Film Bitch History
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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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in The Aviator (7)


50 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Cate Blanchett on Her Birthday

by Nathaniel R

Blanchett last week at a Louis Vitton fashion showFuture screen giant and supreme actress Cate Blanchett was born in Ivanhoe Australia a half century ago on this very day. Happy 50th birthday, goddess!

Last year at this time we were enjoying the two time Oscar winner in Cannes every day as she led the most stylish jury ever assembled but this year in May we have no Cate Blanchett to enjoy! It's a weird lull in Blanchett-mania so perhaps she's celebrating her birthday somewhere private today? Or maybe she's in Cannes again? We'll see.

Her next picture, Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go Bernadette arrives in theaters in August but until that time, let's celebrate all the Blanchettian goodness we can. She's given us so much over the years, with her sharp celebrity wit, fashion savvy, and (above all else) her inspired screen performances. So herewith...

50 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Cate Blanchett This Week
Try them and report back on your success!

01 Kneel before your queen.

02 Channel her by being intimidatingly perfect.

03 Wear something fabulous today but dont let it wear you; you ARE the red carpet. 

04 If you're not in the mood for beautiful dress, consider a stylish suit.

05 Describe someone you're crushing on as "flung out of space" and see how they react...

Click to read more ...


Netflix in August: The Aviator, Her, Silverado

Time to play Streaming Roulette. Each month, to survey new streaming titles we freeze frame the films at random places with the scroll bar and whatever comes up first, that's what we share!

Remember when Netflix used to get recent movies and classics? Now they seem to be exclusively in the business of streaming things that are between 5-20 years old only... with the obvious exception of their original programming, cheap foreign tv series, and straight to streaming indie stuff that wasn't cut out for theatrical.


The Golden Compass (2007)
Have you ever read this book? It's fantastic and bold. The movie is sadly a compromised rendition but it's still a bit tragic that they didn't finish filming the trilogy. Nicole Kidman was a sensaysh "Mrs Coulter" at least. Whatever happened to Dakota Blue Richards? Remember what a surprise it was when this one beat the first Transformers movie to the Visual FX Oscar?!

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Anne V Coates (1925-2018)

by Nathaniel R

One of Hollywood's most important artists has died. The film editor Anne V Coates who won both a competitive and an Honorary Oscar has died at the age of 92. Her career began in the editing room of 1940s pictures -- she worked on The Red Shoes (!!!) -- but it didn't take her long to become a lead editor. Her first lead editing gigs were in British cinema in the early 50s. Her career really came roaring to life with Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which she won her first and only competitive Oscar...

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22 Days til Oscar. Scorsese Trivia, Anyone?

22 is today's magic number. Two working directors, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, are ever inching up the statistics of "Directors who've guided the most Oscar-nominated performances"with 18 and 22 performances, respectively, thus far. William Wyler and Elia Kazan are still the champs but Martin Scorsese could eventually topple Kazan's record. This year's Scorsese picture Silence didn't manage an acting nomination (it's nominated only in cinematography) though some were rooting for Issei Ogata's sly supporting role as The Inquisitor. So Scorsese's number remains 22. 

Most Performances Nominated From Their Films

  1. William Wyler (36... with 14 winners)
  2. Elia Kazan (24... with 9 winners)
  3. Martin Scorsese (22... with 5 winners)
  4. George Cukor (21 ...with 5 winners)
  5. Fred Zinneman (20 ...6 winners) 

It seems unthinkable now that the first two nominated performances Marty directed were by women, since he never again directed a female-focused picture after Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) but it's true. The Scorsese list of 8 supporting actresses, 7 lead actors, 5 supporting actors, and 2 lead actresses follows...

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Top Ten: Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine"Today is Cate Blanchett's birthday and since we just celebrated her Oscar-winning altar ego Katharine Hepburn, why not extend the love? As longtime readers know I have been notoriously cool on the Aussie star over the years equating her work with the kind of "click click click" technique-first acting that Meryl Streep was sometimes discredited for early on. But since I actually think it's interesting to hear other people talk about their favorite perfromances from actors they don't naturally respond to, I hope it will be interesting to you to hear the things I do love about Cate the to-others Great. Cate was EVERYWHERE throughout the Aughts aggravating me with her ubiquity (I have issues with this in general, I know. It's not just Cate but Hollywood's tendency, especially in the past decade, to put the same actors in every movie and wear me out on them) but after four relatively Blanchett-sparse years (2009-2012) wherein she was only doing cameos or that Robin Hood no one liked, I am actually excited to see her again. Which is a relief because they'll be no escaping her again soon...

She's coming back in a major way over the next 24 months with new pictures on the way from Terrence Malick, Woody Allen, George Clooney, and Peter Jackson. She'll cap off that new flush of activity with a blockbuster-hopeful evil queen showstopper in Kenneth Branagh's production of Cinderella

Here are the ten Blanchett performances of which I am most fond...

Click to read more ...


On Jean Harlow, "Beauty", Screen Presence & Short Lives

75 years ago today Jean Harlow died. The Platinum Blonde superstar, arguably the ur blonde bombshell that Marilyn Monroe gets the bulk of the credit for being, was only 26 years old. She'd been a sensation since the age of 19 when Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (1930) premiered. I loved the Scorsese-directed Hughes bio The Aviator (2004) when it premiered because of its handsome snapshot of Old Hollywood Glamour but I never quite understood what Gwen Stefani was doing playing Harlow. I couldn't see the resemblance beyond hair color and anyone can have that; Platinum Blonde does not normally occur through natural means!

When I was a baby cinephile and more familiar with Old Hollywood giants from their still photos than their actual work, Jean Harlow's huge fame and legendary sex appeal confused me. I thought she looked... odd and weirdly masculine (maybe it was the nose and chin? or maybe just my youth). Definitely not "beautiful". But I learned quickly that traditional beauty, both the male and female variety, is often flat onscreen. Screen presence always trumps beauty. Even the most famously beautiful movie stars are famously beautiful because their screen presence augmented their beauty, permanently burning it into the collective consciousness.

Leo & Gwen as Hughes & Harlow in THE AVIATOR (2004)

That's a lesson that unfortunately many casting directors and studio executives have never learned. This is especially true on television where entire shows are populated with "beauties" but you can instantly forget what everyone looks like by the time the credits are rolling in the sidebar as commercials for the next whatever play. It's especially true on networks like the CW and for whatever reason it always reminds me of those legendary stories about the casting of X-Files. Many executives didn't want Gillian Anderson because she wasn't "hot" enough but an interchangeable pretty blonde that would be easy to imagine doing photoshoots for men's interest mags, would never have seized the public imagination like Gillian did as Agent Scully. But I digress!

Seeing the pre-code movie Red Dust (1932) cured me of all Harlow doubts, since her carnality still reads as so immediate, unwithered by the passage of time.

Doesn't it feel sometimes as if being a Movie Star was more of an Occupational Health Hazard in earlier cinematic decades. So many film stars died young: James Dean (24), Jean Harlow (26), Rudolph Valentino (31), Carole Lombard (33),  Marilyn Monroe (36), John Gilbert (38), Natalie Wood (43), Monty Clift (45), Stephen Boyd (45), Judy Garland (47), etcetera. Or is it merely that those who die young stick in the memory, filed under What Could Have Been.