Oscar History
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Review: QUEEN OF KATWE

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

"I would love to see 'Oscar winning director, Mira Nair' written somewhere someday" -Choog

 

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Entries in weddings (25)

Wednesday
Sep282016

Greer Garson, Peter Finch, Zoolander, and more...

1916 Happy Centennial to Best Actor winner Peter Finch (Network), one of only two posthumous acting winners in Oscar history. The other is Heath Ledger. (Curiously they were both Australian)
1924 Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita, 8½) is born in Italy. Becomes one of the all time great movie stars by his mid 30s. His career spans over 50 years of cinema.
1933 Greer Garson weds Edward Snelson, first of three husbands, though the cohabitation is brief. Ten years later she famously marries her screen son in Mrs Miniver.
1934 ...And God Created Brigitte Bardot in Paris

1945 Mildred Pierce opens. Joan Crawford will win Best Actress for this fabulous noir melodrama
1949 Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis first film together My Friend Irma
1950 American indie icon John Sayles is born in New York. Among his most famous films: Return of the Secaucus 7, Passion Fish, and Lone Star
1951 Franchot Tone marries Barbara Payton, his third wife, a disastrous marriage for both. And he survived Joan Crawford.
1957 The great cinematographer Harris Savides is born. Credits include Zodiac, Milk, and Birth. His last gorgeous film The Bling Ring was released posthumously

Greer Garson is Oscar's 7th Most Beloved Actress

1960 Sunrise at Campobello premieres at the movies. Greer Garson will snag her seventh and final Best Actress nomination as Eleanor Roosevelt. She'll lose to Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8 though their fates were reversed at the Golden Globes.
1961 Shirley Booth starts her run as Hazel a TV sitcom that lasts five seasons. The next summer she wins the Lead Emmy making her a Triple Crowner after her Tony & Oscar for Come Back Little Sheba.
1964 Janeane Garofalo is born. We don't appreciate her comic brilliance in Reality Bites (1994) enough. 
1967 Supporting Actress winner Mira Sorvino is born. If you never read our 1995 Smackdown it was a good one so check it out.

1968 Nicole's bestie Naomi Watts is born (curiously neither were born in Australia but moved there as children). Also "Hey Jude" by the Beatles hits #1 and stays there for 9 weeks 
1976 Israeli star Ohad Knoller is born. Credits include Yossi & Jagger, Yossi, Munich, and The Bubble
1984 Jessica Lange's Country opens. Exactly one week after Sally Field's Places in the Heart in the year of the farm wife
1987 Hilary Duff who comes to fame as "Lizzie McGuire" is born. Currently co-starring on the underappreciated Emmy worthy comedy Younger
1992 Keir Gilchrist, who was so wonderful as a gay teenager on The United States of Tara and was last seen in It Follows is born 

1994 Tim Burton's Ed Wood premieres. Do you still love it?
1997 Chad Lowe & Hilary Swank marry. Two years later she wins the Oscar and forgets to thank him. She remembers the second time but why was their a second time again. ARGH! (Old wounds - editor)
2001 Ben Stiller first delivers "Blue Steel" in movie theaters in Zoolander
2012 Looper hits theaters. That was a good one though perhaps it was a warning that Joseph Gordon Levitt was always going to try to "alter" himself in some way (face, voice, body whatever) for his future leading roles shaving off parts of his charisma in the process.

Saturday
Sep172016

Lovesick Brides to Be at TIFF

Nathaniel reporting from the last weekend at TIFF where brides-to-be are in the air. It's easy to see little mini-festivals blossom within the overall festival you're watching. Sometimes it happens quite by accident as with three films I caught recently (two of which might be fighting for Oscar foreign film nods). All feature female protagonists who pine for a man they thought they would marry before things went horribly wrong. We've already discussed François Ozon's Frantz. In that film the fiancee is already dead when the movie begins but in these next two films The Wedding Ring from Niger and Sand Storm from Israel, both of the young women begin the movie with a combination of dread and hope: will they be able to marry the man they loved who they met in a liberal university setting or does their conservative rural village community have other futures in mind? Both films are narrative debuts by female directors. In addition to their romantic dramas these two films speak to the clash of modernity and tradition, West and East, and especially to gender roles with young women chafing at the expectations placed on them to be subservient to whims of the patriarchy...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul112016

