Archive for July, 2011

The Oscar Quest: Final Update

Oh, you read that correctly. This is the final Oscar Quest update. I really am a fucking boss.

I posted that article a month ago (the Remix, not the original) saying I only had 100 films left before I’d seen every film ever nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director. Which, for people stumbling upon this blog, through this article, of all things (I’m #5 on Google, baby!) for the first time, was the Oscar Quest I set out to complete last May.

In the past month, I watched 67 films from that list. Which is pretty much 2/3 of what I had left. Exactly 2/3, in fact. If this were the Senate, the bill would have passed (maybe it’s the wrong month for that reference). Those 67 were all films I had in my possession. DVD, Netflix, etc. They were ones I just needed to sit down and watch, no searching required. Now, the only ones left are the ones that were/are “unavailable.” I’ll explain what their statuses are in terms of availability when I list them. But for now, let’s just talk about how awesome I am a bit more.

Taking off those 67 films means I have exactly 33 films left before I’ve seen every film nominated in the Big Six (stated up top), and before my Oscar Quest is complete. Which is just incredible. Because, after taking off all the films I’d seen already when I started (a nice handful of which (and I mean a nice handful) I ended up watching again anyway, as either a refresher, for an article, or simply because I wanted to watch them again), I started this Quest with upwards of 900 films I hadn’t seen before. And in the past 14 months (to the day, practically), I watched all but 33 of them. Not to mention the fact that I watched almost every new release during that time (which I’ve been detailing on the blog) and also watched a bunch of non-Oscar films as well (most of them I hadn’t seen, as well as a few repeats). (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1968

1968 is a weak year. In all. Mostly because none of the Best Picture choices were particularly strong. Oliver! was the best choice they had there. Even if they’d have nominated 2001: A Space Odyssey like I wanted them to, I know they’d have never voted for it. The Academy isn’t cool like that. They don’t like weird shit.

Carol Reed wins Best Director  for Olliver!, a good decision on its own (he got so royally fucked for The Third Man), but, Kubrick was really the one who should have won there. Best Actor was Cliff Robertson for Charly, which was a bad decision, because he beat Peter O’Toole, who really should have won that category and got the Oscar he so richly deserves. Then Best Actress was a tie between Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter and Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl. Streisand should have won there, so even though there’s a tie, it’s a good decision. Best Supporting Actress was Ruth Gordon for Rosemary’s Baby, which is a good decision, even though I’d have gone another way.

So that’s 1968. Pretty ho hum in general. Nothing particularly great. And then there’s this category, which also seems by the numbers. It doesn’t help to make this year any interesting.


And the nominees were…

Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses

Seymour Cassel, Faces

Daniel Massey, Star!

Jack Wild, Oliver!

Gene Wilder, The Producers (more…)

Pic of the Day: “And now we’re going to hear a piece of music that tells a very definite story. As a matter of fact, in this case, the story came first and the composer wrote the music to go with it. It’s a very old story, one that goes back almost 2,000 years: a legend about a sorcerer who had an apprentice.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1948

How the fuck were Powell and Pressburger not nominated here? We won’t dwell on that, because that’s now what this Quest is about. But the question bears repeating — seriously, how?

As for the rest of 1948, I love most of it, and despise their Best Picture choice. Hamlet a good film, but a boring choice for Best Picture, beats The Snake Pit, a great film about mental illness, Johnny Belinda, a wonderful film I love dearly about a mute girl, The Red Shoes, which is one of the most beautiful films ever made, and, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. ’nuff said. Fortunately, though, aside from that category, they went mostly right everywhere else.

Best Actor was Laurence Olivier for Hamlet, which was well-deserved. Based on who was nominated, he was by far the best choice. Best Actress was Jane Wyman for Johnny Belinda, which I talked about here, which is seriously one of the top five best decisions in that category of all time. Best Supporting Actor was Walter Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was a well-deserved Oscar that he earned three times over by that point. And Best Supporting Actress was Claire Trevor, for Key Largo, which is the only other poor decision from this year, in my opinion. 4 out of 6 decisions were great though, this year, especially this one. This decision is just glorious.


