25 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Friday Minute
No. 220 | February 25, 2011

Oscar Perspective


Our theme this week

Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar…and a look ahead to this year’s awards

Featured this week
(See Monday post for theme introduction)
Monday         —   Actors Who Never Won an Oscar
Tuesday         —   Actresses Who Never Won an Oscar
Wednesday    —   Directors Who Never Won an Oscar
Thursday        —   Films That Didn’t Win a Single Oscar

UPDATE:  The Winners   —   Oscar 2010 Recap

Picks & Predictions for the 2010 Oscars

oscarcolin firthoscarnatalie portmanoscardavid fincheroscar

Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, David Fincher:  three who haven’t won an Oscar…yet.  You’ll find them smiling Sunday night.

The week so far has featured 140 actors, actresses, directors, and films that inexplicably never won an Academy Award.  Today we look ahead.  Guaranteed, somebody will win at the upcoming ceremony.  I don’t really know who the winners will be, but I can pretend, and that’s what I do below.  Read on for my picks (those who should win) and predictions (those who will win).  Good luck in your pool and enjoy the show.

Best Picture

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

The word around town is that The King’s Speech is the one.  I like to think the Academy may give people a surprise.  Last year (unlike some other years) it awarded the Best Picture Oscar to the picture that was best.  A novel idea.  Why not do it again?  It really is a clear choice, the way I see  it.  The Social Network is not just the best film of the year, it’s one of the great pictures of the millennium.  The King’s Speech is a fine movie, but in a few years it’ll seem like just another nice pic about the British royals, a family that’s been the subject of too many films already.  Fifty years from now The Social Network will still look brilliant.  Its future is a surer thing than Facebook’s, if you ask me.  What’s at stake on Sunday is not what people will think of the movie someday, but what they will think of the Academy.  Here’s hoping it does the right thing.

PICK:  The Social Network
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours

Both give first-rate performances, and I’d give the edge to Jesse Eisenberg, who creates a kind of character we haven’t seen before.  But Eisenberg would be the youngest Best Actor ever, and Colin Firth, at 50, is ripe for the recognition his career deserves.  It’s no contest.  “Speech!”

PICK:  Jesse Eisenberg
PREDICTION:  Colin Firth

Actress in Leading Role

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams gave a raw, brave, and deserving performance, but she’s a long shot here.  Natalie Portman was very good, and her role of artist-in-the-making should resonate with Oscar voters.  She’s the likely winner, but if Annette Bening were to have her name called, I’d be thrilled.

PICK:  Michelle Williams
PREDICTION:  Natalie Portman

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Christian Bale had a showy role, the kind that usually does well at Oscar time.  But there was nothing easy about his performance.  He’ll win, and he’ll deserve it.

PICK:  Christian Bale
PREDICTION:  Christian Bale

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar at 10, and Anna Paquin at 11, so it’s possible that 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld could bring home an Academy Award.  But more likely, one of the nominees from The Fighter will win.  I’m fond of Amy Adams’s performance, but Melissa Leo had a role that seemed aimed to get Oscar attention, and unless her self-financed campaign and complaints about ageism turn off voters, it probably will.

PICK:  Amy Adams
PREDICTION:  Melissa Leo

Directing

  • Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  • David O. Russell, The Fighter
  • Tom Hopper, The King’s Speech
  • David Fincher, The Social Network
  • Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

The man who should win will win, and fittingly, for the best of his many good films.

PICK:  David Fincher
PREDICTION:  David Fincher

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Mike Leigh, Another Year
  • Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, The Fighter
  • Christopher Nolan, Inception
  • Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
  • David Seidler, The King’s Speech

The story of David Seidler waiting decades for the Queen Mum to die before his film would be made it as touching as the story of the film itself.  If anybody deserves an award for The King’s Speech, he’s the one.

PICK:  David Seidler
PREDICTION:  David Seidler

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
  • Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
  • John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
  • Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone

Voters may give Aaron Sorkin the Oscar for his brilliant dialogue, but his real achievement is an inventive story structure and compelling, complex characters.  The Social Network is a special film, and it all starts with Sorkin’s script.

PICK:  Aaron Sorkin
PREDICTION:  Aaron Sorkin

Animated Feature Film

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist
  • Toy Story 3

I’m a fan of The Illusionist but it will take more than magic for it to win.  Short of a miracle, the Oscar goes to Toy Story 3.

