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Entries in Oscars (80s) (159)

Friday
Dec232016

On This Day in History: 1988 & 1994's Opposing Best Pic Lineups!

Feeling festive today but not quite ready for Christmas? Celebrate one of these anniversaries!


1805 Joseph Smith Jr, founder of the Mormon Church is born in Vermont. Here's a very random piece of trivia: Outside of the very early movie Brigham Young (1940) about his successor with Vincent Price in the Joseph Smith role, the only actually famous actor to ever play him is Dean Cain of Lois & Clark fame in a movie called September Dawn (2007)? It's kind of hard to draw a line connecting Vincent Price and Dean Cain otherwise, right?
1867 Madame CJ Walker, cosmetics mogul and the first black female millionaire in America, is born in Louisiana. Where's her biopic, Hollywood? History has more than just Great White Man stories.
1887 Underappreciated director John Cromwell who guided Bette Davis's breakthrough role in Of Human Bondage , and the all female wonders of Caged was born in Ohio. One more Bette related anniversary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov302016

Why Amy Adams May Have to Sit This Oscar Year Out... 

The news of Amy Adams winning the NBR delighted many and also stirred up the usual "The Film Experience hates her!" complaints in the commentary. We do not. Being frustrated by an actor's ubiquity and dullness at one particular annual event is not the same as hating them or their work. Amy Adams is a very fine actress. She has given many delightful performances, two of which would have even made non-controversial Oscar wins had she managed to actually nab the statue (Junebug or The Fighter).

Amy Adams (5), Albert Finney (5), and Glenn Close (6) are the living actors with the most Oscar nominations who have never won.

And it's true that she's quite amazing in Arrival, serving as the audience vessel to in two simultaneous and important ways that the movie couldn't succeed without: she's awestruck by what she's watching (she's our eyes and surely our facial expressions in the dark); apart from that awe she's emotionally and intellectually engaged with the events in order to grapple with them and suss out meaning which is what the audience is always doing when they're watching grand films that demands that they pay attention with both their heart and their mind.

But for all of that I don't think she's making the Oscar lineup and here's why...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct312016

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Happy Haloween. Please enjoy this Photo of Oscar nominee and birthday girl Sally Kirkland wearing a live tarantula Halloween isn't only for trick or treating and costume parties though it is most definitely for those things. It's also home to many fine birthdays and events on this day in showbiz history... 

1795 Poet John Keats is born. Two hundred and fourteen years later Ben Whishaw plays him beautifully in the still undervalued Jane Campion movie Bright Star
1864 Nevada becomes the 36th State. Without Nevada no Las Vegas, one of the favorite cities of filmmakers and storytellers. It is entirely untrue that what happens there stays there -- it's always broadcast!
1879 Oscar nominee Sara Allgood (How Green Was My Valley) is born in Dublin
1892 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Movies and TV haven't shut up about the Great Detective since they were invented as mediums. 
1906 George Bernard Shaw's Caesar & Cleopatra premieres on Broadway. 39 years and 11 months later the film version starring Vivien Leigh is released.
1922 Barbara Bell Geddes of Dallas and I Remember Mama fame is born in NYC
1925 Oscar winner Lee Grant (Shampoo) is born. Have you read her recent autobiography yet? 
1926 Harry Houdini dies

Mount Rushmore, River Phoenix and more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Oct262016

Oscar Horrors: The Dangerous Editing of "Fatal Attraction"

Boo! It's a bonus episode of "Oscar Horrors". We're looking back on horror-connected Oscar nominations until Halloween. Here's Daniel Crooke on a Best Picture nominee's brilliant rhythms

Fatal Attraction wants you to keep your doors locked; it gets off on invasion. On lulling you into a false sense of security, sneaking in through the back gate, and shredding the nerves of you and everyone inside while it wreaks increasingly deranged havoc with maniacal glee. Such manipulation is not only the mark of a great psychopath but of a great editor, as well. In Fatal Attraction, you’ve got both; Glenn Close’s rhapsodic performance as jilted stalker Alex Forrest slashes at unexpected intervals but she meets her match in the finely screw-tuned cuts of Michael Kahn and Peter E. Berger. Adrian Lyne’s classic cautionary tale of infidelity gone wrong and what happens when you turn down someone’s invitation to the opera goes for the jugular (and the groin and the brain) but it’s up to Kahn and Berger to keep your guard down, raise the hairs on your neck, and provide a clear path for Close to sneak up behind you with the knife.

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Tuesday
Oct252016

Streaming's End: Notorious Ladies, Super Powered Twins, and Desk Sets

Netflix has a paltry offering of new movies coming in November but they're losing a lot of titles (which is their MO of late) so you have just a week to watch the following titles. Amazon Prime is also losing a lot (though they have very strange and sometimes very short streaming schedules and the following titles may be back again before you know it).

It's your last week to watch these titles. You know how we do -- we'll freeze frame a handful of titles and random places just for fun and share what we found. Share your memories of these movies, too.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep122016

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...

1. LAURA DERN'S FACE

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...

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Sunday
Sep042016

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