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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Months of Meryl: Adaptation 

"This film is in my all time great top 10. I love everything about it. The acting, the plot, the crazyness of life itself." - Sonja

"I'm not wild about the film - but Cooper is super and I'd be inclined to put this in Streep's top 5, maybe top 3, performances. It's so unexpected, and works perfectly. For a few years this was often the performance I first thought of when I thought of her." - Scott C

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Entries in Best Picture (243)

Monday
Jul022018

Release date shuffle. The backloading begins with "Boy Erased" and "On the Basis of Sex"

by Nathaniel R

Ah.... statue lust. It invariably shoves everything into the last two months of the year. This just in: Focus has pushed back both of its key contenders this year: Boy Erased, the gay conversion drama, is moving the beginning of its platform release from September 28th until November 2nd and On the Basis of Sex, the biopic on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is moving its limited launch from November 9th until December 25th. Though pushing back a little seems kind of wise for On the Basis of Sex (put a little distance between yourself and RBG) Christmas seems like a step too far. Or is that just me? 

We expect a few more Oscar contenders to push back into December. Why? Well, despite statistics being in favor of releasing in October or November if you'd like to win e--  The Shape of Water (2017) was actually the first Best Picture winner to begin its release in December since Million Dollar Baby (2004) -- common beliefs are hard to shake and Hollywood has long viewed a December berth as the be-all and end-all of awards strategies. There is a good reason for that though we hate to admit it: despite December being tough for Best Picture wins in the modern era (momentum needed!) it is and basically always has been easier to get nominations if you release in December. Try to imagine, say, The Post, being nominated last year had it come out in September. It doesn't happen. But in December it had so much pre-release hype as an assumed frontrunner that it was able to weather lukewarm precursor attention and snag the nod.  

Wings (1927) the first best picture winner. It still holds up. For fun here's a list of when every Best Picture ever first opened in theaters excluding festival debuts obviously. (Some of the dates are a bit fuzzy, of course, that's especially true for ye olden times when listings are harder to come by and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between event premieres and the actual beginning of a platform release...

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Thursday
Jun142018

Blueprints: "Moonlight"

To celebrate Pride Month, every week of June Jorge has been highlighting the script of a movie that focuses on a different letter of the LGBT acronym. For “G”, he looks at the poetry in Moonlight. 

When La La Land took the Best Picture statue at the 2016 Oscars for about five minutes, it wasn’t an Earth shattering surprise. It was the kind of movie that wins Oscars. The twist, from a mixed up envelope, was the fact that a small independent film about queer people of color had actually managed to go above all the other nominees for the big trophy was what had made the Earth shatter.

Moonlight is not a traditional Best Picture winner, in everything from themes to distribution model to narrative structure to protagonist. It won three Oscars in total, including Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also not a traditional screenplay. Let’s see how the script transmitted emotion through descriptive lines...

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Monday
Apr302018

Voila ~ the April Foolish Predictions are Complete!

by Nathaniel R

Whew. Can y'all give me a round of applause? Somehow I finished the April Foolish charts in all the early doable categories (i.e. all but documentaries and the three shorts categories) before April was done! Let this be a new leaf turned as we need lots of new leaves while we reinvent ourselves FOR 2018.

The freshly baked charts...

PREDICTION INDEX |  PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR 

And the charts that previously went up, some of which we've discussed on the blog....

ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SCREENPLAYS | FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM | VISUAL CATEGORIES | MUSIC AND SOUND CATEGORIES | ANIMATED FEATURES

As you can see if you peruse them, they're filled with all sorts of narrative possibilities. Some of those stories they tell are in direct opposition to one another. I urge all of you to try this year in advance thing at home some year. It's incredibly confusing because each time you place a movie here you have to figure how it might affect things over there since there are distinct patterns to the way things happen. 

Steve Carell in "The Women of Marwen" based on the story that also informed the documentary "Marwencol"

It's like trying to construct a crazy intricate jigsaw puzzle without the final image to work from! You can make it up as you go along but what the hell kind of picture are your fingers forming?  And no matter how careful you are some things never end up making any sense...

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Thursday
Mar222018

Months of Meryl: "Out of Africa"

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

 

#12 — Karen Blixen, aristocratic Danish author who owns a coffee plantation in Kenya during the first decades of the twentieth century.

JOHN: Did Karen Blixen once have a farm in Africa? Like a marching zombie with arms outstretched, Karen intones this mantra via voiceover several times during Out of Africa, either because she remains in disbelief at her accomplishment or feels compelled to remind the viewer of a reason to focus on Ms. Blixen amid Sydney Pollack’s African travelogue.

Out of Africa tells the tale of Karen Blixen, a headstrong woman who relocates from Denmark to Kenya circa 1914 to marry her lover’s twin brother (Klaus Maria Brandauer), run a short-lived coffee plantation, and eventually fall in love with English game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford). Out of Africa was a project that piqued but ultimately eluded such directors as Orson Welles, David Lean, and Nicholas Roeg. As envisioned by Sydney Pollack and distributed by Universal Pictures in 1985, it's a colossal Hollywood production that endlessly reveres the natural beauty of its Kenyan environs while dodging engagement with the colonialist specificities of its time and place...

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Saturday
Mar032018

Final Oscar Predictions

A shorter version of this article was originally shared on Towleroad

With the 90th Academy Awards coming tomorrow another tradition must precede it:  predicting the Oscar winners! If you're a frequent reader of The Film Experience, you've probably been following this race for an entire year and now it's about to end. Those who only follow in the last month have a lot of catching up to do (I have a friend here in NYC doing that Best Picture marathon -- all nine movies).  If you'd like to keep up more emphatically next year please sign up for our mailing list as we will begin weekly newsletters shortly after the Oscars with exclusive content.

 

But this season's race ends Sunday night. Hopefully without a snafu on the epic scale of last year’s Envelope Gate when La La Land was read out as Best Picture when Moonlight had actually won. Can you believe that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are returning for a do over? (Or do you think that news is smoke and mirrors to hide another surprise in store?)

I am sad to share that there’s a possibility that all of the best “Best Pictures” (Get Out, Lady Bird, and Call Me By Your Name) go home empty-handed but what else is new? Not to be pessimistic but Oscar night is often a come down from the multiple-winners joy of nomination morning. Or to quote the great Stephen McKinley Henderson in Lady Bird...


 

The high probability of wins you don't like is why you should always attend or throw a fun Oscar party and try not to take it too seriously. Enjoy the gowns and the speeches and celebrate every film and celebrity you love as they're paraded before you on Hollywood's High Holy Night. 

Let’s call each individual Oscar race after the jump. Links will take you to the Oscar chart in question...

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Friday
Mar022018

Dress You Up in Oscar's Love

Chris here, with a moment of cuteness as you fret over your final Oscar predictions. For the past few years, artist Olly Gibbs has been adorably dressing up Oscar in the outfits of the Best Picture nominees. This year he has presented his most instantly recognizable lineup of characters with details built for maximum squee (you can see them all up close here). My favorite details here belong to Lady Bird (the Body of Christ wafers!), but which of Olly's Oscars is your favorite