Entries in Oscars (80s) (95)
And now the return of the 'Ask Nathaniel/Q&A' series wherein you asked me questions and I pick two handfuls to answer.
DAVID: Which actresses filmographies are you most disappointed in? I'm thinking in terms of actresses you admire and think are incredibly talented, but, for whatever reason, end up working in subpar films.
NATHANIEL: I think the popular answer here is Rachel McAdams but aside from Mean Girls I've never cared too much. The answer that came immediately to mind was Emily Blunt. It’s not that she’s making terrible films per se, it’s just that given how Oscar worthy she was in that plum comic part in Devil Wears Prada seven long years ago, and then how sexy she was in that blink and you’ll miss her bit in Charlie Wilson’s War soon thereafter, I expected her career to explode in the way, say, Carey Mulligan’s did post An Education or at least for her to be more direct competition for Anne Hathaway. I wonder why Blunt isn’t either in more demand or more interested in challenging herself. Maybe it's just bad luck. She seems to be working exclusively in indies that don't crossover, mainstream films that are quickly forgotten or headlining gigs which don't really work in some crucial way (Young Victoria, Adjustment Bureau). I’d love to see her really challenged either by a role or by an auteur. Will Into the Woods bring a happily ever after to that heat-losing career?
The second choice is Evan Rachel Wood who seemed to chuck what looked like incredible range and promise to the side for a long procession of Very Bad Girls. This was, in no small part thanks to her inarguable electricity in Thirteen (2003) but when you play variations on one theme too often you either become a superstar or people lose interest. I thought she was good in Ides of March (2011) but it isn't what she needed. What she needs is a total about face role.
JOHN T: The last foreign language film to clear $20 million was Pan's Labyrinth, almost seven years ago. What do you think it would take for a foreign language film to catch on in that way again?
Amy Adams, Oscar Tragedies, and a Beefcake Triple after the jump...
We end our Katharine Hepburn theme week on The Great Kate's birthday, today! Katharine Hepburn made 43 motion pictures in her 62 years on the big screen. How many have you seen? I've collected the posters here of only her Oscar nominated roles, 12 of them in total, because 43 is too many for an episode of posterized. Let's get all the Hepburn/Oscar talk out of our systems. Starting now...
Two things are thrown into sharp focus when looking at that sprawling Oscar track record stretching from 1932 to 1981. First, that though only Meryl Streep has ever bested her for Most Lead Actress nomination (14 versus 12) at least a couple of Hepburn's nominated roles would probably have been considered "Supporting" by today's much looser non-definition of the category (i.e. anything goes). Second, though four Oscars is still the record for any actor, male or female, her reputation as an Oscar magnet is arguably over stated since AMPAS weirdly didn't become OBSESSED until after she'd passed the age by which they usually start ignoring great actresses! A full 2/3rds of her nominations came after she turned 40 and 75% of her wins were after the age of 60! This is rather shocking considering that only 8 Best Actress Oscars have been handed out to women over the age of 60. Three of those eight times the name being read out was "Katharine Hepburn".
10 more films and mucho Oscar history after the jump
Whew. That title is a mouthful. I know you already know what I mean though, you golden fiends. This very impromptu post is brought to you by a recent Tribeca revival screening of Martin Scorsese's indelible King of Comedy (1983) and this Movie Line interview with Sandra Bernhard herself -- to whom I'm dedicating the list -- who couldn't make it but definitely helped make the movie what it is. My one and only back and forth conversation with Sandra -- over Twitter, the sometimes leveler -- involved how freaking robbed she was for an Oscar nomination for that movie. I couldn't believe I was talking to her but I was not the least bit in doubt that she'd agree with me.
10 Best Non-Nominated Supporting Actress Performances of the 1980s
Honorable Mentions: I think Rosanna Arquette's "Surrender Dorothy" bit in After Hours was quite memorable though the rest of the movie has long since faded; I cherish Martha Plimpton in just about anything but mostly Shy People (1987) and Running on Empty (1988) back in her vibrant teenage River Phoenix-adjacent days.
I Apologize To: Kathy Baker in Street Smart, Mona Washbourne in Stevie (1981), Vanessa Redgrave in Prick up Your Ears and Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places who all won devoted fans for those performances in their respective years (and some awards buzz though not enough for Oscar) but, believe it or not, I haven't seen any of those movies!
10 Bridget Fonda, Scandal (1989)
and nine more divas after the jump...
With nothing new in theaters worth getting excited about my head has been all over the (time) map of cinema. I picked this year somewhat arbitrarily to discuss.
