5th annual 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON!

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Welcome to the 31 Days of Oscars Blogathon redux for the fourth time, making this the fifth installment of our grand celebration of all things Oscar.

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Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and yours truly, Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled started this event to coincide with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar marathon. For 31 days TCM spotlights the movies and players that have made a legend of the golden statuette and this blogathon is our way to pay tribute to the network and the movies we love. We hope you join us in the effort.

Rather than hosting the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon for the entire month of February, as we’ve done in the past, we will host all entries the weekend before the Oscars this year. That is from Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 19, which leaves Oscar weekend free for last-minute movie-watching. We’re also combining all topics this year and simply presenting them over the three days. Any Oscar-related topic is fair game. We are not limiting this event to classic film fare as we’d like to see entries covering the entire 89-year history of Oscar, including this year’s nominees. To help get you motivated here are the categories we’ve used in the past…

-The Actors
-The Directors
-The Motion Pictures
-Oscar Snubs
-The Crafts (music, costumes, etc.)
-New Idea – Oscar Controversies
Most of you know the drill, but as a reminder, adhering to the following would be appreciated:

Let us know what your desired topic is by leaving a comment on any of the host blogs.
Include the title and link to your blog in the comments area.
Advise if you have a date preference – Friday 2/17, Saturday 2/18 or Sunday 2/19
Include the event banner on your blog and in the entry post to help us promote the event.
Restrictions – just two:

-Please do not submit previously published posts
-No duplicates to ensure we cover as much of the Oscars as possible
We look forward to hearing from you and to reading your entries. As many entries as you want, actually, so get to it!

Until then, here’s to Oscar, to TCM and to YOU!

Happy blogging…

NOTE: Starting on February 1st TCM will feature Oscar winners and nominees in alphabetical order, which should make it easy to set your DVRs favorites. Be sure to check out the schedule. The Oscars will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 26 on ABC.

Participating Blogs & Chosen Topics:

Thoughts All Sorts – The Piano (1993)

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – Timeline of Award-winning costumes (1961 to 1977)

Once Upon a Screen – The Horror of Oscar

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest – Cinematography in The Third Man (1949)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Judith Anderson’s Snub for Rebecca (1940)

The Old Hollywood Garden – 1943 Best Actress Nominees

Once Upon a Screen – Conrad L. Hall and Cinematography in Road to Perdition (2002)

Cinematic Scribblings – Day for Night (1973)

4 Star Films – (Some) Nominated actors who never won an Oscar
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Final Week of 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon: PICTURES/DIRECTORS

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It’s been a fabulous month of entries in our mega blogging event that celebrates everything Oscar. We’ve paid tribute to extraordinary ACTING, expressed outrage over OSCAR SNUBS, celebrated those talented CRAFTS artisans and now… we’ve come to our final week as we pay homage to Oscar-worthy PICTURES and master DIRECTORS.

Just like those last few nail-biting minutes of the Oscars ceremony, let’s honor the very best of the best. Here are this week’s terrific contributors:

PICTURES: 

Classic Film Observations & Obsessions finds “The Unexpected Beauty in SHANE (1953)”

Cracked Rear Viewer serves up some “Rough Justice: THE FRENCH CONNECTION (20th Century Fox 1971)”

Thoughts All Sorts reviews an all-time fave with THE STING

Pop Culture Pundit takes us on a journey with “Finding Elaine: UC Berkley in THE GRADUATE (1967)”

Old Hollywood Films reviews one of John Ford must beautiful masterpieces, “How Green Was My Valley”

Movie Rob revisits some of Oscar’s most popular films… TITANTIC (1997), FORREST GUMP (1994),  SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998), THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)

Sister Celluloid shares an intimate and fond memory of her father via celluloid with “Saying Goodbye to my Dad and CASABLANCA” 

Danny Reviews takes on a heart-breaking comparison with “Motion Pictures (Away From Her vs. Amour: Alzheimers and Dementia on Screen)”  

Jack Deth, guest blogger on Paulas Cinema Club, takes an detailed perspective on “The Films of 1987”