PICK:  The Illusionist
PREDICTION:  Toy Story 3

Documentary (Feature)

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Gasland
  • Inside Job
  • Restrepo
  • Waste Land

The crooks who run Wall Street got away with trillions and escaped justice.  The closest we’ll see to consolation in this world is an Oscar for Inside Job.

PICK:  Inside Job
PREDICTION:  Inside Job

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Killing in the Name
  • Poster Girl
  • Strangers No More
  • Sun Come Up
  • The Warriors of Qiugang

Haven’t seen them so I’m just reading tea leaves.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Killing in the Name

Foreign Language Film

  • Biutiful, Mexico
  • Dogtooth, Greece
  • In a Better World, Denmark
  • Incendies, Canada
  • Outside the Law, Algeria

Tea leaves again.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  In a Better World

Short Film (Animated)

  • Day & Night
  • The Gruffalo
  • Let’s Pollute
  • The Lost Thing
  • Madagascar, carnet de voyage

A competitive category, so I hear.  More tea leaves and a hunch.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Madagascar, carnet de voyage

Short Film (Live Action)

  • The Confession
  • The Crush
  • God of Love
  • Na Wewe
  • Wish 143

If you’re the type who wagers on a horse because you like its name, you’re well equipped to bet on the Academy Award winner for the Short Film category.

PICK:  None
PREDICTION:  Wish 143

Art Direction

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • True Grit

Tim Burton films have won in this category three times before (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeny Todd).  Now it will be four.

PICK: Alice in Wonderland
PREDICTION:  Alice in Wonderland

Cinematography

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

Nine-time nominee Roger Deakins is about to win his first Oscar.  Overdue and well deserved.

PICK:  True Grit
PREDICTION:  True Grit

Costume Design

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • I Am Love
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

Nine-time nominee (and three-time winner) Sandy Powell (The Tempest) is in the running but the Oscar this time goes to nine-time nominee (and soon-to-be-two-time winner) Jenny Beavans.  Royal period outfits rule.

PICK:  The King’s Speech
PREDICTION:  The King’s Speech

Film Editing

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network

We are living in a golden age of editing.  The Editors Guild’s Eddie Award for film drama went to The Social Network.  I won’t argue with that.

PICK:  Black Swan
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Makeup

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

Rick Baker has twelve nominations and six wins.  Partner Dave Elsey has his second nomination.  Expect them to pick up Oscars seven and one, respectively.

PICK:  The Wolfman
PREDICTION:  The Wolfman

Music (Original Score)

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross deserve to win.  Will they?  Well, why not?

PICK:  The Social Network
PREDICTION:  The Social Network

Music (Original Song)

  • “Coming Home,” Country Strong
  • “I See the Light,” Tangled
  • “If I Rise,” 127 Hours
  • “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3

The A.R. Rahman / Dido theme song for 127 Hours is wonderful, and has an ethereal, magical touch, but animation tends to dominate this category.  FifteenTwenty(!)-time nominee Randy Newman may win his second Oscar.

PICK:  “If I Rise”
PREDICTION:  “We Belong Together”

Sound Editing

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • Tron: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

Inception will dominate the technical categories and win here.

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception

Sound Mixing

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

Inception will dominate the technical categories and win here.  Do I repeat myself?

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception

Visual Effects

  • Alice In Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

Yes, I repeat myself.

PICK:  Inception
PREDICTION:  Inception


 127 Hours (2010)
Music Video
“If I Rise”
A.R. Rahman, music
Dido, Rollo, lyrics
Dido, A.R. Rahmah, performers


Quote of note
“Creation myths need a devil.”
—Marylin Delpy (Rashida Jones), The Social Network (2010)


Final Friday Five, the monthly mini-quiz

1.  Match each Oscar-nominated role for 2010 with the actor or actress who played the character.

ROLES

  • Prince Albert / King George VI
  • Aron Ralston
  • Cindy
  • Janine “Smurf” Cody
  • Rooster Cogburn
  • Becca Corbett
  • James “Jem” Coughlin
  • Ree Dolly
  • Dicky Ecklund
  • Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon / Queen Elizabeth
  • Charlene Fleming
  • Lionel Logue
  • Nic
  • Paul
  • Mattie Ross
  • Nina Sayers
  • Teardrop
  • Uxbal
  • Alice Ward
  • Mark Zuckerberg

 ACTORS & ACTRESSES

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

2.  Which of this year’s acting nominees have won Oscars in the past?

3.  “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!”  That’s a line from Best Picture nominee True Grit spoken to Rooster Cogburn.  Is Pepper the name of the character or the name of the actor who says the line?

