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February 28: Happy Birthday Bernadette Peters and John Turturro


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Bernadette Peters, who is 69 today, joins the list of musical theater stars to become a headliner.  She obtained her Actor’s Equity card at nine and made her Broadway debut in her late teens.  Her Tony nomination in 1971 for playing Hildy Esterhazy in a revival of On the Town was the first of seven.  She has won twice, for playing Emma in the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance, and as Annie Oakley in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun.

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Why Is Hollywood Casting Big Stars in Little Parts?


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Kevthewriter has a bone to pick with big name actors being cast in itty bitty roles.  Is this a case of a Hollywood bait and switch or just cool cameos?

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The Walking Dead: Hostiles and Calamities


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Imagine a TV show based on the Wizard of Oz.  On this hypothetical show, the audience watches the Cowardly Lion overcome his fears and cheers as he discovers his courage.  Almost immediately afterwards, the character reverts to being a sniveling coward seemingly at random.  Viewers watch the Lion repeat the same story beat over and over again.  That’s what’s happening on The Walking Dead with Eugene playing the role of the Lion.  He even has the mane.

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February 27: Happy Birthday Joanne Woodward and Elizabeth Taylor


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Our first headliner today was married to Paul Newman.  Our second played Paul Newman’s wife in one of her most famous roles.

Joanne Woodward is turning 87 today.  She studied drama at Louisiana State University and began working in theater and television.  During much of the 1950s, she alternated between appearing in New York theater and in television anthology series such as The Philco Television Playhouse and Studio One.  She made her feature film debut in 1955, and in 1957 she starred in a psychological thriller about a woman who seems to have three different personalities:

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Weekly Recap: Countdown to Oscars!


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We have spent most of the month of February counting down to the 89th Annual Academy Awards.  Tonight is the big night and you could definitely feel the excitement building all week here at Le Blog.  I’m pretty sure Daffy Stardust cloned himself.  Otherwise, I have no idea how he managed to crank out two Oscar-related articles daily.  Plus he also recruited an old friend of the site, therealadri, to contribute her annual look at the costuming category.  It’s been a week of glitz, glamour and Lego bricks.  Let the weekly recap begin!

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Spreading the Oscars wealth


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If you’re in the habit of looking back at the list of nominees and winners of the Academy Awards over the years like I am, you’ve probably also noticed that there are years when the Academy has heaped a huge number of awards on a single film and there have been years in which the wealth has been spread around more evenly.
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February 26: Happy Birthday Michael Bolton and Johnny Cash


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Two-time Grammy winner Michael Bolton is turning 64 today.  Early in his career, both as a solo artist and with the band Blackjack, Bolton was a hard rock/heavy metal man, but in the early 1980s he reinvented himself as a pop-rock singer/songwriter and began to have a string of hits.  Some of his singles were covers of old standards, like “When A Man Loves a Woman” and “Georgia on My Mind.”  However, others, including his first #1 hit, were songs he wrote or co-wrote.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “When You Wish Upon a Star”


Yeah, you had to know this one was coming. Get over it.
If you’re looking for real substance you’ll want to visit my article about Jiminy Cricket and Cliff Edwards, the man who provided his voice. There isn’t much I could offer here that would rival that. So what you’ll get this time around is a series of cover versions – – some lovely and unique…others just unique.
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Best Picture Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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As I covered during last year’s warm up to the Oscars ceremony, the change the Academy made in 2009 by expanding the list of nominations in the Best Picture category from the traditional five to as many as ten has significantly altered the conversation. This is what it was meant to do, but perhaps the conversation has not quite changed the way it was intended to. If you look at the list of Best Picture nominees from this year’s awards there are definitely a couple that we’re happy to see included which might not have been in previous years, even the sic-fi picture Arrival is not exactly a mainstream style popcorn flick, but represents the sort of focus on art which is the standard for Oscars material. For the most part it really appears that the voters have adapted to the new rules and have pretty much resumed with its promotion of “Oscar-bait” films. Despite some genre fans holding out hope that favorites like Deadpool or Zootopia could grab at the big prize, that didn’t happen. But we do have some pretty interesting nominees and how they interact when considered against one another gets the old brain hummin’ too.

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February 25: Happy Birthday Rashida Jones and George Harrison


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Rashida Jones is turning 41 today.  The daughter of music legend Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton made her screen debut in the miniseries The Last Don in 1997, and within a couple of years was cast in her first regular TV role, as school secretary Louisa Fenn on Boston Public.  She thought about leaving acting in the mid-2000s, but changed her mind when offered a role on season 3 of The Office.  She then was cast as Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, and remained as a regular through the middle of its sixth season.

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Title Tale


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What’s in a name?  Would Gone With the Wind have smelled as sweet if author Margaret Mitchell had dubbed her tome Tote the Weary Load instead?  There’s an alchemy to coming up with a great (or even good) title.  Movieline writer David Thomson looked at modern movie title trends as well as some classic examples of movies that could have been called something else.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Over the Rainbow”


Here we have it. Probably the most famous and loved Oscar-winning song of all time! But don’t just trust me, consider the honors “Over the Rainbow” has racked up over and above its Oscar win. In 2004 the American Film Institute proclaimed the song to be the number one greatest to come from any movie as a part of its “100 Years…100 Songs” promotion. Three years prior to that, a poll of professionals by the Recording Industry Association of America placed “Over the Rainbow” in the number one spot on their list of the “Songs of the Century.” The song has been honored on a stamp by the United States Post Office and has been the recipient of a wide range of cover versions. It’s kind of an undeniable pillar in the history of American pop culture.
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Best Actor Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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In most years, the Best Actor category is one of the major flash points of Oscars evening. Last year’s win for Leonardo DiCaprio was seen by some as the rightful end to a long-standing wrong (I wasn’t one of those people, but we’re not talking about me here). Both 2009 and 2010 featured Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth as top nominees with each man eventually taking home one statuette. Longtime favorites, unexpected darkhorses, and actual movie stars have made the walk to the stage to be honored over the years and there’s usually a lot of suspense or anticipation over a tight race or a coronation. Despite some uncertainty over who the actual winner will be, I’m not quite getting the same sense of excitement over this race as I have in many other years. No matter who wins, that performance will be seen by most as deserving, but I’m not sure there are a ton of people outside of the productions themselves who are emotionally invested in the outcome. Join me below as i discuss each nominee and maybe offer some hints as to why people might feel this way. Then help us vote for our own favorite to take home Oscar gold in this category!
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