Review: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's Towleroad column...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates starts out giddy with a bouncy firecracker of a credits sequence. Please take that literally as the credits involve a trampoline, fireworks, and two gleeful stars Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) in mid air. Their joyful abandon is short-lived. A scene or two later we're at an intervention with their parents (Stephen Root & Stephanie Faracy) in which we see these same high-flying images again from a less zhushed-up perspective in home wedding videos their parents play them. The inseparable brothers, always each other's bachelor dates at these gatherings, egg each other on until disaster strikes. Property destruction and ambulance calls follow them... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov122015

Women's Pictures - Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding

The problem with only getting 1 month - 4 weeks or 5 if we're lucky - to cover an entire career is that things get left out. Movies, genres, occasionally entire decades are skipped over because (thankfully) many of the amazing female directors we discuss made more than 4 films. In the case of Mira Nair, we're skipping both movies, genres, and decades.

Between Salaam Bombay! in 1988 and Monsoon Wedding in 2001, Mira Nair honed her craft making 5 movies in different genres: a great romantic drama, a short, a Cuban-American romcom, a movie about the Kama Sutra, and a drama about Indian-Americans in the South. Nair also became a professor and Columbia, where she met the student who would eventually write Monsoon Wedding, Sabrina Dhawan. The net effect of the 13 years between her first feature and her big hit was a maturation of character as a director. The motifs Nair explored in Salaam Bombay - tonal balance between comedy and darkness, bright cinematography, exploration of social structures - are put to seemingly completely opposite ends in the lighthearted Monsoon Wedding.

Monsoon Wedding is a Bollywood musical by way of Robert Altman. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct142015

Links: Streep in Berlin, Tarantino in Hot Water, Garber at the Altar

Oscars Cometh
Awards Daily Love and Mercy is pulling out all the stops for their Oscar campaign including Brian Wilson concerts
Twitter everyone is excited that Mad Max Fury Road is getting an Oscar campaign but most hits get this treatment even the ones that have no chance.
Academy Conversations Truth is on the campaign trail, too with this recent conversation in NYC. Pssst. I believe NY's BAFTA chapter also hosted a screening just last night at the theater I was in (though I was there for a different movie)
NYT Style "The Gonzo Vision of Quentin Tarantino" like Matt Damon before him he might do his latest Oscar campaign good by just shutting up. In this new profile he infuriates a lot of people with his anger about his racial criticisms of his work and even has the nerve to be chauvinistically condescending about Kathryn Bigelow's beating him at the Oscars

Look, it was exciting that a woman had made such a good war film..."

 

General Linkage
Variety WOW. Meryl Streep, who has never really been a film festival queen like some respected actors will be president of the Berlinale jury in 2016. It's her FIRST film festival jury. Naturally she starts at the top as president of an A list fest
AV Club on a fun new instagram movie/tv mocking account "Night Lotion" LOL
EW a roundtable with the creatives behind Aladdin for its Blu-ray release
TFE did you vote on our Aladdin inspired poll?
The Tracking Board collects all the recent Jennifer Lawrence news... which is a lot and frankly we don't have the strength this week. Can we talk about any other actress for a change? She doesn't even have a movie out right now. Can we at least wait for her to be in movie theaters again?
Gothamist Lena Dunham's next HBO series in development is called Max about magazines and second-wave feminism in the 1960s
Guardian Sir John Hurt's given the all-clear from doctors after his chemo for cancer. Yay! 
Guardian in extremely confusing Hollyweird news Paramount is developing a remake of The Ten Commandments (1956). Didnt they notice all the money lost on the last one (Ridley Scott's Exodus)?
Vulture goes to the set of The Knick
NYT Playboy magazine will no longer feature nudity but tone down their pictorials to "suggestive"
EW want to be naked with Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips? Everyone gets naked (including the audience) for the video for "The Milky Milky Milk" 
/Film on recent Marvel news - the biggest of which is that Hulk will co-star in Thor: Ragnarok
Playbill interviews the huge stage talent Danny Burstein. He is really remarkable on stage but has a low profile on film and TV. I was pleased to see him pop up recently in The Family Fang and Blackhat albeit in tiny roles. If only they were making great screen musicals and casting appropriately.
Pajiba collects the best tweets from the Democratic Debate last night. Some really funny ones here 
Variety Julianne Moore lead Hollywood committee fighting for gun violence prevention 

