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Entries in Oscar Trivia (175)

Tuesday
Feb252014

5 Days Til Oscar. When Will John Williams Win a Sixth?

John Williams, the cinema's most widely and wildly celebrated composer, is a nominee again this year for The Book Thief (you can download some sheet music from the score here). He is 82 years old but in a delightfully senior twist, he is only the third oldest nominee (after June Squibb and Patricia Norris). IMDb's database for composers is very confusing so I can't share "number of original scores" but his feature film career, starting with Daddy-O (1958) and continuing on through the The Book Thief (2013), is prolific and highly regarded with more presumably to come since the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises are still alive and so is he.

John Williams conducting "The Book of Thief" score in a recording session

His Oscar record is the closest anyone's ever come to total Academy infallibility (if you discount the people who only made one or two pictures). In the past 46 years, starting with the adaptation of the music in The Valley of Dolls (1967) and ending with his original compositions for The Book Thief  (2013) he has been nominated 49 times, winning 5 Oscars. 

with Catherine Deneuve when he won his last Golden Globe for Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)I don't know what kind of a percentage that is -- again, the films are hard to count and some won't have been eligible since he does a lot of franchises (and those are sometimes disqualified for lack of enough new material) but I'd wager that his record is something certifiably insane like 90% of his original compositions being named one of the year's five "Best". 

In other words, if he scores it, they're nominating it. Period.

Strangely, given their crazy-cuckoo devotion, he has only won the statue twice in the past 30 years. His most recent statues were for Schindler's List (1993), E.T. (1982), with his heyday being in the seventies when he won thrice for  Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975) and Fiddler on the Roof (1972... in the Adaptation category which they no longer have).

 

 

 

Do you think he'll win a sixth Oscar or an honorary* soon?

Related:
Oscar Charts for the Sound and Music Categories
Nathaniel's Ballot of the Year's Best in Sound and Music

*in the unique star-subservient logic of the Academy, performers who've already been amply rewarded with gold are sometimes given an extra rather than honoring someone without trophies. See the recent baffling Honorary for 1961's Best Actress Sophia Loren's for her  "memorable performances", instead of taking the opportunity to honor one of numerous classic and respected actresses who've never won and are still living.

Sunday
Feb232014

7 Days Til Oscar. Dallas Buyers Club & AIDS Pictures

Unless I've missed a random nomination somewhere -- and you may correct me gently in the comments if I have --  it occurs to me that Dallas Buyers Club is the seventh non-documentary motion picture with a prominent HIV/AIDS story to receive Oscar nominations. (There have been more films with supporting characters who were living with HIV, but these are the major films that are more focused on it*).

Oscar's history with this feature topic stretches back 23 years through one Best Picture nominee, a pre-McConaughey Best Actor, two foreign films, and 1990's Longtime Companion after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb222014

8 Days Til Oscar. Peter O'Toole, The Actor Who Would Be... Nominated?

Here's new contributor Diana Drumm to talk about a man who will surely win pride of place in Oscar's In Memoriam a week from Sunday.

Crazy eights, ice-skating tricks, the infinity symbol standing upright, 8 is a fun number... unless you’re the late legendary actor Peter O’Toole.  Yes, the man who won the hearts (but not the majority) of Academy voters in his film debut as the titular Lawrence of Arabia, held his own in a televised Shakespeare discussion with Orson Welles, and bounded on and offscreen to various degrees of liquid courage would falter slightly, nay merely pause, at the mention of eight and Oscar in the same sentence. 

Your instructions: Read the following paragraph aloud or in your head with all of the O’Toole-ian gravitas you can muster, in the style of the opening of his “My Life” speech from The Lion in Winter (1968), which garnered him a third nomination for Best Actor...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb212014

9 Days Til Oscar. Should 9 Times Nominated "12 Years" Worry?

Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, once the Oscar frontrunner and perhaps still, has nine nominations. As we move into the final days of voting (ballots are due on Tuesday the 25th), how many of its categories can it win? I'm thinking about 12 Years again today due to Harvey Weinstein's awful potshot at it over at Deadline where he suggested that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was better at covering slavery.

