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Entries in Oscars (70s) (95)


What Does 1979 Mean To You?

Our first Supporting Actress Smackdown of the year is this Sunday, looking at the nominees of 1979. If you haven't yet voted (readers, collectively, are the final panelist) you have until 9 PM EST tonight to do so. Out of curiousity I looked at the National Film Registry to see which films have previously been added from that year.

three of the year's stone cold classics

As a reminder each year 25 films join the registry at the Library of Congress and to be so honored a film must be deemed:

culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

I was SHOCKED to realize that Kramer vs. Kramer, which undeniably fits the first two criteria has not been added. Neither have these other major Oscar players from that year: Breaking Away, Being There, and The China Syndrome (the latter my guess as to which movie just missed the Best Picture list that year). The only movies from 1979 that are part of the registry are All That Jazz (recently discussed), The Black Stallion (recently discussed), Apocalypse Now, The Muppet Movie, Norma RaeManhattan and Alien. Tough to argue with those inductees. The public is free to suggest films before they choose each December and I always forget. But I won't this year! One film I'm totally voting for this year (not from 1979) is Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969) which needs some renewed attention since it's such a good companion piece to the Mad Men finale. But that's another topic... 


Here's a little bit about them to prep you for our conversation this weekend...

First Time Panelists

K.M. SOEHNLEIN (Novelist)
Bio: K.M. Soehnlein's first movie memory is seeing Funny Girl at a drive-in with his parents. He spent his childhood inventing an alternate Hollywood with fictional actors, directors, movies and Oscar nominations. He went to film school at Ithaca College, wrote about film for the Village Voice, Out and Outweek, and now writes novels ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Ruby," "You Can Say You Knew Me When"). He hopes at least one of them gets made into a movie. 

What does 1979 Mean to you?

In 1979 I was a 13-year-old suburban New Jersey boy, staring across the river at Manhattan and longing to live inside a Woody Allen film. Movies I saw in the theater include a wave of post-Rocky boxing stories (Rocky II, The Champ, The Main Event); two starring early SNL breakouts (The Jerk, Meatballs); and two that wound up in the Oscar race: Breaking Away (early screen crush: Dennis Quaid) and All That Jazz (mind forever blown). 


Bio: Kristen Sales is a Los Angeles native who’s been blogging about movies since 2010. She enjoys Buster Keaton and aggressive feminist punk rock. You can find her yelling about things on Twitter and Tumblr.

What does 1979 Mean to you?

I have absolutely no associations with the year "1979," except that Smashing Pumpkins song. But Smashing Pumpkins suck.


Returning Panelists

Bill Chambers is the founder, editor, and webmaster of, which recently turned seventeen. A graduate of York University's Film program, he is a member of both the Toronto Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society. He has a cat. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 Mean to you?

One of my earliest memories is quite apropos: Seeing a movie for the first time on the big screen. I was four years old; the film was The Muppet Movie. I couldn't have asked for a more beguiling introduction to the cinema, a gently postmodern work that simultaneously taught me what movies are and demonstrated, via its very Muppet-ness, their ability to unite generations in the dark. Though I wouldn't catch up with them until I was a little older, lots more personally formative films were released that year, like The Jerk, Alien, All That Jazz, and even Rocky II; to borrow a term from Blade Runner, I think of 1979 somewhat narcissistically as my cinephile 'incept date.'


BRIAN HERRERA (aka "StinkyLulu")
Brian convened the first Supporting Actress Smackdown and hostessed more than thirty. He is a writer, teacher and scholar presently based in New Jersey, but forever rooted in New Mexico. Follow him on Twitter

What does 1979 Mean to you?

My movie-world opened wide in 1979. I was on the cusp of adolescence, about to experience the first real stirrings of my actressexual leanings, when I found myself with ready access to a betamax video player and a library of tape recordings that someone's relative had captured from HBO. 1979 was also the first Best Actress race I remember agonizing over long after the fact. I loved that Sally won, even though I believed Bette deserved it. It's a conflict I struggle with to this day...


And yours truly

Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner & Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 mean to you?

