Oscar History

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William Holden in Picnic

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Entries in Oscars (11) (332)


Ask and Meryl Shall Receive. 


An Imagined Kennedy Center Honors Honor Photo OpDo you think Meryl Streep ever gets tired of hearing how awesome she is?

Do you think she ever has moments of doubt on set or has she ascended to a higher mortal plane? By now, 30+ years into her regularly lauded big screen career, the role she's had the most rehearsal time playing is that of "Gracious Recipient of Compliments". This will only continue this December with this year's Kennedy Center Honors on December 4th. The other recipients this year are all musicians: Barbara Cook, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, and Sonny Rollins so I think they should make Streep sing for this particular supper; she's good at that, too. 

[Tangent: In other Streep news this headline about a "10th anniversary screening of Mamma Mia!" nearly gave me a heart attack today. It's 2018 already????? What have I done with my liiiiiiiiffffffeeee.]

The topic of Lifetime Achievement and Oscar is an annual one. Someone gets that treatment every year though it's far from infallible as campaign options go. And every year people get that treatment who aren't even in the Oscar race, which muddies the water in terms of who people are feeling exceptionally generous towards in one calendar year. There will be a limit on how many stars can get a boost from it, or it's younger cousin (the simpler "Tribute"). This year has already seen tributes to George Clooney and Tilda Swinton (both at Telluride), and lifetime honors for Shirley Maclaine (at Deauville) and soon the list will include Michael Douglas (Santa Barbara), Warren Beatty (BAFTA Los Angeles), Mary Tyler Moore (SAG), Glenn Close (San Sebastian) and Meryl Streep (Kennedy Center Honors). It doesn't end there.

We're probably obviously headed straight towards Lifetime Achievement Territory with the campaigns for Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus), Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Nick Nolte (Warrior)?

How many of these not so subtle "It's Time!" or "It's Time Again!" campaigns will really take off? AMPAS almost never goes  with a whole group of already rewarded actors or an "all veteran quartet" in the acting races (though there was The Strange Case of 1994). Care to place your bets?


Oscar Submissions: Serbia, The Netherlands, Angelina Jolie & the Austrians

The Oscar Submissions continue to trickle in.

THE NETHERLANDS (7 nominations, 3 wins)
For about a decade from the mid 80s to the mid 90s Dutch-language films were the rage with Oscar voters with 3 nominations which all went on to win the big prize. The country last nomination was for 2003's Twin Sisters but given their track record (at least one nominee a decade since their first) they'll be golden again soon. This year they've selected Maria Peter's Sonny Boy which is a true scandalous story based on a best selling book about a 40 something married woman and her affair with a 19 year old black student. The couple get pregnant. Trivia note: Their child --  "Sonny Boy" being the Al Jolson inspired nickname they gave him -- is supposedly still alive and an octogenarian now!

Oscar does like a true story. And they like epics involving World Wars. Here's the dialogue free teaser and you can decide for yourself how Oscar might respond.

They've never been nominated but there's got to be a first time. Dragan Bjelogrlic's Montevideo God Bless You which seems, from descriptions, to be a nostalgia soaked period piece about 1930s Belgrade just as much as it's a sweeping inspirational story of young men with big (sports) dreams, in this case football (soccer). To be specific their dreams take them to the  First World Football Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay.

If IMDb can be trusted on Serbian film industry goings on (they sometimes get foreign film info wrong) they're already filming a sequel  which is this movie. Can anyone translate that title for us?

This is quite a bit different than the type of film Serbia usually submits. They've never submitted a film by this director before and the films don't usually skew this young either. The film stars two relative newbies Milos Bikovic (previously on Serbian TV series) and Peter Stager (film debut).

Milos Bikovic and Peter Stager

Will Oscar take a longer look this time?

The closest Serbia has come to a nomination was The Trap in 2007 which made the finals but not the shortlist.

AUSTRIA (3 noms, 1 win)
Austria's entry this year also trains its lens on a young man, the 19 year old Roman (Thomas Schubert). Roman, though, doesn't have big dreams but is just trying to build a new life after prison.  Guilt haunts him for his teenage crimes. The film is directed by the actor Karl Markovics (most recently seen in the international hit Unknown).

It's worth noting that the movie is already an award winner. Schubert won Best Actor at the Sarajevo Film Festival and who handed him the prize but global icon Angelina Jolie, who was honored herself (and accepted tearfully) at the very same event. So should Breathing (Atmen) be Oscar nominated, Schubert might have another chance to share oxgyen with her. He's already experienced one embodiment of Hollywood glamour, just not the gold plated kind. 

Angelina Jolie at the Sarajevo Film FestivalPREVIOUS SUBMISSIONS AND SPECULATIONS


Interview: Vera & Dagmara in "Higher Ground"

You may expect, when sitting down to discuss a serious and deeply felt indie with two award-winning actresses that the air would be heavy with purpose or self-reflection. The film in question is the provocative HIGHER GROUND, a drama about a born-again woman named Corrine (Vera Farmiga) struggling with her faith in a tight knit religious community. But the initial conversation proves more sartorial than spiritual.

Dagmara & Vera on the day of this interview

Vera Farmiga, who has walked her share of red carpets (especially two years back with that well deserved Oscar nomination for Up in the Air) has forgotten the shoes she intended to bring for the next stop on the publicity circuit. Dagmara Dominczyk, her friend and co-star, is immediately sympathetic. Dagmara, you see, has just been shopping. Since she's arrived to the interview first, her contagious sense of humor is already familiar.

