Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Sir Ian prepares for Cats

"In Six Degrees of Separation, Ian McKellen's character is tickled about the possibility about being in a movie version of Cats. 25 years later, here we are..." -Ian

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Entries in Oscars (90s) (209)


A look back at Gods and Monsters (1998)

Please welcome guest contributor Anna to discuss Gods and Monsters for its 20th anniversary. You can follow her on Twitter @MovieNut14


Based on Christopher Bram’s novel "Father of Frankenstein," Gods and Monsters – which references a line from Bride of Frankenstein – focuses on the final months of retired film director James Whale (Ian McKellen). Recovering from a series of minor strokes, he lives alone with his housemaid Hanna (Lynn Redgrave) and memories of his past. Because of his weakening state, he slips into a depression and contemplates suicide (which he would ultimately follow through in 1957). But the presence of gardener Clay Boone (Brendan Fraser) gives the aging man something to live for...

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Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

by Nathaniel R

Burt Reynolds in his iconic breakout role in "Deliverance"Burt Reynolds passed away today of a heart attack. He was 82 years old. Though he lived a long blessed life, it's always a bummer to lose a bonafide movie star. It was particularly exciting recently to learn he'd been cast in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) since Quentin Tarantino has proven so skilled in the past at reviving talent whose heyday had passed and making us think about them differently or just think about them a lot again. Sadly, from our understanding he hadn't yet begun work so though the picture is currently filming they'll have to recast his supporting role. in the picture so it will need to be recast. 

Did you have any feelings about him?

I personally had to grow into Burt Reynolds. When you're a little kid you accept that whoever is a star is a massive star,  even if you don't know why, their origin story being firmly in the past.  When I became interested in movies (the mid 80s) he was already "over" and then when I did start seeing him I didn't get it at all, at least not at first...

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Showbiz History: Super Remake, Early Franchise, and A Barrymore

10 random things that happened on this day in history (Aug 15th) as it relates to showbiz...

I am a collage of unaccounted for brush strokes...

1483 The Sistine Chapel is consecrated and holds its first mass at the Vatican. Remember that "anecdote" in Six Degrees of Separation (1993) about slapping the hand of god? What a fantastic play/film. Stockard Channing's nomination that year was so well-earned. In many years that performance would have been my gold medalist, but what a stellar Best Actress year 1993 was. Hunter, Bassett, Channing, etc...

1879 Future Oscar winner Ethel Barrymore (None but the Lonely Heart) born in Philadephia. She is one of only nine women to have ever been nominated for 4 Supporting Actress Oscars. We're discussing that list right now actually ...

1912 Amazing actress Wendy Hiller born in England on this day. She would go on to 3 Oscar nominations and a win (Separate Tables, 1958). On the same day in Pasadena...

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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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Months of Meryl: Music of the Heart (1999)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#27 — Roberta Guaspari, a real-life violinist and instructor who brought music education to the classrooms of Harlem.

MATTHEW:  One of the pitfalls that tends to come with occupying such a prominent position in the highly public realm of moviemaking is a gradual inability to disappear into the most straightforward of roles. I’m not talking about the magical acts of self-vanishing that allow Daniel Day-Lewis to seemingly become figures as disparate as Bill the Butcher and Abraham Lincoln nor the larger-than-life personas achieved through virtuosic, full-scale deglamorizations by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Charlize Theron, but rather the everyday characters who may achieve great things but whose lives are decisively rooted in reality, their appearances neither remarkable nor particularly conspicuous. No matter how hard a performer tries to shed her star persona and immerse herself in distinctly un-Hollywood settings, it is often up to us, the viewers, to forget everything we know about a star in order to actually believe her as, more or less, one of us...

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1994 Q&A: Frankenstein, Weaver, Past Glories, Future Nominations. 

Okay, our last dive into 1994! I recently asked readers to send in their '94 related questions (other questions will still be answered but that's for the next Q&A). So here's our final pontifying for that year. You asked, I answer. 

JAMES: 1994 was the year of Frankenstein, the movie that led to Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh splitting up, due to his affair with HBC. Thoughts on Thompson & Branagh’s (professional) partnership? What projects would they have excelled at if they stayed together?

"IT'S ALIVE!" Or, rather. "IT'S DEAD!" Emma and Kenneth. Kenneth and Emma. Sigh. Insert broken heart emoji. Young Nathaniel was so sad when they split. They were the Definitive Early 90s 'It Couple: UK Edition. That was such an awesome cinematic partnership. I adored their over-the-top genre mashup and reincarnation chutzpah in Dead Again and their luminous Shakespearean comedy in Much Ado About Nothing.

If you think about it Frankenstein, with its pulp grotesqueries, and bodice-ripped lustiness is absolutely the work of the same guy who made Dead Again. I miss that Branagh, still...

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