I have slim recall of this year other than hearing the song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart (?!?) but my strongest memory of the year is my very conservative parents complaining about President Jimmy Carter and the Iran Hostage Crisis non-stop. My movie memories are limited to three: the shock of seeing a bald woman in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (but nothing else about the movie); laughing hysterically when Cloris Leachman broke her fingernails in the Disney comedy The North Avenue Irregulars (but nothing else about the movie) and going little-kid wide-eyed seeing Kermit the frog riding a bicycle in The Muppet Movie and pretty much everything else about that movie which I loved so much I decided I was going to be a puppeteer when I grew up and my parents bought me the soundtrack. 

What does 1979 mean to you dear readers?
Even if you weren't yet alive perhaps you have an association?



1979 Look Back: Bette Midler and "The Rose"

By 1979 Bette Midler was already a star. She had a Grammy (Best New Artist), an Emmy (for her televison special Ol' Red Hair is Back), and a Special Tony award for "adding lustre to the Broadway stage". (She performed in a show called Bette Midler's Clams on the Half Shell Revue). Naturally the next entertainment medium to conquer was film and become an inevitable movie star as well. Despite uncredited small parts (including 1966's Hawaii, which filmed in her home state) and underground film, Midler made her official film debut as a lead with her electrifying performance as a troubled rocker in The Rose - which, of course, brought her a Best Actress nomination, a Golden Globe, and a film career to add to her impressive résumé.   

The film earned a total of four Academy Award nominations (Midler plus Best Supporting Actor for Frederic Forrest, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing). Just recently the film scored another honor when it was released through the prestigious Criterion Collection. In addition to a gorgeous restoration (I had previously only seen the film on grainy VHS and I was amazed at how sharp and bright the colors are - especially during the stage numbers), there are new interviews with Bette Midler, director Mark Rydell, as well as archival footage from a day of shooting that aired on the Today show.


Click to read more ...


Smackdown Summer - Revamp Your Queues!

We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in. 

These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods.  I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be TWO Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.

Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979

Meryl Streep won her first of three Oscars while taking her co-star Jane Alexander along for the Oscar ride in Kramer vs. Kramer. The delightful character actress Barbara Barrie was nominated for her mom role in Breaking Away, Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's preternaturally wise teenage lover in Manhattan, and Candice Bergen played a singing divorcee in Starting Over - a role that supposedly helped win her Murphy Brown a decade later.

PANELISTS: Nathaniel R (TFE), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu) and novelist K. M. Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Rudy")


Sunday June 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1948

1948's roster has a genuine movie star and one of the most iconic character actresses of all time in Jean Simmons who didn't get to the nunnery in Hamlet and Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda respectively. Also nominated were two women from the immigrant family drama I Remember Mama, Barbara Bel Geddes and Ellen Corby. But taking home the gold was Claire Trevor in the Bogart & Bacall noir Key Largo. Will the panel agree with Oscar's decision? 



Sunday July 26th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1995

The Oscar went to one-hit wonder Mira Sorvino (okay, two hit wonder: hi Romy & Michelle!) for her hooker with a heart of gold in Mighty Aphrodite but then no one knew what her future had in store. No one knew that for any of the contenders since they were all first timers. Sorvino was up against two familiar ensemble players Kathleen Quinlan in the popular hit Apollo 13, and critical darling Mare Winningham from Georgia, and two "new" faces who'd continue on to future Oscar glories and Great Actress reputations in Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility) and Joan Allen (Nixon).


Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1954 

Eva Marie Saint dropped a glove and won an Oscar for On the Waterfront opposite Marlon Brando by any margin the most famous of 1954's Oscar nominated films. But what will the panel make of her competition? There's also the formidable Nina Foch in the all-star corporate drama Executive Suite, Katy Jurado, the first Mexican actress ever nominated, for the western Broken Lance and rounding out the category were two women from John Wayne's airline thriller The High and the Mighty, Jan Sterling and Oscar regular Claire Trevor.



Sunday September 27th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963 (Season Finale!)  

