Oscar Flashback: The 11 films that scored two of the Big Five, including ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ ‘La La Land’

Oscar Flashback: The 11 films that scored two of the Big Five, including ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ ‘La La Land’
This article marks Part 3 of the Gold Derby series reflecting on films that contended for the Big Five Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted). With “A Star Is Born” this year on the cusp of joining this exclusive group of Oscar favorites, join us as we look back at the 43 extraordinary pictures that earned Academy Awards nominations in each of the Big Five categories, including the following 11 films that scored a pair of prizes among the top races.

At the 4th Academy Awards ceremony, “Cimarron” (1931) made Oscar history as the first motion picture to ever score nominations in the Big Five categories. On the big night, the western took home the top prize in Best Picture, as well as the Oscar in Best Adapted Screenplay (Howard Estabrook). Not as successful were the picture’s director, Wesley Ruggles, topped by Norman Taurog (“Skippy”), and the leads,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Cummings Pt.2: Working with Capra and West, Fighting Columbia in Court

Constance Cummings in 'Night After Night.' Constance Cummings: Working with Frank Capra and Mae West (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Actress Went from Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill.”) Back at Columbia, Harry Cohn didn't do a very good job at making Constance Cummings feel important. By the end of 1932, Columbia and its sweet ingenue found themselves in court, fighting bitterly over stipulations in her contract. According to the actress and lawyer's daughter, Columbia had failed to notify her that they were picking up her option. Therefore, she was a free agent, able to offer her services wherever she pleased. Harry Cohn felt otherwise, claiming that his contract player had waived such a notice. The battle would spill over into 1933. On the positive side, in addition to Movie Crazy 1932 provided Cummings with three other notable Hollywood movies: Washington Merry-Go-Round, American Madness, and Night After Night. 'Washington Merry-Go-Round
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Cummings' Ten-Year Death Anniversary: From Minor Lloyd Leading Lady to Tony Award Winner (Revised and Expanded)

Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major London stage star. Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died ten years ago on Nov. 23. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received performances – is all but forgotten.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Walker on TCM: From Shy, Heterosexual Boy-Next-Door to Sly, Homosexual Sociopath

Robert Walker: Actor in MGM films of the '40s. Robert Walker: Actor who conveyed boy-next-door charms, psychoses At least on screen, I've always found the underrated actor Robert Walker to be everything his fellow – and more famous – MGM contract player James Stewart only pretended to be: shy, amiable, naive. The one thing that made Walker look less like an idealized “Average Joe” than Stewart was that the former did not have a vacuous look. Walker's intelligence shone clearly through his bright (in black and white) grey eyes. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” programming, Turner Classic Movies is dedicating today, Aug. 9, '15, to Robert Walker, who was featured in 20 films between 1943 and his untimely death at age 32 in 1951. Time Warner (via Ted Turner) owns the pre-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library (and almost got to buy the studio outright in 2009), so most of Walker's movies have
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Movie Poster of the Week: “You’ll Never Get Rich” and The Art of the Dance Movie Poster

  • MUBI
Above: French poster by Boris Grinsson for You’ll Never Get Rich (Sidney Lanfield, USA, 1941).In the new edition of Film Comment, out this week, I write about British airbrush artist Philip Castle and his iconic poster for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The other man behind that poster, aside from Kubrick himself, was producer, director and writer Mike Kaplan who, at the time, was Kubrick’s marketing guru.Kaplan, who has been collecting movie posters, as well as art directing them, for 35 years, is a tireless proselytizer for the art form and his latest project is a labor of love and a pure delight. Gotta Dance! The Art of the Dance Movie Poster, a book he wrote and curated, was born out of a touring exhibition of his own personal collection that he has been exhibiting around the country for the past few years. Its latest stop is
See full article at MUBI »

Oscars 2014: What Are the Odds of a Best Picture-Best Director Split?

  • Moviefone
The 85-year history of the Academy Awards is rife with statistical oddities, and one that has the potential to play out this Sunday is among the most intriguing: a split between the films that win Best Picture and Best Director.

Though conventional wisdom has long held that only one film will walk away with both prizes on Oscar night, many pundits are predicting that the awards will instead go to two different movies this year, with "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron expected to snag the Best Director statuette, while "12 Years a Slave" (or "American Hustle," depending on where your loyalties lie) is the favorite to win Best Picture.

