Oscar History

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William Holden in Picnic

"I find Holden has a more earthy sex appeal in his early roles, you could kick your shoes off and put them on his lap and he wouldn't flinch." - Mark

"My mother's favorite actor. His dance with Kim Novak is an unforgettable movie moment." -Jaragon

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Entries in The Film Experience (193)


More thinkin' on that '100 Best Comedies' list...

by Nathaniel R

Since I haven't been able to stop thinking about the BBC top 100 comedies list (previously discussed) the only way to exorcize it is to make my own. These are presented in rough order and extremely subject to change since I basically made the list in 30 minutes and argued with myself about whether or not certain films (not on this) were comedies or not and whether or not one should list as "funniest" or "best" which are two very different things, even with comedies...

Click to read more ...


Coming Soon to the Smackdown

Hey all. You voted earlier this year on which years you'd most like to see covered on the Supporting Actress Smackdown. The next four regular Smackdowns (excluding the one in February for the new nominees of course) are drawn from your top five most requested years. 

October 1st "Supporting Actress Smackdown 1985"
Panelists: TBA; Nominees: Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple, Meg Tilly in Agnes of God, Anjelica Huston in Prizzi's Honor, and Amy Madigan in Twice in a Lifetime

November 5th "Supporting Actress Smackdown 1944"
Panelists: TBA; Nominees: Ethel Barrymore in None but the Lonely Heart, Jennifer Jones in Since You Went Away, Angela Lansbury in Gaslight, Aline MacMahon in Dragon Seed, and Agnes Moorehead in Mrs Parkington.

Get to watching those 9 movies and the Smackdowns will feel even more festive for you! And yes this means that September's 'year of the month' (that thing where we very randomly investigate a particular vintage of film) will be 1985 and October's will be 1944. ANY REQUESTS?  


Meet the Panelists - Smackdown '63

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '63 is just 3 days away. So it's time to get your votes in on the nominees that year. Readers, collectively, are the final panelist, so grade the nominees (only the ones you've seen) from 1 to 5 hearts. Your votes count toward the smackdown win! 

Diane Cilento Tom Jones
Edith Evans Tom Jones
Joyce Redman Tom Jones
Margaret Rutherford The VIPs 
Lilia Skala Lilies of the Field 


Now that we're finally getting to this long delayed Smackdown. It's time to meet this month's talking heads...


Seán McGovern and Brian Mullin
An Irishman and an American based in London, Seán McGovern and Brian Mullin are the hosts of Broad Appeal, the podcast that looks back at female-driven films from the not-so-distant past. Seán is a film festival programmer with Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest and has also worked for the BFI and the National Film and Television School. His mustache was once complimented by Wallace Shawn. Brian is a playwright, dramaturg and community activist; he's wedded to the theatre but still fools around with the movies. Their latest podcast series dissected 12 book-to-film adaptations (everything from Yentl to Jackie Brown) and they once saw Isabelle Huppert twice in two days! [Follow them @broadappealpod@bamullinspeaks@seanmcgovernx]

What does 1963 mean to you, guys?

To us, 1963 seems like the year things fell apart. The summer started with hope: JFK retraced his roots in Ireland and Martin Luther King led the March on Washington (with activists and many film stars in tow). By the end of the year, though, fatal shots had been fired in Dealey Plaza, and the the studio system was on life support following the bloated release of Liz & Dick's Cleopatra. The upheaval of the 60s was only just beginning; no wonder The Birds started attacking Tippi Hedren.

Teo Bugbee
Longtime Film Experience reader, Teo Bugbee is a culture writer, bylines found at The Daily Beast, MTV News, and The New York Times. In her time off from watching movies, she union agitates, gay organizes…and watches more movies. [Follow her @tmibugbee]

What does 1963 mean to you, Teo?

1963 was the year my mom was born, a classic Pisces in the year of the Rabbit. 1963 was the year of the Taylor-Burton affair, a formative obsession of my youth. 1963 was the year of my favorite Natalie Wood performance, in Love With A Proper Stranger. It's the year of The Feminine Mystique and the year Ann-Margret declared it lovely to be a woman, two statements of equal weight as far as I can tell. In my mind, 1963 is the year when the '60s stopped being an extension of the decade prior, and started to take on its own character as the decade for all things uncouth, dissatisfied, and misunderstood.

