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Entries in Oscars (80s) (132)

Friday
Jun242016

Jessica's Long Journey to that Triple Crown

With only three performances remaining in Broadway's Long Day's Journey Into Night which closes this Sunday, here's Eric to talk Jessica Lange's long and awards-full career.

Jessica Lange recently became the 22nd actor to complete the official Triple Crown of Acting (performers who have won competitive Oscar, Tony, and Emmy Awards - full list prior to Jessica).  It’s an exciting moment in time, as winning the big three isn’t easy. 

Ten of her Triple Crown peers are still alive and all working to one degree or another:  Rita Moreno, Jeremy Irons, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Al Pacino, Geoffrey Rush, Ellen Burstyn, Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and Frances McDormand.  All of these actors have had decades-long success and still get enough offers for splashy roles that it’s not inconceivable that almost any of them could win another late-career major award.

As it stands, of all the 22 current Triple Crown winners, nobody has amassed more than six total competitive awards across the three fields of film, television, and theater.  The folks with six are Ingrid Bergman (3 Oscars, 2 Emmys; 1 Tony); Shirley Booth (1 Oscar, 2 Emmys, 3 Tonys); Maggie Smith (2 Oscars, 3 Emmys, 1 Tony); Helen Mirren (1 Oscar, 4 Emmys, 1 Tony), and now Jessica Lange (2 Oscars, 3 Emmys, 1 Tony like Dame Maggie).  At this point, Mirren and Lange, only three years apart (they’re 70 and 67, respectively) would break this (granted silly) awards record if they were to win one more of the Big Three prizes.   

Now, on to Jessica's own 'Long Journey' to this triumph...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun162016

Best Shot: "One From the Heart"

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot was derailed by a very tough communal week and also a busy one for entirely different reasons for yours truly. But a few of our regular participants soldiered on. Please read their lovely pieces on this underappreciated Francis Ford Copoola curiousity from the early 80s. I think you can see a bit of it in the DNA of Moulin Rouge! if you need extra incentive to watch it on Amazon Prime.

Antagony & Ecstasy chose...

The film that was meant to be a quick cheapie designed to provide a financial shot in the arm to the fledgling American Zoetrope, but instead almost destroyed the company that Coppola had dreamed up as a sort of director-driven filmmaker's commune. It's one of the most idiosyncratic films of its era, overwhelmingly pleasurable despite being entirely unlikable and toxic in every possible way. I have no idea if it's a great film or a terrible one that could only have been made by a great talent. Frankly, I don't know that I care one way or the other: when all is said and done, we have the film itself, and I adore it even as it maddens me.

Sorta That Guy chose...

Apparently Coppola insisted that the whole thing be shot on a sound stage to make it feel more artificial, which he might have seen as a good thing, but... 

Dancin' Dan on Film chose...

To call Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart "stylized" would be an understatement. To call it "artificial" would be even more of an understatement. It is, by a pretty good margin, the strangest American film I've ever seen, and were it not for Nobuhiko Obayashi's completely batshit insane House, it would be the absolute weirdest fucking film I've ever seen, period.

 

Next Tuesday June 21st
I promise we will get back on track with RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER'S THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT. Please watch it on any of these services and join us. It's shot by one of my all time favorite cinematographers, Michael Ballhaus. [Hulu | Amazon | Netflix | iTunes

Wednesday
Jun082016

The Smackdowns Are Coming! 

You thought we'd forgotten the Smackdowns. We have not! Here's what's coming this season. You know you want to join in the movie merriment! We're giving you a headstart so you can get to watching these 13 movies for the first time (or revisiting them) over your summer vacations. More details to follow as we get closer to the actual Smackdowns. 

Sunday July 31st
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1977

The Oscar went to the legendary but controversial Vanessa Redgrave for Julia and while she might be impossible to beat, the movies are all juicy in this category. Tuesday Weld co-stars in the provocative Looking for Mr Goodbar, Melinda Dillon was part of the fine cast of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Quinn Cumming charmed voters in The Goodbye Girl, and Leslie Browne, a dancer, debuted in Oscar's all time biggest loser The Turning Point (nominated for 11 Oscars but it lost every category!).

 

Sunday August 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1984

Dame Peggy Ashcroft won the Oscar for her penultimate feature film role in A Passage to India. But her category was filled with powerhouse actresses: There was Glenn Close winning her third consecutive nomination for The Natural, Lindsay Crouse in the Best Picture nominee Places in the Heart, and Christine Lahti the scene stealer of Jonathan Demme's Swing Shift. The surprise nominee was actor's actor and Oscar darling Geraldine Page, nominated for a tiny role in The Pope of Greenwich Village

 

Thursday September 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963  

Only three films to watch for this one since September is always too busy for words: 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

 

What other titles from 1977, 1984. and 1963 would you like us to revisit for extra flavor and context? 

 

Thursday
Jun022016

Marvin Hamlisch's Big Oscar Haul. And Other Stories...

