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Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (80s) (154)


Blue Velvet at 30

by Jason Adams 

With our host Nathaniel off in Toronto seeing movies this week; some good, some bad... but which ones will last forever? It's a question I put forth because David Lynch's masterpiece Blue Velvet played at the Toronto Film Festival exactly 30 years ago today. Did those fortunate souls sitting there in that audience know they were seeing a stone-cold American classic unveiled unto the world. I can't imagine they didn't know they were seeing something unlike anything else they'd ever seen before, that much seems clear. The film made some noise!

Blue Velvet's one of my Top Five Favorites so let's celebrate its anniversary (it was released in US theaters one week after its screening in Toronto). In honor of 30 years here are 30 favorite Blue Velvety facts, figures, and fun stuff, starting with...


2. But seriously this is Lynch's first collaboration with his muse and most important collaborator (so says me and that cow he stood on Hollywood Blvd with) and it's a pleasure to contrast the character of Sandy with the places the two would later go - the sweetness and naivete here evenautally giving way to all kinds of craziness; it's impossible not to look at this nice young lady now and not see the wild woman -- Lulu Fortune anybody? -- about to come beating out from underneath those fuzzy sweaters.

Ears and lots of the F-word after the break...

Click to read more ...


Podcast: Smackdown Reflections and Film Critics on Acting

Nathaniel talks to Sheila O'Malley, one of the best film critics on acting, as they reflect on recent Smackdown adventures, the chaos of acting careers, and the problems with "best" designations.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Acting training, Geraldine Page, and critics who "get" acting
06:45 Glenn Close and Robert Redford Reveries in The Natural
14:00 The quality of acting fields & self-selecting "Oscar movies"
20:45 Romancing the Stone and the "realm of fantasy" versus the "gritty" farm wife movies. Why do some movies hold up so well over time?
27:00 Peggy Ashcroft and Lindsay Crouse. Plus: making out with Ed Harris.
33:00 The rumors about Swing Shift and Jonathan Demme's original cut. Did we lose a masterpiece?
40:18 Sheila's connection to Gena Rowland's Honorary Oscar.

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?  

P.S. Read more about Sheila's Gena Rowlands tribute here.

a conversation with Sheila O'Malley


Smackdown '84: Glenn Close, Dame Peggy, Lahti, Crouse, and Page

Presenting the Supporting Actress Class of '84. The Academy looked way back in time for this vintage collecting characters from the 1920s through the 1940s: a British senior on an excursion to see "the real" India, a Depression era beautician, the ex-girl of a ballplayer, and a former singer working in a factory during World War II. The sole contemporary character was a chain-smoking furious mother from Greenwich Village...

Glenn Close and Geraldine Page were the regulars... about to lose again!


THE NOMINEES: The 1984 Supporting Actress list skewed more mature than usual. Lindsay Crouse, surely buoyed by the love for Best Picture player Places in the Heart, and the promising new star Christine Lahti who was the least familiar face to moviegoers at the time, were the youngest, both in their mid 30s. Glenn Close, on her third consecutive nomination in the category, and Geraldine Page with a surprise seventh nomination from a long and revered acting career, were the "names" of the category... and they were both about to lose again - this time to the stage actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft who had only rarely made films. 

Shut-Outs: There was very little consensus about supporting actresses beyond Ashcroft & Lahti who fought it out for the critics awards...

BAFTA & Globe nominees that failed to make the Oscar cut were many: Melanie Griffith (Body Double), Drew Barrymore (Irreconciliable Differences), Kim Basinger (The Natural), Lesley Ann Warren (The Songwriter), Tuesday Weld (Once Upon a Time in America) and Jaqueline Bissett (Under the Volcano); Other key women that voters could have chosen that year: Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters), Elizabeth Berridge (Amadeus), Polly Holliday (Gremlins), Sabine Azéma (who won the NBR for A Sunday in the Country), Holland Taylor (Romancing the Stone), Sharon Stone (Irreconciliable Differences), Dianne Wiest (Falling in Love), Amy Madigan (Places in the Heart) and Lonette McKee (The Cotton Club


Here to talk about the nominees are our panelists: Sheila O'Malley (The Sheila Variations), Noah Tsika (Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, CUNY and author of "Nollywood Stars"), Joe Reid (, Nick Davis (Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern and author of "The Desiring Image") and your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience).

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


Click to read more ...


Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  
Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5
Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

Click to read more ...


4 Days til the Smackdown - Meet the Panelists!

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1984 is coming your way on Wednesday August 31st with Dame Peggy Ashcroft defending her Oscar from the other side. Will the panel co-sign that Oscar win or throw their votes to Christine Lahti, Lindsay Crouse, or legendary Oscar regulars in the form or either Glenn Close or Geraldine Page. Please remember that readers are the collective sixth panelist so I expect your answers to these questions in the comments (as well as your ballots - details on what to send me here).


