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Entries in Oscars (70s) (52)

Tuesday
Nov062012

Our Kind of Voting. Pt 1

I did my civic duty -- I amend, my civic pleasure at 7:40 AM this morning after about an hour of queueing. If you're from the US, get to it. VOTE. If you're not, well, this is a film site and film has no borders and no president... but it does have elections that everyone obsesses over.

So let's have fun with our other favorite kind of voting: Oscar voting.

Tell me who wins your vote in some of the most famously divisive, contentious, or just plain fabulous categories ever! Explain your choices in the comments.

1998 BEST ACTRESS
GWYNETH PALTROW (Shakespeare in Love) vs. CATE BLANCHETT (Elizabeth) vs. FERNANDA MONTENEGRO (Central Station) vs. MERYL STREEP (One True Thing) vs. EMILY WATSON (Hilary & Jackie)

Sunset Blvd is just out on Blu-Ray TODAY in a remastered edition with a ton of extras 1950 BEST ACTRESS
BETTE DAVIS vs. ANNE BAXTER (literally… in All About Eve) vs. GLORIA SWANSON (Sunset Blvd) vs. JUDY HOLLIDAY (Born Yesterday) vs. ELEANOR PARKER (Caged)

1993 SUPPORTING ACTOR
TOMMY LEE JONES (The Fugitive) vs. LEONARDO DICAPRIO (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) vs. RALPH FIENNES (Schindler’s List) vs. JOHN MALKOVICH (In the Line of Fire) vs. PETE POSTLETHWAITE (In the Name of the Father)

1976 BEST PICTURE
ROCKY vs. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN vs. BOUND FOR GLORY vs. NETWORK vs. TAXI DRIVER 

Who gets your vote now and did they always have your support in their races or have your allegiances shifted?

see also part 2

Tuesday
Oct302012

Oscar Horrors: Margaret White Burns in Hell

Just one more day of Oscar Horrors! On this penultimate day of the series, JA has an incredible take on one of our shared favorites, "Carrie". -Nathaniel

HERE LIES... or rather, HERE BURNS IN HELL... Margaret White, Piper Laurie's Supporting Actress nominated performance in Brian DePalma's 1976 film Carrie.

JA from MNPP here - the only thing more shocking to me than the fact that Piper lost the Oscar for Margaret White is the fact that nobody's covered this performance for this here Oscar Horrors series yet. You could just sit back and quote her lines and be done with it - "I can see you dirty pillows." "Pimples are the Lord's way of chastising you." "I liked it. I liked it!" What a grand time it'd be! It would be like any given evening in my house, really. But give me an excuse to watch Carrie for the 50th time, and I will bite.

Piper lost the Oscar to Beatrice Straight's very brief role in Network; I won't diss Straight because I like her and I like that performance (and I like her a few years later in Poltergiest even more)... but come on. 

Rewatching the film today I was reminded what a note-perfect line Laurie walks. Dances, really. In sensible witch shoes. Her Margaret White should be what you see when you look up "Jesus Freak" in the dictionary.

But while she's often criticized for being over the top (and it's not as if director Brian DePalma backs off that angle -- when Carrie tells her mother she's going to the prom, Piper repeats the word aghast - "Prom?" - which DePalma then gooses with some ever-so-subtle lightning and thunder) what I noticed today is it's Margaret's smallness and fear that reveals themselves between the hysterics, and become disturbingly palpable. She is in a battle with herself, the beleaguered Christian, trying to be all the God Warrior she can be, but her beaten-down daughter, meekness personified (Sissy Spacek giving one of the finest performances ever put on screen, if you ask me), begins to beat her back at every turn and she's entirely befuddled by it. You can sense she's felt this before - when her husband, the one with the stinking roadhouse whiskey on his breath, also driven nuts by her zealousness, up and took off. It must be the Devil! You can see the parts clicking into place in Laurie's performance as her confusion turns into its own sense - this is what she is here for. Calmness washes over her; she has found her life's meaning. And it's a serenity that's terrifying.

And that's the thing with this performance and why it continually rings true to me - in the twenty minutes or so of screen-time that Laurie has, she simultaneously charts not just a broad portrait of religious fervor driven way off the deep end, but the pinpoint center wherein stands a very small very frightened woman, deranged by her own terror of abandonment. Once was enough, twice is too many, and she will drag her daughter straight to Hell before she ever lets go.

 

Monday
Oct222012

Monologue: "Lousy Lay"

I was married for four years and pretended to be happy and had six years of analysis and pretended to be sane. My husband ran off with his boyfriend and I had an affair with my analyst who told me I was the worst lay he'd ever had. I can't tell you how many men have told me what a lousy lay I am. 

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Tuesday
Oct162012

Oscar Horrors: For "The Hell of It"

HERE LIES... Paul Williams' rock opera score for Phantom of the Paradise, lain to rest by Nelson Riddle's nostalgia-drenched work on The Great Gatsby.

Andreas here with more spoooky Oscar Horrors, this time singing the praises of composer Paul Williams. His Oscar-nominated work on Brian De Palma's horror musical astonishes with its versatility, bouncing from one pop mode to another—surf rock to glam rock to piano ballad—all the while keeping tempo with De Palma's virtuosic visuals. The songs aren't hollow pastiches, either; Williams imbues them with surprising emotional depth, coloring the whole film with their underlying melancholy. In order to pull off such an operatic saga, De Palma needed big music, and Williams really delivers.

Phantom, after all, is a macabre tale of the music industry, filled with songwriters, divas, and wannabes (Williams himself even co-stars as the villainous Swan, a kind of Mephistopheles by way of Phil Spector.) The characters, like composer-turned-phantom Winslow Leach and his beloved Phoenix, speak the language of show-stopping musical numbers. The plot is driven by one such song, "Faust," written by Winslow and stolen by Swan, reprised over and over as the characters' relationships shift.

All my dreams are lost and I can't sleep
And sleep alone could ease my mind
All my tears have dried and I can't weep...

Like so much of the soundtrack, "Faust" is rich with longing and regret, paralleling the film's themes of love, fame, and sacrifice. Williams' music matches the rest of the film's mood so well: funereal and otherworldly, with a strain of twisted dark comedy. The jukebox-ready opening number "Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye" demonstrates this latter trait especially well, as does "The Hell of It." Perhaps the film's best song, "The Hell of It" plays over the ending credits, with Williams gleefully singing its damnation-centric lyrics: "And though your music lingers on, all of us are glad you're gone!"

Williams himself is not gone—as we're reminded by the new documentary Paul Williams Still Alive—but his music for Phantom of the Paradise sure lingers on, and on, and on.

Tuesday
Oct162012

Curio: 70s Paranoia Posters by Jay Shaw

Alexa here.  Catching Argo this weekend, with its panic, mustachoied men and analog opening credits has given me a taste for some good 70s paranoid thrillers.  (My current addiction to Homeland's depressive spy world set the table a bit, too.) I'm on the verge of staging a marathon of my favorites: Marathon Man, Three Days of the Condor, The Conversation, All The President's Men.  I was reminded that artist Jay Shaw recently created possibly the best alternative posters for this genre, each in stark black and white, utilizing images from these films seamlessly in his bold designs. They've been printed in editions of 100 and most are still available through Gallery 1988 for $30.  If this niche genre is a favorite for you too, snap these up while they are still available.

 

 

 

Click for... Klute, All The President's Men, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Marathon Man...

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