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Dr Duran Duran and the Orgasmatron

1835 P.T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour of the US. Wasn't Hugh Jackman supposed to play him in an original movie musical? Is that still on or did the endless Wolverine show derail it? (sigh)
1840 Novelist Thomas Hardy is born. Movies adapted from his work include multiple versions of Jude, Tess,  and Far From the Madding Crowd
1904 Johnny Weissmuller is born. We just wrote about Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which you should definitely see
1926 Character actor Milo O'Shea, aka Dr Duran Duran who tried to kill Jane Fonda by excessive pleasure in Barbarella, is born.
1937 Sally Kellerman, the original " 'Hot Lips' O'Houlihan" is born


1944 EGOT composing legend Marvin Hamlisch (of "A Chorus Line") fame is born...or as Cher calls him "Marvin Hamilsmisch". Classic songs include the Oscar winning "The Way We Were" and Oscar nominated gems like "Nobody Does it Better," and "Through the Eyes of Love." Get this: He is the only person other than a director or screenwriter to win more than two Oscars on a single night. At the '73 Oscars he took Song and Original Score for The Way We Were and also Adapted Score (back when they had that) for Best Picture winner The Sting
1953 The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, aka Helen Mirren's signature role. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest running monarch in British history?
1989 Dead Poet's Society opens in theaters. Goes on to 4 Oscar nominations including Best Picture in one of the all time least satisfying Oscar years. I mean that Best Picture lineup is atrocious given that sex lies and videotape, The Little Mermaid, Fabulous Baker Boys and Do the Right Thing (all nominated for something) were right there for the taking.

No, don't take my picture.


1995 Bridges of Madison County opens in theaters and audiences start loudly demanding Meryl Streep's third Oscar. The conversation lasts for 16 whole years thereafter. (Demands for #4 have not yet begun but it's only a matter of time.)
2006 Peyton Reed's The Break-Up opens in theaters with Jennifer Aniston & Vince Vaughn 

And one year from today...
2017 Wonder Woman will open in theaters. Somehow it only took them 75 years to get her on the big screen. 

Monday
May162016

Beauty vs Beast: Daughter Dearest

Howdy, folks - Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" is which we'll be celebrating the 61st birthday of the great Debra Winger. I assume most of you, being right and proper actressexuals, have seen the terrific documentary bearing her name Searching For Debra Winger, but if not, get on that. I haven't seen it since it came out in 2002 and part of me wonders if it's maybe, hopefully, begun to feel a bit dated? That film feeling dated can only be a good thing because it means roles for actresses are getting better. If nothing else, Winger herself has been working somewhat steadily over the past few years with recent roles on In Treatment and the Netflix series The Ranch.

All that said, we're really here today for Classic Winger...

PREVIOUSLY Two weeks back we celebrated the sexy time that is A Bigger Splash with a glance back at its original (and also sexy) incarnation, 1969's La Piscine - stuffing the ballot box like he did those speedos, Alain Delon carried off about 80% of your votes. Said Steven:

"Alain Delon>>>>>>>every young pretty boy out there in Hollywood."

Tuesday
Apr122016

The Act of Seeing in "Witness"

Peter Weir's Oscar nominated Witness (1985) was not chosen for our Best Shot series for its title, though that's as apt a logline for this series as any. The title refers to young Samuel Lapp (Lukas Hass, in a sterling child performance) but it neatly doubles as a surprisingly hushed command to the audience out there in the dark.

Lukas Haas figures it out at the police station

The story may spring from an abrupt violent murder in a public bathroom which Samuel sees, wide-eyed, from a bathroom stall but there's very little about the hit drama that is as in your face as its story beats and genre might otherwise suggest. From its earliest longshot of Amish villagers coming into view above a field of grass, to its sublimely casual farewell of its last shot (with two men crossing paths outside the home of the woman they both love), the movie is surprisingly gentle and patient.

Though violence bookends the events and the movie's sheer quality grants it that Oscar ready "Best" scale, Witness is actually something of a miniature. Weir focuses nearly all our energy on watching our good cop hero John Book (Harrison Ford, perfection), live among the Amish as he hides from the bad guys, figuring out his next move, rather than hunting them down. That atypical reserve gives the cop drama a unique contemplative charge within its genre. And Peter Weir and John Seale's beautiful work in composition and lighting keeps you entranced throughout whether you're watching barn raising, peach canning, or cow milking, or a very odd couple (city cop and Amish widow) hoping the other isn't seeing their longing. The light through windows and from sun or (often) lamps is always artfully caressing these marvelous faces (kudos to casting director Diane Crittendon for going with unknowns or barely knowns for the Amish characters and giving Viggo Mortensen his first feature film role). In another amazing shot about seeing, the Amish father finds his daughter and the cop dancing in the barn and they're lit behind by the lamp and the headlights from Book's car. It's one of the only shots that feel theatrically staged but it works because it's so heightened, the father's distorted suspicious understanding and the couple feeling guilty about sins they haven't yet committed.

But it's an atypical shot, in which we're essentially barred from looking, that emerges as one of this great film's most potent images

Harrison Ford earns this Oscar nomination.

In this phone call sequence, John Book realizes that his partner has been murdered. He hangs up the phone and the camera waits behind him as he processes and makes a second far more impulsive call. Though we're not seeing our star in the traditional sense his character and the details of his current situation are laid bare. The barely surpressed rage in his voice and his slew of profanities and threats paired with the camera angle seem to be protecting Book from himself, the way Book self-edits and is careful to behave as a guest in Rachel's home. The crisp details of the image (the textures of that borrowed Amish hat, the sweat on his hair, the minute shifting in his knotted neck) all add indelibly to this frightening flash of a good man letting the beast out.

Tellingly the very next shot of John Book, has him back in the horse and buggy, head bowed momentarily as if with shame. And then he explodes again when he sees a tourist taunting his new Amish friend (Alexander Godunov). Book may not be truly assimilating but his alien experiences are forcefully reshaping him in this exquisitely judged movie. 

Tuesday
Apr122016

Tuesday Top Ten: 1985 Favorites! 

Because we'll be seeing what various cinephiles around the web think of Peter Weir's Witness for "Best Shot" tonight here's an entirely rando top ten list of 1985, direct from my brain. Or, rather, from web archives or my brain. Which means it's an unholy amalgam of things I loved when I was young and things I love now after many watches over the years and things I possibly would only love ironically now because I loved them when I was young. 

1985 silliness after the jump...

Click to read more ...