And the nominees were…

John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Anatole Litvak, The Snake Pit

Jean Negulesco, Johnny Belinda

Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

Fred Zinnemann, The Search (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I love hitmen. No matter what you do to them, you don’t feel bad.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1952

Let’s briefly recap 1952. I’ve talked about this a lot. Most of it is contained in the other articles. But, 1952. The Greatest Show on Earth beats High Noon for Best Picture. The Academy takes innocuous over the controversial. Generally regarded as a terrible decision. John Ford wins his fourth Best Director for The Quiet Man (talked about here), a decision that doesn’t make sense and only serves to make it seem like the Academy was openly telling people that, rather than voting for The Greatest Show on Earth, they were voting against High Noon. Like the schoolyard boy who pushes a girl rather than saying he likes her.

Gary Cooper wins Best Actor for High Noon (talked about here), which is what’s strange to me. If they don’t like the film, why give it anything at all? Best Actress was Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actor was Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata!. Both okay decisions, pretty ho-hum though. That’s what this year is. A big fucking mess, just because they had all the controversy. And then there’s this category…


And the nominees were…

Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful

Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain

Collette Marchand, Moulin Rouge

Terry Moore, Come Back, Little Sheba

Thelma Ritter, With a Song in My Heart (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I’d hate to take a bite out of you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.”

The Box Office Report – July 29-31

Last week, in Box Office…

Oh, I feel really good about this. People estimated way low on Captain America, saying it would make $55 million, and I said “Nay.” I said it would go higher. If this were the Price is Right, I’d be the one up there, walking on a light-up numbers floor, trying to win that dinette set.

Captain America makes $65.1 million. Rightfully so, too. It was really the second best Marvel movie since the first Iron Man. The first Iron Man is just a legitimately good movie on its own. But this one, taking into account that it is a superhero movie and isn’t that great outside of that, it is a pretty good movie. I’m not the biggest Marvel movies fan. I feel like they’re trying too hard to tie this universe together for that Avengers movie. But, putting all that aside, this is the second best film they’ve done. (They’ve never gonna top that first Iron Man though.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II falls huge to a 72% drop. That’s just a Tom Petty free fall right there. It made $47.4 million. Which is still enough to put its domestic total to $273.5 million after only two weeks (which, considering I think they spent $250 million on the pair of final films combined, is okay that they lost so much in the second weekend). The film is looking to cross a billion dollars worldwide within the next two weeks. I think they’re okay. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1987

1987 bores me. It bores most people, I’d imagine. It’s just a boring year. The Last Emperor wins Best Picture. It’s an appropriate film, just, not all that exciting. Bernardo Bertolucci wins Best Director (talked about here), which is also a fine decision and pretty by the numbers.

Best Actor this year was Michael Douglas for Wall Street, which is one of the more interesting decisions made this year, but not the most interesting. That distinction goes to Best Supporting Actor, which Sean Connery won for The Untouchables. Those two awards are clearly the only two worth talking about here. The other two were also pretty ho-hum. Best Supporting Actress was Olympia Dukakis for Moonstruck. I don’t really care about the decision, though I’d have gone another way. And then there’s this category, which I just don’t understand at all. The Academy’s boner for Cher is just — weird.

So that’s 1987. The men they got right. The women, either no or who cares. And Picture/Director, acceptable, just not interesting.


And the nominees were…

Cher, Moonstruck

Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

Holly Hunter, Broadcast News

Sally Kirkland, Anna

Meryl Streep, Ironweed (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love ’em.” “That’s racist.” “I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1950

1950, as I’ve talked about, is a year I do not like. I mean, it’s fine in and of itself, but, in context — don’t like it at all. All About Eve, which is a tremendous film, wins Best Picture. This is a decision I’m not totally against. I’d just have gone with Sunset Boulevard instead. Still, that decision is fine. As is George Sanders winning Best Supporting Actor for the film. Joseph Mankiewicz winning Best Director for the film, though, is really what I have the problem with. I won’t go into detail (I did that here), but, Carol Reed really should have won for The Third Man.

