If you'd like a master class in screen-acting (not to mention a Minor in Pronouncing Vulgarity in New & Unique Ways) then you couldn't do much better than by studying the two times Sam Jackson's called upon to recite his character's favorite Bible scripture, Ezekiel 25:17, in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. The scenes essentially bookend the film with Jules holding an audience captive through just the conviction of his delivery. Hardly the last time Sam would manage that feat.
Entries in Oscars (90s) (109)
For this Oscar day special episode of Black History Month, we asked devoted reader Paul Outlaw, who you'll know from the comments, to share his Oscar memoir from the 1993/1994 ceremony. We're happy to call Paul a friend after our last few trips to Los Angeles. He starred in a German short film that won the Oscar years ago.
An elderly German woman (Senta Moira) and a black youth (yours truly) sit side-by-side on a Berlin streetcar in Schwarzfahrer, a twelve-minute 35mm film that premiered at the Berlinale 22 years ago this week. The film’s title is a play on words: a “Schwarzfahrer” is slang for “fare dodger” as the film was called in the UK , but if you break the German compound word into its components, it translates as “Black Rider” (the US title).
“Schwarzfahrer is a trenchant and stylistically assured work which makes the best use of all possibilities open to the short film. The film deals with a topical subject in a very humorous and extremely entertaining manner. The jury only wishes that German feature films would portray burning social issues and events with a similar lightness of touch and craftsmanship.
- Jury statement at the awarding of the first Panorama Prize of the New York Film Academy, 43rd International Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, 1993
Our Black History Month through the lens of Oscar continues with abstew on Whoopi...
It took fifty-one years after Hattie McDaniel's historic win for Gone With the Wind (1939) for another black actress to hear her name called as the winner on Oscar night. Her successor scored an Oscar factoid of her own becoming the first black actress to score two Oscar nominations (thankfully, she is no longer alone with that distinction, having been joined by Viola Davis). Instead of prestigious talents along the lines of a Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, or Alfre Woodard, the honor went to a comedienne that took her stage name from a gag toy that makes fart sounds. Not exactly the typical Oscar winner, but that uniqueness has always been what defined Whoopi Goldberg as a performer and her Oscar win for playing medium Oda Mae Brown in the hit film Ghost (1990) is perhaps the quintessential Whoopi performance.
Born Caryn Johnson, Goldberg's first encounter with Oscar came for 1985's The Color Purple from director Steven Spielberg and based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winner. While performing in her one-woman show on Broadway, Goldberg was asked by Spielberg to play the lead, Miss Celie, in the film. She won the Golden Globe and became the 5th black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, but she lost the Oscar that year to sentimental favorite Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful, who finally won her Oscar on the 8th try.
Goldberg had much better luck the second time around, but her Oscar-winning performance was almost not to be. [More...]
Alexa here with some pre-Oscar nostalgia. As many of you know, I have quite the magazine stash in my basement: stacks of old issues that allow me to trace my various pop culture obsessions through the years. In 1989, 16-year-old me was crushing hard on Michael Keaton and was very excited about his upcoming turn as Batman. And then, in 2002, I was excitedly anticipating the adaptation of one of my favorite books, The Shipping News, starring Julianne Moore. Hence these issues of Rolling Stone and Movieline were found in the piles.
I thought a little interview nostalgia was in order for these two arguable (yes, Redmayne) Best Actor and Best Actress frontrunners. After the jump, some excerpts...
If there's anything that makes me feel unsophisticated when it comes to the cinema it's my general relationship to documentaries. Like your average movie consumer (non cinephile division) I only see them if the subject matter interests me. If there were a narrative equation wouldn't that be "i'll only see this or that genre"? And ewww, that's not the way to be. Variety is always best when consuming art. Man cannot live by multi-quandrant blockbusters OR art films alone.
Over the years as The Film Experience has expanded we've given more space to documentaries largely because Glenn & Amir are obsessed with them. So for today's Posterized, a special edition surveying the last 30 years of the Best Documentary Feature category. I went back that far because The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) is basically one of my favorite things that I've ever seen in my life and I wanted to know if YOU have seen it. I enjoyed Milk (2008) a lot when it came out but it was very deja vu since so much of it was in this great film.
Anyway, I'm taking an informal survey to gauge your interest in this type of movie (and it's adjacent Oscar category) in the comments so do tell. How many of these Oscar winners have you seen? There's actually 31 of them in the past 30 years since there was one tie. I have only seen 10 which I am embarrassed to admit as an Oscar pundit but there it is. I am not a total completist each year. Most of these films are available on DVD still though sadly not many are streaming.
We've revelled in Sandy Powell's uncensored quotes before - like her dismissive "I already have two of these" speech for Young Victoria.
She's at it again providing us with more choice Oscar quotes and I couldn't resist talking about this tonight since the blog had an unofficial Costume Design day today what with the Exodus video, and the debut of "Threads".
See, recently at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago, in a series related to David Bowie's legacy and his influence on the arts, the auteur Todd Haynes and his sometime collaborator Sandy Powell were invited to speak about their glam rock classic Velvet Goldmine (1998). You can listen to the complete talk here though be advised that the introductions take an incredible 14 minutes to get through. Longwinded much?
One of the best bits a little before an hour in is when Sandy is asked about being an Oscar favorite, a very mainstream establishment thing, despite the fact that she came up into fame working with very anti-establishment artists like Derek Jarman. Because she is Sandy Powell and can't help herself and we love her for it, she doesn't leave it at "I'm happy to have Oscars"...
Sandy: I'm happy to receive the Oscars for the work I did because I work really hard...so for that reason I'm not going to say I'm not grateful. BUT. I would have loved to have gotten it for some of the other films instead. The year I won for "Shakespeare in Love," I was also nominated for "Velvet Goldmine". I had two nominations in one year and I won it for the wrong one. I think I did manage in my speech to thank Todd.
Todd: She managed to get up there and receive the Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love" without mentioning "Shakespeare in Love" and only mentioning "Velvet Goldmine".
They laugh and this leads to fun memories of the director and costumer going to the Oscars together.
Haynes & Powell's next collaboration is the forthcoming Carol (2015) starring Cate Blanchett and they hint that it will arrive in the Spring though that seems unlikely to me. Given the pedigree we're assuming a Cannes premiere and then a fall bow in theaters, don't you think?
P.S. There's a little wonderful bonus for long time TFE fans in this podcast, too. Our friend and podcast mate Nick Davis is given the microphone at about the 34 minute mark and his ode to Todd & Sandy's collaboration is a thing of fan ardor beauty and he asks a great question too than one presumes Sandy has never been asked about Velvet Goldmine.
(Thanks to faithful reader Murtada for the heads up on this wonderful online find)