Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Oscars (80s) (188)


Months of Meryl: Silkwood (1983)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#9 — Karen Silkwood, a real-life chemical technician turned labor union activist and whistleblower.

“Karen Silkwood has come to stand for so many things to so many people that I had to start all over again in trying to play her as a person, not a symbol. I really don't think we can know much about people after they're not there to tell us. All their real, real secrets die with them. At the end of this whole experience of making this movie, I thought about those minutes before Karen's car went off the road, and I missed her.”
— Meryl Streep, 1983

: Meryl Streep appears in every scene and what feels like nearly every shot of Silkwood, which marked the first but certainly not the last time that the actress would play a real person. Streep’s career was technically still in its early stages when Silkwood’s cameras began rolling in Texas in 1982, but it was already replete with shelves of awards and a peerless level of respectability that prompted co-star Cher to crack this gem about first meeting Streep: “I thought it was going to be like having an audience with the Pope” 

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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice (1982) 

Hi, we’re John and Matt and, icymi, we are watching every single live-action film starring Streep...

#8 — Sophie Zawistowska, a Polish Holocaust survivor now fighting back personal demons as a Brooklyn émigré.

JOHN: Meryl Streep is as defined by Sophie’s Choice as Tiffany's is by diamonds. Her “choice” is perhaps the most notorious scene in Streep’s oeuvre, known by people who have no idea that The Deer Hunter or Silkwood or Ironweed even exist. In only our eighth entry, we have already arrived at the performance in which the legend of Streep was crystallized forever...

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Months of Meryl: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

Hi, we’re John and Matt and, icymi, we are watching every single live-action film starring Streep...

 #6 — Sarah Woodruff, an outcast of ill repute in Victorian England, and Anna, the philandering actress playing her...

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Dennis Quaid Still Has "The Right Stuff"

by Nathaniel R

Dennis Quaid as "Gordon Cooper" in THE RIGHT STUFF (1983)

Have you noticed how many movie stars are doing audiobooks these days? (I have a friend who keeps raving about Armie Hammer's reading of Call Me By Your Name.) But it's not just current movies with complimentary audiobooks. There's a new audiobook out this week for Tom Wolfe's 1979 nonfiction bestseller "The Right Stuff" about the astronauts of the Mercury Space Program in the 1940s and 1950s. Dennis Quaid is doing the audiobook honors this time and he famously co-starred in that book's Oscar-favored adaptation in 1983.  The Right Stuff (1983) won four craft Oscars in its year (splitting the below-the-line prizes with Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander) and if you haven't seen it you really should. It's quite good.

Here's a little bit of Dennis's familiar comfy gravel voice reading the book... sadly it's not a scene about his character but a scene involving Fred Ward's character Gus Grissom.


Honorary Oscars: Owen Roizman and "Tootsie"

We're revisiting work from this year's Honorary Oscar winners. Here's Eric Blume on cinematography Owen Roizman

Sydney Pollack’s 1982 movie Tootsie is one of my all-time favorite films. It's a perfect treat to revisit when you need to feel like there’s hope in the world.  Despite many viewings, I’ve never truly contemplated the cinematography by one of this year’s Honorary Oscar recipients, Owen Roizman.

Tootsie marked Roizman’s fourth of five Academy Award nomination (the others are The French Connection, The Exorcist, Wyatt Earp and Network).  It’s not the kind of work that typically generates an Oscar nomination. Indeed, the competition that year (Gandhi, Das Boot, E.T., and Sophie’s Choice) were the more magical, lyrical, expansive sort of films that are usually recognized in that category.

But Roizman’s contribution to Tootsie is gigantic, key to the film’s tone and success. It's also an excellent example of how many careful, intelligent decisions go into a more typical, mainstream film and the difference they can make...

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124 days until Oscar... 

Just 124 days until Hollywood's High Holy Night, now. Time for a little silly trivia. Only two Best Picture winners have ever been exactly 124 minutes long. Curiously enough, those titles were back-to-back winners: Ordinary People (1980) and Chariots of Fire (1981) both of which beat critically-obsessed-over competition in Raging Bull (1980) and Reds (1981).

Admit it: You heard the Chariots of Fire theme song in your head and visualized Mary Tyler Moore's ice cold mom as soon as you read the titles. 

Where else did your mind's eye take you?


I'm fluent in "Cher"

I discovered that I can read if not speak Cher fluently. So if you are not so blessed I shall translate this tweet for you after the jump...

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New Podcast: Desperately Seeking Smackdowns

Nathaniel welcomes our first all Los Angeles panel for this discussion of the 1985 film year. Comedian/Writer Louis Virtel (Billy on the Street), Producer/Writer Abdi Nazemian ("The Authentics"), Actress Nora Zehetner and Director/Writer Michelle Morgan (It Happened in L.A.). We just wrote about the Supporting Actress nominated performances of 1985 but now it's time to zoom out on the films and the film year itself when Oprah Winfrey and Madonna began their global takeovers, Anjelica Huston became a third generation Oscar favorite, and Out of Africa eventually won Best Picture.

Smackdown '85 Companion Podcast
(58 minutes)
00:01 Anjelica vs Oprah with a little Amy Madigan on the side
10:00 Our entire group has a Jane Fonda "problem" - shout-outs to Klute and lots of head-scratching over the plot of Agnes of God
20:00 Meg Tilly and Jennifer Tilly and Oscar trivia
22:00 Should they remake The Color Purple?
28:00 Syphilitic Out of Africa, Divisive Prizzi's Honor and their Oscar wins
35:30 Desperately Seeking Susan and Oscar's resistance to both Madonna and comedy

46:30 Twice in a Lifetime's weird messages and cathartic makeovers
49:40 Individual favorites from the year from each of us including (but not limited to): Clue, The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, Mask, The Legend of Billie Jean
55:00 Farewells and Credits

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Don't forget to read the smackdown and continue the conversations in the comments! 

Desperately Seeking Smackdown