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Mixed Media on Fruit, 9"x1½"

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Entries in Oscars (80s) (79)

Thursday
Jun262014

Throwback Thursday FYC: Do The Right Thing (1989)

Could you imagine if this had actually happened in multiple categories including Best Picture, instead of Oscar embracing Driving Miss Daisy's retrograde race relations?

Imagine the 1989 Oscars with 'Spike Lee Joint' fever instead of a just two nominations (Supporting Actor and Screenplay) because they had to give it up somewhere for the critical darling. 

Imagine Rosie Perez dancing furiously to all the Best Original Song nominees !!! Fight the power, Rosie.

Think of the after-effects with Hollywood's most coveted prize going to a black film twenty-four years before 12 Years a Slave (2013).

See Malcolm X ride high in 1992 due to Spike Lee momentum and Denzel Washington clearing Oscar #2 long before Training Day and blocking Al Pacino's "hoo-ah"! (Pfeiffer would also have an Oscar, come to think of it)

Kim Basinger wouldn't have had any snub to get all righteously indignant about as she introduced one of the Best Picture nominees. Or would she have bitched about something else being all feisty that year.

The whole arc of history might have been changed*

*While I am not wholly serious, it's not like these things don't have after effects and during effects. Each Oscar decision affects future Oscar decisions and also the way people think of the movies in the long arc of cinema history.

Friday
Jun202014

My Beautiful Laundrette 

[With Gay Pride festivities happening in various cities in June, we'll take a look back at a few gay classics. Here's Matthew Eng (who you'll remember from a couple of American Hustle pieces) on an Oscar nominated 80s classic - Editor]

Initially envisioned as a low-budget, Channel 4 telefilm, My Beautiful Laundrette cheekily challenged the Western moviegoing market upon its U.K. and U.S. releases in, respectively, 1985 and ’86. It became an out-of-nowhere arthouse hit, all while ironically embracing and blending a distinctive, regional-specific grouping of Thatcher-era South Londoners who fall under social categorizations normally left discrete or disregarded in modern-day moviemaking, both then and now. In the film, Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young, business-minded Pakistani-Brit, sets out to renovate his uncle’s dreary laundrette into a clothes-cleaning arcade, a luxury laundrette “as big as the Ritz.” To do this, Omar recruits Johnny, his white former classmate and one-time lover, resulting in all the charged, complicated power shifts that would inevitably stem from a South Asian British man employing his former skinhead ex-boyfriend in Thatcherite England.

Arguably the film’s greatest claim to fame is that the smirking, blonde-streaked, and neck-licking Johnny is played by an effortlessly charismatic and impossibly hot Daniel Day-Lewis, the only actor in the cast since allowed to top his work here (not to mention the only one still working, period) and whose strong turn in Laundrette—coupled with his amusingly meek snob in the same year’s Merchant-Ivory export A Room with a View—prompted a prize-winning stateside breakout...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May052014

A Smackdown Summer Cometh

When I announced that The Film Experience would be the new home of the long departed series Stinky Lulu's Smackdown last summer I figured you would be thrilled. It's our kind of party. I promised Stinky we'd do at least six smackdowns if we brought it back. With four battles already behind us -- pie throwing 1952shady and sinister 1968, warm and kooky 1980, and troubled histrionic 2003-- let's wrap it up with four more. 

Rather than announce at the end of each month, I figured we'd give you all four lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up over the hot months and cast your votes in the reader polling that accompanies each battle. Those votes count toward the final outcome, so more of you should join in. 

These annums were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and also to rope in prospective panelists (to be announced later) though I know you'll go bonkers for a couple of them.

Saturday May 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1941

Mary Astor won an Oscar for The Great Lie in which she co-starred with Bette Davis. Davis herself was something of a good luck charm that year for this category. Two of her other co-stars, Patricia Collinge and Teresa Wright, were nominated for their roles in The Little Foxes (a film we'll be covering very soon in "Seasons of Bette"). Rounding out the category were two formidable mamas in men's pictures:  Margaret Wycherly for Sergeant York and Sara Allgood in the Best Picture winner How Green Was My Valley.

