31 Days of Oscar Blogathon – Day 3!

The truth of the matter is that while Hollywood admires people who win Oscars, it employs people who make money, and to be able to do one does not necessarily mean you can do the other.
— George Sanders

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George Sanders and Zsa Zsa Gabor on Oscar night, 1951. Sanders won Best Supporting Actor for his work as Addison DeWitt in ALL ABOUT EVE.

Today is the third and final day of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, our annual exploration of the phenomenon that is the Academy Awards, still the pinnacle of achievement in the film world. I’m keeping this introduction brief in order to avoid the dreaded wrap-up music, but be sure to check out Day 1, hosted by Aurora at Once Upon A Screen, and Day 2, hosted by Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled. It has been my honor to share five years of Oscar opining with these lovely and talented ladies. Our blogathon takes its cue from Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar, which runs through Friday, March 3.

And now, without further ado, today’s posts are…

Musings of a Classic Film Addict discusses legendary Luise Rainer’s back-to-back Oscar wins for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937).

Portraits by Jenni recounts the origin and development of the Academy Awards’ Best Song category through the 1960s.

Danny Reviews spotlights nine decades of the Strangest Oscar Wins of All Time — “not necessarily…bad films or performances, but [those that] don’t fit the traditional milieu of an Academy Award winner.”

Dreaming in the Balcony presents a rich analysis of both Kitty Foyle and Ginger Rogers’ work on that picture, which resulted in her one and only nomination and win.

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You makes a case for one of the most egregiously snubbed actors ever, Jake Gyllenhaal.

Cinematic Scribblings studies a film about the making of a film that blurs the line between life and art, François Truffaut’s Day for Night.

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies continues her examination of an all-important craft, costume design, in Academy Award-Winning Costumes Part 2 — 1961-1977. (Also see Part 1 — 1949-1960).

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Announcing the 5th Annual 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon!

31 Days of Oscar BlogathonWelcome for the fourth time to the 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon redux, making this the fifth installment of our grand celebration of all things Oscar!

Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, and yours truly of Paula’s Cinema Club started this event to coincide with Turner Classic Movie’s 31 Days of Oscar marathon. For 31 days, TCM spotlights the movies and players that have made a legend of the golden statuette. This Blogathon is our way to pay tribute to the network and the movies we love. We hope you join us in the effort. Details after the jump!

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31 Days of Oscar: The Films of 1987

hope and glory7-07-gBy Jack Deth

Greetings all and sundry!
Having taken advantage of the much-hyped East Coast Snow Storm, and watched from my 23rd floor balcony as the surface dwellers dug themselves out, I’ve had time to contemplate the films of 1987 and their standing with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

A year sadly near void of the earlier risk takers and “All In!” gamblers of the previous decade, with many of the Academy choices leading toward less controversial, more palatable fare. So, keeping that in mind, allow me a few moments of your time to explore, excavate, and investigate the confusing, sometimes annoying choices of…

The 60th Academy Awards: Playing It Safe!

According to Box Office Mojo, a neat little reference source which proves useful in this treatise, 1987 was a rather prosperous year for film. With 238 entrants through the year, from the sublime (The Princess Bride) to the ridiculous (Ishtar, Real Men, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown), lots of diversions and variants in-between, and a surprising number of films in its Top 25 films nominated for Oscars.

For those uninitiated, I’ll be laying out this amalgam in the same way I’ve presented earlier critiques of the Academy’s decisions, entailing “The Top Six” categories, taking a “Top Down” perspective, plus a few personal bones to pick in the lower tiers.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the contenders for….
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31 Days of Oscar, Week 3: THE CRAFTS

bonnie-sketch-small-500wWe’re now just past the halfway point of both Turner Classic Movies channel’s Academy Awards tribute, 31 DAYS OF OSCAR, and the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon, hosted annually by myself here at Paula’s Cinema Club, Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled, and Aurora at Once Upon A Screen.

31-Days-2016-02This week we salute the less renowned, but nonetheless essential, disciplines of movie-making…THE CRAFTS. Those who practice them are below the title in billing yet are decidedly indispensable to the overall effect of a film. Check out the fabulous Week 3 posts after the jump!

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31 Days of Oscar: The 48th Academy Awards (1975) by Jack Deth

by Jack Deth

Greetings, all and sundry!