DIRECTORS:

Leading Auteur Directors honors the legend who rose to the challenge when we needed him most, Howard Hawks At War

Silver Screenings gives us a special treat with “Frank Borzage’s Spiritual Oscar-Winning Romance”

Danny Reviews takes a fascinating look at “Directors (Lina Wertmuller/ Giancarlo Giannini films)”

As we wrap up on this Oscar Sunday, a profound THANK YOU to all of our creative and talented contributors to this month-long event. We know in this rapidly growing blogathon world, writers have many choices so we appreciate you joining ours in the mix! It’s been a fun four years of honoring not only everything Oscar, but to coordinate nicely with Turner Classic Movie network’s 31 Days Of Oscar broadcast event. And of course a huge THANK YOU to my fellow co-hosts Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club! See you in the blogathon sphere…

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OSCAR SNUBS of the 31 Days Of Oscar Blogathon are here!

 

 

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We come now to the second week of the 4th annual installment of the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon… OSCAR SNUBS! It’s time to vent, folks.

We all have a grievance to spew on at least one, but likely several, categories or years within the history of the Academy Awards. Let’s face it, it’s up to those select group of voters to make their choices in the grand democratic process. And a majority of the nominees and winners are fortunate and well-deserved artisans being honored for their hard work and creative results. But do we always agree?

Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck… these are only a sampling of the mega talent of Hollywood that somehow missed competitive Oscars time and time again to our shock and dismay. So here is your chance to tell us YOUR SIDE of an Oscar Snubs story. Here are this weekend’s participants, thus far…

Second Sight Cinema presents her argument for the glaring Oscar omission with 31 Days Of Oscar: The Stanwyck Snub.  As Lesley puts it, “How the hell could Stanwyck, who for me edges out the other two actresses in my Holy Trinity of divas (Davis and Crawford) for her appeal, her lack of pretension, her ability to be really funny or really poisonous or really glamorous or touching or steely or any combination thereof—how could she not have won anything but that honorary Oscar that is the Academy’s way of saying, “We screwed up”? ” Truly… Twitter: @zleegaspar

My creative co-host Aurora of Once Upon A Screen argues oh-so-justifiably for screen legend Doris Day in Talk About Snubs! Why Hasn’t Doris Day Received an Honorary Oscar?   Of the Board of Governors of AMPAS she asks, “Why those Governors have failed to place Doris Day‘s name alongside the others as a recipient of an honorary award is a mystery to me, something that fuels my anger and disappointment more with each passing year.” EXACTLY, Aurora! Twitter: @CitizenScreen

Moon In Gemini passionately takes on regrets in Alan Rickman’s Absurd Lack Of Oscar Nominations. As she pleas, “if he had managed to live into his 90s, the Academy would have pushed him onstage in his wheelchair and given him an honorary Oscar, because that’s what they do when they realize they’ve screwed up royally with their competitive categories. Which they clearly did in this case, so maybe it will be time for a séance in 30 years, Academy.” Twitter: @DebbieVee

CineMaven’s Essays From The Couch takes a close look at the Sweet Smell Of Success (1957). As Theresa compares to others of this film’s caliber, this film also “shines klieg lights on politics and television and journalism. “Sweet Smell of Success” takes the cake. And to paraphrase J.J. Hunsecker, it’s a cake filled with arsenic. What a fantastic movie. Venom never went down so smoothly.” Twitter: @CineMava

One Gal’s Musings applauds Stanley Tucci‘s body of work for this week’s Oscar Snubs. As she observes his ongoing talents across all screens, “Tucci’s TV work continues to be stellar. To borrow a cliche, he’s one of the hardest working men in show business and appears on TV when the role feels right. He currently has two Emmys on his mantle. It’s Oscar that eludes him.”

