Friday, September 30, 2011

Double Feature: Coming Home (1978) and Missing (1982)

Coming Home:

In Oscar-winning performances, Jon Voight and Jane Fonda headline this controversial 1978 drama about the effects of the Vietnam war on veterans. Bruce Dern also gives a fine performance in this terrific Best Picture nominee.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Dern), Best Supporting Actress (Milford), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. It was worthy of all of them, and the film still holds up today.


Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek star as a father and daughter-in-law in search of their son/husband in this 1982 drama. Costa-Gavras (and Donald Stewart) won an Oscar for the film's screenplay, arguably as a reward for his superior Z (1969 Best Picture nominee).

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Since the film is an intriguing politically-charged work, it fits well within the standards of the Oscars and is in the league of a great many films nominated in the 1970s.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oscar Campaign Bust #2: The Libertine

This 2005 film about John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, featured a phenomenal performance from Johnny Depp, great costume work, and a haunting score by Michael Nyman. The film was yet another product of The Weinstein Company that came and went ignored by Oscar's radar.

Did it deserve to be nominated? Yes, at the very least a Best Actor nod for Johnny Depp in what I consider to be the finest leading male performance of the Aughts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Feature: King Solomon's Mines (1950) and Julius Caesar (1953)

King Solomon's Mines:

Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger star in this Technicolor adaptation of Allan Quatermain's quest to find a woman's husband who went looking for the mysterious diamond mines of King Solomon. Though it is dated, it is easy to see why an adventure film like this got nominated for Best Picture amidst films like All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography (Color), and Best Film Editing. Though it won for the latter two nominations, the Best Picture nomination could have been given to something like Harvey or The Third Man.

Julius Caesar:

This rendering of Shakespeare's tragedy features solid performances from James Mason (as Brutus), Marlon Brando (as Mark Antony), and John Gielgud (as Cassius). Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz allows the material (and what material!) to speak for itself, and Miklos Rozsa's score complements it nicely.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando), Best Art Direction (B&W), Best Cinematography (B&W), and Best Score (Dramatic or Comedy Picture). Though Brando is good, Mason and Gielgud deserved to be nominated along with him.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oscar Campaign Bust #1: Breaking and Entering

This 2006 drama featured a great cast with an Oscar-winning director at the helm, and was even distributed by The Weinstein Company (who just backed The King's Speech in 2010) in a December release. Despite these pluses, the film fell flat with most critics and awards groups and was not nominated for any Oscars.

Did it deserve to be nominated? Yes, at least for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (Binoche in the correct category), and Best Original Screenplay.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Feature: Of Mice and Men (1939) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

As I'm trying to see every Best Picture nominee ever made, I watched two 1939 entries for the first time this week.

Of Mice and Men:

This gem features Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr. as two labor workers in the rural American south in the Great Depression. Both give great performances in a worthy Best Picture nominee that more classic movie fans should see, if they haven't already.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Scoring, and Best Sound. However, it definitely deserved additional nominations for Meredith (Best Actor) and Chaney Jr. (Best Supporting Actor).

Goodbye, Mr. Chips:

This beloved classic is just that: a wonderful, emotionally-satisfying piece about a boarding school teacher. Robert Donat is sublime in an Oscar-winning performance, and the film arguably deserved the Best Picture prize.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound. Of course, Greer Garson's leading performance was supporting, and the film could have been nominated for Best Art Direction.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Best Picture Log

As an Oscar fan, my goal is to see every Best Picture nominee there has ever been. So I've added a page where I'll keep track of the Best Picture-nominated films that I haven't seen yet. The Aughts nominees (which I've seen all of) have been posted, and I'll update the rest as soon as I can.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eddie Murphy's Hosting the 84th Academy Awards...

...hmm...interesting choice.

Press Release

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some Fun at the Oscars

Here's a video I stumbled on with a few clips from the 1955 ceremony, hosted by Bob Hope.