Much like excellence in ice dancing, excellence in cinema is a subjective thing. The Academy Awards can only be a consensus on what is produced in a given year, but considering how difficult it can be to get even two people to agree on any film, it’s no wonder differences of opinion can and do crop up where gold is concerned, on everything from categories — which I have plenty of thoughts about, but that’s another post* — to particular nominees, or more to the point, NON-nominees. Herewith I present an unlucky 7 of this year’s most glaring Oscar omissions, in no particular order. Warning: There might be spoilers in here, depending on exactly what you consider a spoiler. Check them all out after the jump.
Kellee presents Day One of our Sixth Annual 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon!
It’s here! The time has finally arrived to celebrate that marvelously golden man, Oscar. For an entire month, Turner Classic Movies network puts on a grand gala tribute to the winners of that coveted statuette, and for six years we’ve joined the party. Please join my co-hosts Aurora (aka @CitizenScreen) of Once Upon A Screen, […]
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its first Awards at a dinner party for about 250 people on May 16, 1929, to honor movies released from August 1, 1927 – August 1, 1928. The organization’s first president, Douglas Fairbanks, hosted and presented at the ceremony, held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. The brainchild of MGM studio mogul Louis B. Mayer, the Academy was formed in 1927 as a non-profit dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Some might argue about some of those achievements, but there is one thing that is sure to impress classic movie and Hollywood fans: When the music plays to open this year’s Oscars on March 4, 2018, it will be the 90th time the film industry has honored achievements in movies. Check out all the 1929 nominees and winners.
If you look through 90 years of Oscars ceremonies, you’ll find numerous surprises, disappointments, and controversies, any number of which may spur debate from film aficionados. That’s where we come in. For the sixth consecutive year, I am joining forces with Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and @Irishjayhawk66 and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and @CitizenScreen to bring you the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Given Oscar’s special anniversary and all of the memories, we hope you’ll consider joining us to make this the best and brightest outing yet. Details & list of participating blogs after the jump…
looks at the use of “needle dropped” songs, many of them popular tunes, in movies. Specifically, in more than one. Yet they are not officially considered part of a film’s score. A score consists of those orchestral, choral, or instrumental pieces some consider background music. Both music forms are equally utilized as cues by filmmakers for a specific purpose or to elicit certain reactions by the audience.
On December 6, 1961, singer Solomon Burke recorded the country/soul/R&B mashup “Cry to Me.” The song’s upbeat melody, crisp tempo, and soaring vocal belie its themes of loneliness and weariness. It was released in 1962 as a single with “I Almost Lost My Mind” on the b-side and placed on Billboard’s Hot R&B (peaking at #5) and Hot 100 (#44) charts upon its release. The song was written and produced by Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell), a Juilliard-trained musician, with whom Burke had a rocky relationship. Burke had rejected two other Berns compositions during the same session and was reluctant to record “Cry” as well — until Burke decided to speed it up. The song became one of the singer’s biggest hits, cementing his image as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” and it soon had a permanent place in the popular music songbook. Per Wikipedia, the varied and numerous artists to cover the immortal track include Betty Harris, the Pretty Things, the Rolling Stones, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, and the late great Tom Petty. The song was recently used in two mostly different features to very different effect, released less than a year apart: ’71 (2014) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). While both films share certain plot keywords and deal in varying degrees with covert operations, the tone of each couldn’t be more different.
Welcome to Day 3 of the Sixth Annual What A Character! Blogathon, in which we celebrate those actors whose faces you know but whose names you may not. I’m your hostess for the Day 3 offerings. Be sure to also check out Day 1, hosted by Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled, and Day 2, hosted by Aurora at Once Upon A Screen. It’s been my pleasure to work with these two dames to shed some light on the names below the title. And now, on with the show…
First up, my co-host Aurora at Once Upon A Screen recaps the multi-faceted stage, TV, and film career of Mary Wickes from her earliest theater work to Sister Act and beyond.
Terry at A Shroud of Thoughts reminds us that William Schallert, who is so well-known for his intelligent and/or nice characters, could actually be “not exactly sympathetic…downright villainous.”
Crítica Retrô looks at a different kind of actor, Looney Tunes former main character and dependable sidekick, Porky Pig.LA
Cinematic Scribblings highlights standout Japanese actress Haruko Sugimura and her portrayals of “not always particularly pleasant people.”
Carole & Co honors “one of the foot soldiers of film (and TV) acting,” Nat Pendleton.
Prowler Needs A Jump surveys Patrick Magee‘s amazingly diverse, half-century career.
Co-host Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled provides a pronunciation refresher while honoring the oeuvre of Zasu Pitts.
That William Powell Site examines that star’s scene-stealing performance in Beau Geste (1926), “another opportunity for [him] to steal the show.”
LA Explorer catalogs the extensive career of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson through radio, films, and TV.
Silver Scenes recounts the life and work of “tough but lovable broad” Connie Gilchrist.
The Dream Book Blog reviews the roles of character actress and sometime Val Lewton muse Elizabeth Russell.
