Oscar History

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Entries in Tues Top Ten (117)


Nathaniel's Top Ten of 2017

by Nathaniel R

Better late than never. If you've been wondering why your TFE host has been so in and out of the proceedings this season, let's just say life has proved significantly challenging offline: the end of a decade-plus relationship, homelessness (not the dramatic kind but the sleeping on friend's couches kind), a long bout with the flu, a new side gig, etcetera). So this list carries a bit of melancholy with it as 2017 was one of the hardest years of my life. (If you also had a rough year: I feel you. Hugs in solidarity). Due to all of this I didn't see as many films as is my preference and couldn't rewatch the key films I usually would have before "voting".

But in the end you have to move forward.  Time changes everything... and time changes all top ten lists also! Some of these placements that you scratch your head about now, you'll either understand in ten years time OR I'll join you in scratching my head about them with a "what was I thinking?" blush. Top ten lists are but time capsules.

People change for better and worse. Circumstances shift dramatically or perception does. The movies of 2017 helped me understand all this, many of them zeroed in on definitive months in someone's life, others hopping around in time, and still more juxtaposing the past with the present...

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Top Ten: Black Swan's Best Shots

by Ilich Mejía

TFE is highly anticipating Darren Aronofsky's upcoming mother!. The film welcomes a reunion between Aronofsky and American cinematographer Matthew Libatique, shortly after they last collaborated on 2014's Noah and 2010's Black Swan. A lot of parrallels have already been drawn across the latter and mother!, including similarities between their cracked-doll posters and doesn't this bloody rug remind anyone of a certain mirror-sharded dress? 

To show how desparetely we can't wait to see what new images Aronofsky and Libatique will sear into our psyches when mother! premieres, we're going to look back and pick our ten favorite shots from Black Swan. Libatique's gorgeous, dark cinematography earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Presumably, the Academy was as impressed as we were by his interpretation of the film's theme's of duality and control. 

Let's dissect our favorite frames from the psychological drama after the jump...

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Top Ten: Best Moments in "Wonder Woman"

by Nathaniel R

I've spent a bit of time this summer reconnecting with friends, many of whom are only casual moviegoers rather than cinephiles. Everyone has wanted to see or been talking about Wonder Woman. I think it's fair to say, after a second viewing and hearing similar enthusiasms repeated again and again, that it's a better cultural object than a  movie. It's shocking to realize that there just aren't any movies like it even though it's not very original. That's proof that a little (big) thing like a female lead and a female director can make an enormous difference. While the cinema has given us many strong female icons (to pretend otherwise, as some voices seem to be doing, is to be supremely ungenerous to the artform and/or to reveal either one's extreme ignorance of movies made prior to, say, 2004 or a very limited taste in film genres).

But, yes, the superhero genre has been shockingly non-representative of the real world where women make up half of all humanity. Nevertheless you can't be a great cultural object as a movie without having some true pizazz as a film so let's give Wonder Woman its due after the jump...


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Tuesday Top Twenty: Ranking Nicole Kidman's Work

By Nathaniel R

Nicole at the ACM Awards this weekAs mentioned in our piece on the finale of Big Little Lies the internet is finally accepting that Nicole Kidman is a genius. Why they haven't noticed that she's been a regularly gripping actor since Dead Calm (1989) with her ascent into intermittent genius happening as early as 1995 (twenty-two years ago!) with her sly breakthrough as fame-obsessed Suzanne Stone in Gus Van Sant's To Die For (Golden Globe win, Best Actress in a Comedy) we will never understand.

But it is what it is. Actresses not named Meryl Streep have to go through this from time to time with people doubting their talent. One imagines if Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant in any of her comeback roles this year we will get a raft of "who knew this 80s sex symbol, Catwoman herself, was also a great actor?!" articles and we will have to roll our eyes with a "anyone who was paying any attention at all!" answer and a weary shrug.

But it's fun to do quick rankings, so herewith...

Nicole Kidman's 20 Best Performances

The order would vary if the list were composed on a different day though the top eight would remain the top eight, give or take the exact numbers...

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Best of Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

We've reached the end of our Year in Review List Making if not the end of the year in review list making -- wait wha?!. Which is to say that we still have our own awards nominations (both Oscar and fun extras) in some 40 categories to come. That's right. It's time for the annual Film Bitch Award Nominations -- our 17th annual prizes (gulp) -- which begin with the age-old tradition of the top ten list.

But first...


If The Salesman borrows too liberally from Asghar Farhadi's masterpiece A Separation so be it (let's face it -- all the great auteurs steal from themselves. This is how we recognize their films). It's a riveting drama exposed by destabilizing cracks in the foundations.

Sing Street was the year's most rewarding nostalgia piece causing flashbacks of teenage identity experiments and that usually short lived  'i could be a pop star!' phase. And what a fantastically fresh cast.

Viggo Mortensen's uniquely out of place and time persona (think about it: he could be from any country or era) is a huge boon to the thought-provoking Captain Fantastic. Writer/director Matt Ross harnesses Viggo's energy for a head-first sprint into the woods of non-conformity but those idealogical woods thin out and soon enough we're face-to-face with reality.

The Fits' unique character as something of a mystical movement film had us levitating. Its hard-to-pin-down allegory wasn't so much tentative and amorphous as thrillingly ambiguous...

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Sick Bed List Fever

by Nathaniel R

Okay, this is one of those "sick" calls you make to the boss when you're not really sick but you just absolutely can't. Getting out of bed since Tuesday has been quite a Herculean challenge. Hence the far lighter than usual posting (apologies! but by Monday we will figure out a way to be posting with the mad frequent abandon that awards season deserves). If you have any tricks for soldiering on whilst feeling despair do please share them in the meantime. It's not just myself who needs them.

One of the best activities when feeling under the weather, physically or spiritually or emotionally is arguably list-making. It is "busywork" so in one sense you don't need all that much energy and focus to do it but it is also fun if you choose the right list topic. Over the past couple of weeks I've been updating and fixing the top ten pages (which are always under construction in case we see a new old favorite) but if you'd like to investigate the various decades and see the lists please click away.

Check them out. If only we had time to write about them all...


Who are your favorite supporting actresses of the year?

By Nathaniel R

Over the weekend Fences had its first screening in Los Angeles and Viola Davis apparently lived up to the prerelease hype so there you have your near-certain winner in the Supporting Actress category this year. (I haven't seen it yet so no comment on that until I do.) But nominations are our favorite part of the Oscar nomination circus anyway so even if the race is wrapped up and Viola becomes a record-breaker as we predicted, it's fun to keep sifting through the options.

Yes, it's that time of year when we begin to take stock and are promptly filled with anxiety about sacrificing favorites as we winnow down to the magic number of 5 for our awardage. Along with the anxiety, though, comes such appreciation for the art of the movies. It's one of the many reasons we cherish awards season...

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Tues Top Ten: Helen Reddy on TV and at the Movies

Appropos of nothing let's celebrate Helen Reddy's 75th Birthday today! The Pete's Dragon star (the original not this year's remake) was an Australian pop star who had a ton of hits in the 1970s. The only one that gets much airplay today is "I Am Woman" which still shows up in movies and on TV for an instant time capsule. You know how some songs become cultural shorthand. For a time Reddy was a movie and TV presence, too, including at awards shows -- and you know how we love those here at The Film Experience. She was Golden Globe nominated as "Most Promising Newcomer" a now defunct category for the disaster flick Airport '75 and she sang multiple movie theme songs, too!

Let's look back at 10 moments from her TV/Movie history just for kicks and star sightings...

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