I liked 12 Years A Slave, but Quentin covered a lot of that ground first, and dealt with violence, slavery and oppression, shining a light on the American holocaust, as he called it.

Oy!

I'll flesh out some of the following thoughts in the "final predictions" article a week from now but until then, let's discuss it's upcoming Oscar battles... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb212014

Red Carpet Lineup: All of Meryl Streep's Oscar Looks

a better photo of the Silkwood Oscar dressThis is the last Streep-centric post for this Oscar season (unless she does something crazy at the Oscars), promise!

I used to always make a point of saying that Meryl Streep gets nominated for 39% of her performances, having appeared in 46 features and being nominated 18 times. But in truth her record is better than that. Once you eliminate the performances that couldn't have been nominated her record is an even more incredible 53% (a good example is her leading role in Plenty released in 1985 since she was nominated for her leading role in Out of Africa and an actor may only have one nomination per category unlike behind-the-camera people who are allowed to double up). So, fact: as soon as she reports to work on each new film she is more likely to be nominated than not for whatever it is she is about to do.

Is this the best record ever? Among actors, yes (once you eliminate the people who only made a few films and died/quit). But, otherwise, nope. John Williams has the closest thing to infallibility since he's nominated for virtually everything he does but let's not get sidetracked. Let's look at Streep's past in gown form and her future in role form after the jump

All of Meryl's Oscar Nominated Looks 1978-2012
With thanks to Google Image Search and Simply Streep 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb202014

Acceptance Speech Nerdgasm & Oscar Party Tiebreakers

who will be in a group photo THIS year? And will they look as much like the top of a wedding cake as this quartet did?What will Matthew McConaughey say first after he wins the Oscar? I mean after "all right all right all right". Statistics suggest that he'll either thank the Academy or launch right into the Leto or Vallée appreciation. (Or maybe DiCaprio or Dern will win in a shocking upset)

Jennifer Lawrence started her speech at the last Oscars with "This is nuts" and if she wins again over Lupita  'this is nuts' won't even begin to describe it. If you want a fun tiebreaker for your Oscar party prediction pool, go with the speeches!

Four Tie-Breaker Questions: 

1 "Who will forget a totally key person?"
(JLaw forgot her director last year!)
2 "Which of the acting winners will thank the most people by name?"
(Hathaway rattled off 23 names last year)  
3 "Will anyone thank God?" Other than their God
(i.e. the director)  
4 "How many of the four acting winners will get a standing ovation?"
(this is actually harder to predict than you'd think because sometimes who gets one and who doesn't is confusing when you're in the living room and not in the Kodak)

Over at Slate I've updated my massive acceptance speech analysis project. Even if you've seen it before, look again because I die for those interactive graphics they include. They are so fun to play with and I'm super proud of this now annual tradition.

Tuesday
Feb182014

12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen

Tim here, with your daily dose of Oscar numerology. We’re now in the third year of the Academy’s undoubtedly well-intentioned "some random number that always turns out to be nine" approach to selecting Best Picture nominees, and for some of us, this is irritatingly arbitrary. But it could be so much worse. Think of how awful it must have been to been a rabid Oscar fanatic in the first decade of the award’s existence: depending on the year, there were anywhere from three to twelve Best Picture nominees, until it was finally nailed down at a nice, round ten at the 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.

The magic number of the day being 12, I'd like you to join me, for a closer look at 1934, the first of two years with 12 nominated films (for space reasons, I am alas compelled to leave 1935 to fend for itself) - the first year, as well, that the awards corresponded to a single calendar year. What can we learn about the Academy’s tastes and habits down the decades from each of these?

BEST PICTURE It Happened One Night (released by Columbia)
What It Is: One of the greatest of all screwball comedies, in which the sexily odd-looking pair of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable cross country and banter.
The Slot It Fills:
The long-abandoned "comedies are a valid form of artistic expression like anything else" spot. But, of course, the period in which the film came out was unusually good at producing top-notch comedies starring the best movie stars of the day.

Only 11 more slots to fill after the jump

Click to read more ...

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