Steven Soderbergh celebrates his 55th birthday today. As the son of a university administrator, he had a somewhat nomadic youth, ending up in Louisiana for his high school years, when he began making Super 8 films. After graduating, he moved to Hollywood, supporting himself as a cue card holder on game shows for a while before finding work as a freelance editor. At just 21, he was asked to direct a concert video for Yes which was released under the title 9012Live. A few years later, he burst on the scene with his first feature, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for 1989 and also brought Soderbergh an Oscar nomination for screenwriting.
Soderbergh had a few dry years after his initial breakthrough. Films like Kafka, a quasi-biopic of the Bohemian author, and The Underneath, a remake of the noir classic Criss Cross, were unsuccessful. But in 1998 he came back strong with a critically successful adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Out of Sight.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Faye Dunaway? Odds are, it’s Mommie Dearest and “no wire hangers”. Here at Le Blog where we have a long-running series detailing the career embarrassments of the Golden Raspberry Awards (at which Dunaway was a regular nominee), we tend to focus on that sort of thing.
Dunaway’s fall from grace was sharp and memorable because at one point, she was one of the top actresses in Hollywood. Stephen Rebello, who interviewed the actress for the June 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, mainly sticks to the highlights of Dunaway’s career while getting gabby about her famous costars.
The 70’s provided a wealth of memorable Best Actress winners to choose from. The game includes the likes of Jane Fonda and Sally Field who also won in other decades. But I also wanted to include two actresses who won for movies that really represent the decade. In the mid-70’s, Faye Dunaway’s career peaked with her Oscar win for the social satire, Network. The following year, Diane Keaton helped shape fashion trends and romantic comedy tropes in Annie Hall. Both actresses can claim multiple nominations, but only a single victory.
Faye Dunaway is celebrating her 76th birthday today. She made her Broadway debut as Margaret More in A Man For All Seasons shortly after graduating from Boston University. A few years later came her film debut in The Happening in 1967; that same year she received her first Oscar nomination as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde. A year later, she co-starred with Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair:
That wasn’t really close. Battlefield Earth annihilated I Know Who Killed Me with over 80% of the votes. That means you’re looking at our two finalists right here. It’s Mommie Dearest vs. Battlefield Earth for the title of Best Worst Picture.
We’re down to our final four contenders for the crown of Best Worst Picture. If you interpret that to mean “movies so bad that they are good”, today’s match has you covered. Both Mommie Dearest and Showgirls were initially billed as dramatic movies. As dramas, they both failed. But audiences embraced both movies as campy comedies. The degree to which that was intentional is both debatable and irrelevant.
As we head into the second round of the Best Worst Picture game, we’re time warping back to the early days of the Golden Raspberry Awards when Faye Dunaway and Pia Zadora were regular nominees for Worst Actress. We’re kicking off round two with Mommie Dearest vs. The Lonely Lady.