4.  Name that Oscar.  The only Oscar to win an Oscar was a two-time winner for original song:  “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” from Lady Be Good (1941), and “It Might as Well Be Spring,” from State Fair (1945).  What is Oscar’s full name?

5.  Several past movies have featured characters winning Academy Awards.  Name the actor or actress who plays the Oscar-winning performer.

In & Out (1997) — Cameron Drake is awarded the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of a gay soldier.  In his televised speech, he thanks his former high school teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline), adding “…and he’s gay.”  It’s a surprise to Brackett’s family, friends, students, and fiancée.  Who plays Cameron Drake?

S1m0ne (2002) — Director Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) loses the big star on his new film and is unable to find a replacement.  He uses a computer program to create a simulated actress named Simone.  The film is a success and Simone wins Best Actress.  Who plays Simone?

Tropic Thunder (2008) — A Vietnam vet’s memoir is adapted into a movie starring Tugg Speedman, Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black).  A film taken from footage of the production called Tropical Blunder goes on to great success, winning Speedman the Best Actor prize.  Who plays Tugg Speedman?

Answers here.

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 03 Mar 2011 @ 07:54 AM

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 24 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Thursday Minute
No. 219 | February 24, 2011

Oscar Perspective


Our theme this week

Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar

Featured this week
(See Monday post for theme introduction)
Monday         —   Actors Who Never Won an Oscar
Tuesday         —   Actresses Who Never Won an Oscar
Wednesday    —   Directors Who Never Won an Oscar

Films That Didn’t Win a Single Oscar

double indemnity_1the searchers_1mean streets_1the shawshank redemption_1

Double Indemnity, The Searchers, Mean Streets, The Shawshank Redemption:  the kind of movies they make movie awards to honor.  But not Oscars.

The theme so far this week is non-winners:  actors, actresses, and directors who never won an Oscar—but should have.  Today we turn to films.  All of the movies are very good—classics, even—but not one of them won a single Oscar for anything.  We have two lists.  On the first are five movies that racked up a considerable number of nominations, seven apiece, yet all the cast and crew went home empty-handed.  The second has fifteen films, none even getting to the ceremony—not one measly nomination for any of them.

Movies don’t get much better than these, and the lesson is that the ultimate quality of a film isn’t measured by the fickle taste of the Academy.  There’s more than a bit of guesswork (and bias and other noise) that goes into the honors that Oscar voters bestow each year.  Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don’t.

5 FILMS THAT WENT 0 FOR 7 AT THE OSCARS

Double Indemnity (1944)
Billy Wilder, director
Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
An insurance salesman and suburban housewife plot to kill her husband
Nominations:  7 (including picture, director, actress/lead, screenplay)
Oscars:  0

The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Edward Dmytryk, director
Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson, Robert Francis, Fred MacMurray
A navy captain loses his command and the mutineers are court martialed
Nominations:  7 (including picture, actor/lead, actor/supporting, screenplay)
Oscars:  0

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Otto Preminger, director
James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
A small-town lawyer defends an army lieutenant on trial for murder
Nominations:  7 (including picture, actor/lead, two actors/supporting, screenplay)
Oscars:  0

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Frank Darabont, director
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
A banker convicted of his wife’s murder finds friendship and redemption in prison
Nominations:  7 (including picture, actor/lead, screenplay)
Oscars:  0

The Thin Red Line (1998)
Terrence Malick, director
James Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte
The lives of soldiers during the Battle of Guadalcanal
Nominations:  7 (including picture, director, screenplay)
Oscars:  0

Failing to win an Oscar hasn’t hurt the reputations of these five films.  They’re generally regarded highly, very good to great.  They are not, however, the record holders for shut-outs at the Oscars.  A handful of films, not all of the same rank, had more nominations yet still didn’t win an award:  The Turning Point (11 nominations; 1977); The Color Purple (11; 1985); Gangs of New York (10; 2002);  The Little Foxes (9; 1941); Peyton Place (9; 1957); Quo Vadis? (8; 1951); The Nun’s Story (8; 1959); The Sand Pebbles (8; 1959); The Elephant Man (8; 1980); Ragtime (8; 1981); The Remains of the Day (8; 1993).

