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Entries in Oscars (70s) (121)

Sunday
Jun072015

Podcast: Smackdown Companion 1979

You've read the new Supporting Actress Smackdown. Now hear its companion podcast. Our panel widens its view from the supporting nominees to talk about the unique cinematic landscape of the late 1970s, the women's lib movement and concurrent movie gender wars, and which movies give the best period punch and which we've misremembered completely.

Host: Nathaniel R
Special Guests:  KM Soehnlein,  Kristen SalesBill Chambers, and StinkyLulu.

Contents

  • 00:01 Introductions and memory vs. reality w/ Breaking Away
  • 03:20 Gender Wars of 1979. Misogynistic or merely non-coddling and complicated? 
  • 09:00 Cynicism and Optimism in Starting Over and Manhattan, which is particularly self-critical and discomforting
  • 15:50 Contextualizing the movies. 1979 versus what was to come with shifting tastes. Do people still make movies about "how we live now?"
  • 21:00 Meryl Streep's command of subtext and Kramer vs. Kramer as a film 
  • 28:00 The oddity of Starting Over's comedy - we recommend
  • 31:30 Movies we wish we had had to watch for the Smackdown: Alien & All That Jazz and non-nominated supporting actresses
  • 36:45 Final random observations: valium, money in 1979, and new actors who weren't yet famous
  • 39:00 Meryl Streep then vs Meryl Streep now. Of course we spend the last five minutes on Meryl Streep.

And because we joke about it - Here is Candice Bergen's off-key hit single "Better Than Ever" from Starting Over.

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes tomorrow. THE NEXT SMACKDOWN IS AT THE END OF JUNE. WE'LL BE LOOKING AT 1948 SO ADJUST YOUR QUEUES ACCORDINGLY.

Smackdown Companion 1979

Sunday
Jun072015

Smackdown 1979: Barbara, Candice, Jane, Mariel ...and Meryl Streep!

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '79. Three divorcées trying to find themselves or build new lives (a white hot character type / movie theme in the late 70s) battled for the statue with a simple suburban mom and a precocious student at the 52nd Annual Academy Awards.

THE NOMINEES

 

Candice Bergen and Mariel Hemingway were first-time Oscar players in 1979, but they shared the interesting distinction of being previous Globe nominees in the long since cancelled category of "Promising Newcomer/Acting Debut" in 1966 (The Sand Pebbles) and 1976 (Lipstick) respectively. Barbara Barrie , the eldest nominee, was no stranger to good reviews having previously won Cannes Best Actress (for the little seen interracial romance One Potato Two Potato in 1964) but was largely considered a TV actress. She returned to the small screen immediately after her most beloved film role  -- in a TV series based on that film no less making her the rare performer (the only one?) to have received both an Emmy nomination and Oscar nomination for the same exact role! But the Kramer vs Kramer ladies were the marquee draws in 1979 and not just because the public response to their divorce drama was so seismic: Jane Alexander and Meryl Streep had been nominated before and would be again. Especially La Streep. No one could have then predicted that she'd continually obliterate Oscar records over the next thirty plus years but everyone knew she was the Next Big Thing. 1979 was the year of her true ascendance, a third consecutive year co-starring in a Best Picture contender (Julia, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer) and the small matter of two other much-raved about performances in the same year (Manhattan and The Seduction of Joe Tynan). 

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Here to talk about these five turns are author KM Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys") and film bloggers Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu), and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience). There's also a must-listen Podcast companion conversation to the Smackdown where we flesh out some of these thoughts and expound on the movies themselves.

Without further ado, the Smackdown...

1979
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 
An in-depth discussion after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun052015

Q&A Pt. 2: Rain Men, Paperboys, Oscar Greats

We had too many good questions last week to keep it all confined to one post. So now that you're read part one, so here's part two of the week's reader question roundup. I saved all the Oscar questions for this round to motivate me to update those Oscar chart this weekend. Ready? 

SONJA: Why do we mourn/rage about "undeserved" wins so often? In reality it doesn't change anything....

It's as useless as making your bed in the morning but we still make our beds, right? Or in my case throw the comforter haphazardly across the sheets - close enough! Listen, I consider it a sign of good character to mourn poor choices from awards bodies as long as one does so pointedly and briefly and doesn't allow it to become part of one's whole character like hating an actr- OH WAIT OOPS.  

People like to be dismissive about awards and say 'they don't matter!'  but it's simply not true. THEY DO. Awards permanently influence resumes and entire careers by way of their temporary affect on opportunities and, yes, praise (once considered a "great" it takes decades for the petals to fall off that rose... it took decades for people to start getting snippy about Al Pacino & Robert DeNiro's work!

Plus it goes in the history books. Baby cinephiles decades later still look these things up and watch the movies that were awarded to teach themselves movie history. I speak from experience. I know this to be true.

CASH: Dustin Hoffman's win for "Rain Man" baffles me...

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun052015

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... 

MEET THE PANELISTS FOR THIS SUNDAY'S SMACKDOWN!

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). 

 

KRISTEN SALES (Blogger)
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 (Film Critic)
Bill Chambers is the founder, editor, and webmaster of FilmFreakCentral.net, 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 R (Host)
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?

 

Saturday
May302015

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.

More...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May292015

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? 

PANELISTS: TBA

 

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).

PANELISTS TBA

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.

PANELISTS TBA

 

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

PANELISTS TBA

 

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 !!!

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