Oscar History

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Entries in RIP (111)


Garry Marshall (1934-2016)

One of Hollywood's key figures passed away yesterday at the age of 81. His work in the past five years has consisted of a string of critically lambasted all star romcoms (Valentines Day, New Year's Eve, Mothers Day) and the day before he died one of the many actor he made famous (Scott Baio of Happy Days Joanie Loves Chachi fame) embarrassed himself on national television at the RNC. To put it bluntly, the last few years have not been kind but this is not the legacy that the beloved Garry Marshall deserves. We need to look a little further back. While he was never exactly a critic's darling - let's not rewrite history -- his work often resonated wildly with the public on screens both small and large. And that, my friends, is no small thing with or without a shelf of showbiz trophies.

He was a mammoth figure in comedy television, first, coming up as a writer on seminal shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and famous properties like The Lucy Show. After developing The Odd Couple for television (1970-1975) he created three true pop culture behemoths in Happy Days (1974-1984), Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983) and Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), the latter introducing the public to Robin Williams with whom they fell madly in love.

In the movies, and this is also no small thing, he was irreplaceable when it came to the careers of mainstream superstar actresses in both the 1980s and 1990s. He directed one of Goldie Hawn's most enduring hits (Overboard), one of Bette Midler's melodramatic bests (Beaches) and he was instrumental in the superstar blossoming of both Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) and Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries). He also guided Michelle Pfeiffer through one of her most controversial roles  (Frankie & Johnny) but even though everyone argued miscasting she made fine work of it. He even tried to help Lindsay Lohan along (Georgia Rule) but it's hardly his fault that that didn't take. He was not without his missteps of course (Raising Helen, The Other Sister, Exit to Eden) but who isn't? 

My personal favorite Garry Marshall movie, BEACHES (1988)Laverne & Shirley starring his sister Penny (who also became a director)

Do you have a favorite film or television show from his resume? There are a lot of choices as his work was so deeply embedded in our pop culture for decades on end. 


John McMartin (1929-2016)

Good lord but 2016 has been rough on the showbiz community. It's as if the Grim Reaper is trying to meet some new end days quota starting with entertainers.

John McMartin has passed away at 86 from cancer. While the name might not wring a bell to everyone surely the face will. In his 60 year career he worked across all three actor's mediums regularly: stage, tv, and film...

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Michael Cimino & the Best Director Oscar Since

Eric here with thinking about the past 40 years of Oscars Best Director category.

This past Saturday, director Michael Cimino passed away at age 77.  Cimino won the Best Director Oscar for 1978’s The Deer Hunter, beating Woody Allen (Interiors), Hal Ashby (Coming Home), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait), and Alan Parker (Midnight Express).  While those five actual films are of varying quality, the names behind them are all heavyweights and it was formidable company.

The Deer Hunter was a divisive film upon its release and remains so today (praised for its leisurely-paced first half and its capture of inexpressive male friendship; criticized for the Russian Roulette melodrama and its depiction of the Vietnamese). With The Deer Hunter, Cimino aimed to make something epic and classically Greek in its storytelling, and watching the film you can actually feel his young talent. Cimino next famously (infamously?) went on to direct 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, a film of disastrous proportions that has been covered ad nauseum as one of cinema’s biggest catastrophes.  He directed four more films after that, none to any significant acclaim, the last one released 20 years ago.   

It’s interesting to look over the list of the men (and one woman) who have won the Best Director Oscar since Cimino in 1978 to see where their careers have gone...

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RIP Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016)

The world just lost another master artist yesterday, after the recent passing of Michael Cimino and Elie Wiesel. Abbas Kiarostami has passed away after a battle with gastrointestinal cancer.

Kiarostami's blended fiction and non-fiction during his over forty year career in film. One of the most prominent Iranian filmmakers, he had been a mainstay of the Cannes Film Festival, jurying multiple times and winning the Palme d'Or in 1997 for Taste of Cherry. His most recent films Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love ventured out of Iran, but it's his homegrown meditations on death like Cherry and The Wind Will Carry Us are what instantly come to mind on this sad news.

Kiarostami wasn't just a film artist but a poet as well, though poetic language heightened much of his film work. His films were soulfully awake and fiercely personal - Cherry being the brusing and enlightening standout, with Copy's existentialism winning him his newest fans. Just last week, he had been included on the Academy's list of newly invited members. You can catch up with many of his films on Hulu.

What was your favorite Kiarostami film?


Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

This calendar year has been filled to the brim with unthinkables. The latest terribly sad happening: The talented Russian-American actor Anton Yelchin died yesterday in a freak accident at only 27 years of age. He was crushed by his own car on its steep driveway incline.

