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Entries in Oscars (90s) (120)


1995: The Year Jane Austen Came to the Movies

Our look back at 1995 continues with Lynn Lee on an unexpected breakout...

Clueless turned 20 this week, but as the Internet has constantly reminded us, it hasn’t aged a day.  At once timeless ("a classic," as Cher would say) and delightfully dated, it’s a modern riff on a period piece – Jane Austen’s Emma – that's become something of a period piece itself. The latter aspect tends to draw attention away from the former, but I happened to see the movie again at a recent party and was reminded not just how perfectly it captures the ’90s, but also (1) how brilliantly it adapts Emma, and (2) how 1995 really was the breakout year for Jane Austen in film. 

Keep in mind that prior to 1995, the only film version of a Jane Austen novel was the 1940 B&W “Pride & Prejudice” starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.  1995 changed all that...

Click to read more ...


Smackdown 1995. Meet the Panelists

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Next Supporting Actress Smackdown has been pushed back one week to Sunday August 2nd. That leaves us just under two weeks for any 1995 madness we want to get off our chest. That's leaves you just under two weeks to finish revisiting the Supporting Actresses at home and get your votes in by Thursday July 30th. Please only vote on the performances you've seen...

Just outside the shortlist that year? Who knows but maybe it was Globe nominees Kyra Sedgwick (Something to Talk About) and Anjelica Huston (The Crossing Guard), or SAG nominee Stockard Channing (Smoke) or future nominee Rachel Griffiths (Muriel's Wedding). Or maybe it was Magda Szubanski (Babe) on account of the Best Pictureness of it all. In our fantasies it was definitely Gina Gershon (Showgirls).

Here's a little bit about our panel to prep you for our conversation as they finish up their screenings...

First Time Smackdowners

Kevin O'Keeffe occasionally stops talking about "Smash" long enough to think about film. He even writes about it sometimes at Mic, where he's the arts staff writer in residence, but he's also written for The AtlanticThe AdvocateLA Weekly and more. Let him be your star by following him on Twitter.

What does 1995 mean to you?

I'm ashamed to admit I was a child in that year, so my big motion picture experience was Babe. (I'm surprised Babe didn't get a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, to be frank.) I hadn't seen many of these movies – the early 90s are a bit of a void for me, since I'm usually revisiting older movies or keeping up with newer ones. That's what drew me to the year for the Smackdown: It was the year I was alive, and yet I knew the least about it of any.


Lynn is a government lawyer who spends most of her time outside work obsessing over arts and pop culture.  Her current fascination is with "The Americans" on FX. Her first love, though, will always be movies, thanks to parents who raised her on an eclectic diet of Ingmar Bergman, talky French films, 1960s musicals, Star Wars, and Spielberg blockbusters.  You can find her occasional musings on movies and TV on her blog and as a new contributor to TFE.

What does 1995 mean to you?

My life as a movie lover can be divided into two periods: Before 1995 and After 1995.  Before 1995, I watched movies with my parents and friends, but didn't really seek out movies that I wanted to see for myself alone.  All that changed starting the summer of '95, when I graduated from high school and for once had nothing to do but watch movies, and that fall, when I headed off to college in an actual CITY and discovered a whole moviegoing universe I'd only been dimly aware of before.  I discovered there was such a thing as theaters reserved exclusively for "arthouse" and "independent" films.  (First movie seen in such a theater: "The Brothers McMullen," or maybe it was "Chasing Amy.")  I discovered Kate Winslet in "Sense & Sensibility."  I discovered that movies could become the college equivalent of water cooler conversation ("The Usual Suspects").  Above all else, I discovered that movies were something you could discuss with communities of fellow movie lovers - and I've never looked back since then.".


Conrado "Coco" Falco can be described as a student currently earning his undergraduate degree at Hunter College, as an aspiring theater director currently working on a play about the life and death of Taylor Swift, or as a film blogger currently writing for his personal blog Coco Hits New York. First and foremost, however, he is a film lover. [Follow Coco on Twitter.] 

What does 1995 mean to you?

One of my earliest (and most traumatic) memories comes from Christmas Eve 1995. I was three at the time. My grandma told me she had wrapped my gift in the "Snoopy" wrapping paper, so I went straight to it before anyone read the tag. To my surprise, the gift was a Pocahontas Barbie doll. I was mocked by all my cousins in what was one of the most embarrassing moments of my childhood. I don't have many specific '95 memories otherwise, except for the fact that  "Babe" and "Toy Story" were big staples of my childhood. I'm currently revisiting '95 movies in my personal blog, and discovering that it might be one of the most underrated years in American cinema. 

