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Entries in The Bad and the Beautiful (6)

Thursday
Feb232017

3 Days Until Oscar -- multiple wins without a Best Picture Nod

With the seismic shift of the expanded best picture field in 2009, certain forms of Oscar trivia seem dead or at least on life support. Foxcatcher proved you could still be a "lone director" nominee for a non Best Picture player, and Carol proved you could still get a big swath of nominations but miss out on placing in the top category. But nearly all the records involving films that weren't nominated for Best Picture will not be broken now; when Oscar notices you in a big way these days, you're also likely to achieve that highest distinction of being a Best Picture nominee.

But with 3 being the magic number today, let's take a look back at the rare cases of films that won 3 or more Oscars that were not nominated for Best Picture. The only film that could theoretically join this list this year is Jackie (the most nominated film that isn't up for Best Picture) but it would have to win all three of its bids! 

The 18 Biggest Oscar Winners That Were NOT
Nominated for Best Picture

(current titles for categories used in this list though some have changed) 

01 Five Oscar wins from six nominations
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design. It lost only Best Actor but mysteriously wasn't nominated for Picture or Director despite obvious widespread love for it. But then, 1952 was among the very strangest of Oscar years for multiple reasons. 

Curiously Kirk Douglas also leads one of the three films tied for runner up in this particular list...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec062016

Kirk Douglas Centennial: The Bad and the Beautiful

Here's Dancin' Dan to continue our mini Kirk Douglas  fest. The actor turns 100 this Friday.

For every performer, a film lover has THAT performance. The one that makes you fall in love with them. Or, short of that, the moment you totally understand why they became a star.

I had seen a few Kirk Douglas films before Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful, most notably Spartacus and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but I was not a great lover of the man himself even when I liked the films. That changed when watching Minnelli's behind-the-Hollywood-scenes epic. Whether it was due to the match of actor to character, the quality of the film, or Douglas's performance itself, who can say, but this performance made me a believer...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug312013

Supporting Actress Smackdown '52: Colette, Jean, Gloria, Terry, and Thelma

Presenting the Return of Stinky Lulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown now in its new home at The Film Experience. The Year is... 1952 and our panelists are allowed 52 words per actress!

THE NOMINEES

Gloria Grahame, Jean Hagen, Colette Marchand, Terry Moore, and the perennial Thelma Ritter!

THE PANELISTS

Matt Mazur (Pop Matters) is a New York-based publicist who works on campaigns for independent, foreign language, and documentary films. His vast archive of actress interviews (including Sissy Spacek and Courtney Love) can be found here. Follow him @Matt_Mazur 

Nathaniel R (The Film Experience) is the founder of The Film Experience, a Gurus of Gold and CNN International Oscar pundit, and the internet's actressexual ringleader. Also loves cats. Follow him @NathanielR

Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks) tweets, blogs, and writes reviews and is a professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern University. His first book "The Desiring Image" was recently published. Follow him @NicksFlickPicks

Brian Herrera (aka StinkyLulu) convened the first Supporting Actress Smackdown and hostessed more than thirty before shuttering the series in 2009. He is a writer, teacher and scholar presently based in New Jersey, but forever rooted in New Mexico. Follow him @stinkylulu

And You! We also factored averages from reader ballots sent by e-mail!

Oh, hurry up!!!"

... get to the smackdown already. Geez. Okay Okay, here we go...

 

 

1952
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN

GLORIA GRAHAME as "Rosemary" in The Bad and the Beautiful
Synopsis: A southern wife accompanies her writer husband to corrupting Hollywood
Stats: 29 yrs old. 14th film. 2nd nom. 10 Minutes of Screen Time (8.4% of Running Time)

Matt: No disrespect to Grahame, one of this era’s finest actress, but she got the gold for the wrong movie; like many women before and after. This performance is a weird fit. While other directors gave her the space to explode, Minnelli tried to contain her sexual force. It's not Rosemary you remember... ♥♥  

