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Entries in Oscars (80s) (184)

Thursday
Nov092017

Honorary Oscars: Owen Roizman and "Tootsie"

We're revisiting work from this year's Honorary Oscar winners. Here's Eric Blume on cinematography Owen Roizman

Sydney Pollack’s 1982 movie Tootsie is one of my all-time favorite films. It's a perfect treat to revisit when you need to feel like there’s hope in the world.  Despite many viewings, I’ve never truly contemplated the cinematography by one of this year’s Honorary Oscar recipients, Owen Roizman.

Tootsie marked Roizman’s fourth of five Academy Award nomination (the others are The French Connection, The Exorcist, Wyatt Earp and Network).  It’s not the kind of work that typically generates an Oscar nomination. Indeed, the competition that year (Gandhi, Das Boot, E.T., and Sophie’s Choice) were the more magical, lyrical, expansive sort of films that are usually recognized in that category.

But Roizman’s contribution to Tootsie is gigantic, key to the film’s tone and success. It's also an excellent example of how many careful, intelligent decisions go into a more typical, mainstream film and the difference they can make...

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Tuesday
Oct312017

124 days until Oscar... 

Just 124 days until Hollywood's High Holy Night, now. Time for a little silly trivia. Only two Best Picture winners have ever been exactly 124 minutes long. Curiously enough, those titles were back-to-back winners: Ordinary People (1980) and Chariots of Fire (1981) both of which beat critically-obsessed-over competition in Raging Bull (1980) and Reds (1981).

Admit it: You heard the Chariots of Fire theme song in your head and visualized Mary Tyler Moore's ice cold mom as soon as you read the titles. 

Where else did your mind's eye take you?

Tuesday
Oct242017

I'm fluent in "Cher"

I discovered that I can read if not speak Cher fluently. So if you are not so blessed I shall translate this tweet for you after the jump...

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Tuesday
Oct032017

New Podcast: Desperately Seeking Smackdowns

Nathaniel welcomes our first all Los Angeles panel for this discussion of the 1985 film year. Comedian/Writer Louis Virtel (Billy on the Street), Producer/Writer Abdi Nazemian ("The Authentics"), Actress Nora Zehetner and Director/Writer Michelle Morgan (It Happened in L.A.). We just wrote about the Supporting Actress nominated performances of 1985 but now it's time to zoom out on the films and the film year itself when Oprah Winfrey and Madonna began their global takeovers, Anjelica Huston became a third generation Oscar favorite, and Out of Africa eventually won Best Picture.

Smackdown '85 Companion Podcast
(58 minutes)
00:01 Anjelica vs Oprah with a little Amy Madigan on the side
10:00 Our entire group has a Jane Fonda "problem" - shout-outs to Klute and lots of head-scratching over the plot of Agnes of God
20:00 Meg Tilly and Jennifer Tilly and Oscar trivia
22:00 Should they remake The Color Purple?
28:00 Syphilitic Out of Africa, Divisive Prizzi's Honor and their Oscar wins
35:30 Desperately Seeking Susan and Oscar's resistance to both Madonna and comedy

46:30 Twice in a Lifetime's weird messages and cathartic makeovers
49:40 Individual favorites from the year from each of us including (but not limited to): Clue, The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, Mask, The Legend of Billie Jean
55:00 Farewells and Credits

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Don't forget to read the smackdown and continue the conversations in the comments! 

Desperately Seeking Smackdown

Sunday
Oct012017

Smackdown '85: Anjelica, Amy, Meg, Margaret and Oprah

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '85. It was all scandal all the time at this colorful party. There were three much gossiped about women (a mafia princess, a drunk promiscuous entertainer, and a delusional pregnant nun) and two stubborn women who were just NOT having either the gossip or the abusive and cheating men around them. It was the about appreciating the color purple (Oprah & Margaret), seeing red (Amy & Meg), and embracing jet black comedy (Anjelica).

THE NOMINEES 

from left to right: Avery, Huston, Madigan, Tilly, and Winfrey

Oscar celebrated newcomers in 1985 with a shortlist composed entirely of first timers. All five actresses were relatively inexperienced (as Oscar lists go) having made less than ten films each so no overdue conversations were to be had. One of them (Oprah Winfrey) was even making her film debut though the eventual winner (Anjelica Huston) was already Hollywood royalty, being the daughter of the film titan directing her and the girlfriend of the superstar headlining her Best Picture nominated vehicle.

Notable women who Oscar didn't nominate were Globe nominees Kelly McGillis (Witness) and Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), BAFTA nominees Judi Dench (Wetherby) and Tracey Ullman (Plenty), and BAFTA winner Rosanna Arquette (Desperately Seeking Susan)... who was very much a leading lady but you know how awards season is! Other key supporting players that attracted critical attention and/or movie fans in 1985 were Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club), Demi Moore and Mare Winningham (St Elmo's Fire), Isabella Rossellini and Helen Mirren (White Nights), Madonna (Desperately Seeking Susan), Lea Thompson (Back to the Future), Laura Dern (Mask), Ann Wedgeworth (Sweet Dreams), and Mieko Harada (Ran).

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

from left to right: Zehetner, Virtel, Nathaniel R, Nazemian, Morgan

Here to talk about these five nominated turns, in reverse alphabetical order: Actress Nora Zehetner (Creative Control, Brick), comedian/writer Louis Virtel  (Billy on the Street, Throwing Shade), your host Nathaniel R (The Film Experience), novelist/producer Abdi Nazemian ("The Authentics" and Call Me By Your Name), and writer/director Michelle Morgan (It Happened in LA). And now it's time for the main event... 

1985
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN  

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Wednesday
Sep272017

Looking back at St. Elmo's Fire (1985)

by Eric Blume

Director Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire captures 1985 perfectly:  the word “yuppie” had just come into vogue, and this film follows seven Georgetown students finding themselves lost after graduation.  They’re all white, attractive, fairly affluent, and awfully boring, and nothing much happens in the movie.  So why is it so damn watchable?

St. Elmo’s Fire is a curio from this era, because while it wasn’t a huge box office success, it’s an instantly-recognizable title after 22 years.  This of course is due to the film’s actors: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Mare Winningham, Judd Nelson, and Andrew McCarthy.  Schumacher did manage lightning-in-a-bottle with that casting, and while very little about the film is objectively good, watching these actors near the start of their careers provides a kicky joy...

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