Best Actress this year was Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday, which, is historically regarded as a poor decision. Having seen the performance, at first I liked the decision, but, after the fact, I do kind of feel it was a bit weak. I mean, she was good, but, Anne Baxter and especially Gloria Swanson felt like they were better choices. And then, Best Supporting Actress this year was Josephine Hull for Harvey, which is good.

So really, my problem with this year has to do with a probable weak Best Actress decision and what I consider the biggest Best Director snub in the history of the category. Other than that, we just have some choices I’d have went the other way on, and this category, which is just weak as all hell. So I’m not very high on this year as a whole. It’s very sad.


And the nominees were…

Louis Calhern, The Magnificent Yankee

José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac

William Holden, Sunset Boulevard

James Stewart, Harvey

Spencer Tracy, Father of the Bride (more…)

Pic of the Day: ♫ “If I die, I’ll die like a man. To be loyal, I’d even let love pass by. I’m a drifter, the man from Tokyo.” ♫

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1931-1932

1931-1932 is kind of the first year where a real “Academy” film took the top prize. Grand Hotel is about as Oscar as you can get. It makes sense they went with it. It’s also funny that it wasn’t nominated for anything except Best Picture. They really didn’t know what they were doing yet. It’s so funny.

Also this year, Best Director was Frank Borzage for Bad Girl, his second, which I talked about here, and Best Actor was a tie between Frederic March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Wallace Beery for The Champ, which I talked about here. Which, is actually, all the other categories for this year. This is the last one. That’s weird.

As for this category — it’s a pretty cut and dry one. There’s really only one choice, and, the Academy made the right one. I like when categories go smoothly like this one.

BEST ACTRESS – 1931-1932

And the nominees were…

Marie Dressler, Emma

Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet

Lynn Fontanne, The Guardsman (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Rick, there are many exit visas sold in this café, but we know that you’ve never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.” “Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.” “That is another reason.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1972

This is the weakest Best Supporting Actress category I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously, it’s awful. There’s no one to vote for! But before we start looking for alternatives, let’s get the recap out of the way first.

The Godfather wins Best Picture, in a decision no one can deny. Marlon Brando wins Best Actor, which — of course. Bob Fosse wins Best Director for Cabaret (talked about here), which I don’t understand at all. Nor do I understand (though, I kinda do, sort of) Joel Grey winning Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here). I do, however, understand Liza Minnelli winning Best Actress for the film. She was by far the best decision in what was an incredibly weak category (1972 must have been a real bad year for female roles). So that’s 1972. 5 out of the 6 awards went to two films. And then there’s this category.

This is just awful. And, looking for alternatives, you can’t help but start with Talia Shire. How did she not get nominated for The Godfather? I think they nominated her for Part II as a way of making up for the snub here. Her being nominated would have really helped this category. That’s really the only glaring one I saw. Female roles seemed really weak this year. So I guess we’ll just deal with the piece of shit category.


And the nominees are…

Jeannie Berlin, The Heartbreak Kid

Eileen Heckart, Butterflies are Free

Geraldine Page, Pete ‘n’ Tillie

Susan Tyrrell, Fat City

Shelley Winters, The Poseidon Adventure (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Oh, this your wife, huh? A lovely lady. Hey baby, you must’ve been something before electricity.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1937

I hate 1937. It feels like such a waste. The Life of Emile Zola is just a weak, weak Best Picture choice. Good film, yes, but just a weak choice. I know a lot of people would say The Awful Truth was the best film this year, but, it’s a comedy, and that wasn’t gonna win. Really, the film that should have won was A Star is Born. It’s such an iconic story, how could they not give it to that? But I digress.