Monday June 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1964

Women of a certain age for the awesomeness - somehow this shortlist escaped the usual attack of the ingenues. My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins were splitting the statuettes that year but neither took home a Supporting Actress trophy. That honor went to Zorba the Greek's Lila Kedrova. Also nominated that year were regular Oscar losers Gladys Cooper for My Fair Lady and Edith Evans for the Deborah Kerr picture The Chalk Garden, and two actresses from perpetually overheated... and perpetually wonderful genres: Agnes Moorhead in the grand dame guignol Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte and Grayson Hall from the Tennessee Williams Night of the Iguana

Thursday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1973

One of Oscar's most fascinatingly diverse Best Picture years also produced quite a range of peculiar one-offs right here. All five nominees were first timers and only Madeline Kahn (Paper Moon) was ever nominated again. The other contenders were showbiz trouper Sylvia Sydney (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams) and three young film newbies 26 year-old Candy Clark (American Graffitti), 15 year old Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and the youngest competitive Oscar winner of all time, 10 year old Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon).

Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1989 (Season Finale!)  

Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) took home the gold for playing mom to Daniel Day-Lewis on his first Oscar win. Her shortlist sisters? Quite a famous bunch they were. Oscar chose Oscar winner Dianne Wiest for the ensemble comedy Parenthood, both Lena Olin and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston from the underseen but  actressy Enemies: A Love Story, and brand new starlet Julia Roberts, then considerably less famous than brother Eric, for Steel Magnolias.

Drink your juice, Shelby, and join us for all of four Smackdowns. Queue up those DVDs. You know you want to for more movie merriment.

Wednesday
Apr302014

April Showers: Silkwood

The waterworks conclude with the month's last entry from abstew. And it's a doozy...

Although the most famous shower scene in the history of film may belong to Hitchcock's Psycho, no other cinematic shower has entered into pop culture, taking on a life of its own outside the film, in quite the same way as Silkwood. To take a Silkwood shower is even an entry in the urban dictionary (so you know it's legit.) But for something that has morphed into such an iconic cultural moment, it may be surprising to note that Meryl Streep only spends a little less than a minute in the film's entire two hour running time actually in the (invasive) cleansing waters. Despite its brevity, its emotional impact is palpable.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar102014

Happy 25th: Uma Thurman in a Half Shell

Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, also known as Uma Thurman Being a Literal Goddess For the First Time, opened 25 years ago today. Now, it's not technically true that this was Uma's cinematic debut since she appeared in two long forgotten movies (Kiss Daddy Goodnight, Johnny B Goode) and one well remembered one (Dangerous Liaisons) before March 10th 1989 when this film premiered (due to delays -- you know how Terry Gillian do). But it was meant to be her debut. And print the myth, you know? And Uma is enough of a goddess that she deserves the myth and not the truth.

Uma as "Venus, Goddess of Beauty and Love"

One of my favorite 80s anecdotes was Gilliam being furious that Dangerous Liaisons beat him to release in the two film contest of prestige costume pictures that could get the new jaw-droppingly beautiful starlet out of her costumes first for audiences. She was 18. I still remember this anecdote because Uma's breasts were among the first I remember seeing in a movie theater... and remaining among the finest.

It's somewhat strange that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is so forgotten today. It was nominated for 4 Oscars in 1989: Makeup, Costumes, Art Direction and Visual Effects, making it the second most honored Gilliam film in Oscar's books (after The Fisher King) but maybe AMPAS was apologizing for only giving Brazil two nominations in 1985? Terry Gilliam hasn't been a major cinema presence in a very long time for reasons that are well documented but wouldn't it be sweet if he managed one last major artistic triumph in his 70s? 

Anyway...

Happy 25th anniversary (of sorts) to Uma Thurman and the Movie Camera! They've had a volatile affair but they were meant for each other. I guess this means we should all watch Nymphomaniac Pt 1 as soon as possible.