15 FILMS WITHOUT A SINGLE OSCAR NOMINATION

The General (1927)
Buster Keaton, director
Buster Keaton
A Civil War train engineer seeks to rescue his beloved Annabelle Lee

City Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin, director
Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill
The Tramp falls in love with a blind girl

Duck Soup (1933)
Leo McCarey, director
The Marx Brothers
Freedonia declares war on Sylvania

Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
Preston Sturges, director
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake
A Hollywood film director hits the road as a hobo

The Big Sleep (1946)
Howard Hawks, director
Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
Philip Marlowe investigates blackmail and murder in a case for General Sternwood

The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Charles Laughton, director
Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish
A preacher marries, and murders, for money

The Searchers (1956)
John Ford, director
John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood
A Civil War veteran searches for his niece, captured by Comanches

Paths of Glory (1957)
Stanley Kubrick, director
Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready
A tale of treachery in the trenches of World War I

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Alexander Mackendrick, director
Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis
A powerful columnist hires a press agent to break up his sister’s romance

Touch of Evil (1958)
Orson Welles, director
Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles
A crooked cop plants evidence in a murder case on the Mexican border

Mean Streets (1973)
Martin Scorsese, director
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel
Small-time hoods on the streets of Little Italy

Body Heat (1981)
Lawrence Kasdan, director
William Hurt, Kathleen Turner
A neo-noir set in hot and steamy Florida

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Quentin Tarantino, director
Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi
The search for a police informant after a jewelry heist goes wrong

Donnie Darko (2001)
Richard Kelly, director
Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell
A troubled teen has visions of a large bunny rabbit

Zodiac (2007)
David Fincher, director
Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr.
The search for a famous serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area


Double Indemnity (1944)
Billy Wilder, director
James M. Cain (novel); Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler (screenplay); writers
Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck

The big winner at the 1944 Oscars was the lighthearted and relatively lightweight Going My Way, with 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Leo McCarey), Best Actor (Bing Crosby), Best Supporting Actor (Barry Fitzgerald), and Best Adapted Screenplay.  In those days, at the Oscars, crime did not pay.


Quote of note
“How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”
—Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), Double Indemnity (1944)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 23 Feb 2011 @ 07:44 PM

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 23 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Wednesday Minute
No. 218 | February 23, 2011

Oscar Perspective


Our theme this week

Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar

Featured this week
(See Monday post for theme introduction)
Monday         —   Actors Who Never Won an Oscar
Tuesday         —   Actresses Who Never Won an Oscar

Directors Who Never Won an Oscar

howard hawks_2stanley kubrick_2sidney lumet_2

Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet:  great directors with something in common.  Who needs an expensive doorstop anyway?

Each year the Academy hands out four Oscars to actors but just one to directors.   It’s so much easier to ignore the great ones that way.  Today’s list includes many of Hollywood’s big-name filmmakers, ones who somehow never won an Academy Award for directing.  (Foreign directors have been snubbed too.  In fact, no director has earned an Oscar for a foreign-language film.  The foreign-born directors who have won Oscars include Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Miloš Forman, Bernardo Bertolucci, Roman Polanski, and Ang Lee, all who won for movies predominantly in English.)

Robert Altman
Directing nominations:  5
Award-caliber film:  Nashville (1975)
Honorary Oscar:  2005

Tim Burton
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  Ed Wood (1994)

Jane Campion
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  The Piano (1993)
Screenplay Oscar (The Piano, 1993)

John Cassavetes
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

Charlie Chaplin
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  City Lights (1931)
Best Score (Limelight, 1952, awarded in 1973); Honorary Award:  1929, 1971

Brian DePalma
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  Blow Out (1981)

Edward Dmytryk
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Honorary Oscar for Donen:  1997;  Honorary Oscar for Kelly:  1951

Blake Edwards
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

Honorary Oscar:  2003

John Frankenheimer
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Howard Hawks
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  His Girl Friday (1940)
Honorary Oscar:  1974