Kieran Scarlett
Kieran is a Canadian expat whose love affair with movies began with Judy Garland and Julie Andrews.  He thanks his older brother for his film fanaticism and apologizes profusely for dragging him to see Cold Mountain on opening weekend because "people in it might get nominated for stuff."  He received his MFA in writing from the American Film institute. He spends a lot of time thinking about the 1974 Best Actress race, admiring Dorothy Malone's mambo skills and longing for the return of Holly Hunter.  Kieran can be found in Los
Angeles, writing, working on movies and searching for the perfect arthouse theater with good parking. [Follow him @danblackroyd]

What does 1963 mean to you, Kieran?

Being that I was not alive in 1963 and don't have any immediate personal cinematic narrative connection to '63 (part of why I'm eager to dig into this year and find out what it means to others), the year for me means "Letters From a Birmingham Jail," the very pivotal, if somewhat under-discussed piece of writing from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thinking about the fact King wrote that while imprisoned a little over a week after the Oscar ceremony (not that the two are related, just a piece of trivia) makes me consider the hypothesis that the political climate of the country does influence Oscar's choices. One wonders how that tracks (or doesn't) in
terms of Tom Jones' Best PIcture victory.

And as ever your host...

Nathaniel R
Nathaniel is the creator and owner of The Film Experience and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. He recently became an O'Neill Fellow at the National Critics Institute. He is the film columnist for Towleroad, a longtime Oscar pundit (Gurus of Gold), and his writing has appeared in both online publications (Vanity Fair, Slate, Tribeca Film, Show-Score) and print magazines (Esquire and Winq). Nathaniel has served on international festival juries and appeared as an on-air Oscar pundit for CNNi. Follow him @nathanielr 

What does 1963 mean to you?

Liz Taylor as Cleopatra mostly. I am who I am. I sometimes try to imagine how frighteningly colossal the world's obsession with her in that time period of her life would be were it transposed into our era of social media and 24/7 celebrity coverage. I'm guessing it would be something like Beyoncé 2016 times Brangelina 2005 filtered through a media hype lens that was akin to Marvel Studios Phase Whatever breathlessness. One can only imagine the op-eds and memes and cosplay. Other things I occasionally think about from 1963 include my parents being newlyweds (how were they ever that young?) just starting a family, everything about Hud, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier and other celebrities rallying for Civil Rights, Natalie Wood receiving her last Oscar nomination (sniffle), and The Judy Garland Show's debut -- love watching clips of that on YouTube. How did that show get cancelled so quickly. Didn't people back in 1963 know how good they had it with The World's Greatest Entertainer?

What does 1963 mean to you, dear readers?


The Furniture Index

Can we have a random break for applause for Daniel Walber's The Furniture column. It was Daniel's birthday this weekend so he has the day off. His incredible series has been filled with sharp insights, a keen eye, and rich Hollywood anecdotes. Here's everything he's covered thus far, all 98 episodes. Please show your love in the comments if you look forward to these each Monday.

Early Cinema
• Top Hat (1935) Dancing sets

The Forties
Hold Back the Dawn (1941) Bored at the border
How Green Was My Valley (1941) Designing dignity
Ladies in Retirement (1941) Into the marshes with Ida Lupino
That Hamilton Woman (1941) High ceilings
Captain of the Clouds (1942) A Canadian air show
The Magnificent Andersons (1942) Victorian Palace / Manifest Destiny
My Gal Sal (1942) Nonsense Gay Nineties
The Shanghai Gesture (1942) Appropriating Chinese design
Gaslight (1944) Lighting of and in the set
Black Narcissus (1947) Mad for matte paintings

The Fifties
• David and Bathsheba (1951) A humble palace of moral struggle
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Decorative madness
My Cousin Rachel (1952) Ghosts of property
Knights of the Round Table (1953) Reframing King Arthur
The Night of the Hunter (1955) American expressionism
Lust for Life (1956) Van Gogh's inspiration

The Sixties
How the West Was Won (1962) Saloon kitsch
Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) weird wonders
Come Blow Your Horn (1963) Comedy by design
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) Your house is listening
A Shot in the Dark (1964) Charmingly ridiculous
What a Way To Go! (1964) Death by excess
Fantastic Voyage (1966) Absurd anatomy
The Oscar (1966) Celebrate the tackiness!
Camelot! (1967) A silly and furry place
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and Doctor Dolittle (1967) matte paintings
Is Paris Burning? (1967) Is patriotism subtle? Not very
The Taming of the Shrew (1967) A scenery buffet for the Battling Burtons
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) Extravagant concentrated nostalgia

The Seventies
The Exorcist (1973) A possessed bedroom
Tom Sawyer (1973) Stovepipe and steamboat nostalgia
Fellini's Casanova (1976) Grotesque extravagance
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Supertanker
All that Jazz (1979) The creative erotics of scaffolding

