Film Bitch History
Oscar History

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
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Entries in Oscar Trivia (492)


200 Oldest Living Screen Stars of Note

Nehemiah Persoff & Barbra Streisand in Yentl (1983)Papa can you hear me? 
Papa can you watch me... fly 🎵

Whenever I think of Yentl, which is surprisingly often since the movie doesn't stream anywhere and I haven't seen it in a billion years, I think of "Papa Can You Hear Me". Such a beautiful song. Did you know that the papa himself, actor Nehemiah Persoff, is still alive? He basically retired in the 1980s (his last live-action movie of note was the Schwarzenegger comedy Twins in 1988. He turns 100 on this very day so a Happy Centennial to Yentl's papa! 

Given this momentous birthday, we thought we should update and re-share our periodic list of the oldest living screen actors of note across film and television. We keep this list, not as a morbid countdown, but as a reminder that we should all watch movies from all eras and get to know and appreciate our elders, many of whom once made indelible contributions to popular culture. Some of the perpetually young ones still do like Cloris Leachman and Rita Moreno -- we see you, you spry nonagenarian and octogenarians!

Anyway here's the list! We hope you enjoy and get some screening ideas...


104 years young

 Norman Lloyd (11/08/14) 
Most recently seen in the supporting cast of Trainwreck. He started as a Hitchcock player (Saboteur, Spellbound) and later became a Hitchcock producer ("Alfred Hitchcock Presents") which led to a long producing career on TV (two Emmy nods). Other acting roles: Dead Poet's Society, The Flame and the Arrow, Wise Guy and St Elsewhere.


103 years young

 Olivia de Havilland (7/1/1916) 
This centenarian is the oldest bonafide MOVIE STAR alive and had already 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). Lots more on Olivia here.


102 years young

 Kirk Douglas (12/9/1916) 
Spartacus himself and father to two time Oscar-winner Michael Douglas. Kirk was nominated for Best Actor three times for ChampionLust For Life and the Hollywood-on-Hollywood heavily Oscared The Bad and the Beautiful which he is just incredible in. He received an Honorary Oscar in 1995...

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"The Client" and Populist Oscar Choices in Acting

by Nathaniel R

Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of The Client which was a big sleeper success in its summer, ending the year as the 13th highest grossing movie of 1994. Only that number wasn't bad luck since Susan Sarandon netted a Best Actress nomination for the legal drama. That nomination kept her momentum as "overdue for a win" going strong until the next year when she won the Oscar for something in Oscar's more typical wheelhouse, Dead Man Walking (1995) an issue drama based on a true story.

So let's discuss something no one talks about much. What are the lead acting nominations that would never have happened without the big hit status for the movies that housed them? This is NOT meant as a critique of the performances. Sometimes Oscar just needs to be convinced by enormous success to look at worthy pieces of acting within genres they take less seriously (their loss) or star vehicles they might not have stopped to mull over without all the general audience enthusiasm forcing the movie to be taken seriously... 

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Goodbye, Valentina

We regret to inform you that the headscarf-loving Italian actress Valentina Cortese has passed away at 96 years of age. She first came to international fame playing Fantine & Cosette in an Italian take on the oft-adapted Les Misérables (1948). After that picture European directors came calling and so did Hollywood (including the Academy)...

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France and the Oscar Race. Then and Now.

by Nathaniel R

As you've probably heard, France has altered their Oscar submission choice rules a bit. They'll now allow for "special screenings" (i.e. some variation of the common practice here in the US of the "qualifying run") to determine eligibility. In truth this wouldn't be news if it weren't France we were talking about. Most countries already allow some form of this practice so a film can be eligible for awards even if it isn't technically playing for audiences in time.

But France in the past has not allowed this given the country's very strict distribution rules. That's one of the reasons why, for example, that Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) wasn't submitted in its year...

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Welcome to the Academy, 2019 Newbies!

Today it was announced that AMPAS (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) has invited 842 new members to join them, further swelling the Oscar ranks. The Academy has recently entered a period of unprecendented growth as they continue to address gender parity and racial inclusivity within their ranks. For the first time that we recall they actually did achieve gender parity in regards to their new invites - exactly 50% of the new members are women and 29% of the invitees this year are people of color.  Most impressively given the dire previous numbers the directors branch invited more women than men this year! THE DIRECTORS. Think about what a major step that is. 

A full* list of new members follows and we threw some hearts up by people for which we went spontaneously aflutter though this is not to imply that the others don't deserve our love. It's a lot of names so it's easy to get overwhelmed...

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Posterized: Zhang Yimou returns with his best film in many years

by Nathaniel R

One of Asia's finest auteurs, Zhang Yimou, returns to arthouse theaters today with his new film Shadow, which is a true return to form for a director whose use of color in movies has few contemporary equals. The new films is shot in color but the costumes and sets are black and white making for numerous startling images. The 69 year old Chinese director's films have been up for multiple BAFTAs, Globes, and Oscars over the years and he also co-directed the very famous Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics so you might not even realize how familiar you are with his work. 

How many of his movies have you seen? Here are the posters for all 21 of his narrative features with some awards trivia, too...

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