—> Stop back later in the day (Sunday, December 17, 2017) as I will be updating this list as more posts are published!
Bonus: Short clip featuring two of our What A Character honorees, Nat Pendleton and Zasu Pitts, in Sing and Like It (1934):
I’m not really one for musicals. I don’t universally enjoy them all. But when I like them, I really like them, and they are among my favorite films of all-time. For instance, 42nd Street, Dames, Swing Time, Singin’ in the Rain, and Romance on the High Seas (1948).
To sum up the plot (bear with me): Married couple Michael and Elvira Kent (Don DeFore and Janis Paige) each constantly suspect the other of infidelity. Michael though is too wrapped up in his work to go on the vacations Elvira plans for their anniversaries, and every year he cancels and they stay home. In the course of booking these trips, she meets Georgia Garrett (Doris Day) at the travel agency. Georgia never goes anywhere either; she’s broke and only goes to the agency to window-shop. When the Kents’ third anniversary rolls around, Elvira has reason to suspect that Michael’s inevitable postponement of this trip, a cruise to Rio, is because of his new blonde secretary.
While she’s still fuming with jealousy, the travel agency mistakenly delivers Georgia’s passport photo to Elvira, and that gives the latter an idea: In these pre-Internet, pre-TSA days, Elvira will send Georgia on the cruise in her place, so that Elvira can stay home and keep an eye on her husband without him knowing she’s still in town. Her insistence on going on the cruise by herself heightens Michael’s suspicion, and he in turn hires private detective Peter Virgil (Jack Carson) to go on the cruise and keep an eye on Elvira. Only with the help of her Uncle Lazlo (S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall) does Elvira successully sneak Georgia onto the ship. Once the ship sails, many complications ensue.
It’s a plot of Shakespearean complexity — with songs! *
The anticipation is over! Today we bring you the first day of the 6th annual What A Character Blogathon, hosted by yours truly and my fellow co-hosts, the classic film loving ladies: Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club @Paula_Guthat and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen @CitizenScreenings. As promised, this annual event celebrates the character actors. […]
Welcome all and sundry! Having been sidelined for awhile with the vagaries of an old body catching up with me, I was thrilled to see that the Sixth Annual What A Character! Blogathon was in the works, with some delightful selections from numerous cinephiles coaxing my attention to the newer batches of those who work in the background of sets and groups, inching their way closer to success.
To that end, allow me a few moments of your time while I dig out, dust off, root around, and unearth the career of some local homegrown Maryland talent in
What A Character: Master Craftsman Daniel Stern. Wise-Ass To The Stars!
Along with Chris Meloni (“Bound,” “Oz,” “Law & Order: SVU”) and Jonathan Banks (“Who’ll Stop The Rain,” “Wiseguy,” “Breaking Bad”), Stern was the tall, gangling scarecrow of an upstart who caught my eye providing sarcastic comic relief as one of four high school graduate buddies facing life’s daunting future in Breaking Away.
A Peter Yates-directed coming-of-age project from 1979, filmed in and around Bloomington, Indiana. A surprisingly good example of a on-location film that excels in “Bang For The Buck,” mixing teen angst, uncertainty, and a scaled-down version of a hometown bicycle “Tour de France” with the four friends — “Cutters,” named after the local families who cut and formed marble and granite for the state’s municipal and court buildings — going up against better-trained, -financed and -equipped fraternities. Adding a dash of underdog to the film’s drama and comedy that surprised audiences, the Golden Globes, and Academy of Arts and Sciences alike.
I don’t usually get political on here, but I had to when I saw this post about a different place and time, yet so so relevant. A dangerous precedent of destruction was set yesterday when Tr*mp reduced federally-protected land. Call your US senators and reps today: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
“Could you vote for a party that will destroy this?” asked the bold headline in white above the photo in 1983. The party in question has been in power in Australia since 1975, led by patrician Malcolm Fraser. Fraser was a transformative prime minister, who gave the aborigines of Australia more control over their traditional lands, encouraged immigration from Asia, welcoming the Vietnamese boat people, and led the pressure against apartheid in Rhodesia and South Africa.
But by early 1983, the economy was in a rut, Fraser’s parliamentary majority had been reduced and the future of his government rested on an attempt to dam a river in Tasmania. For years, this dam had been festering on the public consciousness: a fledgling Green movement was trying to save the river through concerts, candle-lit vigils and a write-in campaign, which reached its feverpitch in late 1982 when 42% of voters wrote in “NO DAMS” at a by-election…
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When you think about your very favorite classic movies, what makes them your favorites? The films worth watching multiple times, endlessly discussing, or just chilling out with…what makes them the cinematic equivalent of comfort food? Sure, great writing is key, but those lines are just words without the right actors delivering them. Beautiful costumes are great, but without the right actors wearing them, they’re just clothes. Stunning, authentic art direction and set design are wonderful, but empty, without the right actors inhabiting that world. And gorgeous cinematography can only hold your eye for so long, without the right actors being lit. And so on…
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