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Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (40s) (68)


Oscar Horrors: "Dr Jekyll and Mr Mouse"

Boo! It's time for "Oscar Horrors". Each night at 7 through Halloween we look back on a horror film or horror-adjacent film's Oscar nomination until Halloween. Here's Nathaniel R...

Here's an odd statistic to consider. Did you know that Tom & Jerry was Oscar's favorite character-based cartoon franchise? The MGM cat and mouse team won seven Oscars in the Best Animated Short category, more than any other series but for Disney's "Silly Symphonies" which also won seven times. Tom & Jerry's very first short was nominated and they won for four consecutive years from 1943-1946 at the peak of their fame.

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The Furniture: Designing Dignity in "How Green Was My Valley"

"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber

Filmmaking is often an art borne of flexibility. Tim Burton built Sleepy Hollow from scratch when he couldn’t find just the right town in the real world. Vincente Minnelli was forced to make Brigadoon indoors in Hollywood, because the studio wouldn’t pay for an expensive production in Scotland. Both films are likely better for it, too.

The same is perhaps true for How Green Was My Valley, which premiered 75 years ago this week. John Ford wanted to make shoot it on location in Wales, but World War II intervened. Instead, the production team built an entire mining town in the Santa Monica Mountains. This condensed and idealized version of the setting of Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel is among the most emotionally resonant sets of its era.

The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Art Direction.

The design team consisted of Richard Day, Nathan H. Juran and Thomas Little, no stranger to Oscar success. They based their village on Gilfach Goch, a quintessential Welsh mining town, but they dramatically reduced the size and jammed the houses much closer to the colliery...

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George Sidney Centennial: "The Three Musketeers"

by Nathaniel R

After looking at three popular musicals Anchors Aweigh (1945), Kiss Me Kate (1953), and Bye Bye Birdie (1963), in our mini George Sidney Centennial celebration, we're closing up with his other primary mode: the adventure flick. Curiously those films also feel like musicals even when they aren't. Case in point is The Three Musketeers (1948) and the subliminal feeling that at any moment a song and dance number might break out. That's not only because glorious Gene Kelly is the star. This feeling radiates outward from the ebullient movement of all of the swordsmen. It's also firmly embedded in the swooning romantic overtures that happen instantaneously between Gene Kelly and each of the women. Lana Turner is the devilish Lady de Winter and June Allyson is the saintly Constance and, in case you're wondering, no one will ever accuse this movie of subtlety or evolved gender politics. Still the love scenes are memorable for their queer duet of completely earnest and purposefully comic registers.

While The Three Musketeers, MGM's second biggest hit of the entire decade, never abandons its swashbuckler adventure commitments to make room for the theoretical song and dance number, it does make quite a few overtures to other identities. This treatment of the Alexander Dumas story is also a romantic comedy, a slapstick farce, and even a stylized melodrama...

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Now Streaming: Luke Cage's Day Off - A True Story

The following titles are now streaming for your pleasure. We've freeze framed them at entirely random places and shared the first thing that came up as is our whimsical practice. Do you have any desire to see (or revisit) these based on this evidence? 


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
LOL. Totally forgot about this sly partners in crime shopping scene. Have you seen this recently? It's so great but for every cutaway to Mickey Rooney (sigh). Nominated for five Oscars including Best Actress. (It's actually kind of a surprise that this hasn't been remade since it was originally envisioned for Marilyn Monroe and could have obviously been an entirely different sort of movie.)

seven more after the jump including Marvel's Luke Cage and a 1940s Best Picture winner...

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The Furniture: Bored at the Border in "Hold Back the Dawn"

"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the release of Hold Back the Dawn, the film for which Olivia de Havilland received her first Best Actress nomination. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we have a whole month of de Havilland back in June, in the lead-up to her 100th birthday? Yes, we did. But I am here to inform you that celebrating this two-time Oscar-winner isn’t an occasional thing. It's an essential part of life.

Besides, the film is great. It’s a smart, cynical melodrama about a Romanian playboy named Georges Iscovescu (Charles Boyer), biding his time in a small Mexican town while he waits to be granted entry into the United States. It’ll be years, thanks to the National Origins Formula. Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder’s script was adapted from a story by Ketti Frings, but also took inspiration from Wilder’s own experiences as a refugee stranded by the quota system.

Fed up, Georges looks for other ways to get across. On the 4th of July he meets Emmy Brown (de Havilland), a thoroughly wholesome schoolteacher. She’s taken her students on a cross-border field trip... 

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Catherine the Great, Billie Holiday, Wong Kar-Wai

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

1762 Catherine the Great becomes tsar of Russia, rules until her death 34 years later. Many actresses have played her since including icons as great as Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, and Marlene Dietrich. (Kiera Knightley and Annette Bening both have been rumored for various new Catherine the Great projects but we'll believe those when we see them.)
1898 Berenice Abbott, a major figure in photography, an early LGBT feminist, whose life spanned nearly the entire 20th century and would make a great biopic,  is born. We keep mentioning important women as potential biopic subjects to debunk the theory, perpetuated by Hollywood, that there are only Great Men worthy of movie treatment in history.
1899 Speaking of Great Man biopics...

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Tweetweek: Citizen Kane, Odd Marquees, New Arrivals

I have to begin this week's tweet roundup with this amazing find from Scott Feinberg - a press clipping about Citizen Kane on Oscar night and the room reaction to every mention of the film.


Crazy, right? The politics of the moment are always so hard to properly contextualize after the fact when it comes to art that endures.

More entertainment tweets ahead but first a joyous announcement from our friend and podcast mate Katey Rich...

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