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Entries in Oscars (40s) (56)


Jennifer Lawrence & The Race to Break Oscar Records

Nine year-old Jacob Tremblay (Room), fourteen year-old Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation), and 21 year-old Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) are the youngest actors who appear to be in the mix for possible Oscar nominations this year. But none of them will be breaking any records if they are as younger actors have been nominated in their categories. It's actually Jennifer Lawrence, an old lady at 25 (Kidding, but she sure does like playing older women) who is the one to watch for trivia's sake. She is likely to break a record that is currently held by another Jennifer. 

Jennifer in Duel in the Sun (1946) / Jennifer in Joy (2015)


Do you think Jennifer Lawrence will take Jennifer Jones Oscar record?
Duh! JLaw will be gunning for Bette/Katharine/Meryl records
Yes. JLaw will get another Oscar and a few more nods.
We'll see. Enjoy it while it lasts Jennifer.
No. This JLaw obsession must stop!
Poll Maker


Should Lawrence be nominated for Joy (talk about the new trailer here), she will have amassed an incredible four acting nominations by the age of 25. I assumed that record was held by Elizabeth Taylor but the record is actually held by one of the more forgotten superstars of the 1940s, Jennifer Jones.


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Ingrid's First Oscar Nomination

We continue our Ingrid Bergman Centennial with Andrew Kendall on For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

It's difficult to speak of Ingrid Bergman without consider her place in Oscar history. She's one of the few people to win three acting Oscars. And, she's fourth (only to Kate, Meryl and Bette) when it comes to Oscar's Actress Hierarchy. For modern fans, then, the celebrity of that first nomination is a curio regardless of its quality. When did Oscar first bite? For Ingrid it came four years (and five films) after her Hollywood debut. Not for that year's best picture winner Casablanca, but for the adaptation of For Whom the Bell TollsCasablanca, and Ingrid's "Ilsa," have endured as such integral parts of film culture that her work in For Whom the Bell Tolls immediately faces the scrunity of living up to it. Why the vote for this over her work there? 

But, it’s essential to remember that films and awards as creatures of their time. At the time of its production Casablanca was merely a minor World War II drama and literary adaptations were all the rage (from 1937 through 1942 every Best Picture winner was an adaptation of a recently pubished text). The adaptation of the literary triumph of 1940 was the bigger ticket. Ingrid was desperate for the role and Hemingway also loved the idea.  In a 1971 interview Bergman revealed that Hemingway, a writer typically averse to being too involved in adaptations of his work, lobbied significantly for Bergman to get the role even reportedly sending her a copy of the novel with the inscription

You are the Maria in the book”.

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Ingrid Bergman Transforming

All month long we're celebrating Ingrid Bergman's centennial. Here's Jason on Bergman taking charge of her own career...

By 1941 Ingrid Bergman had followed up her first Hollywood foray Intermezzo (which abstew so beautifully introduced this series with on Thursday) with two more movies where she played, and these are her words, "a Hollywood peaches-and-cream girl," meaning the nice nicer nicest girl you ever did see, and she was fed up with it. In Adam Had Four Sons she was "the nice housekeeper" and in Rage in Heaven she was "a nice refugee." She wanted to actually be an actress, and act, and challenge herself. Producer David O. Selznick thought he had the winning formula though, and wanted to keep the ship steady. In her autobiography Bergman said of Selznick:

"David believed the Hollywood legend: the elevator boy always plays the elevator boy, the drunk's a drunk, the nurse always a nurse. In Hollywood you got yourself one role and you played it forever. That's what the audience wants to see, they said, the same old performance, the familiar face."

Selznick loved her already familiar face though and he was lining up projects left and right for her -- next on her plate was a remake of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde...

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Beauty Break: John Huston & The Huston Dynasty

Today is the 109th birthday of the famed director John Huston. Of course he died long ago, just a few weeks after this picture with his daughters Allegra and Anjelica was taken in fact, at the age of 81. But what a filmography! And what a showbiz family.

The Hustons are one of the rare families with multiple Oscar-winning generations. They're also ridiculously photogenic, with faces that march straight past traditional pretty with strong noses held high as if they can't be bothered with generic beauty standards. Their faces fascinate. They have character. They're ideal for storytelling. More...

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1948: The Incredible Introduction of Montgomery Clift

The Smackdown may have ended but here's one last 1948 piece from abstew on TFE's favorite classic dramatic actor to close out the year of the month. - Editor

Before there was Brando and James Dean there was Montgomery Clift. And while those actors are often credited for bringing a new type of leading man to the big screen, through a mix of masculine machismo with feminine vulnerability, without Clift paving the way, the future of acting might have looked far different. The country was just emerging from the hardships of WWII. After seeing the travesties of war firsthand, they were ready for something more realistic and Clift was the answer to the change they were seeking. Having worked as a stage actor for over 10 years (where he made his Broadway debut at age 15 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning There Shall Be No Night), Clift was a serious actor that had honed his craft and emerged fully-formed in Hollywood with his first two films, both released in 1948, the western Red River and the post-war drama The Search

Having caught Clift in a production of the Tennessee Williams play You Touched Me!, director Howard Hawks convinced the young actor to bring his unique set of skills to his western. John Wayne, an actor so synonymous with the genre that he was practically its patron saint, was already headlining and Hawks felt that Clift, who didn't even know how to ride a horse, would bring a different energy and dynamic to the stoic western figure. Wayne needed some convincing and laughed at the thought of the slender Clift being able to hold his own in the film's final throw down confrontation against him. But Clift, ever the professional, worked tirelessly to master the demands of the role and gives a performance that pays homage to cowboys past but is entirely its own creation. [More...]