Movie Movie Blog Blog lassos up CHILL WILLIS and his ALAMO Oscar Campaign. As he says “Wills’ elaborate Oscar adventure is proof that money and publicity alone are not enough to nab someone an Academy Award. But as we’ve seen in the 55 years since The Alamo, that doesn’t stop plenty of wanna-bes from trying.” Twitter: @SatMatTweet

The Wonderful World of Cinema alerts us to a Joan Fontaine Oscar Snub with Something’s Wrong With Rebecca’s Wins. Virginie “thinks that Joan deserved this Oscar… mainly due to her memorable interpretation of Mrs. De Winter. It’s this role that made her a legend of the silver screen.” Twitter: @Ginnie_SP

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You serves up BIG FISH: A Kettle Of Oscar Snubs As she points out: “I’m curious why this film wasn’t considered worthy of awards based on artistic merit, if nothing else for the images’ perfect cohesiveness with the storytelling.”

I See A Dark Theater breaks down the competition to rally for why funny and talented Jean Arthur may have been nominated for The More The Merrier, but was snubbed for the big win. As she explains, “Arthur’s blend of charm, quirk, and (just barely) subtle command undoubtedly treaded on far lighter ground than the more serious-minded roles her nominative peers tackled, but nonetheless, she still created a nuanced character who operates well beyond the comedic scenes and turns out to be more complex than she appears.” Twitter: @Kimbo3200

Danny Reviews investigates the Top 3 Oscar Worthy Charlotte Rampling Performances. As Danny shares, “Charlotte Rampling is bigger than ever, as her peers in AMPAS, finally nominated her after a nearly 50 year career.” Twitter: @danny_reviews

Critica Retro campaigns for Brazil with Brazil and Oscar- or lack thereof traumatic. “There’s a whole union climate when a Brazilian film is shown on the statue. Suddenly, the whole nation joins around this film, which happens to be “Brazil at the Oscars”: our great hope to show that we also have culture. In no other country an Oscar nomination is able to unite a people, or Americans would be more united and happy people in the world.” Twitter: @startspreading

The Midnite Drive-In gets armed with Guns and Glory while making an argument for The Guns Of Navarone (1961). Quiggy outlines each specific nomination and notes on the score, ” There is one scene in particular, in which the only background music is a rhythmic drum beat.  This made the scene all that more intense, where a full scale orchestra might have reduced it to ashes.  The rest of the movie has such rousing and almost patriotic feel to it.”

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest discusses the Oscar-worthy merits of Jean Arthur in Talk Of The Town. “It is sad as many overlooked gems like this movie does not get the attention it does deserve as one of the movies many sad things was that Jean Arthur never won the award for her wonderful role which was one of her finest on the screen.”Twitter: @wolffianclassic

Stay tuned… MUCH MORE to come! I will update this post throughout the full weekend- both Saturday and Sunday. Please honor these fabulous writers by reading and commenting on their posts. A big SHOUT OUT to all our contributors!

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Read last week’s ACTORS contributors (hosted by adorable Aurora @CitizenScreen at ONCE UPON A SCREEN) here: ACTORS WEEK.

Next weekend (2/20): the CRAFTS!! (Costumes, screenwriting, and so much more!) Hosted by perfectly Paula @Paula_Guthat at PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB

Last weekend (2/27): the BEST PICTURES and DIRECTORS ~ hosted by Kellee and Aurora

ANNOUNCEMENT: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon 2016

“I’m very enthusiastic about the Academy Awards because if there were no Oscars, we wouldn’t have as many good movies as we do have.” – Robert Osborne

The Oscars – both maligned and praised are always cause for celebration and we’re here to do just that.

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1937 Oscars held at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel on Thursday, March 4

For the fourth consecutive year, Outspoken & Freckled (@Irishjayhawk66) joins forces with Aurora, (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon a Screen and Paula (@Paula_Guthat) of Paula’s Cinema Club for the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon.  We started this event to coincide with Turner Classic Movie’s 31 Days of Oscar marathon during which the network shines the spotlight on the storied history of the Academy Awards.  This year the network is presenting Oscar-themed movies with a twist on the “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” parlor game where each film will be linked by a common performer to the one following it with the last film presented on the 31st day linked back to the first.  No doubt the “360 Degrees of Oscar” will be a fun journey through film connections in Oscar’s storied history.  You can download the TCM February schedule here.  And while you’re planning your viewing schedule plan your entry to the blogathon!

