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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

"Don't help the man with the broken arm! Don't get in his van! Too late... She does it every time. Which is why this is such a good movie: it really makes us care, and even when we know what's going to happen, we hope it won't."- Edward

"Such a great BP winner. I remember seeing it when I was a teenager and even then I noticed the eyelines being so close to the camera, and the way Clarice was framed in a male-dominated world as though she was being watched and judged." - MSD

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Entries in Oscar Trivia (256)

Sunday
Jan242016

Podcast: Oscar's Diversity Initiative, PGA Win

NathanielKateyJoe and Nick, talk about this week's tumultuous Oscar season events and somehow Dolores Hart former actress/current nun, keeps popping up in conversation.

30 minutes 
00:01 PGA goes to The Big Short. Will SAG?
03:00 Hollywood & Racism
08:40 AMPAS new diversity plans
16:30 Oscar Stats, Prestige Math, and Future Oscar Races
22:20 12 Years a Slave (2013)
25:00 Who might lose their Oscar vote?

Related Reading For Context:
Academy press release Diversity initiative
PGA winners
Birth of a Nation (2016) at Sundance
Penelope Ann Miller's statement
• Mother Dolores Hart "From Hollywood to Holy Vows"

On the Next Podcast:
We all share our top ten lists! 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes soon

Diversity & Hollywood

Friday
Jan222016

This just in... Academy's New Diversity Plans Announced

After the emergency meeting of the Oscar's governing board (51 players strong) to discuss what to do about their sorry track record of diversity these past few years -- #OscarsSoWhite had become the only story out of the Oscar nominations -- they've announced plans for changes to take effect immediately following this Oscar season.

It boils down to a plan to significantly expand & speed up the initiatives President Cheryl Boone Isaac had already put in place with one very significant change.

  • New Members* 
    Though they've been adding more members annually already, between now and 2020 they vow to double the number of female and diverse voters. The Academy currently has about 6,261 voting members with estimates of women and nonwhite members making up about 1400 of that number so expect a couple those more members. 
  • Three New Board Members
    The 51 seats will increase to 54 with the new members chosen by the President. (All eyes will be on who she selects I'm sure. Is it too much to ask that we get an LGBT person in there somewhere? Because the Academy's track record) 
  • Membership Terms
    This one is the major change. It's no longer a lifetime appointment (unless you are an actual nominee or winner so yes Roberto Benigni gets to stay) but a ten year appointment. Members must be active in film during the decade to renew their membership when it's up. If they don't meet the criteria they will become "Members Emeritus". This will apply retroactively after the Oscars this year. Voters who do not qualify will not lose any privileges except voting. So they still get all the screenings and perks and such. 

* One more change involving the new members to be invited (which usually happens in the summer) was announced but it's a bit vague. Variety describes it like so:

The Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy's current President

Cheryl Boone Isaacs states:

The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

This is all very promising but we'll still need the industry to catch up to insure that different types of stories are told and heard each year. And audiences will still need to support stories that aren't about superheroes or men to get more of these films made. But that's another struggle.

For now hear hear on Ms. Isaac's swift actions! 

HERE IS THE ACADEMY'S PRESS RELEASE

Thursday
Jan212016

Oscar in Panic Mode. This Rarely Ends Well...

Readers I'm getting nervous. I love the Oscars. Ever since I saw the shiny gold man on a TV guide cover as a little boy and was all "what is that?" I've been hooked. So their history means a lot to me.

It's actually because of that history that it's fun as well as uplifting to chart their progress over the years in dealing with diversity -- and there has been a lot of progress no matter what the current cultural rage would imply. It's been a thrill to see the "first this" and "first that" over the years. 

But this year things are getting ugly. The Academy often makes terrible mistakes when they're criticized (note all the 'we can't make up our minds' volatility with the rules following The Dark Knight year) and now they'll be meeting on possible rules changes including returning to 10 Picture nominees. President Cheryl Boone Isaacs promises "big changes". Some people are even floating acting fields as big as 10 nominees. This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard in relation to the Oscars. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan192016

Well "Hello, Dolly!" ...Again (Feat: Channing, Pearl, Bette, and Babs) 

Bette on the Tonight Show in 2014Bette Midler basically gave the game away in a tweet last night but today it's official: The Divine Miss M will be taking over Carol Channing's signature role Dolly Levi in a Broadway revival of "Hello, Dolly!" due in the Spring of 2017. Carol Channing made a huge enduring career out of the role, of course, playing it three different times across four decades on Broadway and touring with it, too. Barbra Streisand tried to wrestle the role away from her in the movie musical adaptation in 1969 -- there are multiple catty anecdotes about this in the trivia-filled gossipy book "Roadshow! The Fall of the Film Musicals in the 1960s" that do not paint a pretty picture of Babs --  but despite the plentiful Oscar nominations thrown that movies way, it didn't really stick and no one thinks of Dolly as anyone's but Channing's.

Babs, Bette, Carol Channing & Pearl Bailey after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan182016

'Critics Choice' Winners List & Oscar-Calling Post-Mortem

the night doubled as a live tribute to Amy SchumerDespite the disdain many members of the media, including some within the BFCA, seem to hold for the HFPA, the organization that runs the Golden Globes, everyone seems to want to be them. The Critics Choice Awards, now in their 21st year, have had trouble emerging from that institution's shadow.

Though the CCMAs had seemed to be on a slight upswing around the turn of the decade (the Meryl Streep years of Doubt and Julie & Julia seemed to go well in terms of media interest, comparatively at least), things have been since trending downward and went truly haywire this year.  In addition to the "never take us seriously!" self-sabotage to change a nominee lineup after nominations had been announced, there are the strange impulses that can only come from not trusting the voting body such as the need to give Amy Schumer a special prize in the year when she's already going to win a normal prize.

Meanwhile the continued expansion of categories over the past several years has created a clusterf*** that requires that very few of them be televised live. Which is a pity because if they were they might be worth discussing. Mad Max Fury Road won 9 prizes but it didn't even remotely emerge from the night feeling like a big winner since only one of the nine was televised! [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan162016

Handwringing: The Ongoing, Important but Not Always Helpful #OscarsSoWhite Conversation

Have you been following the #OscarsSoWhite discussion? Or rather the shouting? Discussion happens after the fact so we waited 48 hours. There was a lot of knee jerk anger on the day of the Oscar Nominations and many bold statements. Some were totally understandable. Others had us wondering if we've been watching a different Oscars for the past quarter century than anyone else.

If you can't read another word about this we'll understand and hope you'll come back for the next article. But if you'd like to discuss and are willing to think about diversity as a wider and more important topic than a list of 20 names published this year and who or who isn't on it, than read on.

First, I need to get something off my chest...

Click to read more ...