Returning Panelists

Nick gets a big photo because he worked 1995 into his bio photo. Look at all those movies!

Nick Davis writes the reviews and features at the website Nick's Flick Picks.  The site's unpredictable cycles of frenzied activity and long dormancy have to do with his also being an Associate Professor of English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern, where his research and teaching mostly concern narrative film in different eras, genres, and countries. [Follow Nick on Twitter]

What does 1995 mean to you?

I started college in 1995 and also started going to movies by myself in, at last, a big city with broad offerings. You work out which development was more exciting. I bought the Entertainment Weekly Summer Preview and concluded that five movies were unmissable: "The Bridges of Madison County" (because even the terrible book made me cry), "Little Odessa" (Redgrave, I guess?), "Mad Love" (crush on Chris O'Donnell), "Nine Months" (crush on Hugh Grant), and "Species" (crush on Natasha Henstridge, plus aliens, plus ambivalence about procreating). I saw "Apollo 13" with my dad before I left for school and "Sense and Sensibility" with my mom when I came home, and "Nixon" with my dad over that same Christmas, so basically you're asking me to pick between my parents. I saw "Babe" at least four times and forced skeptics to come with me. I deduced instantly who Keyser Söze was and didn't give a flying coffee cup. I deterred silent, unwanted advances from a friend while we watched "Se7en" and wondered how this movie could possibly be arousing her. I was the only man at near-empty opening-day matinees of "Home for the Holidays" and "How to Make an American Quilt". I walked into a genuine surprise birthday party my friends in the freshman dorm had thrown for me, but I left after two minutes because, I'm sorry, I'd already bought a ticket to "To Die For". I liberally quoted Angela Bassett from "Strange Days" like I was deep. I saw "Leaving Las Vegas" with the same friend I took to "Se7en". She didn't start stroking my neck this time, and we rode home in 20 minutes of unbroken silence, because by that time, a month later, I really was deep. I didn't get "Shorty". I was the face of love. I skipped "Braveheart" till the desperate studio re-released it in February, because these are our crosses to bear, sometimes literally. I skipped "Toy Story" like a damn fool. I saw it plenty of times later. I never saw "Mad Love," so what has it all been for?


Born in Johannesburg but based in London, Guy is the chief UK film critic for Variety, and a home entertainment columnist for The Observer. His writing also appears at Time Out, Empire, The Guardian and any outlet willing to pay for long-form thinkpieces about knitwear in the movies. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyLodge.

What does 1995 mean to you?

In 1995, I was twelve years old and in my last year of primary school — on the knife-edge, then, between feeling confidently grown and authoritative, and being tossed out of my depth into adolescence. My cultural diet was in a similarly transitional state. After a hovering period, 1995 was the year I said goodbye to the children's section of the library and devoured “Jane Eyre” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”; at the movies, my parents merged my growing interests with theirs and took me to see “Three Colours: Red.” (It was both the first subtitled film I saw in the cinema, as well as the first with a no-under-16s certificate. I appreciated their trust.) Out in the larger world, my fellow South Africans were celebrating our rugby team's against-all-odds World Cup victory, joyously consolidating the national repairwork started by the previous year's election. It wouldn't last, and Clint Eastwood would later make that moment in time seem that much drabber. But the memory of temporary invincibility remains..


And your host...

Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner & Michelle Pfeiffer (specifically). Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1995 mean to you?

'I'm getting a bit old for that whorey look.'


1995 is when I graduated from college so it was a big year but it seems to have entirely evaporated in my memory but for the birth of the late 20th century's New Trash Masterpiece "Showgirls".

If I dig a little-bit harder into the memory banks I remember heavy rotation among roommates and friends for Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill," Björk's "Post" and the "Pocahontas" soundtrack (showtunes 4ever! Don't judge). Cinematically, I was in deep deep throes of love for broken-winged Brad Pitt in "Se7en," Elisabeth Shue's booze-drenched boobs in "Leaving Las Vegas," and Angela Bassett's fierce elocution and even fiercer hair in "Strange Days." My least favorite movie-going memory was seeing "Braveheart" in the theater and hearing audiences cheering its ridiculous homophobia. My best movie-going memory from '95 is taking my three little nephews to see "Babe" which they loved and kept quoting in their adorable squeaky little kid voices which they would try to make yet squeakier to approximate the mice. One of them just announced his engagement  - Eeek! How was 1995 twenty whole years ago!?!?!

What does 1995 mean to you dear readers?

Do tell in the comments.


