Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Stephen Sondheim (27)


Interview: Greta Gerwig on what kind of filmmaker she's going to be

by Nathaniel R 

Greta Gerwig directing the prom scene in Lady Bird. Look, she's even dressed for the occasion!The first time we spoke to Greta Gerwig in 2013 for Frances Ha it was over the phone. Her voice was so animated it felt like an in person interview. She was learning the accordion because of that seismically magical moment in the French film Holy Motors and revealing to me that she didn't think being an "actor-for-hire" in other people's work would be her path. Little did I know -- though perhaps she did -- that the exquisite Lady Bird was coming. In between she wrote and starred in Mistress America (2015) and gave what is arguably her best performance in Mike Mills 20th Century Women (2016). The rest is of course current celebration and future history: Lady Bird proved a mainstream breakthrough as a writer/director. It's up for five Oscars including two for Greta Gerwig herself as a writer and as a director.

This time, speaking in person, that familiar voice is just as lively but her laughter even more infectious. She radiates as much joy from talking art in real life as she often has creating it onscreen as a performer.

When I ask her her how the accordion is coming, she admits she's "rusty" and that it hasn't been a movie that inspired her lately but 'certain books' though she leaves them unnamed. Whatever feeds your soul as an artist, that's where you go.

on set directing Timothée and Saoire in Lady Bird (2017)

I reminder her about that comment about acting for others not being her path and she says "I know..." in a goofily apologetic way, like she always knew where she was heading but just hadn't told us.  Our interview is after the jump...

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Into the Link-Verse

Dim the House Lights a conversation about those Sondheim auditions in Lady Bird
/Film why is Big Little Lies still competing as "Limited Series" when it has a second season order. The controversy is starting to bubble up
Cartoon Brew I didn't even know that there was ANOTHER new awards show but come to think of it there's always another new one, isn't there? We now have the European Animation Awards and they gave their top prize to Loving Vincent. This is not to be confused with the European Film Awards which also gave Loving Vincent Best Animated Feature
Cartoon Brew on the key points of that giant Disney/Fox deal. It's scary people. Now basically only 4 American-owned entertainment companies have control over America’s cultural identity. 

Forbes on the teaser for Into the Spider-Verse with Miles Morales finally making it to screen...
Indie Wire talks to the great actress Lesley Manville about Phantom Thread and Hollywood for women over 40
The Wrap ack. I totally forgot to link to this last week. In an unprecedented move The Academy added 'Standards of Conduct' to membership details after the explosion of sexual misconduct news this past month
Coming Soon the first poster and teaser for New Mutants
Out January 25th is when RuPaul's Drag Race returns
Vogue Philip Seymour Hoffman's partner Mimi pens an essay with Adam Green about living with an addict and the actor's final sad year.

EW a timeline of Nicole Kidman's most iconic 2017 moments
After Ellen a list of the best lesbian or bi movies of the year
• GQ Top ten books of the year and each author chosen gets to recommend a book, too. Fun angle! Do you have a library card? You might need one after this.
Variety Owen Gleiberman and Peter DeBruge's top ten lists
EW best and worst tv shows of the year
Out most iconic looks of 2017. It's heavy on music video ladies for some reason but there's some fun surprises like "Allison Janney with a parrot on her shoulder" from I, Tonya
CBC an A-Z guide to the year in queer: God's Own Country, Melina Matsoukas, and much more
THR top ten movies of the year from Todd McCarthy and staff. Call Me By Your Name all over the place.