Nathaniel: Grahame underlines the frisson of excitement in this marriage, suggesting that it comes from the playful mix of this woman’s outer propriety and inner friskiness. She even nails a tricky final scene moving from accusatory abandoned wife to complicit partner in failure. Yet the role is slight and the voice too chirpy. ♥♥♥ 

Nick: The first Grahame performance I haven’t loved. Admittedly, the role’s scope and nature constrain it.  I admire her against-type playing, and the character invites stiff attitudes and overdeliberate gestures. Still, however tiny, the part feels underexplored.  Her win feels like recognition of prior feats and her eclectic body of work in 1952 ♥♥ 

Reader Write-In Votes: "A truly bizarre winner, though not undeserving: beautiful, quiet work in shading this restless social butterfly. I wanted much more of her.." - Sean D. (Gloria average ♥♥½) .

StinkyLulu: If I were evaluating The Bad and the Beautiful on "Top Chef" or "Chopped", I might praise Gloria Grahame’s Rosemary for bringing a much needed brightness to the dish. Grahame plays this soon-to-be-sainted flibbertigibbet with easy verve but I fear Grahame’s work here is as glancing as the character:

Gloria wins 10½ ❤s 

JEAN HAGEN as "Lina Lamont" in Singin' in the Rain
Synopsis: A silent star attempts to make it in talkies by stealing another woman's voice
Stats: 29 yrs old. 8th film. 1st nomination. 31 Minutes (30% of Running Time)

Matt: She does it all: vocal work, physical comedy, unlikability, stupidity, scheming, hiliariously failing at everything. Flawlessly.  Bonus points go to any actress playing an actress, let alone the kind of woman who has the cojones to poke fun at not only herself, but really her entire profession. How she did not win this Oscar…? ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Nathaniel: Her vocal comic invention is so thorough you can even hear the diction training sloshing around its agonizing surface but never sinking in. Lina’s silent “ACTING” is delicious, too but Jean’s is even better. Her Lina is always off-tempo, playing catch up, waiting for a line no one has written for her. ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Nick: Pretending to hate Gene Kelly requires three-star acting at least. And Hagen’s vocal ingenuity is obviously beyond.  She’s also a savvy modulator, underplaying annoyance throughout Kelly’s opening interview, deferring her delicious explosions of resentment until character-appropriate moments.  Once she gets going, she steals some of the very best scenes in American movies: ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Reader Write-In Votes: "Lina Lamont was robbed, just as Lina's soul sister Norma Cassady (Lesley Ann Warren) was exactly 30 years later." - Paul Outlaw. (Hagen average ♥♥♥♥♥ ) 

StinkyLulu: In what might have easily been a single (nasal) note of a “dumb” role, Jean Hagen deftly surprises with clever twists to unsuspecting vowels, syllables and studio executives alike. Yet, even with few glimpses into Lina’s heart, Hagen’s skill permits our delight in always knowing exactly who Miss Lina Lamont truly is.  ♥♥♥♥♥

Jean wins 25 ❤s, a perfect score 

 

COLETTE MARCHAND as "Marie Chalet" in Moulin Rouge
Synopsis: a street-walker moves in with the famous artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec but just can't settle down
Stats: Debut Film. 27 yrs old. Debut Film. 1st Nom. 27.5 Minutes (23% of Running Time)

Matt: Too many clichés: hooker with a heart of gold, scheming hooker with weak john, French slut, tragic waif… but Marchand does a decent job of navigating complicated waters and still managing to be memorable in a Moulin Rouge full of oddballs. But she's no Nicole Kidman, let me put it that way. ♥♥ 

Nathaniel: She had me at “monsieur!”, all gangly swinging arms, restless body, and giraffe-with-attitude neck. Marchand’s physicality is so heady it almost doesn’t matter that her scenes are but moodswings on loop. Her pride in poverty and self-consciousness with wealth is insightfully rendered. Like Henri we pine for her when she’s gone: ♥♥♥ 

