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Entries in Oscars (13) (318)

Friday
Sep092016

What Does Tom Hanks Have to Do to Receive Another Oscar Nomination?

by abstew

The world was a very different place in January 2001. George W. Bush was being sworn into office for the first of his two terms as President, people used disposable cameras and brought the film to be developed at...drug stores, and the main places to watch new films was in the actual movie theater (where the average ticket price was $5.39) and then later going to the nearest Blockbuster to rent it. It also happened to be the last time that Tom Hanks was nominated for an acting Oscar.

With a total of 5 Best Actor nominations for Big (1988), Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Cast Away (2000) and back-to-back wins (only the second Best Actor to accomplish the feat after Spencer Tracy almost 60 years before and only one of five actors (the others are Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn, and Jason Robards) to have achieved the distinction in the Academy's 88 year history) it's not like Hanks is hurting for accolades. And if that weren't enough, he's even taken gold for television, winning 7 Emmys so far as a producer and director on multiple miniseries.

The Academy often has brief but passionate affairs when it comes to actors...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar032016

If these were offered as doll sets each year...


yes, that's the whole decade* thus far

 

 

...I would need a bigger apartment.

... Also I would go bankrupt. (Especially when trying to hunt down 1950, 1973, 1961 and 1939)

(On a Related Note: Did you see Jose's Best Dressed List?)

 

* Well, not quite the whole decade. Judi Dench was the sole no-show for her nomination for Philomena so that's 59 of the 60 nominees above as they were be-gowned on Oscar night. If you could only afford 1 of these 6 doll sets which year would it be?

Wednesday
Dec232015

HBO’s LGBT History: Behind the Candelabra (2013)

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

Last week we dipped our toes into Todd Haynes’s Mildred Pierce only to find that it’s oddly divisive, as is its leading lady, Ms Kate Winslet. Who knew? This week we look at a high profile project that was intended for the silver screen but given the current film market found itself in the not too shabby quarters of HBO: the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, written by 2016 WGA Ian McClellan Hunter Award honoree Richard LaGravenese and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Released in 2013, the project was perhaps the gayest project on HBO’s roster since Kushner’s Angels in America. Indeed, if you’ve been following us these past few weeks you’ll notice we’ve dealt with low-key flicks like Bernard and Doris and Cinema Verite. Documentaries it’s where it was until Soderbergh brought his glittering film to the Home Box Office. Upon its release (it premiered at Cannes), the film was showered with praise not only for Soderbergh’s visual flair but for its central performances, with Michael Douglas earning some of his best reviews in years. [More...]


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Thursday
Apr302015

A.I. "Her," or The Rise of the Empathetic Machines

Wrapping up the sci-fi week festivities (did you see the final top ten list?) we turn the time over to our fine new contributor Lynn Lee. You'll want to read this one! - Editor


Deep down, most people who think about artificial intelligence have the same fear: that it will not only surpass humanity but supplant us, ending our reign as the planet’s dominant species and extracting cosmic revenge for our own abuses.  Building on these anxieties, movies about A.I. have embraced a pretty consistently grim outlook for humanity in the face of this phenomenon (which even has a fancy, if oddly spiritual-sounding name: the singularity).  The slaves become the masters, seeking either to exterminate or enslave us. 

But if A.I. overtakes human intelligence, and the machines evolve into a superior being, wouldn’t that include superior emotional intelligence?  And wouldn’t a super (emotionally) intelligent being have developed extraordinary powers of empathy?  Rather than using those powers to manipulate us, couldn’t they serve as a bridge between us and them?  Or would they, in outstripping our own poor abilities, become a further source of divergence?

Films that pursue this line of inquiry typically balance the A.I.s’ desire to understand and learn human emotions against their basic survival programming.  Blade Runner’s most transcendent moment involves a replicant (“more human than human”) reaching out to save a man (who may actually be a replicant himself) he was ready to kill just a minute earlier.  A.I: Artificial Intelligence, brandishing the tag line “His love is real.  But he is not,” teases out the conceit of such artificial beings, initially programmed to be and feel just like humans, evolving into a super-species who must deconstruct the emotional memories of one of their earliest prototypes in order to understand their own connection to us.  

More recently, the quietly disquieting Ex Machina introduces an A.I. who turns the Turing test on its head and leaves unanswered whether a machine that can so expertly read and simulate our more vulnerable emotions will ever come to feel them for “real.”

I can’t think of another movie, however, that explores these questions quite like Spike Jonze’s Her...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun112014

An Awards Aftermath Question For All

The annual Women in Film gala, which is held today always celebrates several names but the big prize is the Crystal Award and Amy Adams will present it to Cate Blanchett for "Excellence in Film". A few months later Matthew McConaughey might well be honored with an Emmy for True Detective but even if he doesn't win that he'll be collecting will the American Cinematheque prize in October. And future fall honors aside, he was just handed another trophy by Spike TV last week as their "Guy of the Year"

In short, Oscar's Homecoming King and Queen are not yet done being showered with praise and tributes. We just saw an illustration of this afterglow effect with Bryan Cranston's Tony win for "All The Way". Did he win because he was the best in the category or because it's all the rage to honor him given the super duper success of that protracted final season of "Breaking Bad"? Wouldn't he immediately be the favorite to win the Oscar this next season if he had a substantial role in a movie, solely from all this goodwill. 

McConaughey, Blanchett, and Cranston aren't done collecting trophies this year

Right or wrong, and the debate will forever rage, the Oscar is viewed as the pinnacle of showbiz prizes. So what's with grabbing more trophies as you ski-lift down from that peak? Aren't they redundant? Why do organizations feel the need to rubber stamp Oscar's choices instead of starting the drums for someone else. Aren't they afraid of viewer fatigue or sloppy seconds?

And, a better question, why do the actors go for it? They all seem so exhausted after awards season that you'd think they'd hide away for a few months thereafter instead of doing more monkey dances for more trophies that don't mean a great deal in the long run.

I'm curious to hear theories. 

Tuesday
Apr082014

"Poor Ivy”: August: Osage County’s Underappreciated MVP

Here's Andrew to celebrate the release of last year's embattled August: Osage County newly arrived on DVD. Significant spoilers ahead.

Each year there's at least one film which wins middling to good reviews and manages Oscar nods but is promptly forgotten as soon as it's released. August: Osage County was 2013's victim of that unfortunate annual tradition. Sure, it earned those two acting nominations it seemed assured early on but no one was particularly interested in talking about any aspect of August: Osage County, but for its Oscar belly-flop elsewhere and the Oscar queen at the centre. Perhaps, it was an automated response to Meryl Streep usually being at the centre of films with little else to offer than her star turn (The Iron Lady, Julie & Julia, Music of the Heart, etcetera). It's a shame because the former awards’ hopeful had so much more to celebrate than just the fire-breathing matriarch in the middle.

The strongest asset was undoubtedly that excellent cast. Aside from Streep and Roberts, only a few players picked up significant praise and even then the one most deserving was the one afforded hardly any attention: Julianne Nicholson as middle-child Ivy.

Click to read more ...