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Billy Wilder with his three Oscars for writing, directing and producing Best Picture winner, THE APARTMENT (1960)

Most of you know the drill – during the month-long event tell us about which films, actors or directors deserved an Oscar nod and were ignored or about which films inspire you with their music or lighting. Any Oscar-related topic is fair game.  We are not limiting this event to classic film fare, we want to see and hear it all from the golden man’s glitter- and scandal-filled history – including information and commentaries on this year’s nominees.  The only restriction is we prefer no previously published posts.

Just as we’ve done in previous years, which proved big successes, we will be focusing on a different Oscars topic each week — note that you can join us at any time during the month and submit as many entires as you want!  We will promote posts according to topics as follows:

February 6 – Hosted by Aurora on Once Upon a Screen – THE ACTORS!

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February 13 – Hosted by Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled – OSCAR SNUBS!

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February 20 – Hosted by Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club – THE CRAFTS! (Music, Costumes, Cinematography, Writing, etc.)

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February 27 – Hosted by Kellee THE MOTION PICTURES and Aurora THE DIRECTORS!

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We hope you join us!

You can submit topics either by leaving comments on any of our blogs, via twitter or by email. We ask that you please include the following:

  • Title and link to your blog
  • contact information
  • Topic
  • Event banner in your post and link to host blog(s)

SO – write to your heart’s desire! Write one post or several on each topic. But write!

In the meantime…

Here’s to Oscar, to TCM and to YOU!

Happy blogging!

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Francis Marion accepts Oscar for Best Writing Achievement for THE BIG HOUSE (1930) in 1931 from Jack Cunningham

If you’re interested take a look at all of the previous years’ entries to the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon: 2015, 2014, 2013.

Participating Blogs and Chosen Topics by Week and Category:

February 6

THE ACTORS!

Old Hollywood Films – 1941 Best Actor Race

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Chill Wills

Second Sight Cinema – Elizabeth Taylor

Smitten Kitten Vintage – Norma Shearer in THE DIVORCEE (1930)

The Wonderful World of Cinema – Anne Bancroft in THE MIRACLE WORKER (1962)

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest – Sidney Poitier LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963)

THE OSCARS: Powerful Speeches and Surprises

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The Oscars are over so the red carpets are all rolled up and hopefully Hollywood A-listers are resting up after their long night of frivolity, marking the end of the marathon of awards season. But it’s also the traditional time for pundits to weigh in on the winning and the losing highlights from Tinseltown’s most exciting night. Why should I be any different?

Neil Patrick Harris was anticipated to ‘bring the party’ for his first gig as host of the Academy Awards and he delivered. Mostly. The opening song and dance number was an upbeat, funny crowd favorite that included the impressive song stylings from Anna Kendrick. (For those who DVRed it, play it back in slo-mo and you might actually catch every joke.) His “whitest, sorry brightest” joke was a spot-on call-out to lack of diversity present in nominees. But the Oprah joke was a miss and the constantly guarded ‘prediction box’ was a waste of time. Overall, he did well- let’s hope he hosts again soon.

Over the years there have been amazing acceptance speeches so a nominee must bring their A game these days if their name is called to make it memorable. There were a few that stood out and created social media buzz.

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Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal in BOYHOOD. In her acceptance speech she asked for wage equality for all, as she pointed out women have always been the champoins for others and now it’s time for equal pay for women: “The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women…And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” Meryl Streep was brought to her feet cheering- and so was I!

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One of my personal favorites in the Best Picture race, THE IMITATION GAME, did not win but it did nab an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. In his acceptance speech, Graham Moore gave an inspirationally candid and personal response to his win. He opened up to attempting suicide at age 16 and had a message for others feeling alone and contemplative of the same (not unlike his main character Alan Turing) : “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”

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I know I’m not alone in the disapointment over the lack of diversity present. Specifically, I was shocked and disturbed to not see nominations of David Oyelowo as nominee for Best Actor, SELMA and Ava DuVernay as nominee for Best Director, SELMA. The very powerful performance of the Best Song nominee from this film “Glory” by artists Common and John Legend, which depicted images inspired by these historical moments in the Civil Rights movement, brought tears and a standing ovation to the audience.

