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Entries in Oscars (70s) (121)

Wednesday
Jul062016

Michael Cimino & the Best Director Oscar Since

Eric here with thinking about the past 40 years of Oscars Best Director category.

This past Saturday, director Michael Cimino passed away at age 77.  Cimino won the Best Director Oscar for 1978’s The Deer Hunter, beating Woody Allen (Interiors), Hal Ashby (Coming Home), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait), and Alan Parker (Midnight Express).  While those five actual films are of varying quality, the names behind them are all heavyweights and it was formidable company.

The Deer Hunter was a divisive film upon its release and remains so today (praised for its leisurely-paced first half and its capture of inexpressive male friendship; criticized for the Russian Roulette melodrama and its depiction of the Vietnamese). With The Deer Hunter, Cimino aimed to make something epic and classically Greek in its storytelling, and watching the film you can actually feel his young talent. Cimino next famously (infamously?) went on to direct 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, a film of disastrous proportions that has been covered ad nauseum as one of cinema’s biggest catastrophes.  He directed four more films after that, none to any significant acclaim, the last one released 20 years ago.   

It’s interesting to look over the list of the men (and one woman) who have won the Best Director Oscar since Cimino in 1978 to see where their careers have gone...

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Wednesday
Jun292016

Olivia @ 100: Airport '77

Don't get on the plane! It's a Disaster Movie!Team Experience is looking at highlights and curios from the filmography of Olivia de Havilland for her Centennial this Friday. Here's guest contributor Sean Donovan...

Airport ’77, the third film of the Airport franchise, capitalized on the immense success of the 70s disaster movie craze in the twilight of its years. Just one year later in 1978, the critical and box office failure of Irwin Allen’s The Swarm showed how much audiences had sobered up, no longer excited by disaster movies and more interested in openly mocking them, based on their cheesy acting and overwrought destruction (a movement chronicled by Ken Feil in his worth-the-read book Dying for a Laugh: Disaster Movies and the Camp Imagination). So if something feels lacking and obligatory about Airport ’77- in which a botched hijacking lands a Boeing 747 in the ocean, the passengers struggling to get back to land safely- that’s only because the film presents a crew of movie stars eager to cash their checks and get out as quick as possible. 

Among them is our honored centennial, Ms. Olivia de Havilland! And who can blame her for dipping into the disaster movie depths?

Her generational cohort Shelley Winters scored an Oscar nomination for being the token old lady to brave disaster (at the age of 52, but that’s Hollywood), in the genre-defining The Poseidon AdventureOlder actresses like Helen Hayes, Gloria Swanson, and Myrna Loy had already wandered into the Airport franchise, Hayes walking away with an Oscar for her efforts. As an aging member of Hollywood royalty in the 1970s, it seems one of your duties was to class up a trashy disaster film with your mere presence... 

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Monday
Jun202016

Things that happened on Nicole Kidman's Birthday over the years

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1893 Lizzie Borden acquitted of the axe murders of her dad and stepmom but everyone still thinks she did it. I still haven't seen that show where Christina Ricci played her. Oops.
1905 Lillian Hellman, playwright and screenwriter is born. 
1909 Swashbuckler supreme Errol Flynn is born
1910 Fanny Brice debuts in "Ziegfeld Follies". The moment was recreated (see photo above from the Academy's archives) and heavily fictionalized of course, in Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl (1968)
1915 Director Terence Young is born. Goes on to kick off the Bond franchise with Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball and direct Audrey Hepburn to her last Oscar nomination for Wait Until Dark (1967)
1928 Martin Landau is born. 66 years, 9 months, and 7 days he wins a well-deserved Oscar for Ed Wood (1994)

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Sunday
Jun122016

Irwin Allen "Master of Disaster" Centennial

Tim here. Today we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the birth of producer-director-writer Irwin Allen, one of the great junk-food purveyors in Hollywood cinema. It's by no means true that Allen invented the disaster movie (a genre stretching back into the 1930s), nor even the uniquely '70s-style incarnation of the form, with an impressively well-stocked larder of overtalented, underpaid stars filling out the clichéd melodramas of addiction and marital strife that tend to form the plots of these movie (Airport got there first). But it was under Allen's hand that disaster movies became the greatest, gaudiest spectacles of the decade.

Allen was not always a high-end schlockmeister. In fact, he began his career as an Oscar-winner, taking home a Best Documentary Feature award for 1953's The Sea Around Us, based on a Rachel L. Carson book. Curiously his first taste of the effects-driven spectacle that would typify his later films came in as a way of fleshing out his documentaries. One sequence of his 1956 film The Animal World, on dinosaurs, featured effects by the great Ray Harryhausen, and his very next film was his first all-star extravaganza, the cameo-packed The Story of Mankind.

