Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (70s) (144)


"Being There" -- Essential Viewing For the Right Now

by Nathaniel R

Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979) is a fortune teller. And the future it foretells isn’t rosy. The classic film about a TV-loving cypher who Forrest Gumps his way into history is approaching its 40th anniversary, but its essential viewing for the right now.  Don't wait until 2019 to see it.

Among the film’s many queasy previews of life in the early 21st century is the proliferation of screens. Here that takes the shape of television, with Ashby frequent crosscutting to whatever is on the TV in a given scene. Though the content we see is recognizably dated, its intrusion is evergreen. 

Hidden within the prophecy of multiple screens replacing actual experience, is an even sharper notion of the screen as a mirror...

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Susan Hayward's Final Oscar Appearance


by Nathaniel R

We're doing our Susan Hayward party all out of chronology and will end with an early role. It's our way of saying that the big movie stars never really die but live on in their films. But for the penultimate stop in this Hayward fest, let's take a lot at the 1973 Oscars. She made her last public appearance on April 2nd, 1974 when she presented Best Actress with Charlton Heston at the Oscars. They were contemporaries at the peak of their stardom in the 1950s (and both won leading Oscars in the late 1950s) but Heston's career was still going strong at this point while Hayward had only intermittently working... 

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Last Chance, Netflix: Blazing Saddles, Hello Dolly!, An Unmarried Woman

There are quite a few Oscar'ed titles leaving Netflix on July 1st as they continue to thin their streaming catalogue. So you officially have 1 week left to watch them if you're trying to fill in holes in your movie knowledge. After the jump let's play a little screengrab roulette (sharing whatever comes up), shall we?

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Q&A: Best 'Best Actress' Decade? Gay for Play as Actorly Rite of Passage?

Four more reader questions to kick off the weekend. Wheeee. As ever, I'd love to hear your answers to these questions thrown my way.

MATT ST CLAIR: Is there an unseen awards contender this year that you are hoping doesn't fail?

NATHANIEL: My "please let this be successful" hopes reside with Blade Runner 2049 (because the original's reputation being tarnished would be such a pity), The Greatest Showman (because musicals MUST continue to thrive) and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (because it's infinitely annoying that Annette Bening doesn't have an Oscar yet and didn't even get nominated for such gorgeous work in 20th Century Women)While we're well- wishing please let Wonderstruck, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and The Florida Project could be bigger hits than usual for Todd Haynes, John Cameron Mitchell, and Sean Baker, since they're three of our most distinctive American auteurs. I could go on but I'll stop as no genie grants unlimited wishes.

CATBASKETS: I've been thinking a lot about straight actors getting their starts or big breaks playing gay roles--Hugh Grant in Maurice, Guy Pierce in Priscilla, DDL in Beautiful Launderette, Charlie Hunnam in Queer as Folk, Eddie Redmayne in Savage Grace, etc. etc. Do you think this was/is a major rite of passage for actors? Do you think this will slow down now that there's more awareness/active demand for gay actors to play these roles?

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The Furniture: Tom Sawyer's Stovepipe and Steamboat Nostalgia

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...


On paper, 1973’s Tom Sawyer might be the oddest project of Celeste Holm’s entire career. It was her first big screen appearance in six years. She’d been splitting her time between TV and theater, making guest appearances on shows like The Fugitive and leading the national tour of Mame. And while it’s not unexpected that her return would come via an independent production, the company in question may surprise you.

Tom Sawyer was made by Reader’s Digest, during the company’s six year foray into the industry. This was their first feature, the accompanying risk of which might explain the bizarre product placement. Child star Johnny Whitaker is actually credited as appearing “through the courtesy of Elder Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of Tom Sawyer wearing apparel for boys.” Still selling uniforms today, their signature line of boys’ outfits appears not to have changed in a century.

For our purposes, however, the notable thing is the location. Tom Sawyer and its sequel are the only films based on Mark Twain’s beloved characters to be shot in Missouri after the silent era...

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Happy 75th to Four-Time Oscar Nominee Marsha Mason

by Eric Blume

Marsha Mason speaking at an event in 2015Today marks the 75th birthday of Marsha Mason, one of Hollywood’s leading ladies from the 1970s.  Celebrating her is easy because she brought a lot of light and joy to screens for a decade and a half with her toothy vibrance and warm energy.

It’s strange to think that contemporary young movie audiences don’t even know Mason, since she scored four Oscar nominations for Best Actress over nine years!  Her first nomination came in 1973 for Mark Rydell’s Cinderella Liberty, where she plays a prostitute with an 11-year-old mixed race son.  Her rapport with co-star James Caan and the young actor who plays her son has a scrappy grace to it, and it’s a winning performance. 

Mason’s other three Oscar nominations came from roles written or tailored expressly for her by her then-husband, Neil Simon...

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On this day: Jungle Book's First, Dolly's Near Last, and Annie Hall vs. Star Wars

on this day in history as it relates to showbiz...

1882  The titular event in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) happened on this very day in Missouri
1893 Leading man of the 1930s Leslie Howard (Gone With the Wind, Of Human Bondage) born in London
1921 Jan Sterling born in NYC. (We recently discussed her Oscar nominated performance in The High and the Mighty )
1922 After years of "which year is it?" it's finally settled... Doris Day was born on this day 1922. So happy 95th birthday to the icon, still with us, today. 
1924 Another cinematic icon, Marlon Brando, born in Omaha

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Colonel Stewart, Margo Channing, Jay Gatsby, and a Cuckoo's Nest

As previously noted March 25th and today, March 29th, are the most common days on which to hold Oscar ceremonies. Both dates have seen five Oscar nights in the Academy's 89 year history. But those Oscar anniversaries aren't the only thing worth celebrating today.

On this day in showbiz history...

Colonel James Stewart in 1945

1889 Oscar winner Warner Baxter (In Old Arizona, 42nd Street) born in Columbus Ohio
1919 Oscar winner Eileen Heckart (Butterflies are Free, The Bad Seed) ALSO born in Columbus Ohio. C'mon Columbus! You go with your Oscar winners.
1945 Jimmy Stewart becomes a colonel in the US Air Force during World War II... 

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