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Entries in Oscars (70s) (132)

Sunday
Jul312016

Smackdown '77: Melinda, Leslie, Tuesday, Quinn, and Vanessa Redgrave

Presenting the Supporting Actress Nominees of '77. A mother with extraterrestrial problems, a highly neurotic swinger, a wealthy political activist, a precocious daughter, and a timid ballerina.

THE NOMINEES 

John Travolta opening the envelope

If the characters weren't quite typical this time, the shortlist formation was a familiar mix of career glories. Consider the slotting: Oh look, there's the child actor slot that the Supporting Actress category is famous for going to Quinn Cummings; Tuesday Weld wins the underappreciated enduring talent nod; No typical shortlist is complete without a newish critical darling with momentum which in 1977 was Melinda Dillon (she had created the "Honey" role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf  on stage but didn't get to do the movie and was finally making film inroads via her role in the previous year's Best Picture nominee Bound for Glory ); Finally, you have to have a current Oscar darling with considerable prestige and fame (Vanessa Redgrave) on hand in any given year. Oops, that's only four. The last type is more rare but not unprecented. The final player fell under what you might call the "novelty" slot (Leslie Browne). When the latter happens it's usually either foreign-born non-actors or famous musicians but in this case it was a soon to be principal dancer with the American Ballet Company.

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are our panelists: Mark Harris (Author of "Pictures at a Revolution," and "Five Came Back"), Guy Lodge (Variety, The Observer), Nick Davis (Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern), Sara Black McCulloch (Rearcher, Translator, Writer) and your host Nathaniel R (Editor, The Film Experience).

And now it's time for the main event... 

1977 
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

 

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Saturday
Jul302016

HMYBS: Close Encounters of the Julia Kind

Best Shot 1977 Party, Finale
Julia Cinematography by: Douglas Slocombe (2nd of 3 nominations)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond (1st of 4 nominations. His only win)

In case you missed our little Cinematography 1977 party we previously looked at the Oscar nominees Looking for Mr Goodbar, The Turning Point, and the little seen Ernest Hemingway inspired drama Islands in the Stream. Now that we're entirely out of time (SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 IS TOMORROW!) here's a quick look at our final two nominated pictures. This time we'll do it in the abbreviated spirit we always intended for the series but could never manage due to longwindedness: a single image and why we claim it as "best".

JULIA

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Friday
Jul292016

HMWYBS: A Sensational Diane Keaton in "Looking for Mr Goodbar" 

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 3
Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977)
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Cinematography by: William A Fraker

Finally with chapter 3 in our look back at the Cinematography nominees of 1977 -- a little prep work for the Supporting Actress Smackdown (last day to get your ballots in) -- a real threat to Close Encounter of the Third Kind for the Best Cinematography crown. Close Encounters won the Oscar, its sole competitive Oscar, but William A Fraker was more than worthy as a nominee for his evocative experimental work on Looking for Mr Goodbar. The cinematography (along with its swinging partner, the editing) are ready and able to capture the whirlwind moods, liberated momentum, self-deprecating humor, and multiple flashes of fear within this time capsule of the sexual revolution.

My only regret in showcasing the cinematography for this series is that good images are hard to come by. More (a little bit NSFW) after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jul272016

HMWYBS: "The Turning Point"

Bancroft & Maclaine reminisce in The Turning PointBest Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 2
The Turning Point (1977)
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Cinematography by: Robert Surtees

When The Turning Point is remembered today, on the rare occasion that you hear it name-checked, it is nearly always in connection to its status as Oscar's all time loser (11 nominations without a win). That "achievement" was later shared when Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985) met the same Oscar fate, entering the competition as a very big ticket and coming away empty-handed. It's surely no coincidence that both films are women's pictures. Oscar has grown increasingly wary of films about and for women over their 88 year history; that's not a mark on the films themselves but a stain on film culture and the Oscars. 1977 was in some significant ways, the very last Oscar year to be dominated by women. The sole "boys" movie up for the top prize was Star Wars, which perhaps also not coincidentally became the film which most Hollywood films aspired to be thereafter. Yes, 80% of the Best Picture nominees in 1977 were actually about women. Can you imagine it?!? That's a huge percentage which has, alas, not happened again in the 39 years since. Most Best Picture years since have been the reverse of those numbers, when in a more sane world it'd be about 50/50 since, you know, that's actually how the human race breaks down. 

Bronze. I think this is trying to be the film's signature image, but there are two many climaxes preceding it and following it to quite pull it off.

But now we're straying into Oscar stats when what we really want to talk about is this ballet melodrama and its gauzy prettiness. Worthy of 11 Oscar nominations? Surely not but that's not because of its subject, its genre, or its cast of accomplished women... 

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Tuesday
Jul262016

Golden Globes 77. A Look Back

Editors Note: Nathaniel is running behind on the Cinematography Special - but don't miss yesterday's installment or Tim's huge ongoing post at Antagony & Ecstasy so we'll resume tomorrow night. In the meantime enjoy Eric's look back at the Globes in '77, since its our Year of the Month.