The Eighties
Querelle (1982) explicit architecture
Amadeus (1984) Paper opulence
Brazil (1985) Duct soup
Beaches (1988) Color schemes
Batman (1989) Nightmare at the museum

The Nineties
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Dracula's astounding castle
Orlando (1992) Otherworldy pageantry
Toys (1992) Surreal spaces
Addam's Family Values (1993) Setting fire to Thanksgiving
The Madness of King George (1994) Cluttered musty madness
Sleepy Hollow (1999) Historical realism meets nightmarish fantasy
Topsy Turvy (1999) Imperial fantasy in Gilbert & Sullivan's London

Sidebars to TV
• Best of Absolutely Fabulous - Special Report
Emmy Production Design 2016 - Should win? Penny Dreadful, Veep, etc
Emmy Produciton Design 2017 - Should win? The Young Pope, Feud, etc
Oscar Set Design 2016 - Art Deco Again
Oscar Set Design 2017 - Swarovski Crystal Diamond Mine

Dreamgirls (2006) Fame flattens your dream(girls), boys
Pan's Labyrinth (2006) Feasts of flesh
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) Chicanery and posterity
The Skin I Live In (2011) Decorating obsession
Brooklyn (2015) and Carol (2015) Dramatically different department stores
Joy (2015) Emerald city of home shopping
Lady in the Van (2015) Crime scene home
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) The Forest

Recent Cinema
20th Century Women (2016) Unfinished house, collaborative kitchen
Arrival (2016) and Passengers (2016) Lost in space and time
Beatriz at Dinner (2017) Tacky muted mansion
Childhood of a Leader (2016) Cruel curtained childhood
• The Conjuring 2 (2016) Malevolent secret codes
• Colossal (2017) Hoarding and emptiness
Deadpool (2016) Junkyard
• Embrace of the Serpent (2015/2016) The venomous and fanatical
The Eyes of My Mother (2016) Stark contrasts and devotional objects
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) 70's sitcom styles
• Fantastic Beasts (2016) and La La Land (2016) Magic unreality
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) Exuberant fandom
• Frantz (2017) Decorating for a lost generation
• Get Out (2017) Beige house of colonial horrors
Ghostbusters (2016) Shrieking color scheme
Hail Caesar (2016) Merrily We Dance
Hell or High Water (2016) Old West descendants
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) A warm welcome
Jackie (2016) and Paterson (2016) Home décor
King Arthur Legend of the Sword (2017) Reframing King Arthur
The Lobster (2016) Phony flowers
• The Lost City of Z (2017) deranged ambitions and indulgent fantasies
Love and Friendship (2016) Country charm
The Love Witch (2016) A tarot reading
Personal Shopper (2017) Framing the unseen
• A Quiet Passion (2017) floral punctuations
The Salesman (2016/2017) Crafting his own stage
Slack Bay (2017) Giddy grotesqueries
Star Trek Beyond (2016) Terrestrial fun
Toni Erdmann (2016) The dangers of corporate upholstery
Wiener-Dog (2016) Sickly green cages
The Witch (2016) Design heralds doom

The Now
Atomic Blonde (2017) Neon nihilism
The Beguiled (2017) A plaster haze
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Canadian brutalism in LA
Mudbound (2017) architectural metaphors
The Shape of Water (2017) A neon green future
The Furniture's Personal Oscar Ballot 2017 The Beguiled and more...


Oscar Chart Updates - Everything! 

The Oscar Charts are all freshly updated (but for the second two pages of foreign film submissions which will go up very soon). It's an exciting time because before the fall festivals hit and while we're still contemplating the highlights of the year's first seven months, it seems like anything's possible. That feeling will soon dissipate of course but for now, (almost) anything goes. Biggest gains this update go to The Papers, mother!, The Big Sick, and Wonder Wheel. Meanwhile Wonder Woman enters several charts, though not with much in the way of current predictions as it gears up for a campaign. Dunkirk solidifies pre-release Oscar faith now that people have layed eyes on it en masse. Taking the biggest hit this time is Detroit tas it gears up for wide release but is proving divisive and controversial. Our initial hunch/faith in The Snowman (due primarily to the director) dissipates with its somewhat generic thriller trailer.

And here's the wonderfully opaque teaser for mother! which might be exactly the kind of thing that works in acting categories (where psychological horror is sometimes popular if the film is a hit) so I've had to boost Jennifer Lawrence up in the Best Actress chart... not sure what I was thinking to so undervalue her previously...

Check out the charts and report back, won'cha?


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