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February 1: Happy Birthday Michael C Hall and John Ford


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Michael C. Hall is turning 46 today.  Hall began acting in school productions as a boy and began working professionally in theater after graduating from Earlham College.  He appeared in several productions with the New York Shakespeare Festival and made his Broadway debut as the Emcee in the 1999 revival of Cabaret.  In 2001, Hall was cast in the role of David Fisher on HBO’s Six Feet Under, which he played for the show’s entire run and for which he received a Primetime Emmy nomination.

Hall was next cast in the title role of Dexter Morgan on Showtime’s Dexter.  The series was a popular and critical success, running for eight seasons.  Hall was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for five consecutive years, while in 2010 he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series.

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Building my Movie Poster Puzzle: Gone With the Wind


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Obviously, this is one of the most famous and iconic American films ever made. Even if you’ve never sat down and watched Gone With the Wind from start to finish, you are probably familiar with it and know a little about the story, cast, imagery, or lines. Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name was an enormous success when it was released in 1936, becoming a million-seller rather quickly despite being  highly priced for the time at three dollars. There was so much anticipation for the film version, in fact, that when work on the script dragged out the film’s producer David O Selznick was able to milk the delay for additional publicity by announcing a nationwide casting call for the central role of Scarlett O’Hara. Big stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, and Lana Turner were considered for the part, but eventually it went to the relative unknown British actress Vivien Leigh after she made a trip along with Lawrence Olivier to America and arranged a chance meeting with Selznick. Clark Gable was always the number one choice to play Rhett Butler, but a good deal of bargaining with MGM had to be done to secure his services. Gone with the Wind would go on to break box office records and win eight competitive Academy Awards. That’s all been well-detailed elsewhere, but I want to take a different angle if you’ll follow me past the break.
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A Star is Born


It Happened One Night

 

It doesn’t happen very often.  Less so now than in the past.  But every now and then the right actor finds the right role in the right movie at exactly the right time and magic happens.  A star is born!  In the June 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, Virginia Campbell and Charles Oakley took a look at some star-making roles.

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Rank the Oscar Winning Movies: the 1930s


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It’s awards season, and the apex is coming up at the end of the month as the Academy Awards ceremony will be held to reward the best in film for the year. As a part of our Oscars coverage I’m going to ask our readers here at LeBlog to rank the Best Picture winners of each decade starting with the 1930s. I decided to skip the first two years of the awards in the 1920s because I’m wagering not many of us have seen either of those movies…and their existence is mathematically inconvenient. Let me know in the comments section if this decision is seen as blasphemous.

Every couple of days I’ll post a little quick info about each Best Picture winner from the assigned decade and allow everyone here to rank them as they see fit. Once we work our way up to the current day, the top scorers will then be skimmed from the top and presented for one final ranking. Obviously there will be times when many of us will not have seen some of the movies. Don’t let that deter you. Odds are that if you rank the movies you’ve actually seen highly we’ll end up with a list that will stand up to scrutiny. After all…these are all Oscar-winning films!

First up–the 1930s!
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Best Actor Oscars Bracket Game: Clark Gable vs James Stewart


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There have been some truly legendary and some sadly under appreciated performers to be named Best Actor at the yearly Oscars party. Which is which? With the 87th annual Academy Awards ceremony approaching later this month, we here at LeBlog thought we’d start up another of our popular bracket contests to throw a little attention at some of these great performances. There are only 16 available slots in these things, while there have been 86 Best Actor designees so far, leaving 70 acting greats on the outside looking in from the beginning. That’s some pretty brutal math. I tried to represent the entire history of the award by including at least two actors from each of the last eight decades and pairing those up in the first round. That will almost certainly result in some stunning early exits, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.
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