20 items from 2014
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 »
- Katie Roberts
Alfred Hitchcock never won an Oscar as Best Director, but the first year he worked in Hollywood he made a pair of memorable films. Rebecca was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (including Best Director) and won two, for George Barnes’ cinematography and for Best Picture. The second release, which appeared in theaters just four months later, also earned a handful of nominations—including Best Picture—but isn’t cited as often as it should among the director’s finest work. Foreign Correspondent is one of my all-time favorites and it’s been given deluxe treatment in a terrific new Blu-ray/DVD release from The Criterion Collection. In a video essay called “Hollywood Propaganda and World War...
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- Leonard Maltin
Why does cinema favor the mad woman? It's easy to see why Oscar does: roles like Jasmine French give an actress space to not only chew but swallow and spit up scene after scene. Cate Blanchett will almost certainly win Best Actress this year for her frittered, diabolical performance in "Blue Jasmine" as cinema's archetypical woman-on-the-verge: that pill-popping, martini-swilling mad Medea who men fear and women sometimes dream of (being? playing? escaping into?).Thus, here are eight classic Oscar snubs in the Best Actress category. Bow down to Gena Rowlands in "A Woman Under the Influence." Watch clips after the jump. Also, check out our Toh! feature on eight scene-stealing female performances from 2013.1940 Who Won: Ginger Rogers ("Kitty Foyle") Who Should've Won: Joan Fontaine ("Rebecca") Who Was Nominated: Bette Davis ("The Letter"), Katharine Hepburn ("The Philadelphia Story"), Martha Scott ("Our Town") Hitchock's delirious and deliciously twisted English gothic »
- Ryan Lattanzio
This year’s Best Actor race is shaping up to be one of the greatest of all time. And by greatest, I mean both the most competitive and also the most outstanding, in the sense that each nominee is excellent — hypothetical winners in almost any other year. They also reflect the depth of superb male performances in 2013. Consider: Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Joaquin Phoneix (Her), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) all missed the cut.
EW’s Owen Gleiberman recently analyzed this year’s Best Actor race, calling it the most “fiercely, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
As if his British films weren’t evidence enough of his talent, Alfred Hitchcock made quite the impression when he came to Hollywood in 1940. His first picture in the states, Rebecca, was nominated for Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards. So was his second, Foreign Correspondent, also released in 1940. While Rebecca would ultimately win, many – then and now – consider the achievement as belonging more to producer David O. Selznick than to the director. This is not without some justification. Though Rebecca bears more than a few notably Hitchcockian touches, between the two features, