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Entries in Oscars (60s) (82)

Tuesday
Mar032015

Visual Index ~ The Sound of Music (1965) "Best Shots"

Each Tuesday night we ask anyone with a pinterest, blog, tumblr or what have you to post their favorite shot from a preselected movie. To kick off Season Six: The Sound of Music (1965) for its 50th Anniversary.

Unlike its obvious counterpart in belovedness, The Wizard of Oz (previously featured in this series) it was wildly popular from the day it opened. If you adjust for inflation it remains the third highest grossing film of all time after Gone With the Wind (1939) and Star Wars (1977). Like GWTW, its production trouble seems to have magically made it a stronger film rather than torpedoing it. Funny how fate works. For example Christopher Plummer's contempt for the project (he turned it down several times and loudly denounced it afterwards) bleeds through but affects the movie in surprisingly perfect ways, balancing the sweet with just enough sour. 

In short, it's one of 'Our Favorite Things'. 

Best Shots from
THE SOUND OF MUSIC

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Sunday
Feb152015

A Foreign Language Actress So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Sophia Loren

abstew here. Only 15 women in the 87 year history of the Academy have scored a Best Actress nomination for a foreign language performance. In contrast, British actresses have won Best Actress 14 times. While the Academy has always warmed to Brits, their European neighbors have had to struggle to breakthrough with recognition in the acting races. (There has still never been a Best Actress nominee for a performance in any language outside of a European origin.) The first actress to even score a nomination for a foreign language performance was Melina Mercouri for Never on a Sunday in 1960, over 30 years into the Academy's history. Only two women have actually won Best Actress for a foreign language performance and both those women have the even rarer distinction of being honored twice with nominations for foreign language performances. The first was Sophia Loren who won for 1961's Two Women and was nominated again for Marriage Italian Style (1964). The other is this year's nominee for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard, who won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose (2007).

With her second nomination, Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that in addition to Loren includes Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Adjani. Three actresses in three separate languages (Italian, Swedish, and French) that proved their talent was able to transcend language barriers not once, but twice with the Academy. To receive an Oscar nomination is an honor, to do so a second time shows that you've earned the respect of the Academy, and to do it both times for performances not even in English, well, that's a feat reserved only for iconic women like these.

To celebrate Cotillard's place alongside these international legends, for the next few days we'll look back at the three previous foreign language, double-nominated Best Actress contenders. First up, the beauty from Italy that made Oscar history with her first nomination... 

Sophia Loren
after the jump 

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Tuesday
Nov042014

The Honoraries: Jean-Claude Carrière, Part 1

Our 2014 Honorary Oscar tribute series continues with a two-part look at the long fascinating career of Jean-Claude Carrière. Here's Amir with Part One.

Here at The Film Experience, we are normally opposed to the idea of past winners receiving honorary Oscars. This, after all, is an honor bestowed on a recipient whose career not only merits the attention, but also lacks it. When there are so many giants of the medium that the Academy hasn't recognized, why double dip with already rewarded names? But there is something incredibly satisfying about seeing three time nominee and one time winner, Jean-Claude Carrière, receive an honorary Oscar this year. His is one of the most fascinating careers in film history, and one that has lasted six decades and spanned several countries and languages. 

Carrière started as a novelist, his first work published in 1957, five years prior to winning an Oscar in the best short film category for Heaureux Anniversaire. In the intervening fifty-three years between his two golden statues, he's worked with filmmakers as varied as Jean-Luc Godard, Andrzej Wajda, Louis Malle, Jonathan Glazer and, most recently, Abbas Kiarostami who penned him a short but memorable role in Certified Copy.

His most fruitful collaboration, one that still arguably defines his career still today, was cultivated in the 1960s. [More...]

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Tuesday
Oct282014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in "The Parent Trap" (1961)

Welcome to "The Honoraries". From now until November 8th when the Governor's Awards are held, we'll be celebrating the careers of the three Honorary Oscar recipients of 2014 (Maureen O'Hara, Hayao Miyazaki, Claude Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Harry Belafonte). Here's Abstew...

Maureen O'Hara's impressive body of work includes a Best Picture winner (1941's How Green Was My Valley), a perennial Holiday favorite (1947's Miracle on 34th Street), even an early film with Hitchcock (1939's Jamacia Inn). No offense to those classics but the greatest film the star ever appeared in has to be that Disney masterpiece about a pair of long-lost twins trying to reunite their parents in The Parent Trap.

