Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (00s) (139)


What's your most vivid memory of "The Departed" and the 2006 Oscar Race? 

by Nathaniel R

Ten years ago today Martin Scorsese's smash hit The Departed opened in theaters. I remember that day well especially that beat just past this still above when the entire sold out movie theater exploded simultaneously with shock, excitement, screaming, whooping, collective chills. A master playing the audience perfectly so it's no wonder that Martin Scorsese finally won the Oscar for it. Strangely I have few other vivid memories of the movie other than the feeling that that deep line in Leonardo DiCaprio's perma-angst expression had never and would never be put to better use again. Also something about Vera Farmiga flirting in an elevator, and the movie's perfect final shot.

The Film Experience was definitely having an "off consensus" year -- we were all about Marie Antoinette, The Fountain, & Volver so the Oscars were kind of a let-down -- but at least it was one of those interesting years where the Best Picture contenders didn't hog all the nominations. In fact only 1 of the 10 leading acting contenders came from a Best Picture nominee. Strange, right?

What do you remember most about The Departed? And how comfortable were you with the 2006 Oscar's lineup. As a reminder the Best Pictures were:

  • Babel (7 noms / 1 controversial win - for the barely there Original Score) 
  • The Departed (5 noms / 4 wins including Picture)
  • Letters From Iwo Jima (4 noms / 1 win)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (4 noms / 2 wins)
  • The Queen (6 noms / 1 win)

Request: Oscar Nominated Performances of the Aughts, Ranked

by Nathaniel R

This list was requested by Carlos recently in the comments. Perhaps in light of the Oscar Nominated Performances ranked of the past six years... so why not. It's a perfect weekend activity and will help you get in the mood for the possibly turbulent Oscar season ahead. So let's do this crazy...


First a terrible confession for one such as I: Two Oscar nominated performances in the Aughts slipped right past my movie devouring eyeballs (the shame. the shame.) I never got around to Tommy Lee Jones In the Valley of Elah or Cooler Alec Baldwin. I accept your judgment and will choose my favorite of whatever punishments are recommended.

So let's rank the whole other 198 lot of 'em, with the caveats that this is silly (apples & oranges) and had you asked me on a different day the order might have been different though the general truth of the groupings below would stay the same. 


  1. Mo'Nique, Precious (2009) *
  2. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
  3. Johnny Depp, The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
  4. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood (2007) *
  6. Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal (2006)

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Stream This: No Country For Freddy's Happyness

I trust you're all Netflixing today to prepare for Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Get Down" tonight. We've missed Baz Luhrmann, haven't you? Netflix hasn't announced its September availabilities yet but here are a few things that just arrived as well as a few you'll need to watch quickly, if you have any desire, as they expire shortly. Let's freeze frame them at random places and see what turns up, shall we?


She will now lay her eggs - eggs with a truly remarkable destiny.

Flight of the Butterflies (2012)
That sounds uneccessarily dramatic, like it's a tagline for a butterfly blockbuster. This is, you guessed it, a documentary on butterflies. Pretty pretty.

(seven more movies after the jump)

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Posterized: Director Stephen Frears

Streep & StephenThe "Posterized" series has fallen into a 'totally inconsistent director' zone. Last week we looked at Woody Allen's filmography, full of impossible peaks and embarrassing valleys and everything inbetween. The 75 year old British director Stephen Frears hasn't had peaks that are quite as dizzy from the genius altitude but his valleys aren't as cringeworthy as Allen's, either. He's a safe middle distance director that critics and audiences and Oscar can all love, albeit not stay married to. He's made 22 features over the course of his long career which began with 1971's Gumshoe after which he disappeared into epidodic British TV for a decade or so until his movie career really started to sizzle; My Beautiful Laundrette put him on the global map. But did he ever really top that breakthrough?

For all the ups and downs that followed, the consistency is his love for actresses: he famously directed Helen Mirren to her Oscar, and he's worked with Glenn Close, Judi Dench, and Michelle Pfeiffer twice each.

It's a busy summer for Frears.  He's prepping a third feature with Judi Dench called Victoria and Abdul, he's added Meryl Streep to his grande dame arsenal via Florence Foster Jenkins, and he'll receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award at the 22nd Annual Sarajevo Film Festival which starts today.

All the Frears theatrical posters are after the jumpHow many of his films have you seen?