Peter O'Toole with Globe winners Jane Fonda (Julia), Richard Burton (Equus), and Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl)

Globe/Oscar comparisons are always fun to see because though the  groups have different sensibilities, inevitable industry hype influences both. Yet the Globes are rarely revisited outside of their years since Oscar is the one people obsess on when they look back, "the one that matters" as it were. Let's correct that as we gaze at 1977... 

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Tuesday
Jul262016

Five Days 'til the Smackdown

THE SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN OF 1977 is coming. You already met two of our panelists. And here are the other three (including me). 

MEET THE PANELISTS 

Panelist: Sara Black McCulloch
Bio: Sara Black McCulloch is a Toronto-based researcher, translator and writer. She has written for i-D, cleo Journal, Adult, The Hairpin, Gawker, Bitch Magazine and The National Post. You can read more of her work here

Question: What does 1977 mean to you? 

1977 seemed to be steeped in so much disillusionment. I think that, like the years that signal the end of a decade but don't quite bookend it, it was...fraught. The year was packed with events that pointed to change and fueled uncertainty. It was the year the U.S. signed the nuclear-proliferation pact and the same year that the U.S. government voted against covering elective abortions through Medicaid. The Apple II computer hit the market and Jimmy Carter warned Americans about their oil consumption. New York City had a blackout. Culturally, things were brewing, or at least clashing with traditions: The Sex Pistols crashed the Silver Jubilee; Saturday Night Fever and a Star Wars sequel were released; hip-hop was just getting started and Roots was sweeping tv ratings. 

So much of the art produced and general sentiment of the U.S. pointed to different internal and external conflicts -- pushing boundaries, but setting up borders; artists, citizens and politicians all wanted to turn a new leaf but they were still anchored to their past. The best way I can summarize 1977: it's like the last 10 seconds of New Year's Eve, but the clock freezes.

 

Panelist: Mark Harris
Bio: Mark Harris is an editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a contributor to New York magazine. He is the author of Pictures at a Revolution (2008) and Five Came Back (2014). He lives in New York City.
[Follow him on Twitter]  

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

I was in eighth grade and living pretty deeply in the world of television--Happy Days, Good Times, All in the Family, Charlie's Angels, Saturday Night Live. But I do have some movie memories from that year: Seeing Network just before the Oscars and thinking it was one of the greatest movies ever. Seeing Annie Hall and not getting all the jokes but recognizing parts of my New York neighborhood. Seeing ads for Star Wars and thinking, "Ehhh, not really for me." Seeing ads for Saturday Night Fever and thinking, "100% for me." I now get all the jokes in Annie Hall. Everything else still stands.

 

Panelist & Host: Nathaniel R
Bio: You can read more about me here, but you already know me!
[Follow Nathaniel R on Twitter]

Question: What does 1977 mean to you?

I don't remember much. The only movie I physically remember sitting in the theater for was The Rescuers -- I was really into Evinrude the dragonfly and Medusa's pet alligators.  My most vivid showbiz memories of 1977 are two: making Bionic Woman noises while jumping around the backyard with my best friend and hearing my big sister playing Streisand's "Evergreen (The Theme From A Star is Born)" on the piano a lot.

ARE YOU VOTING ON THE SMACKDOWN, DEAR READER? Get your votes in by Friday early evening. 


The Nominees were...

Leslie BrowneThe Turning Point
Quinn Cummings, The Goodbye Girl
Melinda Dillon, Close Encounters
Vanessa Redgrave, Julia
Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr Goodbar 

Readers are our final panelist for the Smackdown so if you'd like to vote send Nathaniel an email with 1977 in the header line by Friday with your votes. Each performance you've seen should be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 hearts (1 being terrible 5 being stupendous) -- Remember to only vote for performances that you've seen; the votes are weighted to reflect numbers of voters per movies so no actress has an unfair advantage because her movie is popular. 

Monday
Jul252016

HMWYBS: "Islands in the Stream"

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 1
Islands in the Stream (1977)
Directed by: Franklin J Schaffner
Cinematography by: Fred J Koenekamp


No, dear readers, quit humming.

Though this post is retro it is not about Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' classic Grammy-winning 80s duet. Islands in the Stream is also the name of a 1977 movie very loosely adapted from a collection of possibly unfinished Ernest Hemingway stories which were released after his death under this title. I regret to inform that I had not even heard of it, the film or the book. The three sections of Hemingway's posthumous book include his previously published "The Old Man and the Sea," something I had heard of. (I'm not an animal.) 

The poster to your left begins with the tagline:

How long has it been since you've seen a really good movie?

Which was maybe not the best marketing tactic in March of 1977 considering what a sensational film year 1976 was and it had just ended. What ingrates! But that's a topic for another day.

George C Scott and David Hemming watching Scott's boys fishing

The internet doesn't provide much quick info on what people thought of this film back in the day but it does hold the scrappy distinction of being a first quarter release that ended up competing at the Oscars an entire year later (and we know how depressingly difficult that is to pull off).  After the jump, a few thoughts on the movies visuals and a little inappropriate ogling of 80s hunk Hart Bochner in his film debut...

Click to read more ...