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Entries in Oscars (80s) (181)

Tuesday
Oct032017

New Podcast: Desperately Seeking Smackdowns

Nathaniel welcomes our first all Los Angeles panel for this discussion of the 1985 film year. Comedian/Writer Louis Virtel (Billy on the Street), Producer/Writer Abdi Nazemian ("The Authentics"), Actress Nora Zehetner and Director/Writer Michelle Morgan (It Happened in L.A.). We just wrote about the Supporting Actress nominated performances of 1985 but now it's time to zoom out on the films and the film year itself when Oprah Winfrey and Madonna began their global takeovers, Anjelica Huston became a third generation Oscar favorite, and Out of Africa eventually won Best Picture.

Smackdown '85 Companion Podcast
(58 minutes)
00:01 Anjelica vs Oprah with a little Amy Madigan on the side
10:00 Our entire group has a Jane Fonda "problem" - shout-outs to Klute and lots of head-scratching over the plot of Agnes of God
20:00 Meg Tilly and Jennifer Tilly and Oscar trivia
22:00 Should they remake The Color Purple?
28:00 Syphilitic Out of Africa, Divisive Prizzi's Honor and their Oscar wins
35:30 Desperately Seeking Susan and Oscar's resistance to both Madonna and comedy

46:30 Twice in a Lifetime's weird messages and cathartic makeovers
49:40 Individual favorites from the year from each of us including (but not limited to): Clue, The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, Mask, The Legend of Billie Jean
55:00 Farewells and Credits

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Don't forget to read the smackdown and continue the conversations in the comments! 

Desperately Seeking Smackdown

Sunday
Oct012017

Smackdown '85: Anjelica, Amy, Meg, Margaret and Oprah

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '85. It was all scandal all the time at this colorful party. There were three much gossiped about women (a mafia princess, a drunk promiscuous entertainer, and a delusional pregnant nun) and two stubborn women who were just NOT having either the gossip or the abusive and cheating men around them. It was the about appreciating the color purple (Oprah & Margaret), seeing red (Amy & Meg), and embracing jet black comedy (Anjelica).

THE NOMINEES 

from left to right: Avery, Huston, Madigan, Tilly, and Winfrey

Oscar celebrated newcomers in 1985 with a shortlist composed entirely of first timers. All five actresses were relatively inexperienced (as Oscar lists go) having made less than ten films each so no overdue conversations were to be had. One of them (Oprah Winfrey) was even making her film debut though the eventual winner (Anjelica Huston) was already Hollywood royalty, being the daughter of the film titan directing her and the girlfriend of the superstar headlining her Best Picture nominated vehicle.

Notable women who Oscar didn't nominate were Globe nominees Kelly McGillis (Witness) and Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), BAFTA nominees Judi Dench (Wetherby) and Tracey Ullman (Plenty), and BAFTA winner Rosanna Arquette (Desperately Seeking Susan)... who was very much a leading lady but you know how awards season is! Other key supporting players that attracted critical attention and/or movie fans in 1985 were Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club), Demi Moore and Mare Winningham (St Elmo's Fire), Isabella Rossellini and Helen Mirren (White Nights), Madonna (Desperately Seeking Susan), Lea Thompson (Back to the Future), Laura Dern (Mask), Ann Wedgeworth (Sweet Dreams), and Mieko Harada (Ran).

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

from left to right: Zehetner, Virtel, Nathaniel R, Nazemian, Morgan

Here to talk about these five nominated turns, in reverse alphabetical order: Actress Nora Zehetner (Creative Control, Brick), comedian/writer Louis Virtel  (Billy on the Street, Throwing Shade), your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience), novelist/producer Abdi Nazemian ("The Authentics" and Call Me By Your Name), and writer/director Michelle Morgan (It Happened in LA). And now it's time for the main event... 

1985
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep272017

Looking back at St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

by Eric Blume

Director Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire captures 1985 perfectly:  the word “yuppie” had just come into vogue, and this film follows seven Georgetown students finding themselves lost after graduation.  They’re all white, attractive, fairly affluent, and awfully boring, and nothing much happens in the movie.  So why is it so damn watchable?

St. Elmo’s Fire is a curio from this era, because while it wasn’t a huge box office success, it’s an instantly-recognizable title after 22 years.  This of course is due to the film’s actors: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Mare Winningham, Judd Nelson, and Andrew McCarthy.  Schumacher did manage lightning-in-a-bottle with that casting, and while very little about the film is objectively good, watching these actors near the start of their careers provides a kicky joy...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep252017

Smackdown '85: Meet the Panelists!

The Next Supporting Actress Smackdown is on Sunday - get your votes in by Friday night please. Please only vote on the performances you've seen. Your host has been backstage doing the difficult (but exciting) work of wrangling up critics, industry professionals, and writers to discuss these Oscar years with you. (Coming soon: 1944, 2017, 1970, 1994)

MEET THE PANELISTS
Here's a little bit about our exciting panel to prep you for our conversation as we finish up our screenings. We're heavy on new Smackdowners and Los Angelenos this time which is a fun development.

First Time Smackdowners

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep122017

Vintage '85: Madonna, Stallone, Marty McFly, Golden Girls...

by Nathaniel R 

click on the image to embiggen

1985 is our "Year of the Month", as we work towards the Supporting Actress Smackdown (Sunday October 1st!). We'll be periodically peppering the blog with takes on showbiz from that year. But first a "TOTALLY 80s" overview of the year that was in movies, music, theater, and tv after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep042017

The Furniture: Brazil's Pungent Pot of Duct Soup

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail.

Hi there! I want to talk to you about ducts.

I mean that quite seriously, though I’m also quoting the opening lines of Terry Gilliam’s wacky and wonderful Brazil. It’s a film with a lot of unique production design, for which art director Norman Garwood and set decorator Maggie Gray received an Oscar nomination. They lost to Out of Africa, but I find it helpful to pretend that didn’t happen.

It’s nearly impossible to choose a single element to feature. I’ve half a mind to simply post all of the bleakly hilarious propaganda posters that clutter the walls of the film’s dystopian metropolis. Another option would be the design of the dream sequences, which become increasingly majestic as Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) loses touch with reality.

But I still want to talk to you about ducts...

Click to read more ...