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Oscar Trivia, Indie Sensations, and Evita's Death

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

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On this day: Hemingway, Falconetti, Clueless, Dunkirk

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Corey Stoll as Hemingway

1892 Maria Falconetti is born. Delivers one of the best performances ever captured on film thirty-six years later in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
1899 Famous author and real 'character' Ernest Hemingway is born. In addition to his work being made into films and TV miniseries he frequently pops up as a character in cinema played by everyone from Chris O'Donnell (In Love and War) to Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris - robbed of an Oscar nod though we honored him here) and now Dominic West (Genius) ...and that's not even the half of it.
1922 Don Knotts is born. Mugs it up in 70+ film and TV projects including Three's Company, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Andy Griffith Show - 5 Emmy wins for Supporting Actor thereafter until his death in 2006

1948 Steven Demetre Georgiu is born in London. He becomes the famous folk singer Cat Stevens of "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken" fame. Among his many early classics are the songs from the seminal 70s film Harold and Maude (which ridiculously received zero Oscar nominations). Later changes his name to Yusuf Islam and quits music for many years.
1951 Robin Williams is born
1953 Visual FX man John Nelson is born in Detroit. Gets his first FX gig with Terminator 2 (not a bad way to start) and wins the Oscar on his first nomination with Gladiator (2000)
1955 Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr is born. His best known pictures: Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmóniák and The Turin Horse
1957 Jon Lovitz, SNL's "Master Thespian" and comic scene stealer of 90s pictures is born
1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon; Stanley Kubrick is nowhere in the vicinity at the time.
1971 Charlotte Gainsbourg is born to famous parents in London. Later submits herself to perpetual Lars von Trier torments.
1978 Ridiculously fine looking actors Josh Hartnett and Justin Bartha are born
1981 Singer Paloma Faith is born in London. Plays herself in a weirdly unflattering role in Youth (2015)
1989 Juno Temple is born. Specializes in sexually corrupted childwomen.
1992 Jessica Barden is born. 2016's been a breakout year for her via  "Justine," a bloodthirsty prostitute on Penny Dreadful and her role as "Nosebleed Woman" in The Lobster 
1995 Clueless is 21 years old today. It can drink now though it's always given us a contact high. (Please note: IMDb lists the release date as Wednesday the 19th rather than Friday the 21st but Wikipedia disagrees so I don't know.)
2006 Monster House hits theaters. Receives a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Feature but loses to Happy Feet which... recount!

Well, whichever. At least Cars didn't win!

2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows goes to market in book form. Sells 11 million copies on the first day before being split in two in movie form to reap an extra billion at the box office.
2010 Orlando Bloom goes off the market when he secretly marries model Miranda Kerr
2017 Christopher Nolan abandons sci-fi for a WW II drama Dunkirk, which will open in theaters on this day. Guess he really is pissed about being denied a single Oscar nomination for directing. 


Gird Your Loins. The Devil Wears Prada is 10! 

Gird your loins.

We really had meant to do The Devil Wears Prada anniversary up big but the month got away from us. Today, 10 years ago, The Devil Wears Prada opened in theaters as counterprogramming and blew up, becoming one of 2006's biggest hits and endearing La Streep to a whole new generation of fans. Sadly she didn't win her third Oscar then (it would have solved so many problems later on. Plus, more importantly, she deserved it!). Because time slipped away from us, and tales of our incompetence do not interest her, we present this classic from the old site on this special occasion.

Ten Best Miranda Priestley Line Readings

My flight has been cancelled... "

10. How incredulous and put-out she sounds without even raising her voice. The way she says "school" when referencing her kids recital which she's desperate to attend is giggle worthy, too. So childish. Translation 'How could such a thing happen to the center of the universe... me?'

There you are Emily. How many times do I have to scream your name?"

09. 'Actually my name is Andrea.' Oh shut it Hathaway. She doesn't care. She will call you what she likes and you'll come running...

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From the Vaults: Meryl Streep in "A Prairie Home Companion"

Since today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Robert Altman's swan song A Prairie Home Companion (2006), a gem excavated from that year's Oscar blogging for those who were not around in 2006. Though I know I've cooled on Meryl in the years since I wrote this (2006 was a major peak for Meryl but too many performances that didn't thrill followed and were automatically exalted and Oscar nominated anyway) I consider her past decade a valley rather than a downward trend. All performers have their peaks and valleys. I'm waiting for the next transcendent performance -- Impatiently, but I promise I'm hopeful.

It didn't take Meryl Streep long. By 1987 at the very latest, just ten years into her career, we knew that she could do everything. We'd already heard the accents, seen the funny, witnessed the sexy, fallen in love, had our hearts broken and heard the magnificent singing voice. If she were less endearing and emotionally attentive as a performer her technical range would be just hateful, a thing to curse as she popped up again and again in films. But this woman has it all. She is, put simply, the most consistent versatile actor in the movies.

So what is there left for Meryl Streep to do? It turns out quite a lot...

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