Please give a hearty welcome to two first time Smackdowners

Noah Tsika is the Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, CUNY. He has also written two books on cinema: Nollywood Stars: Media and Migration in West Africa and the Diaspora and Pink 2.0: Encoding Queer Cinema on the Internet. 
Follow Noah on Twitter 

Sheila O'Malley is a regular film critic for and other outlets including The Criterion Collection. She wrote the narration (read by Angelina Jolie) for the Gena Rowlands tribute reel played at the 2016 Governors Awards. Her blog is The Sheila Variations.  
Follow Sheila on Twitter

...welcome back two regular Smackdowners

Joe Reid never went to film school, unless you count the film school of hard knocks, which he also didn't go to. That hasn't stopped him from writing about movies. He is currently Senior Writer at One day, he'll have written about his love for The HoursGo, and Mermaids enough that he can finally close his laptop, satisfied that his work is done. 
Follow Joe on Twitter 

Nick Davis writes the reviews and features at the website Nick's Flick Picks.  The site's unpredictable cycles of frenzied activity and long dormancy have to do with his also being an Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern, where his research and teaching mostly concern narrative film in different eras, genres, and countries. 
Follow Nick on Twitter 

And, of course, your host with all his needy questions about your favorites this and that...

Click to read more ...


"Don't you have something to do?"

Christine Lahti is pissed. She heard that you haven't voted on the Supporting Actress 1984 Smackdown yet...

Click to read more ...


Links: Best Picture Field, Highest Paid Actresses, The Departed on TV?

It's link time which also doubles as news catch up! (Yes, Oscar Chart updates are currently in progress. So more on that and the foreign submissions very soon)

Think Pieces, List Mania, Celebrity
Movie City News launches another "Gurus of Gold" season where all of us have named our current top 20 "general field" predictions. Yes, I'm updating my charts over the next three days! Manchester by the Sea and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk are expected leaders
Gawker Rich Juzwiack says goodbye to one identity through a George Michael lens. It's wonderful
MNPP Paul Bettany is vacationing in Ibiza
NYT talks to Kirsten Dunst about life after Fargo and her Emmy nomination
Mind of a Suspicious Kind Martin Scorsese's Silence is supposedly his longest ever (over 3 hours) but is it actually coming out this year?

Cinema Enthusiast polled film twitter on their favorite films of 1982. The results are interesting but weird. The Thing at #1? Erm, okay. Star Trek II above Victor/Victoria? NO. I have to admit that I'm quite spotty on early 80s cinema though because I couldn't drive myself to the cinema back then.
Forbes on the easy-to-predict failure of the new Ben-Hur and how it's a fitting end to this particular summer
Little White Lies wonders if there still a place for eroticism in cinema while watching shorts in Montreal 
i09 what went wrong with this summer's blockbusters
AV Club talks to Clea DuVall about past roles on the eve of her directorial debut with The Intervention
MNPP Dagmara Dominczyck's Patrick Wilson appreciation social media game
• ...TFE we interviewed her once and she is stunningly gorgeous herself
• Slate that nude Trump statue hitting various cities is not amusing to everyone  
• ...EW including actress/author Amber Tamblyn 

News & Miscellania
• The Guardian more trouble for Birth of a Nation. AFI cancelled screenings and Q&A
• ... icymi TFE previous handwringing about this scandal and film
Forbes Jennnifer Lawrence & Melissa McCarthy top the annual highest paid actresses list this year. Two actresses outside of Hollywood made the list this year: Deepika Padukone (India) and Fan Bingbing (China). Figures include not just films but endorsement deals and such. The Zeéeeee apparently banked a lot for returning to her signature role in Bridget Jones's Baby since she almost made the list.

/Film Blade Runner 2 adds Jared Leto to the cast and Jóhan Jóhannsson as composer
Theater Mania Jennifer Holliday joining the cast of the Broadway revival of Color Purple. I guess they've decided to make Shug Avery the short-term award-winning star draw (they've already been through Jennifer Hudson and Heather Hedley) 
Screen Daily undervalued British actor Andrew Scott has a lead role. He'll star in the thriller Steel Country 
Kotaku Ghost in the Shell  supporting cast photos leaked
Towleroad on Frank Oceans new video Nikes 
Coming Soon Amazon developing a TV series based on The Departed. Hmmm. Isn't that an odd fit for long term storytelling. It would imply we can never move past the double crossing discovered stage
Playbill Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher documentary will premiere at the NYFF 
Film Stage the first image from Euphoria with Alicia Vikander & Eva Green 

Madonna Mania - It's Around This Summer For Some Reason (not complaning)
• Boy Culture on a star studded Truth or Dare screening in NYC...
• People ...Madonna even showed up super briefly!
• Village Voice Michael Musto recalls his up and down relationship to the material girl through their very long contemporaneous careers 

And I'll leave you with the new La La Land trailer. (If you missed our discussion of the first trailer, that's here.) This movie can't open soon enough!