More...

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Wednesday
Jun082016

The Smackdowns Are Coming! 

You thought we'd forgotten the Smackdowns. We have not! Here's what's coming this season. You know you want to join in the movie merriment! We're giving you a headstart so you can get to watching these 13 movies for the first time (or revisiting them) over your summer vacations. More details to follow as we get closer to the actual Smackdowns. 

Sunday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1977

The Oscar went to the legendary but controversial Vanessa Redgrave for Julia and while she might be impossible to beat, the movies are all juicy in this category. Tuesday Weld co-stars in the provocative Looking for Mr Goodbar, Melinda Dillon was part of the fine cast of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Quinn Cumming charmed voters in The Goodbye Girl, and Leslie Browne, a dancer, debuted in Oscar's all time biggest loser The Turning Point (nominated for 11 Oscars but it lost every category!).

 

Sunday August 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1984

Dame Peggy Ashcroft won the Oscar for her penultimate feature film role in A Passage to India. But her category was filled with powerhouse actresses: There was Glenn Close winning her third consecutive nomination for The Natural, Lindsay Crouse in the Best Picture nominee Places in the Heart, and Christine Lahti the scene stealer of Jonathan Demme's Swing Shift. The surprise nominee was actor's actor and Oscar darling Geraldine Page, nominated for a tiny role in The Pope of Greenwich Village

 

Thursday September 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963  

Only three films to watch for this one since September is always too busy for words: 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

 

What other titles from 1977, 1984. and 1963 would you like us to revisit for extra flavor and context? 

 

Thursday
Jun022016

Marvin Hamlisch's Big Oscar Haul. And Other Stories...

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Dr Duran Duran and the Orgasmatron

1835 P.T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour of the US. Wasn't Hugh Jackman supposed to play him in an original movie musical? Is that still on or did the endless Wolverine show derail it? (sigh)
1840 Novelist Thomas Hardy is born. Movies adapted from his work include multiple versions of Jude, Tess,  and Far From the Madding Crowd
1904 Johnny Weissmuller is born. We just wrote about Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which you should definitely see
1926 Character actor Milo O'Shea, aka Dr Duran Duran who tried to kill Jane Fonda by excessive pleasure in Barbarella, is born.
1937 Sally Kellerman, the original " 'Hot Lips' O'Houlihan" is born


1944 EGOT composing legend Marvin Hamlisch (of "A Chorus Line") fame is born...or as Cher calls him "Marvin Hamilsmisch". Classic songs include the Oscar winning "The Way We Were" and Oscar nominated gems like "Nobody Does it Better," and "Through the Eyes of Love." Get this: He is the only person other than a director or screenwriter to win more than two Oscars on a single night. At the '73 Oscars he took Song and Original Score for The Way We Were and also Adapted Score (back when they had that) for Best Picture winner The Sting
1953 The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, aka Helen Mirren's signature role. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest running monarch in British history?
1989 Dead Poet's Society opens in theaters. Goes on to 4 Oscar nominations including Best Picture in one of the all time least satisfying Oscar years. I mean that Best Picture lineup is atrocious given that sex lies and videotape, The Little Mermaid, Fabulous Baker Boys and Do the Right Thing (all nominated for something) were right there for the taking.

No, don't take my picture.


1995 Bridges of Madison County opens in theaters and audiences start loudly demanding Meryl Streep's third Oscar. The conversation lasts for 16 whole years thereafter. (Demands for #4 have not yet begun but it's only a matter of time.)
2006 Peyton Reed's The Break-Up opens in theaters with Jennifer Aniston & Vince Vaughn 

And one year from today...
2017 Wonder Woman will open in theaters. Somehow it only took them 75 years to get her on the big screen. 

Saturday
Apr022016

TV @ The Movies: "Damien" Flashes Back

Though I know not why it's so, considering I prefer original material in nearly all mediums to rehashes, I sample nearly every TV series that's based on a movie. Not that the interest tends to last. So it was that I binge watched the first four episodes of A&E's new series Damen.  The Omen (1976) was the first horror film I ever watched that didn't involve vampires (I was really into vampires for some reason as a little boy, even though I was never a horror film aficianado). I snuck watched The Omen one night during one of its television airings in the early 80s.

Though the new series never mentions Damien's birthday, the wee Antichrist's birthdate was June 6th in the original movie (6/6 natch) which is also my birthday. Little me actually ran to the bathroom to make sure there was no mark of the beast on his scalp after the movie. (He had so many nightmares that week, poor little guy.)

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