So when “Glory” went on to win Best Song, an equally powerful acceptance speech followed… “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now,” stated John Legend, accepting the Oscar standing with Common. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were in slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.”

There were some interesting surprises too. Twitter exploded when Lady Gaga performed a beautiful performance in tribute to the 50th anniversary of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I’ve always been a fan of her vocal talents but now she’s gained the respect of the rest of my generation, to join her little monster loyalty too. But I got misty-eyed when Julie Andrews herself came onto the stage to give props to the recently engaged songstress. Looking forward to catching a glimpse of her and Christopher Plummer at Turner Classic Movies Film Festival next month!

Another fun surprise was seeing host NPH in nothing but his tightie whities, a funny nod to Michael Keaton’s Best Actor nominated performance in BIRDMAN. Speaking of Keaton’s underwear, there was another memorable acceptance speech that night. BIRDMAN Best Picture and Best Director winner Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu concluded with not only a call for diversity inclusion and respect for his homeland of Mexico, but also made a hilarious ‘admission’ to wearing Keaton’s tightie whities as his good luck charm that evening.

Lots of fabulous highlights and I look forward to next year’s grand party! You can see my predictions and personal picks from yesterday to see how I made out. (Hey, maybe I should start buying lottery tickets- LOL!)

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The Oscar Picks

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Watching the Red Carpet for The Oscars, enjoying all of Hollywood’s excellence glamming it up under umbrellas and tents as the rain trickles down, so what a better time to review all the Academy Awards nominees in the main categories. I’ll add my two cents of who I believe will likely be the winners, along with who I WISH would be winners. (Yes, sometimes I may differ from the Academy’s vote.)

Best Picture:

“American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan, Producers
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
“The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
“Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, and Anthony McCarten, Producers
“Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster, Producers

My Prediction: BIRDMAN
My personal pick: The Imitation Game

BEST ACTOR:

Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

My Prediction: Eddie Radmayne

My personal pick: Eddie Redmayne

BEST ACTRESS:

Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

My Prediction: Julianne Moore

My personal pick: Julianne Moore

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

My Prediction: Patricia Arquette

My personal pick: Emma Stone

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

My Prediction: J.K. Simmons

My personal pick: J.K. Simmons

BEST DIRECTOR:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

My Prediction: Alejandro G. Inarritu

My personal pick: Morten Tyldum

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:

“Big Hero 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2″ Dean DeBlois, and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

My Prediction: Big Hero 6

My Personal Pick: Song of the Sea (because I have a bias towards selkies- although many fans would pick The Lego Movie, which sadly wasn’t even Nominated)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky

“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

My Prediction: CitizenFour 

My Personal pick: (I can’t say I’ve seen enough of these films to comment in all honesty.)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: 

“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again” Music and lyrics by Gregg Alexander

My Prediction: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

My Personal Pick: “Glory”

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (Original Score):

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

My Prediction: “Interstellar” Hans Zimmer

My personal pick: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope

“Unbroken” Roger Deakins

My Prediction: Ida

My personal pick: Unbroken

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN:

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

My Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

My personal pick: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING:

“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

My Prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best foreign-language film of the year:

“Ida” Poland
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina

My prediction: Ida

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:

“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

My Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

My Personal Pick: Guardians of the Galaxy

Achievement in sound editing:

“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

My Prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: Interstellar

Achievement in sound mixing:

“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley

My prediction: American Sniper

My personal pick: Interstellar

Achievement in visual effects:

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

My Prediction: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

My personal pick: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Adapted screenplay:

“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

My Prediction: Whiplash

My personal pick: Inherent Vice

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

My prediction: Birdman
My personal pick: Birdman

 


 

I left off some categories but hey, I haven’t seen all the nominees so I tried to pick the most well-known. How did I do? How did you do??