Nick: To its credit—and not much is—Huston’s film acknowledges an essential garishness in the Moulin Rouge and Toulouse-Lautrec’s depictions. This context somewhat justifies Marchand’s frequently coarse performance; her drunken truth-telling scene with Henri and Babare thrives on that quality.  Too often, though, she’s simply rigid and off-putting.  I prefer Suzanne Flon  ♥♥ 

Reader Write-In Votes: "This film is a little slow in spots, but the best scenes are the ones with Marchand and Jose Ferrer together. You feel for her prostitute character, a common role but Marchand adds her own spin." - Sean T. (Marchand average ♥♥)

StinkyLulu: Feral, frightening and sometimes quite funny. Colette Marchand’s Marie Charlet remains a more presence than a person. (Katherine Kath does much more with much less as La Goulue.) While her palpable emotion does reliably energize this frequently languid film, Marchand’s performance lacks the precision needed to stir and sustain a deepening investment: ♥♥♥

Colette wins 12 ❤s  

 

TERRY MOORE as "Marie" in Come Back Little Sheba
Synopsis: a flirtatious college girl rents a room from an unhappy couple while struggling with fidelity to her longdistance boyfriend
Stats: 23 yrs old. 14th film. 1st nomination. 28 Minutes (28% of Running Time)

Matt: Let’s have a moment of real talk: there is no one on earth paying attention to anyone other than mesmerizing Queen Shirley Booth in ...Little Sheba. Moore does what she is asked: be pretty enough to drive Lancaster into a mad rage. But there’s not much character there so she’s left struggling. ♥ 

Nathaniel: She does engaging work as a cock-tease testing her boundaries with a local stud. She’s smart, too, about how the young switch on and off with adults in a room. I like the way Marie sizes up her strange landlady (less so her landlord). But the character never feels fully explored or resonant. ♥♥ 

Nick: Between Booth’s asphyxiating affectations and Lancaster’s stolidity, Moore’s relaxed effervescence is a welcome mediator. Her richest scene comes when that aplomb gets tested by Richard Jaeckel’s abruptly aggressive advances; her panicked response is clearly to him, not to sex itself.  Nonetheless, this isn’t complicated acting.  Standard for Moore and bordering on generic ♥♥

Reader Write-In Votes: "I can't remember many movies from the 50s that had a young sexually-active character and performed well by Moore. I certainly can't see the negative of the performance" - Travis. (Moore average ♥♥).

StinkyLulu: Marie feels more plot device than character, an inciting incident taken to human form. Yet Terry Moore animates her catalytic presence with startling believability. Her Marie is a simple, smart, capable girl who fully enjoys playing at being bad — and who (unlike those around her) somehow knows when to say when.  ♥♥♥♥ 

Terry wins 11❤s


THELMA RITTER as "Clancy" in With a Song in My Heart
Synopsis: a nurse accompanies a famous singer on a USO Tour in World War II
Stats: 50 yrs old. 9th film. 3rd of 4 Consecutive Noms (2 More Followed). 28 Minutes (24% of Running Time)

Matt: One dynamic performance hidden within a limp noodle film makes it a little more al dente. Her stalwart nurse ("Clancy" -- how perfect is that name?), is not afraid to tell it like it t-i-is. As is Ritter’s custom, she packs in an astounding amount of detail, using the tiniest bits of dialog to reveal something key. ♥♥♥♥ 

Nathaniel: Gold from dross! Though half her role consists of gazing admirably at Hayward’s lipsynching (blech), Ritter seizes every opportunity to make the other half dance, managing heaps of personality while narrating and offering sly subtext like  embarrassment at her friend/ patient’s self-pity. I live for that improv dancing… “I’m more the type!” ♥♥♥♥ 

Nick: Ritter hews to type as a wisecracking helpmeet whose humor and lucid counsel profit the other characters. Still, she’s the Dijon mustard this ham sandwich needs, her candor and tangy delivery tempering all the sanctification.  Ritter presents a prickly, compassionate, occasionally reproachful nurse, not a blandly colorful worshiper in a biopic pew: ♥♥♥ 

Reader Write-In Votes: "Ritter fills the role with emotion, and - more importantly compared to Grahame and Moore - feels like a necessary and irreplaceable role/performance for the film. " -PoliVamp (Thelma average ♥♥♥) 

