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.

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Nick went to the Oscars!

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Entries in Oscars (12) (291)


Yes, No, Maybe So: "Django Unchained"

If Quentin Tarantino can make us wait an average of 2 years and ten months between each movie (I'm counting Kill Bill as one and assuming Django Unchained will arrive on schedule. But will it?) than you can all forgive me for not jumping on every piece of Tarantino news-- even the excitement of a trailer -- the minute it arrives. 

What's your name?"

His name is Django. The D is silent. Let's stay silent no more about the trailer ... or the teaser the teasler... the traiser? Aren't teasers support to be 1 minute long? We'll break this traiser into three pieces as we do.


  • Things that are off the chain: the shot of the blood sprayed cotton, the self-aware zoom-in on Leonardo DiCaprio casts gleefully against type, Django throwing off his coat, the shot reverse shot of Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington in the water (dream sequence?). More after the jump...

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Review: "Snow White and the Huntsman"

This article was originally published in my movie column at Towleroad

"Fairy tale revisionism" has been rapidly climbing the Hollywood idea chart. In the past few years we've seen Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel in Tangled, Red Riding Hood, and Snow White in Mirror Mirror (reviewed here).  There are several more on the way including Angelina Jolie as Maleficent terrorizing Sleeping Beauty Elle Fanning. This weekend Snow White returned to theaters for the second time in three months. Her timing is apt since the apple-munching princess is celebrating her 75th big screen anniversary (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937). Why so many fairy tales? Modern Hollywood thrives on branding so the more familiar the movie before it arrives the better. And what's more familiar than fairy tales?

Tale as old as time. 
True as it can be…  ♫

Oops wrong fairy tale. Regret to inform that Snow White and the Huntsman does not have a theme song sung by Angela Lansbury but let's borrow that song anyway as framing device. Snow White and the Hunstman does have a theme song but it's a less catchy dirge-like ballad. One of the seven dwarves coughs it out at a funeral until Florence and the Machine take over on the soundtrack as the heroes rise up against evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) in montage. 

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. If you can suspend your disbelief that Kristen Stewart is "the fairest of all them all" in a beauty contest with Charlize Theron, read on...

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Yes, No, Maybe So: "Les Miserables"

Q: You know what I always wanted for Christmas?
A: A miserabilist musical epic about whores, convicts, slum lords, revolutionaries and starving street urchins in 19th century France.

Thanks, Santa!

And thanks, Baby Jesus! Even though your dad was not as forgiving as Fantine (Anne Hathaway) dreamed. Les Misérables trailer and discussion after the jump

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Monologue: Annette Bening. Still on the Grift.

1990 was the year in which I saw the least amount of movies in theaters. I was overseas and when I returned I devoured everything. I don't recommend missing an entire year of cinema but I also can't deny that it's fun to catch up in massive marathons. My favorite shiny new  plaything that year turned out to be Annette Bening. She had appeared in two movies before her breakthrough (The Great Outdoors and Valmont, the latter of which was barely released) but I wasn't familiar with her. In 1990 she ascended. She swiped a scene wholesale from Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge (in a way we didn't see again for another 18 years when Viola Davis rationalized away her son in Doubt) and sparkled and teased as Myra Langtry in The Grifters. She deservedly won her first Oscar nomination but the bid was doomed. "You in danger, girl" Ghost was a juggernaut and Whoopi Goldberg was impossible to deny..

Myra, delighted and curious, realizes her boyfriend is "on the grift"

Director Stephen Frears, then at his creative peak hot off Dangerous Liaisons, handed Bening The Grifter's pivotal centerpiece. It's not one scene exactly nor an unbroken monologue but a shifting series of impressions and exchanges in which Myra reveals her past (in voiceover flashback) and begins to rope in her future, altering the game board on which mother and son con artists Roy and Lily Dillon play (John Cusack and Anjelica Huston, the latter giving a mammoth Oscar-worthy performance.)

After Myra witnesses her boyfriend Roy "working the tat on those sailor boys"  she drops enough strange lingo to choke a lesser actress in an effort to rustle his cautious feathers and reveal himself.

Oh come on, Roy. 'The tat,' what you do for a living.❞

More including new Bening films...

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"I can't believe we're doing this"

I assume that many of you have seen the very brief daydreamy clip from The Paperboy (2012) in which Zac Efron fantasizes about Nicole Kidman in a wedding dress before she kisses the camera. I can't stop watching it. I love the overlapped images and Kidman's accent and the snap back to reality. After the strange Shadowboxer and the moving but divisive Precious we all know that director Lee Daniels is confident (or over confident if you will) about bizarre flights of fancy in imagery and performances that run racing to the cliff's edge.

