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Entries in Oscars (60s) (77)

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?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul012014

Podcast Pt 1: A Smackdown Conversation w/ Melanie Lynskey

Presenting... for the first time ever a Smackdown Companion Podcast

A couple of months ago Joe suggested that we add a podcast segment or more conversation somehow to the Smackdown which by necessity has brief capsules from each panelist. And why not? There is always so much more to discuss after you've watched five Oscar-favored films from any given year.

So for this special tryout episode of the podcast (let us know if we should do it again for 1973) Nathaniel welcomes back the actress Melanie Lynskey, the original creator of the Smackdowns Brian Herrera (aka StinkyLulu), and regular podcast voices Joe Reid and Nick Davis. Our conversation ran long so it's in two segments.

Smackdown 1964 - A Companion Conversation Pt. 1
00:01 Introductions
01:00 Melanie on talking acting with other actors and one director's "witchcraft"
05:00 Zorba the Greek and undiagnosed cognitive disorders
11:45 Nick and Nathaniel share personal memories of My Fair Lady
16:20 Demystifying the mystifying Gladys Cooper nomination
19:00 The Chalk Garden. Melanie on connecting with the other actor in a scene.
24:00 Divisive Deborah Kerr (who starred in two of the features we watched)
30:00 To Be Continued...  

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.

Smackdown 64 Companion. Part One

Monday
Jun302014

Smackdown 1964: Agnes, Lila, Gladys, Grayson and Dame Edith

Behold the Oscar-nominated Supporting Actresses of 1964: two wealthy matriarchs with strained relations to their children, one desperate widow who would very much like relations of any kind, an irritable church group leader watching your every move and one sweaty possessive housekeeper lurking around the corner.

THE NOMINEES

Moorehead, Evans, Kedrova, Cooper, Hall 

1964's shortlist is one of the most senior in any acting category ever with an average age of 61. This 50 year old Oscar contest also acted as a finale for three enduring character actresses who Hollywood adored (Cooper, Evans, and Moorehead) but never quite enough at the right time to hand them the gold man. (In truth Dame Edith Evans, who did not attend the ceremony, was nominated one last time and quite deservedly for The Whisperers but that nomination is sadly almost as forgotten as the confused woman she masterfully played.) 

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

The actress Melanie Lynskey (Happy Christmas, Heavenly Creatures) joins returning panelists Joe Reid, Nick Davis, Nathaniel R, Stinkylulu and You! We also tabulate reader votes and quotes from those ballots appear.

Without further ado, the main event...

1964
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun272014

Introducing... The Supporting Actress Nominees of 1964

You've met the panelists and this Monday (June 30th) the Smackdown arrives. So, let's meet the characters we'll be discussing.

As is our Smackdown tradition we begin by showing you how the performances begin. Do their introductions scream "shower me with gold statues!"? Do the filmmakers prepare us for what's ahead? Here's how the five nominees we'll be discussing are introduced (in the order of how quickly they arrive in their movies). Do any of these introductions make you want to see the movie?

THE INTRODUCTIONS

-Dr. Shannon
-Miss Fellowes 

7 minutes in. Meet "Judith Fellowes" (Grayson Hall in The Night of the Iguana)
After a prologue where Dr Shannon (Richard Burton) appears to have some sort of loss of faith mental breakdown in a church where he preaches, we see that he's now giving tours of Mexico. Enter Judith Fellowes with a gaggle of old women, immediately questioning his fees. Her gaze is direct (he doesn't return it) and they enter the bus where she leads her women in a sing-along. Dr Shannon doesn't appear to like her. At all. More friction is surely ahead on their travels.

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Tuesday
Jun172014

We Need To Talk About James Bond's **** in "Goldfinger"

[This article contains 50 year-old spoilers.]

Goldfinger (1964) Directed by Guy Hamilton.

If you're alive and semi-conscious about pop culture you know the James Bond template even if you've never seen one: Action Prologue, superfluous; Bond Girls, multiple not all of whom survive; Locations, multiple across the Globe; Talkative Villains; Impressive Gadgetry; Salty Quips; Fancy-Ass Title Sequence (with its own mandatory template items). Much of that was established or fine-tuned right here in the third Bond film Goldfinger (1964).

But we need to talk about James Bond's cock. By my count, imagination, and visual cross-checking [ahem] he is exceptionally virile, has an impressive rock-hard member, and beds three women in Goldfinger.

And yet...

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Thursday
Jun122014

Throwback Thursday FYC: 1964 Oscar Ads

The only ones I could find. We'll start with three pre and post-nomination ads aiming for the actual gold. This first for Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater is possibly just a poster but those sometimes double as FYC's when they're focused enough and this one is.

Three more ads and Oscar trivia after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jun102014

Vintage 1964

'Year of the Month' will never have a ring to it. I know this but I love themes. Don't hate me because I'm thematical. This month we're having a 50th anniversary party for 1964... (next month it's 1989's 25th) which is a fancy way of counting down to Monday, June 30th's Supporting Actress Smackdown wherein we'll be looking at performances from Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Chalk Garden, My Fair Lady, The Night of the Iquana and Zorba the Greek. 

So get to watching those movies so you can vote in the reader ballot!

But before we get to all that: 1964's vintage in list form (we did this once before for 1983 if you remember) since you always want lists, yes? Let's savor 1964's aged cinematic crop....

Best Movies According To...
Oscar: Becket, Dr Strangelove, Mary Poppins, My Fair Ladyand Zorba the Greek were the best picture nominees. They sucked up such a gigantic portion of the nominations (it must have been a record at the time) that it'd be virtually impossible to guess what the almost-rans were that year had we had the 5-10 rule in place.
Golden Globe: (drama) Becket*, The Chalk Garden, Dear Heart, Night of the Iguana, and Zorba the Greek (comedy/musical) Father Goose, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady*, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The World of Henry Orient
Cannes: Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Box Office: reports vary wildly on this but it's something like... 1) Mary Poppins 2) Goldfinger 3) My Fair Lady 4) The Carpetbaggers 5) Unsinkable Molly Brown with What a Way To Go!The Pink Panther, Father Goose, Good Neighbor Sam and Viva Las Vegas all posting strong numbers (I mixed the sketchy numbers from both IMDb and "Box Office Champs" a book published in 1990 before the internet *gasp*.)

Half-Century Hotties & Top Ten Actresses Born in '64 after the jump...

Click to read more ...