Oscar History

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Oscar Trivia Madness
Oldest Years in Which All Oscar Nominees Are Still Alive


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Entries in Out of Africa (4)


Months of Meryl: "Out of Africa"

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


#12 — Karen Blixen, aristocratic Danish author who owns a coffee plantation in Kenya during the first decades of the twentieth century.

JOHN: Did Karen Blixen once have a farm in Africa? Like a marching zombie with arms outstretched, Karen intones this mantra via voiceover several times during Out of Africa, either because she remains in disbelief at her accomplishment or feels compelled to remind the viewer of a reason to focus on Ms. Blixen amid Sydney Pollack’s African travelogue.

Out of Africa tells the tale of Karen Blixen, a headstrong woman who relocates from Denmark to Kenya circa 1914 to marry her lover’s twin brother (Klaus Maria Brandauer), run a short-lived coffee plantation, and eventually fall in love with English game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). Out of Africa was a project that piqued but ultimately eluded such directors as Orson Welles, David Lean, and Nicholas Roeg. As envisioned by Sydney Pollack and distributed by Universal Pictures in 1985, it's a colossal Hollywood production that endlessly reveres the natural beauty of its Kenyan environs while dodging engagement with the colonialist specificities of its time and place...

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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... 

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Oceans 8. Links 16

Variety we now have seven of the names for the Oceans Eight gender flipped movie: Blanchett, Bullock, Hathaway, Bonham Carter, Kaling, and two musicians who moonlight as actors Rihanna and Awkwafina 
• NYFF the 54th annual festival has released the main slate titles - Opening Night: The 13th (Ava Duvernay); Centerpiece: 20th Century Women (Mike Mills); Closing Night: The Lost City of Z (James Gray); plus their usual array of buzzy titles from other festivals only this time there are a lot of female leads (which is a huge change) including Aquarius, Toni Erdmann, Personal Shopper, and an Isabelle Huppert double in L'Avenir and Elle.
• Pajiba debates Suicide Squad's interpretation of Harley Quinn
Variety a new lawsuit about Out of Africa's profits. That's timely! (People forget that it was a giant hit at the time)
Deadline David O. Russell pitching a TV series with Robert De Niro & Julianne Moore. What the what now?


• Variety FX executive on Peak TV, Netflix and when the "Peak TV" bubble will burst
• Vulture Matt Zoller Seitz on the problems with serial-dramas on TV right now -- the model is shifting yet again
Pride Source Meryl Streep talks her discomfort being imitated (!), Florence Foster Jenkins, sequels, and her connections to the LGBT community 
IndieWire Greta Gerwig writing another screen version of Little Women - we get one every generation it seems
/Film a Ghostbusters sequel with the ladies seems unlikely as the film will record a theatrical loss due to that ginormous budget
Comics Alliance breaks down the Luke Cage trailer
i09 Black Manta will be the villain in Aquaman 

Off Screen
Playbill Tony Danza names his favorite stage performances. Somewhat surprising but cool list featuring Mare Winningham, Mark Rylance, Faith Prince and more...
• GQ "Stop trying to get perfect abs." Love this -  Define your personality instead.  
The Adequate Man "Steve Martin is My Body Icon" on looking like the same exact person for ages 

Today's Must Read
Todd VanDerWerff has a gorgeous personal essay up on Vox called "Hamilton isn't perfect. But it's *perfect." I couldn't write for a month after I saw it". That's a mouthful but cozy up and be moved. It's on seeing Hamilton, the power of who is telling your story, and Todd's birth parents. 


Readers' Ranking: Streep's Oscar Noms, #10-6

Previously on Streep Reader Rankings we covered The French Lieutenant's Woman, Music of the Heart,  Doubt, The Deer Hunter, One True Thing, and IronweedNow we hit the top ten. Ten and Nine were a statistical tie, constantly trading dominance as I tallied the results of your ballots. Since both films were listed in last place on 7% of the ballots, I broke the tie by looking at first place votes. Only one of the two had any.

According to The Film Experience Readers

10. Julie & Julia (2009)
Role & Balloting
: Streep has played many biographical parts in her long career which accounts for some of her record-obliterating nomination haul (8 of her 17 nominations are for biographical roles and she is now 5 nominations beyond her nearest rival Jack Nicholson). This widely seen warm serio-comic interpretation of the famous chef Julia Child is the last film in the countdown without any #1 placements on reader ballots.

Who Won the Oscar
: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Other Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Meryl (Julie & Julia), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?
:  One supposes the fifth slot was neck and neck between Mirren and Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria). There wasn't a ton of enthusiasm for either film though, since the top four candidates absorbed all the Oscar heat. 

09. Out of Africa (1985)
Role & Balloting: Streep had another huge success with this romantic epic about the Danish author Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen). If Geraldine Page hadn't been so absurdly overdue (It was her 8th nomination which was at the time the longest stretch by any actor without ever having won the gold. Peter O'Toole now holds the record with 8 nominations without a win) the Best Actress race would've been between Whoopi and Streep both headlining very very big hits. (The Eighties were a different time with box office and moviegoing;  people still flocked to prestige dramas in big numbers.)

Who Won the Oscar: Geraldine Page, The Trip To Bountiful
Other Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple), Meryl (Out of Africa), Anne Bancroft (Agnes of God) and Jessica Lange (Sweet Dreams)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?:  Cher was left on the outside looking in for Mask as the mother of a deformed boy. The snub even resulted in an Oscar night moment when Cher, clad in one of her typically outre outfits quipped:

As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress."

Reader Comment. Marcos writes:

I first noticed Streep in The Deer Hunter. I liked her a lot and was impressed, but I became utterly fascinated when I was able to realize the extent to which she immersed herself in roles that were so different. Choosing between Bridges and Out of Africa [for #1] was difficult. One of Streep's best scenes ever was her lover's funeral. She moves forward to grab a handful of earth to throw it on Robert Redford's grave. She moves ahead, but the camera stays still. She grabs some earth and extends her arm to throw it on his grave. Her hand starts shaking and, without releasing the earth, she brings it to her chest and walks away."

Three more Oscar roles after the jump

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