Yelchin was best known to general audiences as Chekov in the modern Star Trek franchise but to us he'll always be Byrd Huffstodt (the sensitive brainy teen in the underappreciated cable drama Huff) or awestruck poseur Ian (from the hipster vampire greatness that was Only Lovers Left Alive), and especially Jacob from the college romance drama Like Crazy (2011). Though Like Crazy was mostly heralded at the time for Felicity Jones's work as his British girlfriend, it was Yelchin that gave the movie its lovestruck foolish soul... but nuanced emotionally astute work by male actors, especially young ones, in romantic dramas are rarely given their just critical props. Even when miscast (when Hollywood thinks you're the next big thing they'll put you in anything, even if it's an obviously uncomfortable fit) as in Fright Night or Terminator Salvation, Yelchin was always, at the very least, watchable. 

A tiny gift of remembrance to fans which in no way makes up for this truly absurd loss: Yelchin worked so steadily as an actor that we will still see a handful of new performances released posthumously. The forthcoming films are: Star Trek Beyond (due July 22nd), Rememory (with Peter Dinklage), the family drama We Don't Belong Here (with Catherine Keener as his dysfunctional mother), the international romantic drama Porto (with French actress Lucie Lucas - Yelchin was fluent in multiple languages and it seems likely he would have pursued more international films later in life if Hollywood offers ever got too repetitive or unchallenging), and the thriller Thoroughbred (with Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch).

He will be missed. Do you have a favorite Anton Yelchin memory at the movies or on TV? 


Nothing Compares 2 Link

MNPP picks 5 favorites from Roger Deakins great filmography - love the write up
i09 Netflix is going to be the exclusive home for Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar movies when it comes to streaming
The Guardian looks back at the career of Burt Kwouk (RIP) who played Cato in The Pink Panther franchise
Variety looks at the top Emmy races. Where are we guaranteed movement in the often stagnant fields?

• Hypable Disney's gay erasure problem (not the pop band) and why the hashtags #GiveElsaAGirlfriend and #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend are so popular. (Captain America already has a boyfriend, of course, but why did Disney include that Sharon Carter kiss?)
Flickering Myth Chris Nolan's Dunkirk shoot has begun (photos from the set). Since he's sick of not being Oscar nominated for directing he's making a World War II picture instead of sticking with sci-fi, magicians, or Batpeople
• Playbill the 61st annual Obie Awards, a prestigious off Broadway prize, have been announced. Winners include Red Speedo (which we briefly wrote about), the musical Dear Evan Hansen, and two shows that have transferred to Broadway and are now up for Tonys: The Humans and Eclipsed
Boy Culture on the Madonna Prince tribute at the BBMAs and subsequent fallout - there's always fallout. Haters gonna hate
MTV Teo Bugbee on the new "tasteful?" nudity in Game of Thrones. I feel bullied by the internet in regards to this show (i don't watch it and don't like it whenever I casually see part of an episode) but this piece is great

In Nostalgia We Trust
Have you seen the new Star Trek Beyond poster? It's pretty but wouldn't this tactic have made more sense for the initial reboot than for a third sequel?  Also just how long until we reach peak nostalgia as a culture? Everything is just old things repackaged.

Yes, we've always had remakes and franchises all the way back to the early talkies but it seems much more dominant now, the whole pie rather than two pieces. 




Farewell to the Prince

The beautiful ones,
You always seem to lose.

-"The Beautiful Ones"

Glenn here with some words about today's very sad news about the death of iconic musician and sometime actor/director, Prince Rogers Nelson. “Purple Rain” wasn’t the first time I ever heard Prince. Hell, I wasn’t even alive when the all things purple took over the zeitgeist in the summer of 1984. No, the first time I think I was consciously aware of who I was listening to was in 1991 when I laid eyes upon a video for the single “Diamonds and Pearls” on early morning music television. I was young, but already obsessed with music; making sure I watched the top forty countdown on Rage and recording my favourite videos from Video Hits onto an over-growing pile of VHS. I had been clocked into Madonna for a year or so by this stage, and Michael Jackson was regular fixture of my music listening habits with “Black & White” becoming a pop culture phenomenon at roughly the same time Prince came into my world. He was so different to anybody I'd seen before - his small frame and wild hair so at odds with the image of maleness that, especially growing up in suburban Australia, was preoccupied with overwhelmingly over-the-top masculinity.

If you ever need proof of some sort of other-worldly intervention in play in this life, then consider those three musicians were all born within just a couple months of each other. (More after the jump)

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