A New Year brings many things. Cold weather. Occasional snow. The Super Bowl. Worries about taxes. And that selection of works from the previous year’s effort in regard to cinematic entertainment known as the Academy Awards. The celebration of the “be all and end all” that is the magic of Tinseltown.

With the toils of 1975 fuzzily reflected in the tastes and perspectives of what felt like the final year of pulling up from the nosedive, ennui and la cafard created by Vietnam. Comedies in abundance. Woody Allen flexing his intellectual muscles with Love And Death on one side. To an off-the-wall New Wave import, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, adapted from the massively popular “audience participation” stage play. Dramas would also score high with Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock, and Antonioni’s The Passenger. Making room for conspiracy thriller Three Days of the Condor by Sidney Pollack. And science fiction taking a roller coaster ride with Bryan Forbes adapting Ira Levin’s high-end The Stepford Wives. To David Cronenberg’s creepy They Came From Within. And the no-budget take on Harlan Ellison’s post-apocalyptic narrative, A Boy And His Dog, filling those more base tastes.

An eclectic year to say the least, with proven masters doing things their own way, while making room for just-starting-out talent, who would be household names in later years, going against established convention. Not an easy year for Academy voters, with a plethora of personal tales, and a noted lack of established musicals and other hugely-budgeted studio “epics” to be whittled down to an easily manageable number.

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The offerings of 1975 would also have a Wild Card, a change to the long-standing paradigm, ramrodded by a young upstart named Stephen Spielberg. Released during the summer and added to the deck of contenders by tremendous reviews and popular demand. An intentionally made and executed “Blockbuster” by the name of Jaws.

Having perused, assembled and critiqued the films brought to the forefront during 1975. I’ve decided to lay out my offering very much as I had done for our hostess Paula a couple of years ago, and present for your approval:

The 48th Academy Awards: Old vs. New. With A Twist!

Continue reading “31 Days of Oscar: The 48th Academy Awards (1975) by Jack Deth”

31 Days of Oscar: Pictures and Directors

31-Days-2015-05Our Third Annual 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon wraps up today (Monday, Feb. 23) and tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 24) with Pictures and Directors. Another great week of fabulous posts, NEW ADDITIONS AT THE END OF THE LIST:

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31 Days of Oscar: Cinematographer Roger Deakins

To paraphrase a common saying, writing about cinematography can be like dancing to architecture. But I’m going to give a shot, because it’s a travesty that Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, CBE has been nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar a whopping TWELVE times, and has yet to win.

With his nomination this year for his work on Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Deakins is on a three-year streak, having also gotten the nod for Skyfall in 2013 and Prisoners in 2014. He’s been nominated for Academy Awards in two consecutive years THREE times (1997/1998, 2001/2002, 2008/2009), was once nominated twice in the same year (2008), and he’s won numerous other awards, including BAFTAs and ASC and BSC awards.

Deakins is known for his simple, naturalistic set-ups and his devotion to story over all other considerations. He likes silhouettes, fire at night, and high angles, but his shots almost never draw attention to themselves, which may be part of the reason it’s never been his year with the Academy.

He is most often associated with the Coen brothers, with whom he has worked on eleven pictures (not all Oscar-nominated). Their work has benefited greatly from his fluency with different lighting styles.

I was overwhelmed by the thought of analyzing the circumstances that have kept Deakins from the podium in the past, so I’ve chosen to spotlight briefly just a few of his amazing Oscar-nominated works. You know them, even if you’ve never heard his name. For instance…

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Call for posts: 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon (2015)

“Oscar and I have something in common. Oscar first came to the Hollywood scene in 1928. So did I. We’re both a little weather-beaten, but we’re still here and plan to be around for a whole lot longer.”
— John Wayne

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Hope you all like this year’s banners…I designed them 😉

Continuing an Oscars tradition – albeit a much newer one than either the legendary awards or Mr. Wayne’s impressive career – Kellee (@IrishJayHawk66) of Outspoken and Freckled, Aurora (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon a Screen, and myself, @Paula_Guthat of this blog, are back our Third Annual 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Update: Scroll on down to the end of the post to see the list of 2015 participants so far.

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31 Days of Oscar: Week 5 — THE MOVIES

Wow, that was a quick month. This weekend is the 5th and final installment of 31 Days of Oscar blogathon, the Second Annual celebration of the Academy Awards, hosted by myself, Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled, and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, and held in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies31 Days of Oscar.