1995 Look Back: The Breakout Year of Nicole Kidman

TFE will be taking several trips back to 1995 for the next two weeks, our "year of the month". Here's abstew on the one and only... - Editor

Although she had been acting in Australia since she was 16 years old, most American audiences at the start of 1995 only knew Nicole Kidman for one thing: being Mrs. Tom Cruise. Despite earning strong notices earlier for 1989's Dead Calm (and catching the attention of superstar Cruise), the Hollywood productions that followed did little to showcase the promising talent that had been hinted at. Appearing alongside Cruise in glossy modest hits (Days of Thunder and Far and Away) or playing thankless wife roles that hardly challenged her as an actress (MaliceMy Life), Kidman was in danger of becoming arm candy for her famous husband. But thanks to a new pair of roles, 1995 would become the year that she finally emerged from the shadow of Cruise to start the march to her own inevitable super-stardom.

One of the ways Hollywood measures the worth of a star is by their box office. Warner Bros had been disappointed with the profits of Tim Burton's Batman Returns and decided to go in a different direction for the next franchise installment. Because of the changes, former star Michael Keaton decided not to return as the cape crusader and when Val Kilmer came onboard, it was deemed that Rene Russo (who had already been cast as the romantic lead) was too old to appear opposite the new Bruce Wayne. More...

Click to read more ...


"Ghost" and Other Blockbuster Best Pics

Today is the 25th anniversary of Ghost (1990), that wildly successful supernatural-comedy-romance-adventure-whatsit from 1990 which briefly iconized Demi Moore's single teardrop face, revived the popularity of a 1955 song hit, made pottery-wheel lovemaking into a meme (before memes were called that) proved that Patrick Swayze was more than just Dirty Dancing, made the world hate the grandson of legendary movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, and won Whoopi Goldberg her Oscar, the first acting win for an African American woman since Hattie McDaniel in 1939 (it's since become far more common... at least in Supporting Actress).

Ghost is among the most atypical Best Picture nominees of all time, and one that would never have been nominated without its phenomenal grosses. It ended 1990 as the top global grosser with over half a billion in the bank, though Home AlonePretty Woman and Best Picture winner Dances With Wolves were not far behind). 

So here's a quick Oscar talking point about the last, oh, 40 years of Oscar history. Which of these Best Picture nominees, arguably none of which would have been nominated without their blockbuster phenom cred given their genres and non-prestige foundations, is your favorite?

Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Fugitive (1993)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
District 9 (2009)
The Blind Side (2009)

How do you think Ghost (1990) stacks up to that list? None of them actually won Hollywood's top prize in their year. 


Q&A: May/December Romance? Actressy Titles? Streep Sans Sophie

This week's Ask Nathaniel session didn't get as many questions as usual -- you were intimidated by the request for donations surely which sucks because life ain't free and we work hard here -- but here are 9 questions anyway because I'm such a giver. Let's start with a trip back to 1995 and move on to smackdowns, actressexual directors, Nicole Kidman in Paddington, and Hollywood's love of pairing older men with younger woman... 

Golden Globe Comedy Wins Don't Always Lead to Oscar Noms

COCO: I'm in a very 1995 mood. Were you obsessing and predicting twenty years ago?

NATHANIEL: LOL. Yes, I was.  I've been obsessed since I first discovered the Oscars 82/83 (my family was mystified since none of them had interest) and started making list of "dream nominations" each year when I was a kid even though I didn't see most of the actual nominees since they were rated "R" (VERBOTEN!) so I was madly scribbling things like  "Best Actress: Daryl Hannah for Splash !!!" and such early on. But honestly I can't remember when I started "predicting" in the classic sense but it was definitely before The Film Experience.

We'll be discussing 1995 at length in the July Smackdown so I'll save most of my comments for then but my biggest nail-biter and raucous-cheering and breath-holding was for Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas (who was my personal choice for the Oscar that year) since there were basically seven women with what seemed like actual traction for five spots. The oddwomen out were, of course, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Georgia) and Golden Globe Actress in a Musical or Comedy winner Nicole Kidman (To Die For).  Nothing against Leigh and Kidman but I knew there was only room for 1 of them since Sarandon, Stone, Streep, Thompson were locked up for various reasons some valid some not. That year's Best Actress race was so overstuffed and incredible which is why it comes up so often in Oscar circles as a point of discussion. 

On some posters (not this one) the tag line is "Raises screen acting to a new level of sexual knowingness" (!!!)PEDINHRO: What are your favorite movies with a female name in the title? My all time favorite is The Marriage of Maria Braun!

Well, you took the best one! Wait do you mean Best Title or Best Movie that just happens to have a female name in the title? If you mean best movie obviously I have to have things like Carrie and Annie Hall. But if you mean "Best Title" that's more fun so let's make it a whole top ten after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1990s

I can't let Dick Tracy go quite yet! All that discussion and no tremulous ode to Stephen Sondheim's brilliant song score? It won't stand! Every moment when Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) and 88 Keys (Mandy Patinkin) are in frame together is gold. 

