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Entries in Ruth Gordon (8)

Monday
Oct172016

Beauty vs Beast: Which of the Woods

Jason from MNPP here seizing the moment with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- well, seizing one of many moments, but not only moments, because if life were only moments then we'd never know we had one. You know how it goes. Anyway this moment, this one of many not only, is the birthday of the director Rob Marshall, who makes magical movies that, uh... defy description. Like Into the Woods, perhaps? Yes, we are in the right story.

PREVIOUSLY Here it is a week later and I'm still pretty shocked it took me over 125 editions of this series to get to my favorite movie Rosemary's Baby - but who won? Well you guys sided with the Devil, just like the Oscars did, and gave the prize to Ruth Gordon's Minnie Castavet and her eternally chalky undertaste - said Marsha Mason:

"I think Ruth had the greater acting accomplishment. Mia was good at being afraid, but Ruth pulled off "loud old NYC lady in league with Satan," succeeding in making her both hilarious, outspoken and very creepy. She reminds me of Barbara Bush that way."

Monday
Oct102016

Beauty vs Beast: Devils in the Dakota

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- you wanna know what's unlikelier than a young Catholic girl being impregnated with the Antichrist thanks to a pact with the Devil made between her role-seeking actor-husband and her elderly mousse-loving neighbors? Unlikelier than all that is the fact that I have never used my favorite movie, aka Rosemary's Baby, for this series before. Somebody call Dr. Shand to lure me off of this ledge with some of his sweet recorder music before I make myself the next Terry Gionoffrio over this. 

Did I think the choice between Rosemary (never Oscar nominee Mia Farrow) and Minnie (Oscar winner Ruth Gordon) would just be too difficult a choice to subject our brains to? I must admit I find it personally impossible. I cannot! So I leave it to you. Just keep reminding yourself that this is no dream, this is really happening...

PREVIOUSLY Where are the Wild Things? Well last week the Wild Things were celebrating Neve Campbell's birthday. And y'all gave her bad girl Suzie a win to top it off - 70% of you voted for her over co-star Denise Richards. Said Ez:

"Aw, this film is so rooted in my '90's teenage girl experience. I saw it with my buddies for the first time at a sleepover birthday party. We all squealed at the Matt/Kevin shower scene! We were big Party of Five fans (I remember that it aired on Sunday nights after The Nanny in Australia) so we were totally there for Neve. So for nostalgia's sake, my vote goes to Neve :)"

Friday
May272016

Girls Gone Wild -- Favorite Bad Girl Oscar Winners

Kieran, here. We've been celebrating Girls Gone Wild this month at The Film Experience. If you haven't already done so, make sure to check out Team Experience's wonderful relay-style Thelma & Louise 25th anniversary retrospective. 

As the month comes to a close, it felt fitting to take a look back at some of the Best Oscar-winning "bad girl" star turns. Here are 11 of the juiciest...

Honorable Mention:

Cristal Connors in Showgirls (Gina Gershon)

Should have been nominated. Very possibly should have won. Haters be damned.

Top Ten Oscar Winning Bad Girl Roles

10. Addie Loggins in Paper Moon (Tatum O'Neal - Best Supporting Actress 1973)

A charismatic yet unsentimental child performance that perfectly nails the tone of its film. The only complaint is that she wasn't promoted to lead Actress where (judging by that roster) she very well could have contended.

9. Barbara Grahame in I Want to Live! (Susan Hayward - Best Actress 1958)

Delightfully over-the-top and melodramatic. Barbara refuses to wear a nightgown while in prison for murder. She wants to "sleep raw!" 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct302013

Supporting Smackdown '68: Lynn, Sondra, Kay, Estelle and Ruth

The revival of "StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown" now in its new home at The Film Experience continues. The year is... [cue: time travelling music] 1968.  Oscar skipped the Globe nominees in this category from For the Love of Ivy, The Lion in Winter and Finian's Rainbow and despite their love of Oliver! AND of women in musicals AND of prostitutes with hearts of gold they also skipped newcomer Shani Wallis. Instead they went with these five...

Tony Curtis presented the 1968 Best Supporting Actress Oscar

THE NOMINEES

Estelle Parsons, the previous year's winner in this category for Bonnie & Clyde returned for a victory lap (though she skipped the ceremony). She was joined by two showbiz veterans: Ruth Gordon, a three time nominee for screenwriting who was in the middle of a surprising golden years reinvention as a beloved character actress, and Kay Medford, who had previously experienced her greatest successes on stage. Filling out the shortlist were two fresh faces nominated for their film debuts: Sondra Locke (who would later partner up with Clint Eastwood both on and offscreen for 14 years) & Lynn Carlin (who would later vanish into a series of guest spots on television).