*throws rice*
Finally, congratulations to Victor Garber (Alias, Titanic, Argo,The Flash). He married his boyfriend of 16 years, the artist Rainer Andreesen this week. They eloped apparently. Photo via Rainer's instagram

Sing-Along to Go
Here's Victor Garber singing Elton John's "Last Song". Since nearly the entire cast of The Flash has beautiful musical theater voices, can we please get a musical episode?  Pretty pretty please. I don't care if it has to be on an Alternate Earth.

 

Friday
Aug282015

Broken Lance's "Half Breed"

Robert Wagner keeps invading our Smackdown celebrations. In our 1952 revisit he appeared briefly as a shell shocked soldier for Susan Hayward to comfort with her crooning in With a Song in My Heart. He was almost impossible to look at from the pretty. And here he is again, distracting another Smackdown with his smolder in the western Broken Lance.

Perhaps we'd better go inside."

[Translation]: Jean Peters, you're about to tear your clothes off under the moonlight and devour me but I will chivalrously save your reputation... now that I've already won you with my lips. 

The rising 24 year-old actor was rumored to be carrying on behind the scenes with the then 47 year-old Barbara Stanwyck (who happens to co-star in Executive Suite, another of this month's Smackdown movies) but his most enduring romance was yet to begin. How many times do you think a then 16 year-old Natalie Wood, just one year away from her key transition film from child star to teen icon (Rebel Without a Cause) demanded to watch Broken Lance? Do you think her friends & handlers were all "enough with the Broken Lance, Nat!" According to Natalie herself, by 1954 her love would have already been six years strong though the actors had yet to meet.

"I was 10 and he was 18 when I first saw him walking down a hall at 20th Century Fox," she recalls. "I turned to my mother and said, 'I'm going to marry him.' "

She did.

Natalie married RJ (for the first time) in December 1957. She was just 19.

In Broken Lance, the then 24 year old actor (of German and Norwegian descent) plays our protagonist, the "half breed" son of Native American princess "Señora Devereaux" (played by Mexican actress Katy Jurado) and an Irish cattle rancher (played by Spencer Tracy of Irish descent) who is at odds with his half-brothers. R.J. is heavily bronzed for the role. For all the typical Old Hollywood clumsiness with racial identity and casting -- something that hasn't changed much in the subsequent 61 years (note: Rooney Mara as "Tiger Lily" in the forthcoming Pan) --  Broken Lance actually really sells the racial identity angst with something like humane progressive verve. Jean Peters, playing RJ's love interest Barbara, jokes that her man is more upset about being half Irish than half Indian in a clumsy date scene which results in both of them doing those cheery Old Holllywood fake chuckles as we dissolve out. Elsewhere, though, there's rich drama. Tracy's three sons from an earlier marriage, who serve as the plot's antagonists aren't always comfortable with their bi-racial home but neither are they painted as explicitly racist. Their "evil," if you will, arrives from a more complex mix of agendas and grudges against their father and you can see that the eldest actually respects his stepmom and youngest brother, even as he speaks out against them. In the films most sympathetically acted moment of strife, Tracy squares off with the Governor (E.G. Marshall), over their children's unexpected romance (pictured up top). The governor's discomfort with his daughter falling for his closest friend's bi-racial son-- a young man he otherwise likes quite a lot and has seen grow up, mind you -- clearly scars both men, tearing their decades long friendship apart. Prejudices hurt everyone, not just the target of the prejudice.

All in all Broken Lance is an engaging western with more ambitions than gunfights for a change of pace. And this is why we should always love the Oscars, people. Let others reflexively gripe about it and miss out. Awards history directs us to movies we might otherwise never see from before our time. And Oscar history, for all its imperfections and blindspots, can illuminate pop culture throughlines, introduce you to rich now underappreciated talents, and provide wonderful anecdotal bits and bobs from mainstream history, cinematic and otherwise.

I love doing the Smackdowns and I hope you do, too. If you wanted to vote on this round, I need your votes by this evening at the absolute latest. The 1954 Supporting Actress Smackdown arrives Sunday morning at 10:00 AM.