StinkyLulu: As “Flatbush Florence Nightingale” Clancy, Thelma Ritter gets to do Thelma Ritter. Always cracking wise as the film’s in-house heckler and audience surrogate. Stalwart. Salt-of-the-earth. With just that dash of saltiness. But even with costume changes and a couple of tiny tearful moments, there’s no arc or special insight here. Just Ritter. ♥♥

Thelma wins 16 ❤s  

OSCAR vs. SMACKDOWN


The Academy pied Jean Hagen right in the kisser and handed the coveted Best Supporting Actress statue to Gloria Grahame as "Rosemary" in The Bad and the Beautiful. As Matt notes: 

In 1952, it made all-too-terrible sense for Grahame to win given her solid work in three other films besides this Minnelli classic: The Greatest Show on Earth, Macao, and Sudden Fear. She worked with literally everyone that year. She is fantastic in Fear and Macao, moreso than in Beautiful.

 But our panelists "cannnn'stann'it!" and rewrite Oscar history to hand a landslide win to that 'shimmering star in the foimament' Lina Lamont.

Soak it up, Jean!

Thank you for attending the Smackdown!  Throw pies, shade or applause at your favorites. (If you're new to the Smackdown, here's the old archives at StinkyLulu)

Previous Smackdown Goodies
Stinky's Preliminary Thoughts, Introducing... the 5, and The Oscar Ceremony Itself

NEXT SMACKDOWN SUNDAY, SEPT 29th 
The Supporting Actresses of 1980 
Brennan, Le Galliene, Moriarty, Scarwid, and Steenburgen comin' atcha!
Panelists TBA

Thursday
Aug222013

"In the dark all sorts of things come alive"

I'm a day late getting to The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) for Hit Me With Your Best Shot but I think the drama queen players onscreen would understand: they're often behind schedule and over budget themselves, victims of their own masochistic impulses and grandiose ambitions!

To understand my choice of best shot, a brief preface as spoken by the film itself. About twenty minutes into the film the fledgling producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) and his hungry director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) are trying to figure out how to transcend the limitations of their budget on a B movie called Attack of the Cat Men. If they're movies are always terrible they'll never get out of B pictures. The cat suits look shoddy and cheap but Shields has a stroke of genius when he suggests that they never show the title characters at all. 

Shields: When an audience pays to see a picture like this what do they pay for?
Amiel: To get the pants scared off 'em.
Shields: And what scares the human race more than any other single thing

[TURNS LIGHTS OFF]

Amiel: The dark
Shields: Of course. and why? because the dark has a light all its own. In the dark all sorts of things come alive.  

And a final question

Now what do we put on the screen that will make the backs of their necks crawl?"

Once we've moved away from the context of this conversation (the B picture calling card) and into the shark-infested waters of their subsequent powerful Hollywood careers, this final question begins to haunt us properly. 

Though it might not be popular to say I find The Bad and the Beautiful something of a muddle in its impulses between melodrama and satire. It wants to swim with sharks but it lacks that final killing bite. Perhaps it's the way it which its three stories dovetail in the final scene which suggests that we ought to admire the shark and excuse all the blood in the water. I wish the movie had found a way to end shortly after its scary Act Two finale. For its then when we get the answer as to what would make the back of our necks crawl: Human Nature. 

BEST SHOT

GET OUT. GET OUT. GET OUT"

Kirk Douglas's ugly soul-baring in a vicious pitiful monologue hurled at both himself and his star and love Georgia (Lana Turner) culminates in this moment when he is reduced to animalistic snarling in the shadows. It's a great inversion of the playful showmanship at the beginning of the film, and more terrifying than any supernatural beasts in B pictures could ever hope to be. In this superb sequence, which stands your every hair on end, Minnelli and Surtees have found a way to riff on both the frequent visual motifs of their movie (where figures in shadow are often watching brightly lit movie creens) and illustrate the lurid thrill of the movies themselves. They only come alive in the dark.

see seven other "Best Shot" opinions from this classic

Don't forget!
On August 31st we'll discuss Gloria Grahame's Oscar win from this movie iin the return of the Supporting Actress Smackdown! Next week we're Best Shot'ing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Join our movie-loving club!