Who will win the Smackdown? Read on 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct262013

Introducing... Five Nominees 1968

I've hinted at it before but we're going to try "Introducing..." as a series, since we love contemplating how actors and filmmakers introduce us to key characters in the movies. There's a real specific art to it if you want the character to stick. So herewith, as prelude to Wednesday's Smackdown, is how the five Supporting Actress nominees of 1968 are introduced in their films. In future non-Smackdown episodes we'll just concentrate on one entrance. But for our purposes here, quintuplets!

I've listed the nominees by how soon they show up in their respective films.

8 minutes in... Estelle Parsons as "Calla" in Rachel Rachel
This entrance is smartly staged by first-time director Paul Newman. It has the clarity of a theatrical entrance albeit without any heightening or glamour. As Rachel (Joanne Woodard) leads her schoolchildren downstage right with some silly arm wavings, an atypically 'light' gesture from this uptight teacher, Calla descends stage left from a higher floor into view, with her own flock, as if conjured by that sudden shift in tone. You immediately sense that they're very different women but as Calla gets closer to the camera, her shift from screechy schoolmarm to close co-worker chum is complete; the women lean in together co-conspiratorially.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct312011

Oscar Horrors: Nosy Neighbor Finale

Editor's Note: This is the final entry in our Oscar Horrors miniseries. We really hope you enjoyed all 17 entries -- full index at the bottom of this post. Should we do it again next year? (Yes, there are more nominations afforded to the creepy-crawly films. The Oscars have been around for 84 years after all...) -Nathaniel

HERE LIES... Ruth Gordon's Oscar-winning turn in Rosemary's Baby who drugged her competition and dragged them to hell in 1968.

Robert here, with a look back at one of Oscar's best Best Supporting Actress decisions. You probably already know that Ruth Gordon was a real Hollywood veteran when she won her Oscar for Rosemary's Baby, having been in the showbiz business ever since appearing as a picture baby in 1915 and taking a stage role as one of Peter Pan's lost boys. Even if you didn't know that, it's the sort of thing that seems right. Or you may have deduced it after seeing footage of Ruth winning her Oscar and declaring "I can't tell ya' how encouraging a thing like this is" followed by a big audience laugh. It's a good laugh line and a silly thing to say after over fifty years in the business. But the laugh was on the audience because Ruth was right. At the time of her win, Ruth's career was going fine. She'd already been a nominee for Inside Daisy Clover a few years earlier. So it would be wrong to say that the Oscar raised her career from the dead... but it sure created a monster.
 
In the first 53 years of Ruth Gordon's career, the pre-Oscar years, Miss Ruth assembled 13 screen credits to her name. Not an insane amount. Not the hundreds you probably assumed from such an enduring actress. But hey, showbusiness is showbusiness. You take what you can get to put food on the table. In the final 19 years of her career, the post-Oscar years, Madam Ruth showed up on screen 28 times. If you take out TV roles the number still almost doubles post-Oscar. so between the ages of 72 and her passing at 88, Ruth Gordon worked twice as much onscreen as in the first 70 years of her life. You'd think she'd made a deal with the devil.

How'd she do that? Well, Ruth Gordon knew what she was doing. Her performance in Rosemary's Baby is the most memorable in the film. But it's not written that way. Consider the descriptive names given to all the characters in the film: the plain but still very pretty Rosemary, the generically masculine Guy, the ancient and powerful Roman, and Ruth Gordon plays Minnie. She's a tiny little thing. Okay, she's got some sass, but she doesn't have any big emotional stand-out Oscar scenes, except of course that she makes every scene she's in stand out.
 
She's a villain. She's evil. Really evil. Frustratingly, annoyingly evil. She's your grandmother's pestering friend, but evil. And the Oscars don't like their supporting actresses to be that evil. Even when they're villainous, like Tilda Swinton or Mo'Nique, they're multi-layered evil. They have human moments. Oscar like's his supporting ladies complex but his supporting men sociopathic. Ruth's Minnie Castevet is dangerous and remorseless. She has more in common with the Hannibal Lecters, Anton Chigurhs and Jokers of the world then her fellow supporting actresses. Then she followed it all up with Harold & Maude. Chances are, if you don't know Ruth as Minnie, you know her as Maude. From the malevolent to the benevolent. It was the one-two punch of her career and it proved that she could do anything. And that, is truly scary.

OSCAR HORRORS
The Swarm - Best Costume Design
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane -Best Actress in a Leading Role
The Fly -Best Makeup
Death Becomes Her -Best Effects, Visual Effects
The Exorcist -Best Actress in a Supporting Role 
The Birds - Best Effects, Special Visual Effects

The Birds - Best Effects, Special Visual Effects
Rosemary's Baby - Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
Beetlejuice - Best Makeup
Carrie - Best Actress in a Leading Role
Bram Stoker's Dracula - Best Costume Design
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Best Actor in a Leading Role
King of the Zombies - Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Poltergeist - Best Effects, Visual Effects
Hellboy II: The Golden Army -Achievement in Makeup
The Silence of the Lambs -Best Director
The Tell-Tale Heart -Best Short Subject, Cartoons