While such a split has occurred just 22 times since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out trophies in 1929, four of the first five ceremonies produced a divide between the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. "Wings," dubbed the original
See full article at Moviefone »

Why Forgotten? Remembering Five-Time Best Actress Nominee

Irene Dunne movies: Five-time Best Actress Academy Award nominee starred in now-forgotten originals of well-remembered remakes In his August 2007 Bright Lights article "The Elusive Pleasures of Irene Dunne," Dan Callahan explained that "the reasons for Irene Dunne’s continuing, undeserved obscurity are fairly well known. Nearly all of her best films from the thirties and forties were remade and the originals were suppressed and didn’t play on television. She did some of her most distinctive work for John Stahl at Universal, and non-horror Universal films are rarely shown now. Practically all of her movies need to be restored; even her most popular effort, The Awful Truth (1937), looks grainy and blotchy on its DVD transfer, to say nothing of things like Stahl’s When Tomorrow Comes (1939), or Rouben Mamoulian’s High, Wide, and Handsome (1937), two key Dunne films that have languished and deteriorated in a sort of television/video purgatory.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

All-American Dad at His Movie Best as the All-American Crook

Fred MacMurray movies: ‘Double Indemnity,’ ‘There’s Always Tomorrow’ Fred MacMurray is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" today, Thursday, August 7, 2013. Although perhaps best remembered as the insufferable All-American Dad on the long-running TV show My Three Sons and in several highly popular Disney movies from 1959 to 1967, e.g., The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, Boy Voyage!, MacMurray was immeasurably more interesting as the All-American Jerk. (Photo: Fred MacMurray ca. 1940.) Someone once wrote that Fred MacMurray would have been an ideal choice to star in a biopic of disgraced Republican president Richard Nixon. Who knows, the (coincidentally Republican) MacMurray might have given Anthony Hopkins a run for his Best Actor Academy Award nomination. After all, MacMurray’s most admired movie performances are those in which he plays a scheming, conniving asshole: Billy Wilder’s classic film noir Double Indemnity (1944), in which he’s seduced by Barbara Stanwyck, and Wilder
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Breaking the Bank: Six of Hollywood’s Lost Old-School Epics

For moviegoers growing up in the last 20-30 years, big is the new normal. I’m talking about those big-budget, over-produced, effects/action-packed extravaganzas that are as expected and routine an arrival as a commuter bus, and never more so than during the summer months. Come a rise in temperatures, there’s an almost ceaseless parade of these megabuck behemoths through multiplexes starting in May and continuing until the kids go back to school, one rolling out almost every week.

Consider these May-August releases and their eye-popping price tags:

5/4: Marvel’s The Avengers — $220 million

5/11: Dark Shadows — $150 million

5/18: Battleship — $209 million

5/25: Men in Black 3 — $250 million

6/8: Prometheus — $120-130 million

7/3: The Amazing Spider-Man — $220 million

7/20: The Dark Knight Rises — $250 million

7/31: Total Recall — $200 million

8/5: The Expendables 2 — $100 million

For those of you who haven’t been keeping count, that’s a little over $1.7 billion in productions
See full article at SoundOnSight »

CGI and the Banality of the Incredible part 2

In 1993, audiences gazing on the truly imposing sight of dinosaurs come to life in Jurassic Park felt the same sense of jaw-dropping awe displayed by the movie’s human characters. Nothing in movie history could compare to what Steven Spielberg and his CGI crew were able to put on the screen: not the herky-jerky stop-motion-animated lizards of 1950s monster-on-the-loose movies like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), nor the pet store lizards made up to look like supposedly threatening beasts in Irwin Allen’s back lot The Lost World (1960), and certainly not a man in a rubber reptile suit rampaging through a miniature Tokyo in the original Godzilla (1954). But as impressive a sight as it was, once the novelty of Jurassic’s CGI creations wore off, so did some of their appeal.

Jurassic Park earned a whopping $350.5 million domestic gross, and while its sequels were, without question, major box office successes, none
See full article at SoundOnSight »

How Diaghilev's Ballets Russes kept British cinema on its toes | Henry K Miller

The Russian impresario had a profound effect on 1920s film-making, yet he never made a movie himself

Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes sparked a revolution in taste after the first world war, taking modernism out of the salon and into the music hall. The splendid exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, currently showing at the V&A, covers the impresario's legacy in music, dance, fashion, painting, and literature; but less well documented is the spell he cast over British film. Michael Powell, who drew on 1920s memories of the Diaghilev milieu for The Red Shoes, was just one among a generation of cineastes who found inspiration in the same source.

Ballet sequences held a special appeal for the likes of Anthony Asquith and Thorold Dickinson, who cast the young Audrey Hepburn as a ballerina in Secret People; but their interest went beyond merely recording dance on film.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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