The Incredible Linking Man

• The Cut "I'm rooting for the Lannisters" fun piece on Game of Thrones (which I still read about on occasion even though I haven't watched since season 2)
/Film Guillermo del Toro's official tequila looks like it's from one of his movies
• Vulture every Charlize Theron performance ranked. Interesting list though I quibble with the order (as they seem to equate the quality of the movies with the quality of her performance and Theron is precisely the star she is because she is often able to be good even in terrible pictures). Also Young Adult should be #1

Playbill all star cast lined up for Steve Martin's next Broadway show (after his musical Bright Star), this one's a comedy called Meteor Shower
Browbeat the internet goes wild for old Russ Tamblyn dancing clip from 1956
Tracking Board Nicole Kidman is in talks to headline a crime thriller called Destroyer directed by Karyn Kusama. Kusama is promising that though it's a genre film it's also "a beautiful character study of an incredible female"
Variety we were wondering when Ruth Negga would start lining up big roles after Loving. She'll star opposite Brad Pitt in the sci-fi movie Ad Astra
Awards Daily This is Us has lost one of its Emmy nominations, costume design.
The Wrap this piece about Marvel's plans for Spider-Man got a lot of internet pass-around but it really doesn't tell you much other than they're going to make Spidey a thing in all the crossover movies

Two pieces about criticism/discussion of racial politics in movies/theaters right now

American Theater a thoughtful piece on the counterproductive assault on Broadway's Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. (We haven't yet heard if the show is actually closing following it's poorly handled casting changes but it might... but the producers were apparently considering it)
• Birth Movies Death a very navel gazing piece about being an ally and trying to navigate pop culture criticism in the current political climate and intersectional age

Exit Video
Handsome talented Aaron Tveit is taking on the classic role of Bobby in another production of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece (one of them, at least) Company. This one starts in a couple of days in Massachusetts so go if you live near there and report back. Here he is rehearsing...


Soundtracking: "Best Worst Thing..."

Soundtracking is our newest wekly series, with Chris Feil talking music in the movies! The Tony Awards are this weekend, so here is a documentary on a Broadway flop...

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened charts the making and failing of Stephen Sondheim / Hal Prince collaboration Merrily We Roll Along. The musical charts the decades-spanning friendship of three showbiz types, but told in reverse and with teenagers playing the roles. It was high concept and it was a notorious bomb - but with one brilliant and emotionally involving score.

If you’re unfamiliar with the musical and its complicated backwards plotting, Best Worst Thing does a pretty snappy job of quickly explaining the show’s concept before focusing on the cast left out in the cold by Merrily’s failure. What sounds rather niche for a documentary subject is actually quite moving and emotionally accessible, and still touches on some hefty themes. The film, directed by original cast member Lonny Price, is personal but not cloying. It’s a documentary about the hard truths of growing up into a world that isn’t all you were promised, - and it consistently finds deeper context for the music.

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What's Next for Gyllenhaalics?

Remember the ol' internet nickname for Gyllenhaal fans circa 2004-2006, "Gyllenhaalics"? We never stopped using the term because it never became irrelevant for us. Both Jake and Maggie have continued to do amazing work well past their initial breakthroughs in the early to mid Aughts. Let's check in with what the wonder siblings are up to after the jump...

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Jake Comes Back Singing

by Eric Blume

Playbill recently announced that one of our very favorite Oscar nominees/hunks/great actors, Jake Gyllenhaal, will reprise his four-day stint from October as French painter George Seurat in Steven Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George for an official ten-week Broadway run.  Previews begin February 11th.

I was able to catch Jake in the initial staged-concert run of the show, and he’s a sight to behold...

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Five Teensy Reviews: Moana, Miss Sloane, Rules Don't Apply, Etc...

by Nathaniel R

Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them -- all five are now playing in theaters.

Moana (Clements, Hall, Musker & Williams)
Story: A chieftain's daughter sails the ocean to right an ancient wrong and save her people
Review: The episodic plot is ungainly and repetitive but the rest, from animal sidekick, to magical animation, to the heroine's self awakening and theme song ("How Far I'll Go") sure is dazzling. Disney's most resonant and hypnotic climax in forever and ever. "This is not who you are..."
Grade: B/B+
Oscar Chances: A nomination seems certain but Zootopia will be a tough film to dismount from this year's throne. It's worth noting that composer Lin-Manuel Miranda will complete his EGOT if he wins the Oscar.

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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."