Oscar Nominated Films

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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:46 pm

Becky Sharp (1935) - Rouben Mamoulian

Some would hunt out this film for being the frst feature to use three strip Technicolor. I on the other hand was intrigued by its leading lady, the great and under appreciated Miram Hopinks. Hopkins plays the title character, a charming social climber who has a tendency to rack up enormous debts for herself and all the men around her. Adapted from the novel Vanity Fair and a stage play of the same name, Hopkins is delightful in the role. She goes all out, and delivers what may be her best performance, certainly the most expressive. Her work got her an Oscar nomination, in the one and only year 6 nominees were selected. I have not read the novel but the film seems to stem from that classic school of Hollywood adaptations were 100 page passages are reduced to a two minute scene. Being on public domain, there aren't a lot of great prints running around, so the quality of color might not be as vibrant as originally intended. Still Hopkins makes this worthy to watch.

*Becky Sharp was nominated for best actress.
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:58 pm

Are you surprised that this was the lone nomination Hopkins ever received? (She did get a Golden Globe nom for The Heiress, and appropriately so.)
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:07 pm

It does seem odd considering what a talent she was. I suppose she was underappreciated in her day as well. Oh well with the glory of hindsight you can easily recognize her for her work in Trouble in Paradise, These Three, Design for Living, or even Mamoulian's earlier Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:44 pm

The Razor's Edge (1946) - Edmund Goulding

20th Century Fox's biggest star made his return to the screen following a WWII stint in the Marines with this highly prestigious adaptation of W. Somerset Maughm's The Razor's Edge. Herbert Marshall plays the author who also serves as the narrator. Gene Tierney, an actress who is freakishly good looking, plays his would be love interest who breaks off their engagement after he has no intention to make a financial go of himself. Power is of the lost generation of WWI veterans who are struggling to find meaning in this world. He wanders to Paris, and eventually to India where he finds enlightenment and clearly seems to have done better than his money minded friends. Tierney of course never stops loving him, despite her own husband and two kids. The drama sets itself up well when Sophie (Anne Baxter in an Oscar winning performance) reappears as a helplessly shattered drunk following the death of her own husband and child. The film has some strong moments, but Power's disillusionment seems to be handled too frivolously and some of the melodrama just seems to be laid on a bit thick. Fans of Laura might be curious to see Tierney and Clifton Webb teamed together yet again.

*The Razor's Edge was nominated for best picture, best black and white art direction, best supporting actor (Clifton Webb). It won best supporting actress (Baxter).
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:33 am

Hello Dolly (1969) - Gene Kelly

Well the heading needs to be "I've seen every best picture nominee from 1961 to the present". That said lets discuss this particular film. What a horribly bad movie. So, so very long, such awfully bad acting, irritating beyond belief, and almost completely nonsensical. Streisand was supposed to be playing a middle aged match maker, which makes her "romance" with Walter Mathau hard to swallow, especially considering what a horribly awful man he is. However this type of @#%$ was still getting Oscars in 1969. The film's run time is long, and it feels long. A great deal of this could be shortened. Although I was impressed with Michael Crawford's dancing, his character was too unbelievable and just plain irritating. Of course homosexuals and old Jewish women will rejoice in Barbara, who this film was really designed for, but for the rest of us, hang some garlic and a cross on your front door.

*Hello Dolly won best adapted score, best art direction, best score, and best sound. It was nominated for best cinematography, best costume design, best editing, and best picture.
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:05 am

I just realized I've seen a whole hell of a lot of Oscar nominated pictures, and still got plenty to go.

Harry and Tonto (1974) - Paul Mazursky

Critics frequently cite Harry and Tonto as the best screen role of Art Carney, and who can possibly find any film worth contesting that? Carney was still and always will be best known for his work on The Honeymooners and when it came time to make this film most people had forgotten he was still around. He does make the most of his role here, playing a man roughly two decades older than himself. This allows Carney to give his Harry a little vitality and he seems somewhat well contained for his age. However the idea that old people are neglected and subject to our guilt remains a dominant theme of the film. Road films were quite popular after Easy Rider, and the mystical journey out west takes on a different significance with the elderly. The film's light tone makes the picture easy to digest, but it isn't exactly a comedy. The supporting cast is good pretty much all around, but I do wish that Ellen Burstyn could have been in the film more, but part of that might have been because her scenes were shot in Chicago.

*Harry and Tonto was nominated for best original screenplay. It won for best actor (Carney).
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:51 am

Music of the Heart (1999) - Wes Craven

Oh god Miramax what have you done? It seems like only yesterday that every fall Miramax was trying to spend enough money to convince us that whatever piece of crap overbudgeted prestige picture they were making was a brilliant and moving piece of art. One look at the box of Music of the Heart and the average man might recoil in horror. Ironic to be horrified by this title directed by an out of turn Wes Craven. However I had a weakness. That weakness wasn't Meryl Streep, I can resist a shitty movie of hers quite easily, but this is for research. Sure I've seen a lot of best picture nominees, and best actor nominees, but when it comes to actresses I've seen mainly just the winners. I'm extremely bad with the 1990's and this coming out in 1999 I figured I had to pick it up.