(Eagle-eyed early 90s obsessiveness will know that Mandy Patinkin also pops up briefly in a celebrity-filled party scene in the Madonna documentary "Truth or Dare")

Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Wise Up" -Magnolia (Aimee Mann)
    technically this song first showed up on the Jerry Maguire soundtrack which is why it wasn't eligible for the Oscars for Magnolia but let's make an exception
  2. "Sooner or Later"** - Dick Tracy (Stephen Sondheim)

  3. "Gangsta's Paradise" - Dangerous Minds (Coolio)
    deemed ineligible by Oscar due to sampling -- people were obsessed with the scary new "is this songwriting?" world of sampling back then. What to make of it? 
  4. "Stay" - Reality Bites (Lisa Loeb)
  5. "Be Our Guest" - Beauty & The Beast (Alan Menken & Howard Ashman)
  6. "More" - Dick Tracy (Stephen Sondheim)
  7. "You Must Love Me"** - Evita (Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice)
  8. "God Help the Outcasts" - Hunchback of Notre Dame (Alan Menken)

    32 more tunes after the jump

Click to read more ...


Smackdown Summer - Revamp Your Queues!

We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in. 

These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods.  I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be TWO Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.

Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979

Meryl Streep won her first of three Oscars while taking her co-star Jane Alexander along for the Oscar ride in Kramer vs. Kramer. The delightful character actress Barbara Barrie was nominated for her mom role in Breaking Away, Mariel Hemingway as Woody Allen's preternaturally wise teenage lover in Manhattan, and Candice Bergen played a singing divorcee in Starting Over - a role that supposedly helped win her Murphy Brown a decade later.

PANELISTS: Nathaniel R (TFE), Bill Chambers (Film Freak Central), Kristen Sales (Sales on Film), Brian Herrera (StinkyLulu) and novelist K. M. Soehnlein ("The World of Normal Boys," "Robin and Rudy")


Sunday June 28th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1948

1948's roster has a genuine movie star and one of the most iconic character actresses of all time in Jean Simmons who didn't get to the nunnery in Hamlet and Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda respectively. Also nominated were two women from the immigrant family drama I Remember Mama, Barbara Bel Geddes and Ellen Corby. But taking home the gold was Claire Trevor in the Bogart & Bacall noir Key Largo. Will the panel agree with Oscar's decision? 



Sunday July 26th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1995

The Oscar went to one-hit wonder Mira Sorvino (okay, two hit wonder: hi Romy & Michelle!) for her hooker with a heart of gold in Mighty Aphrodite but then no one knew what her future had in store. No one knew that for any of the contenders since they were all first timers. Sorvino was up against two familiar ensemble players Kathleen Quinlan in the popular hit Apollo 13, and critical darling Mare Winningham from Georgia, and two "new" faces who'd continue on to future Oscar glories and Great Actress reputations in Kate Winslet (Sense & Sensibility) and Joan Allen (Nixon).


Sunday August 30th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1954 

Eva Marie Saint dropped a glove and won an Oscar for On the Waterfront opposite Marlon Brando by any margin the most famous of 1954's Oscar nominated films. But what will the panel make of her competition? There's also the formidable Nina Foch in the all-star corporate drama Executive Suite, Katy Jurado, the first Mexican actress ever nominated, for the western Broken Lance and rounding out the category were two women from John Wayne's airline thriller The High and the Mighty, Jan Sterling and Oscar regular Claire Trevor.



Sunday September 27th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1963 (Season Finale!)  

Since the 2015 film year really heats up in September with the Toronto Film Festival (10th-20th) and Prestige Season Kick-Off, we're taking it easy for the finale with the one of only two years when only three films were nominated in the Supporting Actress category. Margaret Rutherford won the Oscar for The VIPs, a Liz & Dick show, Lilia Skalia was also popular in nun mode for Lilies of the Field but it was the Best Picture winning sex comedy Tom Jones that was the informal star of this category with three of Albert Finney's co-stars nominated (the all time record in this category): Diane Cilento, Joyce Redman, and '60s Oscar fixture Dame Edith Evans (nominated shortly thereafter for both The Chalk Garden and The Whisperers



Queue up those DVDs, readers, and play along at home! Unless you're a semi-famous star or accomplished character actor, oft-employed industry professional, best selling novelists, popular film critic, or AMPAS member in which case, tell me which panel you want to be on! (Shameless Plug). You know you want to join in the movie merriment !!!