Were you alive in 1983? Even if you weren't do you think of it fondly? To give you a little context for the year: Ronald Reagan was POTUS and Nancy had just contributed "Just Say No" to the vernacular; M*A*S*H ended its lengthy run on television; Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was all anybody listened to; Cheers and Hill Street Blues were the Emmy champs.
Let's savor 1983's cinematic crop for a moment. Are these movies (and people) and things aging well? Is there much left to savor?
Best Movies According To...
Oscar: The Big Chill, The Dresser, Tender Mercies, Terms of Endearment, and The Right Stuff were the best pictures nominees but they also loved Cross Creek, Fanny & Alexander, Educating Rita, Silkwood and Zelig
Golden Globe: (drama) Reuben Reuben, The Right Stuff, Silkwood, Tender Mercies, and Terms of Endearment* (comedy/musical) The Big Chill, Flashdance, Trading Places, Yentl*, and Zelig
Cannes: The Ballad of Narayama
Box Office: 1) Return of the Jedi 2) Terms of Endearment 3) Flashdance 4) Trading Places 5) War Games 6) Octopussy 7) Sudden Impact 8) Staying Alive 9) Mr Mom 10) Risky Business
Nathaniel: The King of Comedy, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Pauline at the Beach, The Return of the Jedi, The Right Stuff, Silkwood, Terms of Endearment, The Year of Living Dangerously and Yentl. I'm holding a spot in my top ten open for Fanny & Alexander or Zelig which are weirdly movies I never get around to seeing even though I am likely to worship both given the time frame in their auteur's filmography in which they land...
The title is all wrong. It's Everyday's Pet Peeve. I was as thrilled as any Oscar Fanatic when they established a YouTube channel and began to upload plentiful old acceptance speeches from ceremonies past. But why, pray tell, are they non-embeddable? I legitimately wonder what purpose this serves when what's shared on social networks is so determinative of what gets seen, discussed and becomes beloved.
Of course the dread "embedding disabled by request" message is most tiresome and even downright evil when a YouTube channel that uses it is just a fan channel which owns the rights to nothing but still insists that you can't steal what they stole. (This is especially icky when it's exactly the clip you need and want to share.) I won't name account names but my guess is this refusal to share is an older generation problem dating back to mindsets that existed before the internet -- I also existed before the internet but some of us adapted -- when sharing was something your parents told you to do with your friends and siblings but would never have dreamed of telling you to do with complete strangers. This is my guess primarily because the accounts most likely to refuse embedding seem to be the ones that are most devoted to material that predates the internet be it old movies, music, tv or what have you. I think this is terrible for everyone and does a great injustice to the art. If things aren't shareable in the modern sense they're more likely to stay forgotten and relegated to the dustbins of history.
This came up today because the latest video the Oscar channel posted was the Costume Design presentation for 1981's "Chariots of Fire" and I wanted to discuss it for about 10 different reasons but then thought "why bother?" since I couldn't embed it with the discussion and didn't have time for screencaps. Pity that. It's not that it's 'must-see' interesting. I shouldn't oversell.
for discussion fun
"The Tuesday Top Ten will get more article-like soon," he said (again). "It really will." But it was so much fun to discuss the 1930s and the 1970s, which are arguably the two most respected decades (critically speaking) of American cinema. So how about a decade that gets no respect? The 1980s. The '80s are tough for me to feel discerning about because I lived through them and was a) young and b) just falling in love with the movies and c) just falling hard for the movies so how could the cinema possibly have been hitting its nadir? I still have inordinate fondness for movies that might more safely be called guilty pleasures like Yentl, Superman II, Splash, Return of the Jedi, Clue, and about half of the filmography of John Hughes... and so on. I even like revisiting really bad movies from that decade.
Off the top of my head my ten favorites of the decades.
- The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
- Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
- A Room With a View (James Ivory)
- Tootsie (Sydney Pollack)
- Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears)
- Amadeus (Milos Forman)
- Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen)
- Aliens (James Cameron)
- Law of Desire (Pedro Almodovar)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg)
With apologies too... Silkwood, Reds, Diva, The Empire Strikes Back, The Little Mermaid, The complete works of Michelle Pfeiffer, Moonstruck, Raging Bull, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring, The King of Comedy, Heathers, sex lies and videotape, The complete works of Kathleen Turner, The Shining, Victor/Victoria, The Right Stuff, Bull Durham, Little Shop of Horrors, The Terminator, Witness, Broadcast News, Running on Empty, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Raising Arizona. I could go on and on and on but I'd better stop before I start singing Xanadu again.
I'd love to hear your lists, both guilty pleasures and critically lauded efforts you think deserve their reputations.