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In the nineties, producer Lawrence Bender was closely linked with Quentin Tarantino and Miramax. In addition to producing most of Tarantino’s movies, Bender also oversaw Miramax’s Oscar-winning hit, Good Will Hunting. While Bender remains active as a producer, his movie career has cooled off since his heyday in the 90’s. He parted ways with Tarantino following Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and has been pulled into recent controversies surrounding his past partnerships. At the time of this profile in the March 1998 issue of Movieline magazine, Bender was still on top of the world.
The esteem of others doesn’t usually do much to blunt our own enthusiasm for out favorite movies, but hey, it doesn’t usually hurt either. If a film you love is nominated for Best Picture, it’s only natural to hope it wins and it’s only natural to feel a little aggrieved if it doesn’t. Well, for the last couple of weeks, we here at LeBlog have been giving you a chance to work with your fellow readers in selecting the best ever Oscar nominated films to not win Best Picture from sets of five from specific time periods. Now that we’ve voted on those groups, the winners from each will now face off and we’ll select a single “Best-Loved Loser” to hold up in the same breath as the actual winners.
Some of the groups were painful to choose from. I imagine today’s championship round may be equally tough. It may be notable that we have two pictures each from Billy Wilder and Martin Scorsese. Make of it what you will.
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We all have that one movie we really wish had taken home the Best Picture Oscar that one time – even if we say we don’t care about the Oscars at all. At least most of us do if we’re reading an article on the subject on a pop culture blog on the internet. Well, LeBlog is teaming up with its readers to select one Best Picture loser from the previous eighty-nine years of the awards as our favorite also-ran. This is the picture we will be affording a unique honor here with the title of “Best-Loved Loser.” Come help us weed out the good from the great as we consider five more movies that came up just short on movies’ biggest night.
Over the course of this project, the year range I’ve covered has varied rather widely. Part one featured five films from just a three year window, while part six was spread out over a full eleven year period. I’m not sure why the difference is so pronounced, but this time around our gap has shrunk back down to just six years, which for me covers the entirety of my late twenties. I’m guessing many of our readers will have some definite opinions about the movies featured this time.
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One of the things that stood out about Movieline magazine was that they didn’t pull their punches in interviews. The writers asked their subjects the kind of direct questions you didn’t see that often in other entertainment magazines. This was true even when the subject was known for being difficult. If anything, the questions were even more direct with a difficult subject. That was the case when Martha Frankel interviewed a very defensive Bruce Willis for the cover story of the August 1996 issue.
Every January, Movieline Magazine published their annual “sex” issue or as they sometimes called it their “more sex than usual” issue. In the 1996 sex issue, Michael Atkinson looked at the sad state of on screen sexual chemistry and named some examples of when Hollywood got it right.
Rosanna Arquette was the first of several siblings to break into Hollywood. Throughout the 80’s, Arquette seemed constantly on the brink of stardom. But her big break never materialized. There’s some memorable films on Arquette’s resume, but she was rarely the star. Over time, the actress who inspired a hit pop song was relegated to supporting roles. After a decade of buzz, Arquette’s spotlight faded. Now she’s gone and I have to say…
What the hell happened?
Oh and also, meet you all the way, Rosanna, yeah!
Actors careers are shaped by choices. Their performances are made up of small choices; how a character should move, what they should sound like, how they should react. Then there are the big choices like what roles to take and who to work with. When an actor commits to a movie, they are dedicating a chunk of their lives to preparing for the role, filming the movie and then doing the promotion circuit. For a lead actor, each movie can be a year-long commitment. For an actor who is in demand, this can lead to some tough choices which will ultimately shape the course of their career.
As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” Sometimes, an actor’s choices look foolish in retrospect. Other times, it seems like they dodged a bullet. Either way, movie fans love looking back and wondering what might have been.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Meg Ryan was America’s Sweetheart and the reigning queen of the romantic comedy. For a time, Ryan had her pick of projects which means she had the opportunity to pass on a lot of movies that went on to become hits. The means lots of opportunities to wonder about what might have been.
Matt Dillon was “discovered” while cutting class as a teen. Not surprisingly, he made a career in the 80’s playing the kind of kids who got into trouble. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Dillon successfully transitioned to adult roles with some critically acclaimed performances in smaller, independent films. He also appeared in several popular, mainstream Hollywood movies. In spite of all of this success, Dillon never established himself as an A-list box office draw.
What the hell happened?
Uma Thurman has been a Batman villain, Robin Hood’s girlfriend, an Avenger (the English kind) and Quentin Tarantino’s muse. She’s worked with Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray, John Travolta and George Clooney. But these days, she’s shifted gears into supporting roles. What the hell happened?
John Travolta is the King of the Comeback. Where most careers involve a rise and a fall, Travolta’s career is a roller coaster or peaks and valleys. In the 70’s, he was a pop culture icon, in the 80’s he was a has-been and in the 90’s, he reinvented himself as an Oscar-nominated tough guy. Today, you’re more likely to see him on tabloid covers than headlining a movie. What the hell happened?