Saturday
Aug172013

"Hit Me" Season 4 - Last Three Movies !

As we move into prestige Oscar buzz season and restore old internet favorites like the Smackdown and _____ time gets tighter. Hit Me With Your Best Shot must ride off into the sunset until its revival in the spring. So here are your last three movies. Let's go out with a bang. 

08/21
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Amazon Instant | Netflix Rental
Vincent Minnelli's noir was up for a ton of Oscars and Minnelli's films always look great. Which will be your favorite shot and will it incorporate Gloria Grahame's Oscar winning turn in Supporting Actress (which we'll be discussing on Sunday 08/25 in the Supporting Actress Smackdown)?

08/28
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Netflix Instant Watch |  Amazon Instant 
We'll be looking back at a few key Robert Redford classics in the build up to All is Lost, his comeback Oscar bid in October. Let's start right here since we've never done a Western in this series. This buddy movie with Redford and Paul Newman won Best Cinematography at the Oscars. 

09/04
Spring Breakers (2013)
We never do anything brand new in this series so let's investigate this divisive hypno-oddity before everyone (and the blog) goes 'Back to School' for the fall. We're talking a cue from Nick's suggestion on the podcast that this cinematography is worth fussing & FYCing over. 

On a Housekeeping Note: You wouldn't believe how hard it is to choose films for this series as so many movies that are suggested or that I think would be good choices are increasingly difficult to find with the ever fragmented dvd/bluray/streaming wars going on among studios/stores/sites/netflix. Even things as recent as the 80s are often hard to get a hold of. For instance, I wanted to do Married to the Mob (1988) for its 25th anniversary and given that Michelle Pfeiffer is returning to the mob comedy genre but it's not available for rental on iTunes, Netflix OR Amazon if you can believe it! And the movie is from an Oscar winning director, stars familiar actors who are still working and is only 25 years old.  I own it but the whole point of the series is for many people to be able to talk about the same movie (sigh)

In the comments, please let me know how / what service you use to rent movies since Netflix no longer has the huge library they used to have but their vault is still better than anyone else's. These are dark dark days for non new-releases. 

 

Wednesday
Jul312013

Hitchcock & Oprah on 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'

Three great (?) movies by three renowned directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Vincente Minnelli) are next on Hit Me With Your Best Shot

We didn't mean to take two weeks off (whoops) but here we go again. If you've never participated please consider joining. It's easy and fun and gives you an excuse to watch a classic again or for the first time. On Wednesday nights we look at a famous (or interesting) movie and we each select "the best shot", completely subjective of course, from the film. Tell us why you chose it and we link up. It's communal movie fun!

Wed Aug 7th SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)
It doesn't have the highest profile among Hitchcock's classics so let's boost that up a bit since the Master himself was so fond of it among his own movies and Stoker, now on DVD, riffs on it so shamelessly.
[108 minutes, 1 Oscar nomination. Available on Amazon Instant]

Wed Aug 14th THE COLOR PURPLE (1985)
Let's celebrate the return of Oprah Winfrey to the big screen (in Lee Daniel's The Butler) with a look back at this beloved 80s film. I haven't seen it since the 80s and other people adore it so much more than I that I thought now was the time to give it another chance.
[154 minutes, 11 Oscar nominations]

Wed Aug 21st  THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952) winner of 5 Oscars including Cinematography. We're watching it for the return of the Supporting Actress Smackdown on August 28th and plus, Nathaniel (c'est moi) loves Vincent Minnelli movies. Yes, the Smackdown is coming back.
[118 minutes, 6 Oscar nominations.]

After The Bad and the Beautiful we'll wrap up this Best Shot season with one or two more pictures depending on how many of you are participating and where the excitement level is. What should we close with? Let's do a boy appeal movie since I'm often choosing women's pictures. I can't help myself!