oscar-nominated).

Melinda Dillon as "Teresa" in Absence of Malice (1981)

Though Dillon's heyday preceded the birth of my own film/actress obessions I remember getting the sense that she was a critical darling, the kind of actress with a devout if not populist following. By the time I was watching movies regularly and passionately though the roles were all mom roles sometimes with lots of screentime as in A Christmas Story (1983) and Harry and the Hendersons (1987) and sometimes on the peripheries as in those very blonde family flashbacks in Prince of Tides (1991) or "Merna" in To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (1995).

If you're familiar with her work what's your favorite of her performances? If she could be coaxed out of her retirement what would you have her do?

Friday
Oct102014

135 Days 'til Oscar: Remember the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion?

Occasionally while typing about the Oscars I accidentally type in the Shrine or the Kodak and especially "The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion" when I mean The Dolby Theater. It's an honest mistake since the Oscars are a bonafide institution and one tends to associate locations with events. The Dolby Theater, the "permanent" home now for Oscar (whatever permanent means considering things such as contracts, name changes, and rights battles for broadcast and whatnot) was once the Kodak Theater and for the last dozen years that's where the Oscars have been held. But until the new millenium, I associated the event with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. That music hall hosted the Oscars the longest from Oliver! (1968) through Shakespeare in Love (1998) though it should be noted that the Shrine auditorium stepped in as substitute for six years during that three decade stretch. 

I've never actually been to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion but for a young movie mad boy in the suburbs of Detroit in the Eighties, 135 North Grand Avenue was the most important address in the world, way cooler than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I still think of it as way more glamorous than the Dolby... but maybe that's because I've been to the Dolby and though it looks great on TV it's inside a shopping mall. Perhaps that's appropriate for a golden idol that's really only gold-plated

Previously on our countdown that's really just begun...
138 Days - Average Best Picture Length
170 Days - Best Actor Trivia 
182 Days - What did Pickford & Fairbanks start?! 

 

Thursday
Oct092014

Everything You Wanted To Know About the Foreign Film Race*... (*but were afraid to ask Pt.1)

Tonight The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released the official list of Best Foreign Language Film Submissions that have qualified for the big show. There are 83 competitors this year, breaking the record by 7 films and in January 11% of those (aka 9 films... I think it really should be 12 each year) will move on to the "finals" from which 5 nominees will be chosen. In a long overdue adjustment to the category the names of the winning film's director will be placed on the statue alongside the country. Previously it was just the country which is silly because nobody would claim that Pedro Almodovar, Ingmar Bergman or Federico Fellini didn't win this category, you know?

The Film Experience's Official Submission Charts, the most comprehensive collection of the nominees on the web, are fully updated with posters, official charts, running times and more.

Pt. 1 Afghanistan through Ethiopia - 25 submissions
Pt. 2 Finland through Nepal -30 submissions
Pt. 3 Peru through Venezuela -28 submissions

READY TO DIG A LITTLE FURTHER? Let's break those 83 films down further and see what we're really looking at this year. Which countries are submitting for the first time? Which popular countries are STILL waiting for their first win? Are there familiar stars in the mix? Read on to find out... 

Click to read more ...