Since the 2015 film year really heats up in September with the Toronto Film Festival (10th-20th) and Prestige Season Kick-Off, we're taking it easy for the finale with the one of only two years when only three films were nominated in the Supporting Actress category. Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for The VIPs, a Liz & Dick show, Lilia Skalia was also popular in nun mode for Lilies of the Field but it was the Best Picture winning sex comedy Tom Jones that was the informal star of this category with three of Albert Finney's co-stars nominated (the all time record in this category): Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and '60s Oscar fixture Dame Edith Evans (nominated shortly thereafter for both The Chalk Garden and The Whisperers



Queue up those DVDs, readers, and play along at home! Unless you're a semi-famous star or accomplished character actor, oft-employed industry professional, best selling novelists, popular film critic, or AMPAS member in which case, tell me which panel you want to be on! (Shameless Plug). You know you want to join in the movie merriment !!!


Vintage 1979: Kramer vs. Kramer, Sweeney Todd, Chris Pratt, Rosamund Pike, and More...

1979 is our "Year of the Month" and this post was way way too much fun to research. Before the main course of the Supporting Actress Smackdown (pushed to June 7th), let's marinate a little in the year that was. 

original print ad for Kramer vs. Kramer (available on eBay)

Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, and Daniel Stern broke out via "Breaking Away"


Oscar: Kramer vs Kramer*, All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, and Norma Rae were the best pictures nominees but they also loved La Cage Aux Folles, The China Syndrome, Manhattan, Being There and The Black Stallion

Golden Globe
: (drama) Kramer vs Kramer*, Apocalypse Now, The China Syndrome, Manhattan and Norma Rae (comedy)  Breaking Away*, Being There, Hair, The Rose, and 10

Cannes: Apocalypse Now AND All That Jazz (Glenn discussed this odd consecutive Oscar-adjacent business)

Box Office:
 1) Kramer vs. Kramer 2) The Amityville Horror 3) Rocky II 4) Apocalypse Now 5) Star Trek: The Motion Picture 6) Alien 7) "10" 8) The Jerk 9) Moonraker 10) The Muppet Movie

 Gene Siskel: 1) Hair 2) Kramer vs Kramer 3) The Deer Hunter 4) Breaking Away 5) Manhattan 6) The Marriage of Maria Braun 7) Nosferatu 8) The Onion Field 9) Time After Time 10) The China Syndrome

Roger Ebert: 1) Apocalypse Now 2) Breaking Away 3) The Deer Hunter 4) The Marriage of Maria Braun 5) Hair 6) Saint Jack 7) Kramer vs Kramer 8) The China Syndrome 9) Nosferatu 10) "10"

List-Mania continues with music hits, debut characters, new toys, and adorable "born in '79" people & things after the jump...  

Click to read more ...


1979: Cannes' Golden Fosse and 'All That Jazz'

In honor of the Year of the Month (1979) and this weekend's announcement of the Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, Glenn looks at Bob Fosse's All That Jazz.

All That Jazz is my favourite Palme d'Or winner, awarded 35 years ago. Not only that, it's my favourite film from 1979. Actually, if you really want to know, Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical musical fantasy is my favourite film of any year, period, and it's remarkable how easily I can come to that decision whenever anybody asks what my favourite movie is considering I have the Libra mentality of terrible indecisiveness.

Looking over the list of subsequent Cannes winners and it’s a remarkably odd choice. Even when juries have given the top prize to an American film, it has never been one quite so big. It's not only a relatively big-budget America studio film, but it had already been a hit with Oscar voters several months earlier than the 1980 Cannes festival at which it won (tying with Kurosawa’s Kagemusha). Unlike No Country for Old Men – directed by this year’s Cannes jury presidents the Coen Brothers – which was apparently the victim of a jury belief that it did not need the prestige of a Palme d’Or, Kirk Douglas’ jury apparently had no qualms with awarding a four-time Oscar and two-time BAFTA winner with the most prestigious prize in international festival cinema. In a strange coincidence, Fosse’s 1979 Oscar Best Picture competitor, Apocalypse Now, had won the Palme d’Or a year earlier. It was the sort of occurrence that would never happen these days and even crazier to imagine something so razzling and dazzling taking the top prize from a competition that included names like Hal Ashby, Samuel Fuller, Bruce Beresford, Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, Walter Hill and the aforementioned Kurosawa.