"Between the dressing room and my house it changed from 'Awesome!' to 'what was I thinking?'," Dagmara confesses, laughing, about the dress she's just purchased. 

Higher Ground, Deepest Chemistry

The actresses have such an easy warm rapport -- they quite literally finish two of each other's sentences and speak in unison twice during our time together -- that their mesmerizing chemistry onscreen as two Jesus-loving housewives with a physically intimate and spiritually edifying friendship is suddenly right there all palpable in three dimensions. Not the kind you have to wear glasses to see.

Dagmara & Vera in HIGHER GROUND (2011) © Sony Pictures Classics

"Chemistry is a funny thing. It's either there or it's not. And if it's not it's a bitch ...but it is possible." Vera says with Dagmara instantly agreeing that it was just there for them; they can't even remember how they met. "I personally think it's incredibly difficult to not have chemistry with Dagmara." Vera adds with a smile, and explains the very obvious: the moment one meets Dagmara one feels close to her.

"My first girl crush!" Dagmara interjects about Vera. "I've never had a girl crush before. I'm just putting it out there!"


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Box Office "The Help" Still Gainfully Employed. 

The stars of The Help are actually in France at the moment (Venice isn't the only festival happening as I type: Telluride and Deauville are also attracting celebrities). They've been posing with a champagne bottle. Corporate sponsorship sitch aside, they have every reason to break out the bubbly with the longest time lodged at #1 since... Inception (!!!) With a budget of only $25 million, The Help is going to prove hugely profitable for all involved. So congratulations to Tate Taylor and team.

The movie shows no signs of slowing down, dropping only 2% this week while most movies fell about 25% (everyone got a small holiday boost). It might end up outgrossing pre-sold brands like The Smurfs and god knows what other huge budgeted would-be blockbusters when it's done. Maybe that Best Picture nomination could actually happen after all. [Please note: I'll be updating all the charts on September 13th... to kick off our busy season. And given what's happening at Telluride and Venice, there's a lot of changes to be made.]

Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen -actuals
01 THE HELP [review] $14.6 (cum $118.9)
02 THE DEBT new $9.9 
03 APOLLO 18 new $8.7 
04 SHARK NIGHT 3D new $8.3 
05 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES [articles] $7.9 (cumulative $160.1) 
06 COLOMBIANA $7.4 (cum $22)
07 OUR IDIOT BROTHER [review] $5.4 (cum $15.7)
08 DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK $5.1 (cum $16.5)
09 SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD $4.8 (cum $29.2)
10 THE SMURFS $4.1 (cum $132)

11 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [thoughts$3.3 (cum $74.5)
13 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [review]  $1.9 (cum $171.6) 

What did you see over the weekend?
Did you love it?


Linker, Donor, Oscar, Bye

By now you've heard the rumor, which some sources say is closer to actual fact, that Eddie Murphy will be hosting next February's Oscar ceremony. That's a major get if true since Murphy hasn't performed live in years and years and is the kind of Household Name that Oscar always prefers. I'm sure we'll talk more about this if it pans out. 

Lorell and Jimmy are through-oooooooooh 

No matter how great Eddie is -- should he host -- I know I won't be fully satisfied because what are the chances he'd invite Anika Noni Rose (who you know we love) onstage for something. TRUE STORY: Every single time I hear "Eddie Murphy" since 2008 I hear Anika Noni Rose's glorious voice in my ear. I included the sound clip that plays in my head every time in the post. You better listen!

Have you seen Paul Smith's limited edition beautiful posters for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? They're minimalism and its most gorgeous and they're charitable too. All proceeds go to cancer.

This is my favorite from the batch.

I keep staring at it. But then I love minimalistic art. I think I must need room for my own projections of what an image, movie, or thing might be.

Ashley Judd & Michael Shannon & the aphidslinks!
Sunset Gun revisits Bug, mincing no words: "a masterpiece". I like this movie too but if you ever have a chance to see it on stage, that's where it really wows. So claustrophic and crazy and weirdly expectant of your co-dependency.
In Contention on George Clooney's tribute at Telluride. What a star that man is.
Awards Daily Sasha thinks Glenn Close has a real shot at the Best Actress Oscar with Albert Nobbs as career capper. She also likes The Descendants.
Super Punch stop motion recreation of the Johnny Quest opening credits. "WOW" and also: "What on earth for?" 
Terry Richardson has been shooting Jared Leto again. Those two. 
Movie|Line Stephanie Zacharek with a beautiful ode to Michael Fassbender in Shame and a funny jab at Al Pacino in Wilde Salome.

Today's Must Read
The Sheila Variations on Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre. Can we just cut and paste this whole write-up into her Best Actress FYC ads? Hopefully Focus Features takes a look at it.

Even if you haven't seen Jane Eyre (2011) it's an expansive essay taking on various schools (and limitations) of acting and it even has two beautiful shout outs to two of Nathaniel's all time favorite characterizations: Meryl Streep in Silkwood and Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? So I'm sensing that Sheila is a kindred spirit.

Oh and... uh... Happy Labor Day Weekend! 
I tried to take a vacation from blogging this week -- as i hinted in the "best of august" post -- and have now realized that I am unable. Constitutionally unable. Which is why you should all sign on as "subscribers" (in sidebar -- i've added a cheaper option for the brokest among you) so that I can keep blogging from here to eternity. I'm not suited for other types of work because I spend too much time dreaming about the movies.



I'm not sure what I'll do next weekend when I will actually not have an internet connection and must stare at actual friends all day...and not through a computer screen? GROSS.

Diesel Sweeties designed the perfect t-shirt for people like me -- and maybe you -- who can't stop working.