Film Bitch History
Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (80s) (204)


Albert Finney (1936-2019)

by Nathaniel R

We had dreaded this day coming. Albert Finney has passed away at 82 years of age from a chest infection. He'd been battling health troubles for years, which is why the filmography abruptly ends at Skyfall (2012) but what a elegiac blockbuster of a swansong, yes? In recent years we'd repeatedly suggested him for an Honorary Oscar but the Academy rarely listens to our brilliant ideas. Instead he'll retain the sad distinction of being the second most-nominated male movie star never to have received a competitive OR honorary Oscar behind only Richard Burton (Character actor Arthur Kennedy was also nominated 5 times without a win, mostly in supporting, but he wasn't a headliner like Finney). But, as we've often said, awards aren't everything and cinematic legacy is far more crucial. And that, Albert Finney has. He will live on given that impressive filmography filled with rich performances.

Finney wasn't born to a family in showbusiness but was in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the 'angry young man' and kitchen sink era of British filmmaking -- he reportedly disliked "snobbery" enough to turn down the British Knighthood the year of Erin Brockovich (2000). Despite humble origins he was a quick success as an actor landing his first professional gigs on stage and TV by the age of 19. At the age of 24 he was an immediate movie star... 

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81 days til Oscar

by Nathaniel R

Diane & Warren / Don & Meryl at the 1981 Oscars

You know what I feel is tragic about online Oscar history, dear readers? It's the lack of abundance of Oscar night photos before, say, 2000. Oh sure you can usually find photos of the winners holding their Oscars but try finding complete gowns of all the Best Actress nominees if you (hypothetically) wanna fantasize about ordering custom doll sets of every vintage. You're out of luck for any year prior to the explosion of 24/7 media coverage and constant Oscar coverage. Take the 1981 Oscars for example...

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It's 100 Days until the Oscars! Do you remember your first time watching?

How will you countdown? This upcoming Oscar ceremony will be the 91st annual event. In just 9 years, if the world survives that long, we'll have the Centennial of the Oscar! Can you imagine?! And do you remember the first ceremony you ever watched?

The first one I ever remember watching was the 56th ceremony...

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Showbiz History: The Sheik, Never Cry Wolf, Wicked

9 random things that happened on this day (October 30th) in showbiz history

Rudolph Valentino cheekily decides you can't watch him undress in behind the scenes footage about his Sheik movies (he made two of them)1821 Novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky born in Moscow. His work, particularly the Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, has been adapted to film and television many time.

1921 The Sheik starring Rudolph Valentino premieres, inventing the male movie star sex symbol. The world swoons. Women faint.

1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of HG Wells "The War of the Worlds" causes mass panic when people are convinced it's real...

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Will John Lithgow Triple Crown?

by Nathaniel R

John Lithgow to play Roger Ailes

I used to suspect that John Lithgow, who is quite an awards magnet, would join our growing Triple Crown Actors list. But then the big screen portion of his triple threaded career seemed to peter out, with less prominent roles and less frequent movies. This just in: he's been cast in that increasingly starry Fox News Scandal movie alongside Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie. He'll be playing the repulsive Roger Aisle, the main antagonist of the film. And you know how Oscar LOVES respected actors playing despicable men in the Supporting category. Perhaps he'll Triple Crown yet?

Lithgow was nominated for two consecutive Best Supporting Actor Oscars in the 1980s (The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment). Aside from that short round of movie hoopla he's mostly concentrated on racking up Emmys (12 noms, 5 wins to date) and Tonys (6 nominations, 2 wins to date).

What's your favorite performance from this 72 year-old showbiz giant?


Oscar Myth-Busting: The Academy Doesn't Like Popular Films

by Nathaniel R

The 10 biggest hits of all time when adjusted for inflation. All but one of them was nominated for Best Picture and three of them won.

We hear it every year: "The Oscars only nominate films that no one has heard of!" Every year this untruth is spread by people who a) don't pay attention to movies and are thus not the target audience of the Oscars anyway and b) don't think things through before proclaiming them and c) haven't worked out that in our increasingly niche world MANY people haven't heard of tv shows, albums, movies, or plays that are of utmost importance to a whole other group of people.

Somehow this myth of "obscure taste" has sunk deep into the Academy's own mindset and they've bought in to it. This week's catastrophic announcement suggests that they've bought into this myth that they don't like popular things to the point of self-loathing. So, here's a quick bit of factual history to bust this myth once again. Our work is never done!

Box office history is harder to suss out prior to 1980 when box office reporting became a more regular occurrence. But most historical indications suggest that the nominees for Best Picture before then were often sizeable hits. Part of the divide that's happened in the past 38 years, which people are never honest about when they complain about Oscar's "relevancy," is that audiences became progressively less interested in human drama (Oscar's bread and butter from 1928 onward), which they mostly sought out on TV, and more interested in visual effects spectacle, cartoons, and mega-sequels. The former is an Oscar interest, the second one has its own category so they mostly ignore it, and the third is not an Oscar interest for which we are grateful because if you want the same things to win prizes every year, look to the Emmys!

So is there any kind of truth to the notion that Oscar doesn't like popular films and only embraces obscure ones? Let's look at the evidence from 1980 onwards...

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Showbiz History: Dutch Men, Dark Knights, and Queen Bitches

We need escapism now more than ever so on this July 18th let's looks back into history for easier things to think about then the here and now.

Verhoeven on the set of "Showgirls"

10 random things that happened on this day in showbiz history...

1938 Infamous Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) born on this day. Elle, his most recent feature, might be hard to top as late career provocations go but the 80 year-old master will certainly try with his next, Benedetta, a 17th century lesbian nuns drama starring Charlotte Rampling. The film is due in 2019.

1967 Mark Vincent Sinclair born in New York City. He later becomes Vin Diesel... 

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