Well as for the film itself I had an instant flashback. I remembered those days in the mid-nineties when VH1 started their Save the Music campaign and lest I be mistaken Gloria Estefan was their spokesperson who also appears in this film. Those commercials were good enough, a feature length movies about how great music programs are to inner city kids is just tripe. This film is nauseating in its message that I was surprised at how many positive reviews of it were out there. Could it be the Miramax machine paid them off? Oh well hopefully this film will get buried in the "oh god I'm blind" pile. If you want a plot description here it is, newly divorced woman needs a job, gets hired as an inner city substitute violin teacher and makes everyone's lives happier over a decade, but her program is cut because "The Man" doesn't like letting poor kids learn music, so a bunch of rich classical musicians put together a faggy concert to save the music. If anyone asked me for a three word review to put on a DVD box I'd say this "Gayer than AIDS".

*Music of the Heart was nominated for best actress (Streep) and best song.
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:01 pm

One Foot in Heaven (1941) - Irving Rapper

Something supremely magical about TCM, that is that you can find so many films otherwise unavailable from them. Approximately two days after getting cable I saw this on the horizon and was thrilled. The last remaining best picture nominee from 1941 I needed to see. The film is formulaic in almost all aspects, and falls into a limited subgenre of memoir type of films recalled by the children of whatever main character. The best known of these is I Remember Mama. This also fits into a run of religious films and although made before the US entered WWII it is still in that same mode of "country first" patriotism that Hollywood was cramming down everyone's throat at the time. Frederic March is likable but not spectacular as the preacher of the story but critics then as now know he had done better. There are charming moments in the film and the trip to see William S. Hart in The Silent Man is a definite highlight. Ironic too because the University of Chicago is showing a whole quarter long series of Hart films.

Of course this film is largely just another one of many that I need to see for my own self satisfying mission. 1941 was no easy year to get accomplished, and this wasn't the only film of the 10 nominees that had never been released on home video, like Hold Back the Dawn though I found this film through TCM. Unlike that film though this was simply passable mild entertainment, far from the hidden gem Leisen's film turned out to be. Hard of course to recommend a film that's impossible to find, but there isn't a great deal in this picture that would captivate a modern audience. The film comments on something of the waning power of Christianity, which is so much more prophetic today.

*One Foot in Heaven was nominated for best picture
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:46 pm

One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) - Henry Koster

Looking back there are a few oddities of Hollywood's classic era. Stars and pictures that were enormously successful that seem tiresome to say the least. Deanna Durbin is not without a few present day admirers but she was an enormous success that saved Universal from bankruptcy (or so the legend goes). Ironically she was actually denied a contract by MGM in favor of her then partner Judy Garland. Durbin began her career as an asexual little-miss-fix-it. She had no time for boys, and had a resounding energy that propelled her to set things right for those around her. One Hundred Men and a Girl amplifies her mission tremendously. Instead of reuniting her separated parents, here she is determined to give 100 out of work musicians their own orchestra. Durbin's voice here is used to get her foot in the door, a talent that she is humble about but happens to impress an awful lot of people. The then world famous Leopold Stakovsky makes an appearance as himself and the somewhat reluctant conductor of this orchestra. However where there's a Durbin there's a way. Due to audio problms of the time Durbin's very shrill and fast speaking voice may very well make your ears bleed. Not to say the girl couldn't sing, but listening to her talk a mile a minute will make anyone reach for some ear plugs. That said one of the film's five nominations was for sound. The picture is enjoyable in its own right but remains a mystery as to how it was as popular in its time as it was.

*One Hundred Men and a Girl was nominated for best picture, best editing, best original story, and best sound. It won for best score.
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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:43 am

Pursuit of Happyness (2006) - Gabriele Muccino

Seeing no thread on the film and considering the film isn't exactly a new release, I decided to just post here. Sentimental hogwash better known as an inspirational story is usually a sign of trouble. A predictable feel bad and then eventually feel good and it seems to undermine everyone type of movie. However with that preface I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with Pursuit of Happyness. It genuinely works for me, and part of this might be the fact that I'm the brokest man on earth. I can relate in an all too painful way to Chris Gardner. Will Smith has been a tremendous acting talent and all too often makes films far beneath his talents. This film might seem like a bit of a showcase, but I welcome it, as though its about time. Unfortunately for Will, the hype surrounding Forrest Whitaker was deafening and he wound up being more of a "glad to be nominated" type. Watching both films in the same day, Smith's film is by far the better and his performance is much more endearing.

*Pursuit of Happyness was nominated for best actor (Smith).
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