Mr. Bob Fosse sent me this telegram. I am very happy and proud to share the Golden Palm with Mr. Kurosawa. I thank Roy Scheider for his collaboration in the film. And I regret not having been able to return myself, to express my joy and my emotion."


Click to read more ...


'some say Link, it is a hunger, an endless aching need...♪'

The Star is TIFF about to get an "In Competition" slate at their annual festival? They've always avoided it
Playbill Sutton Foster visited "The View" and talked Thoroughly Modern Millie and her new show Younger (which she is typically excellent/adorable/funny in if you haven't yet watched it. No musical numbers yet though, boo!)
Wired has a longform oral history of ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) for its 40th anniversary, the fx house created originally for Star Wars that changed movies. 
The Daily Beast on Flula Borg, the German scene stealer from Pitch Perfect 2
Playbill this always kind of annoys me but non-nominated musicals will be performing at the Tony Awards: Gigi, Finding Neverland, and It Shoulda Been You. Better to spend the time focusing on nominees, I think.
Comics Alliance Vertigo Comics was totally prepared for the world to go wild for Mad Max Fury Road. They already have prequel comics and an art book with pre-comissioned tributes by major comic artists.
Towleroad Nick the Gardener takes you on a behind the scene tour of Magic Mike XXL for Ellen

Cannes Cannes loves Hou Hsiao-hsien’s longawaited epic The Assassin starring Shu Qi. Another Palme d'Or contender? This year seems highly competitive.  But mixed on Youth... which is apparently highly influenced by 8½
Awards Daily Sasha says that Paolo Sorrentino's Youth about two old men in the film industry, one retired (Caine) one still working (Keitel) will be catnip to Oscar voters 
In Contention says Emily Blunt is "spectacular" in Sicario but Benicio del Toro is the MVP
The Playlist [NSFW] has a clip from Gaspar Noé's Love  

"Mad" Must Reads
Because people can't stop writing about the Mad Men finale and George Miller's fourth Mad Max film. These are highly recommended!

Emily Nussbaum on the "existential brilliance" of the Mad Men finale 
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd examines how the meaning of Don Draper --or what we thought the show was about -- seem to have shifted over time
Alan Sepinwall grapples with the two Dons or rather Don & Dick and what we want from a person/character and who they really are
Mark Harris on "Artisinal Macho" and why the Mad Max Fury Road action scenes make recent action films feel so weightless 
Arthur Chu offers up a rundown of the long form feminism and "toxic masculinity" of the Mad Max franchise - the headline and subheader are kind of misleading but the actual point by point content / argument is terrific 

1979 to Go
Criterion Collection got Bette Midler to reminisce about The Rose (1979) for a dvd release!!! Take a look.



Q&A: Summer Classics, Best 'Action' Acting, and Late 70s Silliness

Yay, reader question time! I did two public appearances, with mic in hand, this weekend which is rare for me. First up was the Q&A with David Dastmalchian for the Animals opening at Village East Cinemas and then on Sunday, a very stressful pre-screening trivia for the Mad Men Finale at The Astor Room restaurant in conjunction with The Museum of the Moving Image. I am always terrified if I'm miked but here at home on TFE, no terror. I type at you, no miking necessary.

Let's take 9 reader questions. I suggested 1979 related questions (our year of the month) but let's do some general questions first on action film acting, summer movies, Oscar sweeps, and classic novels on the screen...

BHURAY: What are your five favorite novels of all time and if they've been translated to film how would you rank the films?

NATHANIEL: I don't feel all that well-read I confess. I spend so much of my time with movies that it's hard to carve out several hours for a book. But when I do read I try to alternate between one for fun and one because-it's-classic when I do read. These are the five best novels I've ever read:

Beloved and lots more questions after the jump...

Click to read more ...