All of which might make him an ideal candidate to direct the ever fearless still underappreciated Nicole Kidman. I say "underappreciated" about this major star and Oscar winner only because she takes a lot of guff from critics, general audiences, and media types who all seem giddy about disparaging her work for shallow reasons. She's clearly one of the most important actors of either sex in the past twenty years and it seems obvious that future generations will still know her thanks to that auteur-friendly filmography. I'm gushing and I haven't seen the movie yet. (I hate when people do that so apologies.)

As for Zac Efron. First he duets with Michelle pF'in Pfeiffer (New Year's Eve) and then lusts after Kidman (The Paperboy)? This is the closest I've ever felt to him... and the most envious. Who's next: The Bening, Juli, Tilda, Ms Hathaway, Kiki Dunst? HE'S INSIDE MY MIND !!!

*deep breaths deep breaths*

The Paperboy premieres on Thursday May 24th at Cannes, in the last rush of films before the jury makes their decisions. Can Kidman give Marion Cotillard a run in Best Actress? Or will some non-Oscared international actress emerge triumphant?


Biopics With No Oscar Heat?

Here at the Film Experience we probably complain too often about Oscar's absolute obsession with the biopic genre. One reason we hate this that we don't talk about much is that the films don't tend to age well. If you don't believe me try watching all the Oscar nominees from any particular year in a single lead acting or Picture category. Guarantee that 9 times out of 10 the bio in the mix is the one most likely to cure your insomnia.

Because of annual biographical awards love  it's easy to forget early in each new film year that Oscar history is littered with bios that didn't catch on. I was just thinking about this because today is the Centennial of the Ty Cobb related Detroit strike. Cobb (1994), which you can watch on YouTube, was Tommy Lee Jones' chaser to his Oscar winning turn in The Fugitive. Come to think of it another Detroit related biopic Hoffa with Oscar's beloved Jack Nicholson also sank (mostly) with Oscar. Perhaps Detroit is an Oscar jinx for biopics? I'm calling it now: whoever plays Aretha Franklin when they get around to that biopic will be snubbed.

Which biographical films heading our way do you have the least faith in? Spielberg's Lincoln, Alfred Hitchock and the Making of Psycho with Anthony Hopkins, The Girl (another Hitchcock picture) with Toby Jones, Hyde Park on Hudson, Lovelace, Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin, Barbara Jordan biopic starring Viola Davis, Caught in Flight (Naomi Watts as Princess Diana), All is By My Side (Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix), Untitled Dr Seuss project with Johnny Depp. Etcetera. Which do you care about?

P.S. And how do you feel about Logan Marshall-Green playing a young Tennessee Williams in the Jena Malone headlined Carson McCuller's biopic Lonely Hunter? I don't have strong feelings for LM-G as of yet but Tennessee Williams is my all time favorite playwright. Have you ever read Carson McCuller's classic novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"? So so so good.




Superheroes & Oscar. 7 Lessons We've Learned

Last week while reading about The Last of the Mohicans (1992), an astonishing 20 years old now, my mind lept back to early 1993. Even in the pre-internet fueled days of Oscar watching, when we obsessives were fewer in number -- or at least disconnected from each other -- you knew that it was bizarre that such a super, handsome, well acted period epic that made a new Oscar winner (Daniel Day-Lewis) into a much bigger mainstream star would receive only one Oscar nomination (Best Sound). The Last of the Mohicans Oscar performance was shameful but then 1992 was something of a hot mess over at AMPAS largely due to their need to honor Scent of a Woman (wtf?) and the scandal that drowned out the brilliance of Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives.

But let's not get distracted from the main point. That happens when we get stuck in retro Oscar loops. 

Past Iron Man films have won Visual Effects and/or Sound Editing nods. Will The Avengers follow suit?

The sound categories generally come up with shortlists that are not unlike every other category's finalists; a mix of  "Most = Best", "Best Picture = Best" and a random genuinely discerning one-off (or two) of the "wow I'm happy they noticed" variety. See, for example,  last season's Drive nomination which was its sole bid.

So while I was thinking about Sound Mixing and Editing and the Oscars I chanced upon this FYC ad*, via Devour and SoundWorks for The Avengers. I haven't embedded it here because it's one of those videos that starts immediately without you pressing play (hate those!) but it's worth a watch if you click over..... Oscar trivia follows!

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Yes, No, Maybe So In a Man's Man's Man's Man's World

Trying to catch up here so herewith, a quartet of big groups of male actors committing daring crimes/heroics in two minutes flat so that you can see the best parts* of the movies for free. 

*that's how it works, right?

We'll break Argo, Expendables 2, Lawless and Ganster Squad down into quick threes via our infallible Yes No Maybe So™ system after the jump.

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