…Kellee

 

 

 

 

Breaking Codes and Keeping Secrets in THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

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The 87th annual Academy Awards, or The Oscars as it has been coined since 2013, broadcasts just hours from now. Many say this year’s line-up of nominees have all but secured the winners for the main categories. For Best Picture, initially buzz suggested BOYHOOD will be the clear winner. Based on ticket sales some main streamers are vying for AMERICAN SNIPER. But most recently BIRDMAN seems to be the favored choice. I’d prefer to discuss a Best Picture nominee that isn’t getting as much hoopla as its contenders, yet I believe it deserves a closer look.

To be so profoundly moved by a film and yet trepidatious to scribe a review may sound bizarre. But that’s exactly what I faced after screening Morten Tyldum’s THE IMITATION GAME (2014). The reason is simple. I didn’t want to spoil what I experienced for fellow film goers by giving away key points. And yet my desire to express my thoughts on this wondrous film is too strong to keep all to myself. So, here we go.

[WARNING: If you have not seen THE IMITATION GAME, read no further. Instead, go to your local participating movie house and see this film. ASAP. Then come back here and continue reading. All others may proceed…]

THE IMITATION GAME (2014) is the true story of Alan Turing (portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch), not your ordinary run-of-the-mill, socially-challenged, genius code-breaker. It’s WW2 in England. Hitler and his evil forces are hammering hard and have the upper hand thanks to an ingenuis machine built to incript coded messages, aptly named ‘Enigma’.

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So her majesty’s top military enlists a team of brilliant code-breakers of various strengths and dysfunctions. One of the teammates, Keira Knightly as Joan Clarke, has to be ‘snuck in’ under the guise as part of the secretarial pool because of the sexist code of the times. How on earth could an attractive young woman who is so brilliant that she beats the instructor’s record be seen using her brain to fight Hitler with a bunch of men when it’s her job to get married and birth babies, right? As for Turing, his introduction is reminiscent of Cumberbatch’s “Sherlock” character in his offensively socially unaware Aspbergers ways and equally brilliant. If he wasn’t so brilliant and so desperately needed, he would have been fired before he was hired by Commander Denniston (Charles Dance). The team soon discovers Turing doesn’t ‘play well with others’ and he ostracizes himself immediately.

With an obsessive determination, Turing stays on task and the others eventually realize the genuis of his quirky methods. But the process to counter the Enigma with the ultimate code-breaking machine (the precursor to the first computer) of his own making takes time. During these years, obstacles present themselves.

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In these sexist times, Clarke feels pressure from her family to fit the female stereotype so Turing agrees to an engagement so her family doesn’t deem her an old maid and she can continue working on the project. Clarke and Turing work well together and respect each other but there’s no love chemistry- he agrees to the arrangement as a matter of necessity and convenience. Meanwhile, a spy is suspected and later discovered to be in their midst. When Turing discovers the traitor, he is forced to keep it secret as British Intelligence follow the Soviet spy’s work. And throughout the entire project, Turing gets constant pressure from Commander Denniston threatening to shut him down and he eventually succeeds.

But not before Turing’s wonder machine ultimately works, just in the knick of time. And to keep the Nazis from upsetting our Allies’ tracking, this team must keep it all very secret; even after the war’s end, including destroying all evidence of its existence and never taking credit.

As if this journey was not a fascinating enough peek into landmark events of our past, the rest of the film reveals an ugly side of history that many before this film were unaware. When I asked my more tech-savvy friends, they had already heard of Turing’s contributions to computer science, but not of the details of the extensive obstacles and secrets Turing endured but more specifically not of the injustices he faced regarding his homosexuality.

The ‘spoiler’ here that many like myself did not see coming was that Alan Turing, shortly after creating an intregal force in stopping Hitler, was forced to take chemical castration as punishment for his sexuality in order to continue his work. His code-breaking machine was named after his secret boyhood crush that was a sad tale in itself. And while his friend and collegaue Joan Clarke attempted to help create a cover via a marriage of convenience, he needed to be himself.