Alfred Hitchcock
Directing nominations:  5
Award-caliber film:  Vertigo (1958)
Honorary Oscar:  1967

James Ivory
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Howards End (1992)

Norman Jewison
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Irving G. Thalberg Award:  1998

Stanley Kramer
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Irving G. Thalberg Award:  1961

Stanley Kubrick
Directing nominations:  4
Award-caliber film:  2001:  A Space Odyssey (1968)
Visual Effects Oscar (2001:  A Space Odyssey, 1968)

Fritz Lang
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  The Big Heat (1953)

Spike Lee
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  Do the Right Thing (1989)

Mervyn LeRoy
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  Mister Roberts (1955)
Honorary Oscar:  1946; Irving G. Thalberg Award:  1976

Ernst Lubitsch
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Ninotchka (1939)
Honorary Oscar:  1946

Sidney Lumet
Directing nominations:  4
Award-caliber film:  Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Honorary Oscar:  2004

David Lynch
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Mulholland Drive (2001)

Alexander Mackendrick
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Terrence Malick
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  The Thin Red Line (1998)

Michael Mann
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  The Insider (1999)

Alan J. Pakula
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  All the President’s Men (1976)

Arthur Penn
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  The Red Shoes (1948)
Writing Oscar, for Pressburger (49th Parallel, 1941)

Otto Preminger
Directing nominations:  2
Award-caliber film:  Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Nicholas Ray
Directing nominations: 0
Award-caliber film:  Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Douglas Sirk
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Ridley Scott
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  Thelma & Louise (1991)

Preston Sturges
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  The Lady Eve (1941)
Screenplay Oscar (The Great McGinty, 1940)

Quentin Tarantino
Directing nominations:  2
Award-caliber film:  Pulp Fiction (1994)
Screenplay Oscar (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Gus Van Sant
Directing nominations:  2
Award-caliber film:  Milk (2009)

King Vidor
Directing nominations:  5
Award-caliber film:  The Crowd (1928)
Honorary Oscar:  1978

Raoul Walsh
Directing nominations:  0
Award-caliber film:  White Heat (1949)

Peter Weir
Directing nominations:  4
Award-caliber film:  The Truman Show (1998)

Orson Welles
Directing nominations:  1
Award-caliber film:  Citizen Kane (1941)
Screenplay Oscar (Citizen Kane, 1941); Honorary Oscar:  1970

William Wellman
Directing nominations:  3
Award-caliber film:  A Star Is Born (1937)


Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Sidney Lumet, director
P.F. Kluge, Thomas Moore (article), Frank Pierson (screenplay); writers
Al Pacino, Charles Durning

Lumet was nominated for Best Director.  Miloš Forman, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, won the Oscar.


Quote of note
Sonny:  So what country do you want to go to?
Sal:  Wyoming.
Sonny:  Sal, Wyoming’s not a country.
—Sonny (Al Pacino), Sal (John Cazale), Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 23 Feb 2011 @ 09:40 PM

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 22 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Tuesday Minute
No. 217 | February 22, 2011

Oscar Perspective


Our theme this week
Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar

Featured this week
(See Monday post for theme introduction)
Monday         —   Actors Who Never Won an Oscar

Actresses Who Never Won an Oscar

barbara stanwyck_1judy garland_1marilyn monroe_1

Barbara Stanwyck, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe:  stood up on their date with Oscar.  Some guy!

Next up for our week of lists:  40 actresses, 88 nominations, and no Oscars.  The biggest scandal may be the lack of a single nod for Monroe.  She was always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, onscreen and off.  (Another reminder:  the focus the week is on those with Hollywood careers, or stars in English-language films;  Catherine Deneuve, Liv Ullmann, and countless others from elsewhere also missed the golden man at Oscar-time.)

