And all our Middleburg Film Festival Coverage

Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
English Patient Reunion

"This is my all time favorite. I have seen it at least fifty times -I used to watch it after breakup." -John T

"Still so enigmatic & mesmerizing after all these years..." -Claran

Keep TFE Strong



Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.


Entries in Oscars (00s) (125)


Bad Movies on Oscar Weekend

This weekend's release of Gods of Egypt got me thinking about the fact that we never get great movies opening on Oscar weekend. Studios must be betting that those of us watching the show are too busy prepping movie-themed party snacks to sneak in something special at the movies. Instead, they usually cater to an audience who'll likely be avoiding the big show. Hardly a new standard for release schedules, this weekend has been a dumping ground for forgettable cinema for some time.

Like the notorious poor quality of early months of the year, this weekend rarely gifts us with cult classics or enduring pleasures either. You have to go back 1997's Oscar weekend to find releases that still have vocal fans: TNT staple Selena (remember good Jennifer Lopez?) and Liar Liar (remember good Jim Carrey?). The previous year had David O. Russell's underappreciated sophmore film Flirting with Disaster, which did get some precursor love.

However, for something timeless and Oscar recognized, this weekend's biggest standout in modern memory is Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts performance as What Do You Want It To Be Vivian wasn't the most recent Oscar nominee debuting the weekend of the ceremony.

Let's see how far back we have to go to get an Oscar nominated film released on Oscar weekend!*

*full disclosure: I cheated, but you will totally agree why after the jump...

Click to read more ...


HBO’s LGBT History Oscar Break: 2003 Acting Races

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

 Last week we played a fun game of Oscar What If… imagining how Roger Spottiswoode’s And the Band Played On might have shifted the supporting actor and actress categories at the 1993 Academy Awards had it been released theatrically. This week we’re jumping ten years ahead and looking at the 2003 Oscar acting races and trying to suss out whether Jane Anderson’s Normal (which we discussed in depth a while back) could have made waves in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories.

Given that it was released the same year as the towering Angels in America it’s not surprising that Anderson’s Normal (based on her own play) went home empty-handed from all the end of year awards handed out despite featuring two dazzling performances that are usually awards-bait gold: Tom Wilkinson plays Roy Applewood who embarks on a transition to become the person he’s always known herself to be: Ruth; while Lange played his supportive wife, Irma. Indulge me if you will in imagining this Sundance Film Festival-screening title making it to theaters across the country and mounting campaigns that could have jockeyed for nominations the year Lord of the Rings: Return of the King swept the Oscars.

Click to read more ...


Valentine's - The Painted Veil

Team Experience is sharing favorite love scenes for Valentine's. Here's Josh...

It's a familiar and tested recipe to throw a beautiful period frock on an actress worth their weight in Oscars, and set her literary romantic troubles against a luscious location. Actressexuals and their mums will be clutching their pearls in the cinema on the first night it opens, and rewatching on DVD instead of reading the book for years to come. But let this not detract from The Painted Veil, the underrated and oscarless (not even nominations!) gem from 2006. 

That divine poster image of Edward Norton and Naomi Watts drifting along the river is plucked from the films most beautiful scene. The scenes beauty is due in no small part to Alexander Desplat's score that rides the romance of the film perfectly. His 'River Waltz' which accompanies the scene echoes the films romantic arc, its gentle chords and progressive structure mirrors the very real struggle of Kitty and Walter as they have 'waltzed' around one another in a tricky marriage, peppered with early acts of deliberate cruelty. As they ease into the relationship, and let the rhythms of their new life together guide them, they become entwined and supportive partners. The score also playfully references Gnossienne No 1 by Erik Satie, a piece used in the film first diegetically playing in the party that Walter first swoons over Kitty passing him in the hallway, and then again as Kitty plays the tune on a rickety piano in the orphanage as he watches on. A moment of projected love, and a moment of genuine discovery of love.

And the scene is lusciously visual. Much credit to the location scouts for finding this location in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. Wide blue eyed Naomi and her gorgeous lace parasol, and swoon worthy Ed Norton in a crisp linen shirt, set against those towering rock faces and sprawling bamboo. It's a smorgasbord of romanticism and a perfect antithesis from their first gruelling journey, one that Walter made them make on foot, to punish Kitty. This is a rare romance that let's us fall in love the same time the characters do.

Our Valentine's Series
A Room With a View (1986)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Before Sunset (2004)
Love Songs (2007)
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Beyond the Lights (2014)


Bye Instant Watch: United 93, Star Trek, and a Dutch LGBT Gem

Here's another batch of movies leaving Instant Watch services on Netflix of Amazon Prime if you'd like to catch up with them. It also provides us with an excuse to talk about a handful of random movies so why not. We've freeze framed randomly. Let's begin...

UNITED 93 (2006) ends February 11th on Netflix

United 93, Cleveland. Verify your altitude." 

This freeze frame is about 45 minutes in. The terrorists have just taken the cockpit when air traffic control tries to reach them. God this movie is upsetting. 

WERE THE WORLD MINE (2008) ends February 11th on Netflix

-Jonathan. You look luminous.
-I'm in love.  

I dont remember this well beyond its silly everyone straight becomes gay through magic plot. But I think there was a good musical number?  [More films after the jump...]

Click to read more ...


Q&A Part 1: Leo's World. 

Dear Readers, Last week I asked for more reader questions but since three of them at least were about Leonardo DiCaprio let's get them all out of the way as an appetizer to the main Q&A post. Ready... here we go.

LADY EDITH: Now that you have experienced the "Jonas blizzard" so recently how do you feel about giving "The Revenant" Oscars? [More]

Click to read more ...


Retro Sundance: 2001's Memento

When Memento arrived in 2001, it was a total buzzfest: Everyone was talking about it. It had a Wachowski level of cool (even co-starring Wachowski favorites Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss), it had a gritty noir sensibility, and an innovative time-bending structure deftly designed to get you inside the brain-damaged mind of Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce). It left Sundance that January with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, hit movie theaters in March, and when awards season came it was nominated for an Oscar for the Screenplay (Chris Nolan's first Oscar nomination) as well as the Editing prize. The movie has lost none of its cachet in the intervening years, retaining a 92% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and clocking in at #46 on the IMDb Top 250.

But I have a personal reason for loving this movie, as well as a story (I always have a story) if you'll indulge me after the jump...

Click to read more ...


To Gong Li on Her 50th Birthday

One of the screen's all time great beauties turns 50 today and she's still completely ravishing. Gong Li holds the fascinating distinction of being the only Chinese cinema star that Oscar has ever been consistently interested in. Despite Oscar's historic (and frankly bizarre) resistance to Asian cinema, even in the foreign film categories, an incredible six films from her resume have been nominated for Oscars.

Alas she has not been nominated herself, though she was "in the conversation" as it were on two separate occassions.  A Gong Li beauty break and those six of her most famous films after the jump... 

Click to read more ...