Best Director this year was Leo McCarey for The Awful Truth. This is regarded as a good decision, but for the wrong film. Even McCarey said that when he won. You see, he also directed a film called Make Way for Tomorrow this year, which is basically a film about old people, and how the young ignore them, and it’s kind of an “old people matter too!” film. It’s really great. Anyway, he won for the wrong film. Best Actor this year was Spencer Tracy for Captains Courageous, which, isn’t a great decision, but I can go with it, I guess. Best Actress was Luise Rainer for The Good Earth, which I haven’t fully made up my mind on yet. Soon though. I’ll let you know soon. And Best Supporting Actress was Alice Brady for In Old Chicago, which, as I said here, is an acceptable decision historically, but not a good one based on the category.

So that’s 1937. Weak Best Picture choice, the Best Director choice was for the wrong film, Best Actor is just a strange choice, Best Actress is fine, I guess, Best Supporting Actress is sort of fine, but also a bit weak, and this category is — well, let’s talk about it.


And the nominees were…

Ralph Bellamy, The Awful Truth

Thomas Mitchell, The Hurricane

Joseph Schildkraut, The Life of Emile Zola

H.B. Warner, Lost Horizon

Roland Young, Topper (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Thomas. I chose the right man for chancellor!” “I should in fairness add that my taste in music is reputedly deplorable.” “Your taste in music is excellent. It exactly coincides with my own!”

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1962

1962 is just one of those years. One of those years where, they did make the perfect decision, and yet — you just want them to have gone with something else. Lawrence of Arabia wins Best Picture, and who can blame them? The film is perfect. It’s a quintessential Best Picture film. It’s just — To Kill a Mockingbird was also up this year. And sentimentally — I love that film and I root for it. So while it wasn’t a bad decision (historically it’s an amazing decision) — I still do love To Kill a Mockingbird.

Best Actor this year was Gregory Peck for Mockingbird, and honestly, who can fault that one? It’s Atticus Fucking Finch. Best Actress this year was Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker, and Best Supporting Actress was Patty Duke, also for The Miracle Worker. Both were fantastic decisions. If you’ve seen the film — and you should — you’ll understand why both won. Especially Duke. And that’s coming from someone who really wanted to vote for Mary Badham as Scout Finch. The only decision this year I really disagree with is Best Supporting Actor, which Ed Begley (senior, not junior) won for Sweet Bird of Youth. I personally would have given it to Omar Sharif or Telly Savalas. But, with 5 out of 6 great decisions, it’s fine. The year is just incredible. I wish years could be even mostly as good as this one was, Oscar-wise. That’s without even mentioning how stacked this individual category is.


And the nominees were…

Pietro Germi, Divorce, Italian Style

David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia

Robert Mulligan, To Kill a Mockingbird

Arthur Penn, The Miracle Worker

Frank Perry, David and Lisa (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Is that a kind of occupational hazard of soul mates? One’s not much without the other?”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1944

This year is the last year history was made. That is — Greer Garson is one of only two actresses to be nominated for Best Actress for five consecutive years. Can you believe that? Five consecutive years. Not even Brando did that, and not just because he was a male actor. The first person to do it was Bette Davis, which, ironically, her five years overlapped with Greer’s. And even more coincidental is, both were nominated for six out of seven as well. Bette Davis was nominated for five in a row, skipped a year at the end, then got a sixth nomination right after. Greer Garson got one nomination, skipped a year, then got five in a row. I love these types of coincidences.

For trivia purposes, Davis’s nominations were: 1938: Jezebel (won), 1939: Dark Victory: 1940: The Letter, 1941: The Little Foxes, and 1942: Now, Voyager. Then a skip year and in 1944: Mr. Skeffington. Garson’s nominations were: 1939: Goodbye, Mr. Chips, then a skip year, then, 1941: Blossoms in the Dust, 1942: Mrs. Miniver (won), 1943: Madame Curie, 1944: Mrs. Parkington, and 1945: The Valley of Decision. So, for the seven years between 1939 and 1945, Greer Garson and Bette Davis were two of the five Best Actress nominees in ’39, ’41, ’42, and ’44. And in 1944, their films were Mr. Skeffington and Mrs. Parkington. Eerie, right?