The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was the legal step finally taken to decriminalize homosexuality in the United Kingdom. A legal righting of a grave wrong that sadly came too late. At the end of the film, after facing public shame of facing criminal charges for his homosexuality, after enduring years of extraordinary work with no credit, after enduring the hormonal effects of being a man placed on estrogen therapy, after years of keeping such deep war secrets of espionage that even his own team members were unaware, Turing ended his own life in 1954.

This story is both heart-breaking and inspiring. What’s most fascinating about this biopic is that here is a man who was critically responsible for ending the European campaign in WWII and likely saving millions of lives, yet I had never heard of him in that context. And what’s worse is this man of such profound significance to our world, was stopped short of reaching even greater contributions simply due to bigotry.

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It’s the realization of that which opened the flood gates for me. As the credits rolled and the tears trickled down my cheeks, I wondered if he felt all alone. That perhaps his only true moment of feeling love and appreciation was in that boyhood friendship that yearned for more, or perhaps via his own obsessive tinkering- unfortunately both cases being essentially unrequited. A film that tells such a thought-provoking story and invokes such emotions, is certainly Oscar worthy.


This post was written as a contribution to the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON month-long celebration in coordination with TCM, hosted by Aurora of ONCE UPON A SCREEN, Paula of PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB, and Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED. Check out all four weeks of informative and enlightening posts: ACTORS, SNUBS, CRAFTS, PICTURES/DIRECTORS.

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Day 2: ACTORS Week of the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON

Times may change, but some things stay the same. The Oscars has remained essentially a grand celebration to honor the best of the best in the film industry. TCM marks this tradition every February via the popular ’31 Days of Oscar’ and your humble co-hosts Aurora, Paula and I once again bring you the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON.

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As we kick-off our second day of the ACTORS week for the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR BLOGATHON, I am happily overwhelmed by the creative array of talented bloggers’ contributions thus far from day one. But hang on to your hats, film fans, the follow-up today is a hum-dinger of a line-up too! Let’s get this party started…

First up, @CineMava of CineMaven’s ESSAYS FROM THE COUCH gets grooving with the 1976 classic, NETWORK. Theresa focuses on the stand-out acting performances of this acidic view on changing media.

Then, Rhonda aka @Rhonda0731 of SMITTEN KITTEN VILLAGE  embarks upon her first blogathon with a look at the queen of Oscar noms and of bitchiness, BETTE DAVIS. Love the video clip!

Next up @CaftanWoman of the CAFTAN WOMAN blog gives great insight on PAUL LUKAS, BEST ACTOR of 1944. She scribes how this studio-hopping actor brought a masterfully subtle performance to Oscar winner, even when competing against heavy-hitters like Bogart in Casablanca.

THE MOVIE GOURMET aka @themoviegourmet details the stand-out acting of the female prison flick that remains the classic and set the standard for all the others… CAGED: Eleanor Parker and Hope Emerson in the prototype for Orange Is The New Black.

Daniel aka @BarnesOnFilm of E STREET FILM SOCIETY paints a vivid picture of the layered performance of a mother in conflict as ELLEN BURSTYN in “ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE.” as he parallels the recent horror film “Babadook.”

Not to be outdone by his first entry yesterday, @WolffianClassic of the WOLFFIAN CLASSIC MOVIE DIGEST scribes on a ‘jewel of an actress,’ INGRID BERGMAN, An OSCAR WINNING DAME.   Check out the beautiful gallery of video clips and photos!

Debbie @DebbieVee of MOON IN GEMINI blog outlines a study on the CHILD ACTOR NOMINEES/WINNERS. So much talent in such pint-sized portions!

Virginie at THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CINEMA flies in with her perspective on the Oscar winning skills of the “first lady of theater” HELEN HAYES as Ada Quonsett, AIRPORT’S Best Performance. (Be sure to check this blog during SNUBS week too!)

Co-host Aurora aka @citizenscreen of ONCE UPON A SCREEN submits a sensuous feast for the eyes and ears with the passionately, Oscar-winning performance of F. Murray Abraham in AMADEUS (1984).  

Le of CRITICA RETRO destroys myths of the first-ever winner of Best Actor Oscar of 1929, A PROFILE OF EMIL JANNINGS.