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Podcast: More 1948 Smackdowning. Which Films Have Aged Well? 

You've read the new Supporting Actress Smackdown. Now here is it's companion podcast. This month there wasn't an obvious theme as in 1979's gender politics, but we had fun discussing the films and genres presented from noir to Shakespeare to soggy memoirs.

Host: Nathaniel R
Special Guests: Abdi Nazemianset, Catherine Stebbins, Joe Reid, and Tim Robey


  • 00:01 Introductions and how 1948 is new to us
  • 04:20 I Remember Mama is a George Stevens film? And how about those accents in Mama and Johnny Belinda
  • 18:00 Why did Key Largo only get one nomination -was it the noir thing?
  • 21:00 Stage & Cinema - they're all play adaptations but Key Largo and Hamlet both have an Ophelia! Shakespeare archetypes and Orson Welles
  • 33:00 Claire Trevor in Raw Deal (1948)
  • 36:00 Alternate nominees plus other 1948 films we like: Easter Parade, Cry of the City and Red River.
  • 40:00 Goodbyes and remake/recasting pitches from 1948

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes.  Please continue the conversation in the comments. Who would you have nominated in 1948 for the big categories -- particularly in supporting? Which of the four main films we discussed is your favorite? 

And how about that Ann Miller in Easter Parade

 P.S. Further reading. During our 1948 month we looked at five additional films ICYMI: The Red ShoesLetter From an Unknown Woman,the animated shorts of the yearTreasure of the Sierra Madre and Sorry Wrong Number

P.P.S. The next smackdown at the end of July is 1995 so make sure to watch Sense & Sensibility, Mighty Aphrodite, Georgia, Apollo 13, and Nixon this month for a refresher. 

1948 Smackdown Companion


Smackdown 1948: Jean, Barbara, Claire, Ellen, and Agnes Moorehead

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '48. A young writer, a drunken chanteuse, two spinster aunties, and a girl who never gets to the nunnery.


1948 is so basic. A typical Best Supporting Actress shortlist looks almost exactly like this: an actress whose paid her dues finally getting a plum opportunity (hello usually uncredited Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama finally stepping into the limelight), a rapidly rising star (Jean Simmons in Hamlet, not her first attention grabbing role in the late 40s), a fresh ingenue in a popular picture (Meet Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama), and if you're lucky in a good year a couple of revered character actresses to class up the shortlist joint (Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda and Claire Trevor in Key Largo). And within that mix you'll usually have a protagonist demoted to "supporting" and Best Picture heat helping at least a few of them find a seat at the table. All of that is true for 1948. What isn't so typical is a supporting actress winning on a picture's sole nomination and that happened here. Key Largo has aged well but Oscar didn't have any time for it back then outside of Trevor's drunk despair. The other three pictures had 24 nominations between them!


Here to talk about these five turns are screenwriter/author Abdi Nazemian ("The Walk in Closet"), film blogger Catherine Stebbins (Cinema Enthusiast), freelance journalist Joe Reid, film critic Tim Robey (The Telegraph), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). In addition to this write up we recorded a companion podcast  where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado...



BARBARA BEL GEDDES as "Katrin" in I Remember Mama
Synopsis: A teenager who dreams of being a writer finds source material in her immigrant mother
Stats: Then 26 yrs old, 2nd film, first and only nomination. 72 minutes of screen time (or 54% of running time). 

Abdi Nazemian: She carries much of the emotional life of the film, but I found the film unbearably sentimental (this from a man who loves Andy Hardy movies and Little Women). She lacks the unique quirks that young actors like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney brought to the same kinds of roles, and gives us a bland portrayal of adolescence. Of all the nominated actresses, she was given the most screen time, and did the least with it. 

Catherine Stebbins: One of these days I’ll figure out why I’m always so drawn to Bel Geddes. She has a lot of screen time as Katrin, given the unenviable task of holding up the film’s relentless episodic nostalgia. She is narrator, observer, worshiper, and an adult playing an adolescent. Katrin constantly looks at her mother, whether in the background or foreground, with reverent awe. Bel Geddes plays this with a partial cognizance that Katrin is in the gently reenacted memories of her past. ♥♥♥

Joe Reid: I can see how, if you were swept up in the homey charms of George Stevens' film, you'd want to throw accolades at Bel Geddes, who plays such an observant window onto the life of her saintly mother. Her hushed voice-over gets to the gauzy-memoir nature of the story effectively, but I'm not sure the performance ever gets much farther than doe-eyed wonderment.  ♥♥

Tim Robey: Saddled with just about the hoariest framing narration in film history, and doing little to lift it out of sanctified goo, Barbara has a near-impossible task here – making the terminally precious Katrin and her “gifted” (read: soporific) memoirs interesting. She can’t win, but we still need something more than a voice like tree sap to get us through this. In overegged close-ups she’s weirdly divorced from real-time engagement with her scenes, and every co-star seems faintly embarrassed about what to do with her. 

Nathaniel R: In the movie's crowded frames, you can often see just her hair or the back of her head; unfortunately her full closeups aren't that much more expressive, generally landing a single emotion. The narration is even stiffer like she's reading to a very small child from an immobile body cast. (The direction and screenplay all but force this stiff repetitiveness though, so it's not all on her) She aces warm awestruck looks at goddess Irene Dunne, but... I mean... who doesn't?  

Reader Write-Ins: "She is telling THEIR story, which she happens to be in. Therefore she is bland, quiet, blending to the background so others can showcase themselves." - Tom (Reader average: ♥♥¼)

Actress earns 10¼ ❤s 

four more actresses after the jump

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