Joan Allen
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Nixon (1995)

Jean Arthur
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Lauren Bacall
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  To Have and Have Not (1944)
Honorary Oscar:  2009

Annette Bening
Acting nominations:  4 (including this year)
Award-caliber performance:  The American President (1995)

Glenn Close
Acting nominations:  5
Award-caliber performance:  Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Doris Day
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Love Me or Leave Me (1954)

Marlene Dietrich
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Blue Angel (1930)

Irene Dunne
Acting nominations:  5
Award-caliber performance:  The Awful Truth (1937)

Mia Farrow
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Greta Garbo
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Camille (1937)
Honorary Oscar:  1954

Ava Gardner
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Night of the Iguana (1964)

Judy Garland
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  A Star Is Born (1954)
Juvenile Oscar:  1939

Jean Harlow
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Red Dust (1932)

Rita Hayworth
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Gilda (1946)

Deborah Kerr
Acting nominations:  6
Award-caliber performance:  Black Narcissus (1947)
Honorary Oscar:  1993

Angela Lansbury
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Gaslight (1944)

Piper Laurie
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  The Hustler (1961)

Janet Leigh
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Touch of Evil (1958)

Laura Linney
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  You Can Count on Me (2000)

Carole Lombard
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Twentieth Century (1934)

Myrna Loy
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Honorary Oscar:  1990

Ida Lupino
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  They Drive By Night (1940)

Marsha Mason
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  The Goodbye Girl (1977)

Marilyn Monroe
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Some Like It Hot (1959)

Julianne Moore
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  Far From Heaven (2002)

Agnes Moorehead
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Kim Novak
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Vertigo (1958)

Maureen O’Hara
Acting nominations: 0
Award-caliber performance:  The Quiet Man (1952)

Eleanor Parker
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Caged (1950)

Michelle Pfeiffer
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Thelma Ritter
Acting nominations:  6
Award-caliber performance:  Pickup on South Street (1953)

Gena Rowlands
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

Meg Ryan
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

Jean Simmons
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Elmer Gantry (1960)

Kim Stanley
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

Barbara Stanwyck
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  Double Indemnity (1944)
Honorary Oscar:  1981

Gloria Swanson
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Lana Turner
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Debra Winger
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Terms of Endearment (1983)

Natalie Wood
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Splendor in the Grass (1961)


Ball of Fire (1941)
Howard Hawks, director
Thomas Monroe, Billy Wilder (story); Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder (screenplay); writers
Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper

Stanwyck was nominated for Best Actress.  Joan Fontaine, for Suspicion, won the Oscar.


Quote of note
“Yes, I love him.  I love those hick shirts he wears with the boiled cuffs and the way he always has his vest buttoned wrong.  He looks like a giraffe, and I love him.”
—Sugarpuss O’Shea (Barbara Stanwyck), Ball of Fire (1941)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 22 Feb 2011 @ 07:42 AM

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 21 Feb 2011 @ 6:00 AM 

Monday Minute
No. 216 | February 21, 2011

Oscar Perspective

cary grant_1greta garbo_1alfred hitchcock_1

Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock:  not a happy bunch.

Well, you might be feeling rather glum yourself if you were (arguably) the greatest male star, female star, or director in Hollywood and had another Oscar week to look forward to.  Despite ten nominations between them, this famously brilliant trio of moviemakers never won an Academy Award.  And though it’s too late for them now, at least they don’t have to sit through any more ceremonies to watch lesser talents walk off with honors that were rightfully theirs.

Each year when it came time to hand out the hardware, the Academy presented its statuettes to somebody else.  Eventually, Grant, Garbo, and Hitchcock each got an Honorary Oscar—the Academy’s way of saying, “Boy, did we screw up!”—but the oversights remain a part of Hollywood history.  (“Snubs” seem now to have become an annual tradition.)

As I see it, what it all means is, Let’s put the awards into perspective.  Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture:  the honors have the ring of authority, but any glance in the rear-view mirror should remind us that the the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor the Oscar to the most deserving.

The list of those who never got to give an acceptance speech is, well, endless, but among the names are many of the greatest talents and greatest stars of all time.  Some earned nominations in multiple years; others, inexplicably, never a single nod.  But for those we’ll take a look at this week, all have done, at one time or another, award-caliber work.  Maybe if the stars had been aligned—or, if the Academy had paid proper attention—they would’ve been Oscar winners.

Here’s the plan for the week ahead.  We’ll start with a look back at the actors, actresses, and directors who never once had to lug home that eight-and-a-half-pound, gold-plated little man.  I’ll have a list of 40 each day (and focus on just those with Hollywood careers, to keep it somewhat manageable).  On Thursday, we’ll look at some great movies that were ignored, or famously snubbed.  By then you should have a firm idea that these things called the Academy Awards don’t really matter much at all.  Nevertheless, on Friday I’ll post my picks (who should win) and predictions (who will win) for the big show this coming weekend.