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Of course the 2014 ceremony is today happened on Sunday, March 2, so while you’re tuned into as we dissect the 86th version of the movie buff’s Super Bowl, check out these fabulous posts:

Margaret of The Great Katharine Hepburn tells us why Little Women (1933) is a very big deal.

Kelly of …On Popcorn & Movies recalls her experience seeing the 2011 Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, at its first public viewing in Telluride.

Ruth of Silver Screenings writes that Paramount got its money’s worth for the $2 million it spent on Wings in Flyboys In Love and War.

Christy of Christy’s Inkwells gives us the backstory on A Man For All Seasons.

Iba of I Luv Cinema predicts who will be making the Best Pictures of the future in ‘Twas the Night Before the Academy Awards Ceremony.

I speculate wildly on how two Best Picture (and two Best Director) categories might change to the Academy Awards in Could more be more?

Aurora of Once Upon A Screen pays tribute to the “great, if underappreciated” George Stevens’ work on A Place in the Sun.

AnnMarie of Classic Movie Hub Blog analyzes You Can’t Take It With You, “a profoundly moving film that is as relevant today as it was over 75 years ago when it first hit the big screen.”

Em of The Vintage Cameo describes The Silent Inspirations of Titanic (1997), “deep-rooted images [that] would remain even in Cameron’s version nearly a century later.”

Nitrate Diva invites us to “Pick a letter and investigate” the ABCS of The Thin Man, “26 facets, factoids, and anecdotes” about this eternal favorite.

More of the Second Annual 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon:

Week 1 – SNUBS posts are here.
Week 2 – Music, Costumes, Cinematography, Writing, etc. posts are here.
Week 3 – Acting posts are here.
Week 4 – The Directors posts are here.

31 Days of Oscar: The Movies – Could more be more?

Our 31 Days of Oscar blogathon wraps up with Week 5 posts — The Movies. I’ve been thinking about the Best Picture category a lot lately, since I read Movies Silently’s Week 2 post, The Silent Oscars, in which she highlighted Academy Award categories that were lost with the advent of sound films. Near the beginning of her very informative post, she writes:

The first Academy Awards had several categories that were never repeated. The best picture award was divided in two, best production (Wings) and most artistic (Sunrise). Frankly, I think dividing best picture into art film and crowd-pleaser would be an excellent idea today but what do I know? The best director category was likewise divided into best dramatic director (Frank Borzage) and best comedic director (Lewis Milestone).

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Two winners, both alike in dignity…WINGS and SUNRISE

Such interesting ideas. What would two Best Picture and two Best Director categories look like?

Having 20 different nominated films might get complicated, so it’s quite possible the Academy would return to limiting the Best Picture categories to five each. Also there would probably be some films that get nominated for both Best Production and Most Artistic. For instance, I think last year’s Best Picture, Argo, qualified for both. Would it have gotten lost between plausible Best Production nominees Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook and Most Artistic shoo-in Beasts of the Southern Wild?

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Among the nominees for Best Production…SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and…21 JUMP STREET?

On the other hand, separating directors into Best Dramatic and Best Comedic categories would probably have helped Argo director Ben Affleck to get nominated the same year (that he wasn’t is still a staggering snub in my book), though I think Ang Lee still would have won. My money would have been on Playbook director David O. Russell in the Comedic category, would he have gotten into the dramatic category as well? Who else would have gotten nominated? Phil Lord and Chris Miller for 21 Jump Street possibly? It’s hilarious. Seth McFarlane for Ted? Jay Roach for The Campaign? Jason Moore for Pitch Perfect? Would these films then get nominated in a Best Production category? Or would those nominations go to effects-heavier movies?

I’m not sure, but I do know that comedy has long gotten short shrift from Oscar. And I also know the Academy has tried all sorts of tactics to increase viewership. Designating an actual category just for comedy direction places these films — and possibly their fans — at the core of the Academy Awards. Would it also alienate the base (if there is such a thing)? And, with the differentiation between drama and comedy in other categories, would it then be necessary to split up the acting and craft categories as well? The mind boggles…but it’s fun to think about.

Fontaine Oscar banner flat

This post is part of the second annual 31 Days of Oscar blogathon hosted by Paula’s Cinema Club, Outspoken and Freckled, and Once Upon a Screen. For more posts featuring Oscar snubs, visit the megapost at Outspoken and Freckled, and stay tuned for more Oscar-related posts throughout the month. Our blogathon gets its inspiration from Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar, “where every movie shown is an Oscar winner or nominee.”