@NicNewtonPlater of MOVIE CRITICAL takes us on a comprehensive journey, IN THEIR SHOES: OSCAR WINNING PERFORMANCES of HISTORICAL FIGURES 

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More to come, so check back in throughout today and the rest of the ACTORS week. Along with my co-hosts Aurora @citizenscreen of ONCE UPON A SCREEN and Paula @Paula_Guthat of PAULA’s CINEMA CLUB, we welcome you to read (and give flattering feedback!) all of these fabulous posts all month long…

ACTORS WEEK – Feb 2 & 3 – Kellee hosts on OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED

SNUBS WEEK – Feb 9 & 10 – Aurora hosts on ONCE UPON A SCREEN

CRAFTS WEEK – Feb 16 & 17 – Kellee hosts on OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED

PICTURES & DIRECTORS WEEK – Feb 23 & 24 – Paula hosts on PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB 

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Day One: ACTORS Week of the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon

80th Academy Awards NYC Meet the Oscars OpeningThe time has finally arrived! The smell of fresh red carpet unrolled is in the air. It’s awards season. But to us classic film affecianados and Turner Classic Movie network devotees, February also brings the pinnacle in honoring the best of the best, it’s the 31 DAYS OF OSCAR Blogathon!

Our first week of this month-long mega blogging event focuses on the ACTORS. For our first day of this first week, I’ll be ushering in a line-up of talented bloggers that offer us a scrumptious plate of Oscar’s finest in performing their craft…

Danny Miller @cinephiled of CINEPHILED starts the day with blue-eyed view of iconic Paul Newman’s Early Career. But as Danny notes, this actor was a class act until the very end.

Next up, @WolffianClassic of the WOLFFIAN CLASSIC MOVIE DIGEST reviews the great screen legend who so excelled at his craft that he became more known for his characterizations that his own personae on screen, “an artist displayed a thousand faces”: Frederic March, History of an Oscar Winning Actor.

Then, @dianabosch of FLICKIN’ OUT serves up WILLIAM HOLDEN: THE PEFECT ANTI-HERO who was “a different kind of keading man.. because he wasn’t afraid of showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Our good friend Rick @classic_film over at THE CLASSIC FILM AND TV CAFE delights us with Seven Things To Know About Glenda Jackson . From playing famous people of the world’s political stage to becoming a member of the British Parliment herself, Rick educates us on a most impressive career.

Following, @danny_reviews of the DANNY REVIEWS tackles the amazing Oscar wins of DANIEL DAY-LEWIS who as he says, “No matter the size or shape of the role, Daniel Day-Lewis can make it his very own.” We quite agree!

Then, Bernardo @bernardovillela of THE MOVIE RAT ambitiously takes on Actors- Non Competitive, Non Lifetime Wins. And what a list! Bernardo will continue more for the SNUBS week- we look forward to it!

Our great friend and supporter Annmarie @ClassicMovieHub of the CLASSIC MOVIE HUB brings us the sweet and lovely ingenue OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND in THE HEIRESS.  But as Annmarie informs us, this demure dame is not quite what her screen roles reflect, as she was quite the fighter in securing more creative freedoms for actors with the ‘De Havilland Law.’ Wow, this lady has my respect and admiration!


 

Be sure to check back in as we will continue add to this ACTORS list for our first week – even more talented entries to come tomorrow! Along with my co-hosts Aurora @citizenscreen of ONCE UPON A SCREEN and Paula @Paula_Guthat of PAULA’s CINEMA CLUB, we welcome you to read (and give flattering feedback!) all of these fabulous posts all month long…

ACTORS WEEK – Feb 2 & 3 – Kellee hosts on OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED (see day 2 list, click here)

SNUBS WEEK – Feb 9 & 10 – Aurora hosts on ONCE UPON A SCREEN

CRAFTS WEEK – Feb 16 & 17 – Kellee hosts on OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED

PICTURES & DIRECTORS WEEK – Feb 23 & 24 – Paula hosts on PAULA’S CINEMA CLUB 

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