Our theme this week
Films and filmmakers overlooked by Oscar

Actors Who Never Won an Oscar

peter o'toole_1richard burton_1albert finney_1

Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Albert Finney:  good hair, 20 nominations, still an empty space on the mantel.

It will be a week of lists, and this is the first:  40 actors, great performers, and not a single competitive Academy Award for acting.  (A reminder:  the focus this week is on those with careers primarily in Hollywood or English-language films;  Marcello Mastroianni, Toshirō Mifune, and too many others to mention never won an Oscar either.)

Fred Astaire
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Band Wagon (1953)
Honorary Oscar:  1949

John Barrymore
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Dinner at Eight (1933)

Warren Beatty
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  Bugsy (1991)
Best Director (Reds, 1981); Irving G. Thalberg Award:  1999

Charles Boyer
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  The Earrings of Madame de… (1953)


Richard Burton
Acting nominations:  7
Award-caliber performance:  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Charlie Chaplin
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Great Dictator (1940)
Best Score (Limelight, 1952, awarded in 1973); Honorary Award:  1929, 1971

Lee J. Cobb
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  12 Angry Men (1957)


Tom Cruise
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Born on the Fourth of July (1989)


Montgomery Clift
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  A Place in the Sun (1951)


Joseph Cotten
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Shadow of a Doubt (1943)


Tony Curtis
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Defiant Ones (1958)


James Dean
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  East of Eden (1955)


Johnny Depp
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Finding Neverland (2004)


Kirk Douglas
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  Ace in the Hole (1951)
Honorary Oscar:  1995

Clint Eastwood
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

Best Director/Best Picture (Unforgiven, 1992; Million Dollar Baby, 2004); Irving G. Thalberg Award:  1994

Ralph Fiennes
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Schindler’s List (1993)


Albert Finney
Acting nominations:  5
Award-caliber performance:  Tom Jones (1963)


Harrison Ford
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Witness (1985)


Richard Gere
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  The Hoax (2007)


Cary Grant
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Penny Serenade (1941)

Honorary Oscar:  1969

Rock Hudson
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Giant (1956)


Gene Kelly
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  An American in Paris (1951)
Honorary Oscar:  1951

Arthur Kennedy
Acting nominations:  5
Award-caliber performance:  Champion (1949)


Peter Lorre
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  The Maltese Falcon (1941)


James Mason
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  A Star Is Born (1954)


Joel McCrea
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Sullivan’s Travels (1941)


Robert Mitchum
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Night of the Hunter (1955)


Peter O’Toole
Acting nominations:  8
Award-caliber performance:  Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Honorary Oscar:  2002

Brad Pitt
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

William Powell
Acting nominations:  3
Award-caliber performance:  My Man Godfrey (1936)

 
Tyrone Power
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  The Razor’s Edge (1946)

Claude Rains
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  Notorious (1946)

Robert Redford
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  The Candidate (1972)
Best Director (Ordinary People, 1980); Honorary Oscar:  2001


Edward G. Robinson
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Scarlet Street (1945)
Honorary Oscar:  1972

Mickey Rooney
Acting nominations:  4
Award-caliber performance:  Baby Face Nelson (1957)
Juvenile Oscar:  1938; Honorary Oscar:  1982

Peter Sellers
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Will Smith
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Ali (2001)


John Travolta
Acting nominations:  2
Award-caliber performance:  Saturday Night Fever (1977)


Eli Wallach
Acting nominations:  0
Award-caliber performance:  Baby Doll (1956)
Honorary Oscar:  2010

Orson Welles
Acting nominations:  1
Award-caliber performance:  Citizen Kane (1941)
Screenplay Oscar (Citizen Kane, 1941); Honorary Oscar:  1970


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Mike Nichols, director
Edward Albee (play), Ernest Lehman (screenplay), writers
Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

 

Burton was nominated for Best Actor.  Paul Scofield, for A Man for All Seasons, won the Oscar.


Quote of note
“And that’s how you play ‘Get the Guests.'”
—George (Richard Burton), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 21 Feb 2011 @ 01:33 AM

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