It was my first encounter with The Queen of Technicolor and although the appeal of twice the juvenile star wattage of teenage Brit Hayley Mills was the main selling point as a child, there was always something special about O'Hara as their mother, Margaret McKendrick. Even before she finally appears a half an hour into the movie, the film has already built her up as a glamorous and intriguing figure. Susan (Hayley Mills as tomboy) talks about how she used to stare at her picture and how fabulous ("Absolutely fabulous") her mother was. And the word Sharon (proper, upper-crust Hayley Mills) uses to describe her is divine, both adjectives usually reserved to describe bedazzled drag queens lip-syncing for their lives. But once Sharon reveals the beauty shot of her mother, there was no doubt in my young mind that that was a movie star. [More...]

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Monday
Oct202014

Curio: My Fair Lady at 50

Alexa here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of My Fair Lady. Although not my favorite movie musical, unlike the Smackdowners this summer,  I always have a blast returning to it.  Despite the many charms of Audrey Hepburn's performance, I love re-writing history and imagining how different a film it would be had Julie Andrews returned to the role.  Even more intriguing is imagining if Elizabeth Taylor (who wanted the role) had played Eliza.  For better or for worse, its Pygmalion story continues to be reinvented, with the latest incarnation being the ABC comedy Selfie (worth a watch for John Cho).

Some curios, vintage and handmade, to celebrate 1964's Best Picture after the jump...

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Wednesday
Sep032014

A Year with Kate: The Lion in Winter (1968)

Episode 36 of 52: In which if there’s only one Katharine Hepburn film you see, make it this one.

When you take Screenwriting 101, your first lesson is the Three Act Story Structure. Act 1: Introduction. Act 2: Conflict. Act 3: Climax (and hopefully Resolution). If I were to so arrange the lives of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, it would roughly look as follows: Act 1: Eleanor and Henry II fall in love. Act 2: Eleanor and Henry fall out of love and into battle. Act 3: The Lion in Winter. 

James Goldman’s script starts in media res, with Eleanor of Aquitaine (our own Kate) and Henry II (Peter O’Toole) already at the end of two civil wars and any pretense of civility. Knives are out as everyone prepares to fight at the Christmas court at Chinon. Joining them are their three angry sons--Richard (Anthony Hopkins), Geoffrey (John Castle), and John (Nigel Terry)--and the newly minted King of France (Timothy Dalton). (That's right, Hannibal Lector shares a movie with James Bond.) What follows is the messy climax of decades of personal grievances fought on the international stage. In short, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Eleanor, Queen of England, former Queen of France, and Duchess of Aquitaine, is pure Katharine Hepburn: a perfect synthesis of part and persona. It’s Kate the Great at her greatest, channeling three decades of star power, 15 years of classical training, and one year of intense grief into a powerful performance that radiates rage and sex in a way the Hayes Code and her image had never allowed previously. Kate uses her beautifully mastered voice to chew on James Goldman’s dialogue and spit it out with focused intensity. But behind that perfect control seethes a barely contained fury, which bursts forth in beautiful surges of speech.

[more]

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Saturday
Aug022014

Posterized: Famous Singer Biopics of the Past 50 Years

Oscar loves a lot of movie-things with predictable regularity though it should be noted that those things go in and out of style (when was the last time you saw a hooker with a heart of gold?). But one thing that never seems to go out of style with filmmakers: Biopics of musicians. Whether or not Amy Adams ever gets around to her Janis Joplin picture, or Hathaway goes through with the Judy Garland picture (I'd so prefer her to do Liza Minnelli who hasn't been done!) or Jane Krakowski ever gets the greenlight for Jackie Jormp-Jormp, there's plenty to choose from in the library already. And awards bodies, not just Oscar, often choose them. It's as good a way as any to be noticed.

How do you think Get On Up, from the director of The Help will fair with AMPAS? Reviews may be mixed but they don't seem to be for Chadwick Boseman's playful performance in the energetic title role. Hollywood is always searching for "the next Denzel Washington" and he's one of the candidates even though 'the next...' is always so problematic since true stars are always their own unrepeatable thing. Remember that uncomfortably weird forcing of so many actresses into 'the next Julia Roberts' tag? Even Julianne Moore (lol) was once in that lineup in a major magazine.

Let's look back at the past 50 years within this particular subgenre and see how many films we've gotten and how many of them won awards traction. I came up with about 27 pictures (excluding biopics of musicians who weren't singers or snapshots of the industry more than individual singers because you have to narrow it down somehow) though it's possible I missed a few.

27 FAMOUS SINGER BIOPICS (1964-2014)
How many have you seen?

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