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Category Archives: Movies

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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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Mona Lisa”


Sometimes one great song is the lone claim to fame for an otherwise forgotten movie, and we can only hope that the Academy will successfully identify these diamonds of musical inspiration which are hidden in arguably unlikely places. Of course public attention to a song can often do the job for them. This was certainly part of the case in 1950 when Nat “King” Cole’s recording of the Ray Evans/Jay Livingston tune “Mona Lisa” topped the charts throughout the month of August despite getting little to no promotional boost from the movie it appeared in. Captain Carey U.S.A. was an inconsequential film based on a written serial about an American played by Alan Ladd who returns to Italy to help bring a traitor to justice. It wasn’t one of the top ten box office hits of the year and “Mona Lisa” appears to have been the only awards attention it received. Classics such as All About Eve, Born Yesterday, Sunset Boulevard, Walt Disney’s Cinderella, The Third Man, and Father of the Bride dominated both the box office and the Oscars that year (the eventual divorce in tastes between the movie-going public and the Academy is a subject for another day perhaps). Either way, we can thank Captain Carey U.S.A. for getting this great song to the Oscars stage.
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Best Actress Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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While there have definitely been years in which the Academy appeared to be having trouble filling out this category, this was definitely not one of them. Probably the most talked-about exclusion of the Oscar year was Amy Adams’ lead performance in Arrival, which managed to grab eight other nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and in several technical categories without likewise honoring Adams. It has been suggested that perhaps she split the vote with her equally fine work in Tom Ford’s entrancing Nocturnal Animals. Still more onlookers favored Annette Bening’s turn in 20th Century Women or Taraji P Henson as mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson in Hidden Figures. Clearly none of these women would have looked out of place on the final list of nominees. This is a good sign for actresses in general, but maybe not a great one for those hoping to take home an Oscar. The competition appears to be getting even more fierce.

That could also be demonstrated by how much trouble I had deciding on my own rankings in this category.
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JFK Filmography “Dead Again and Again”


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Today’s Movieline article is a silly one from the February 1992 issue.  The gag is that the author imagines alternate versions of Oliver Stone’s JFK by other famous directors including Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman and David Lynch.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Call Me Irresponsible”


Yeah, I know, you thought this was primarily a Frank Sinatra tune. Well that certainly is the most famous recording of “Call Me Irresponsible,” because face it, if you had your choice as a record company would you want to be selling a recording of Jackie Gleason singing drunk or something by Frank? Even if he was in a mild slump at the time. As it turns out, the song was actually only a charting hit for a singer named Jack Jones who most of us probably know best for singing the theme to the Love Boat television show (damn, I’ve got that stuck in my head now).
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The 2017 Best Costume Design Nominees


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Hello again! I’m Allison, and I love writing and costuming. So I’m thrilled to be back on Le Blog for a second year of discussing the Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, especially as I recently wrapped my consistent blogging project, Lizzie McGuire Reviewed.

We’ve got an interesting crop of films this year. They’re almost all period pieces (with the exception of La La Land, which wants to be) and none are particularly over-the-top; we certainly don’t see any costuming as downright bonkers as last year’s winner, Mad Max: Fury Road, but this year’s list also lacks the bright, fantastical design of Disney flicks like Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland that usually appear in this category. Most critics are calling a toss-up between Jackie and  La La Land for the award. I’d be fine with the former. We’ll….get into the latter.

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Accents Will Happen


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Joe Queenan had a long history of ranting on various entertainment related subjects within the pages of Movieline magazine.  Something he did less frequently was to change his mind on a subject.  We have a rare case of the writer doing so here.  Ten years after Queenan wrote a screed about bad Hollywood accents, he came back with a retraction of sorts.  In the December 2001 issue of the magazine, Queenan professed his newfound love of ridiculous accents.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah”


They run the risk of wearing out their welcome with that reprise don’t they? To my ears the Walt Disney Choir drops in about one chorus too late. Ah well, no matter. This is the sort of ear worm that can survive some mild over-reach.

Let’s address the seventy-year-old elephant in the room, shall we? Song of the South is a pretty complicated chapter in the history of the Disney company that has gone through an ebb and flow in critical and public estimation. Walt himself knew that he was treading on tricky ground with any film that was even adjacent to discussing race relations. He hired a Jewish “lefty” writer to try to balance out the tone and characterizations in the film. He hired the only African-American actress to ever win an Oscar. He hired a legendary cinematographer. He consulted with the marketing team of another racially sensitive film. He organized a meeting with the President of the NAACP for script revisions.

So what happened?
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Best Supporting Actor Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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I consistently find the Best Supporting Actor category to be the most interesting and competitive group just about any Oscars night. Perhaps that’s because a high percentage of my own work in theatre has been done in supporting roles, but it’s also true that there are naturally more supporting roles available over the course of a year in film which tends to lead to more variety. This time we’ve got a couple of eccentric lawmen, an uncertain father figure, a son dealing with his father’s death, and another trying to find his way back home. Past winners in this category have included luminaries such as Karl Malden, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Christopher Plummer. There have also been a bunch of guys you haven’t heard from since. Will this year’s winner fit into one of these categories? Join me below and we’ll discuss.
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Best Actress Bracket Game Winner!


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It may not be the most surprising outcome, but I doubt anyone will object to strongly to the readers’ decision to crown Meryl Streep as their favorite Best Actress winner.  Streep has been a presence at the Oscars since the late seventies.  She has remained relevant for decades.  Over that time, she has continually showed new sides of herself.  Originally, Streep was pigeon-holed as the actress who does accents.  So she stretched out into comedy and even action movies.  Just when audiences thought they had seen all Streep had to offer, she branched out into musicals.  There doesn’t seem to be anything Meryl Streep can’t do.

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Halle Berry: GLORY, GLORY, HALLE-LUJAH


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Before Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry was a better-than-average model-turned actress who spent more than her fair share of time on the covers of tabloids thanks to her failed celebrity marriage.  That changed when she became the first (and to date only) actress of color to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.  In this interview from the December 2001 issue of Movieline magazine, Lawrence Grobel asks Berry about her marriage to David Justice, her hit-and-run car accident and why she chose to go topless for Swordfish.

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