Oscar History

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"LOVED this move. If the Academy could be convinced to see this, I could absolutely see it sneaking into BP." -Eurocheese

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Entries in TV (471)


Judy by the Numbers: "You're So Right For Me"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

The terribly tricky thing about early TV (or really any TV) history is that episodes are often filmed and aired in different orders. Because of the discrepancies in airing schedules, we will be following in the order in which they were shot. After the CBS lawsuit was settled with the agreement that Judy Garland should make a show for CBS, the question became what kind of show to do. It took two years for the usual contract negotiations, delays, and upheavals to settle enough for that question to be decided. On June 24, 1963, Judy Garland recorded the first episode of a variety show titled (unsurprisingly) The Judy Garland Show

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode #1
The Songwriter: Mel Torme (uncredited)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Jerry Van Dyke

The Story: A musical variety show seemed to be the perfect format for Judy: it was a popular genre that took advantage of its star's talents in not only singing, but also dancing and sketch comedy. Just two problems: 1) by 1964 the variety show was considered "old hat" and 2) CBS decided to air this new/old variety show against Sunday night behomoth Bonanza.

With the pressures of broadcast television, a new creative team (including Mel Torme), and her disintegrating relationship with Sidney Luft, Judy Garland requested that her first guest be someone she could trust: Mickey Rooney. The company line was that she was doing an old pal a favor, though it's clear from watching the clip that he's doing her a favor as well. Judy begins the clip full of nervous energy - she even mouths some of Mickey's lyrics - but eventually two decades of partnership and four decades of friendship put her at ease. By the time they get to the reprise, Judy Garland is genuinely, truly having a good time just being herself. The question was whether Judy Garland herself was something TV audiences would tune in for.


Emmy Afterglow. What's Your Take Away? 

My go to caption for all photos of impossibly lovely groups of fierce women is "You can't sit with us!".  But that wouldn't be appropriate here because look how warm and inviting this photo of Marcia Clark, Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett is after the Emmys!

A day after the Emmys what's your biggest takeaway and favorite win?

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Emmy Winners Open Thread

Veep and Game of Thrones defended their wins in the Comedy and Drama Series categories against first time competitors Black-ish and The Americans as well as the usual suspects in those categories (we can never have more than one fresh player, don'cha know) but the acting wins had some delicious surprises. Here are the winners.

And please also share your takeaways...


Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones (2nd consecutive win)

Outstanding Comedy Series
Veep (2nd consecutive win)

Outstanding Reality Competition Series
The Voice (3rd win, 2nd consecutive)

Outstanding Limited Series
The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

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Emmys 2016 - Why Keri Russell should win Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Here’s Lynn Lee, with a closer look at the newcomer and underdog of the six Emmy nominees for Best Lead Actress in a drama:

When I first started watching The Americans, I was blown away by one actor, and one actor alone: Matthew Rhys, as the male half of a pair of KGB operatives hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Reagan-era Washington, D.C.  Oh, the rest of the cast was strong, too, but Rhys—whom I’d never previously seen in anything—left everyone else in the dust, including Keri Russell as his partner in espionage.  She was good, I thought, but not quite at the level of her co-star.

Flash forward three seasons, and Russell’s more than made up that gap.  Not only does she now easily hold her own opposite Rhys, there are times when she surpasses him...

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Spike Lee Coming to Netflix

by Kieran Scarlett

It was recently announced that Netflix has ordered ten episodes of a TV series adaptation of Spike Lee’s 1986 debut feature film She’s Gotta Have It.  Lee will direct all ten episodes.  The age of prestige television truly allows for more fluid movement (at least behind the camera) from film to TV and back again. Spike Lee’s last few features (despite good notices for Chi-raq) have had trouble catching fire outside of the arthouse the way his earlier work has, for this reason or that. He’s certainly a polarizing figure and resistance to his work is built in to certain audiences.

Tracy Camilla Johns and Spike Lee in SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)

Have you seen She’s Gotta Have It? It’s a very fascinating piece, both on its own and in the larger context of Lee’s filmography. There’s a beautifully bare-bones energy to it that one would expect from a debut, but it still retains Lee’s voice, vigor and artistry. It’s also has a refreshing focus on female characters in a way that even ardent fans of Lee’s work can’t argue is missing from much of his filmography.

Lee’s previous notable foray into television gave us the beautiful and vital “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” his in-depth and personal HBO documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath (if you haven’t seen it, get thee to HBO on demand as soon as possible). Spike Lee adapting his voice for television is definitely something that could yield interesting results.

“She’s Gotta Have It” is expected to premiere on Netflix next year. Will you be watching?


The Beauty of "Queen Sugar"

by Kieran Scarlett

The televised family drama, free of a truly high concept seem to be dying.  The party line would be that watching the inner workings of a family unit—the relational politics and generational issues therein—devoid of something else for the show to be “about” don’t’ capture audiences as easily as those same stories with the overlaid veneer of meth production, mafia ties or a shady family-owned record company.  Over the past decade or so we’ve had several shows that have nakedly been about the dynamics of adult siblings in a family unit and very little else, “Brothers and Sisters” and “Parenthood” being two notable examples. Going back even further, even a show like “Six Feet Under” which had the high-concept premise of a family-owned funeral parlor wasn’t explicitly about that as much as it was the lives of the three siblings and the matriarch. We’ve certainly never seen a show of this nature about a non-white family, as it would seem that “black” shows especially need a hook. The shows with black or any non-white characters that get greenlit and see success tend to suggest the perpetuation of the false myth that audiences need to be given a reason for non-white characters in human drama.

Dawn-Lyen Gardener and Rutina Wesley

This long preface serves to highlight how truly rare—both in concept and in beautiful, artful execution—Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” feels...

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