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Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (10s) (29)


Viola Davis to Break Records if She Crashes the Best Supporting Actress Party

Over the weekend Viola Davis's camp confirmed they were officially aiming for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Fences. This disappoints us since she won the Lead Tony on Broadway for the role and now it seems like we're going to remain ages and ages away from another WOC winning Best Actress. It's been a long time since Halle Berry. Viola will of course become the most nominated black actress at the Oscars ever if she's nominated for Fences (which will be her 3rd nomination) making her the immediate frontrunner. 

Can Viola & Denzel repeat their Tony winning dominance at the Oscars for Fences?

Updated Best Actress Chart
Updated Best Supporting Actress Chart 

But let's discuss a less cited but even more impressive (though frustrating) record Viola may break. If Viola is nominated for Fences she becomes not just the most nominated black actress but the most nominated black woman of all time in any category. Viola is currently tied with five other women with two nominations each: most famously Oprah Winfrey (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress... she also has the non-competitive Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award), Whoopi Goldberg (both for acting), and Ruth E Carter (both times for costume design) who rose up in the 1980s and 1990s. Since the turn of the century three more black women have joined them: Viola, plus Sharen Davis (both times for Costume Design) and Siedah Garrett (both times for Original Song). The only way Viola doesn't keep this record for her own is if Sharen Davis joins her in a tie for most nominated in January. Sharen designed the costumes for Fences and could also be in the mix this year for a third time. Of those six women, only Whoopi has won a competitive Oscar. 

Costume Designer Sharen Davis (Fences) could break the record WITH Viola!

P.S. One Last Note: I would like to say that the way sites are reporting on Fences is going to be disturbing us all season. I keep reading sentences like this:

'August Wilson adapted his own play for the screen and beefed up Viola's role'.

As far as we know that is not true unless of course he wrote a screenplay version that collected dust in a drawer before any movie version was planned and before there was even a revival on Broadway that they ended up using a decade later when the movie finally got a greenlight. August Wilson died in October 2005, eleven years ago (five years before Viola and Denzel won their Tony Awards for his classic play). From our understanding the movie version is just the great playwright's revival text again with dramaturgy by Tony Kushner (he's not taking screen credit for "adapting" the transition to the screen... which is probably wise given the sensitive topic of the Oscars not appreciating black artists enough). A posthumous nomination for Wilson seems possible (given the current spin) but it's still odd since he passed away over a decade before the movie began filming.


Doc Corner: Netflix's Big Oscar Push

A flurry of documentaries are having their premieres on Netflix and in their own way serve as glowing examples of the positives and the negatives of the streaming platform. Netflix made an impression very early in their life as original content providers; the Academy’s documentary branch has already warmed to their productions and acquisitions. They deserved the statue for The Square in 2012 (losing to music doc 20 Feet from Stardom), and proved their keen eye (and deep pockets) were no fluke with subsequent nominations for Virunga (losing to Citizenfour), What Happened Miss Simone?, and Winter on Fire (both losing to music doc Amy) 

This year it’s entirely feasible to imagine an Oscar line-up with five Netflix titles. I can't imagine the doc branch ever letting that happen, but they have the product and it’s looking entirely possible they could finally win in a memorable and game-changing first. But what about the films themselves: Into the Inferno, Amanda Knox, and Audrie & Daisie?

Click to read more ...


Posterized: Natalie Portman

by Nathaniel R

Natalie Portman in a new photoshoot for Diorskin ForeverWhat odd careers child stars eventually look back on. Natalie Portman was an instant sensation when she appeared in The Professional as a junior assassin. When the film was released late in 1994, Natalie was just 13 years old. She became an instant favorite for directors filling their prestige ensembles and by the time she was 18 she was a leading lady and also the mother of Luke & Leia (though the Star Wars prequels contain her worst acting by far). By 23 she was a Golden Globe winner and by 29 an Oscar Best Actress champ. Afterwards she receded as so many actresses who win Oscars in their twenties do (what is there left to strive for?) presumably enjoying their riches and in some cases their new domesticity. Pregnant during her Black Swan Oscar campaign, Portman & her ballet world husband Benjamin Millepied are now the parents of a five year old and she's not seen in public nearly as often as she once was.

(Fun Trivia: did you know that Portman, Millepied and their son Aleph all have birthdays in a single week every June?)

After the jump posters from all of her theatrical releases, except the ones where she played herself or only appeared in cameo or in a section of an omnibus film, and a few notes on her filmography.

How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...


120 Nominated Performances, Ranked. Who's Next?

As you will undoubtedly understand, I'm not up to speed at the moment. But I find a weird comfort in list-making and cine-dreaming, wondering what our next batch of Oscar contenders will look like. Will it be a great vintage or a weak one? Or, more usual, a weird combo of both. It's far too early to tell though we're hopeful. As I was wandering aimlessly around the web this morning I found this very enjoyable video from Ali Benz ranking all Oscar acting nominees this decade. Like a moving scrapbook of Oscar's classes for the past six years (2010-2015). Some things about the order make me so crazy but that is the joy and discussability of list-making. 

Here's the video and after the jump I'll rank them all myself. Busywork is good for me today.

120 Oscar-nominated Performances of the Decade - RANKED - from Ali Benzekri on Vimeo.

Click to read more ...


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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Posterized: Woody Allen's Filmography

Will Cafe Society win Oscar attention? It certainly looks handsome.Woody Allen's Cafe Society is the prolific auteur's 46th full length theatrical feature. He's been so regular a presence at the movie theaters he even makes speedy Clint Eastwood look like a slacker. In fact, though he's got his first television series due in September starring himself, Miley Cyrus and Elaine May (the six episode season will be called Crisis in Six Scenes and debut on September 30th), it won't be slowing down his theatrical output since he's already working on the 47th feature as well (which will star Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake as previously noted).

It's too early in Cafe Society's run to know where it will stack up in terms of success, but it appears to be tracking to be one of his mid-range pictures, the kind that do fine but are neither true hits nor flops. We shall see. But for now let's look back at that highly prolific theatrical career. His pictures have earned a total of 52 Oscar nominations and 12 wins and they were once so popular they finished in the top ten hits of the year (can you imagine? Ah the 1970s when moviegoers were far crazier about what they'd turn out for)

How many of his 47 films have you seen (we're including the omnibus film New York Stories because why not)? All the posters and waves of his career are after the jump...

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In Happier Cannes Times

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

1941 Bob Dylan is born in Minnesota, splinters into seven people in front of Todd Haynes' eyes.
1949 Jim Broadbent is born so that we might have Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge! the film he should have won the Oscar for on the night he actually won the Oscar. Funny how that happens sometimes.
1960 Kristin Scott Thomas is born. Years later she can drop a room temperature or bring it to a boil onscreen in about 2 seconds. We miss her soooo much.
1972 Superhero Glut Producer of the CW, Greg Berlanti, is born.
1991 Thelma & Louise drove into theaters. You've been reading our 25th anniversary retrospective right? Part 3 hits today and we're having a blast revisiting.

2009 The White Ribbon finally wins Michael Haneke the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It goes on to two Oscar nominations for Foreign Film and Cinematography and becomes Haneke's most successful film globally, edging out the even greater Caché. It won't stay his most successful pic for long since Amour is just around the corner.
2011 This Sunday's Cannes results had the internet fuming (we won't know if the anger is justified until we see the movies) but five years ago Robert De Niro's jury gave us an astonishing roundup of winners at the 64th Cannes including The Tree of Life (Palme d'Or), Jean Dujardin in The Artist (Best Actor), Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia (Best Actress) and Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive (Best Director)