As for the rest of 1944, Going My Way wins Best Picture, Best Director for Leo McCarey (talked about here), Best Actor for Bing Crosby (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actor for Barry Fitzgerald (talked about here). And Ethel Barrymore wins Best Supporting Actress for None But the Lonely Heart. In all I think this is an okay year, but not as good as it could have been.


And the nominees were…

Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight

Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away

Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington

Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington

Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity (more…)

Pic of the Day: “What do we got?” “Nothing. No matches on prints, DNA, dental. Clothing is custom, no labels. Nothing in his pockets but knives and lint.”

The Box Office Report – July 22-24

Last week, in Box Office…

Well, fuck. I’m pretty sure we all know this by now, but we’ll do it regardless. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II just fucking annihilated everything this weekend. It makes $43 million from midnight showings alone. It makes $92 million on it’s first day. This destroyed the opening day gross for any film ever released, ever. For the weekend? It made $169.2 million. Three days. The previous record holder was The Dark Knight, which made $158 million over its opening weekend.

I mean — who didn’t see this one coming? I’m pretty sure this movie recouped its entire production budget over the weekend, domestically. This movie will make at least a billion dollars worldwide, and will probably end up with over $300 million domestically. I think they’ve earned it.

Also, for those who are curious (and because I love putting forth my opinion) I loved the movie, thought it was probably fourth or fifth best of the eight movies. I rank them thusly — Prisoner of Azkaban, then 2 + 3 are an unranked set of Sorcerer’s Stone and Order of the Phoenix, just because the first one is so magical and wonderful, you almost can’t rank it, but if I had to, it would be probably my second favorite, even though I think Order of the Phoenix is the second best movie. Then 4th I’d probably put this one, just because I like the book more than Goblet of Fire, which I’d put 5th. Then 6th I’d put Deathly Hallows Part I, just because, aside from the unnecessary CGI and crazy naked horcrux, it’s not that bad. Then 7th I’d put Half Blood Prince, just because of the terribly executed Harry/Ginny thing. I think they failed on so many levels with that movie. And then obviously Chamber of Secrets is last. Anyway, back to the box office. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1952

1952, as we all know, is a pretty infamous year. The Greatest Show on Earth beats High Noon for Best Picture, in one of the most controversial and beat upon decisions of all time. I talked about it a lot, I think, in the Best Actress 1952 category article here, which Shirley Booth won for Come Back, Little Sheba, so I won’t speak too much about it except — HUAC is going on, High Noon is an anti-Communist film, and the whole situation was very awkward for them, so they just avoided it and went with the innocuous choice. But, interestingly enough, it seems like a choice where — they wanted you to know: they didn’t vote for this film, they just didn’t vote for this other film.

Anyway, Best Director this year was John Ford, winning his fourth, for The Quiet Man. I don’t really like the decision, because, he didn’t need the fourth one, and I don’t see how the bias against the film extends to Fred Zinnemann (especially considering the result of this category), and because — Cecil B. DeMille directed The Greatest Show on Earth. How do you not give him the Oscar he’s earned over the course of his career? Then there’s Best Supporting Actor, which was Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata!, which is fine. It was kind of a weak category. And then Best Supporting Actress was Gloria Grahame for The Bad and the Beautiful, which, I’m glad the film got some recognition.

So, that’s 1952. A strange year that’s not really a simple, like/don’t like, acceptable/not kind of year. And then there’s this category, which — is kind of okay, and yet, is tough to really judge. I’ll explain. Of course I’ll explain.


And the nominees were…

Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata!

Gary Cooper, High Noon

Kirk Douglas, The Bad and the Beautiful

José Ferrer, Moulin Rouge

Alec Guinness, The Lavender Hill Mob (more…)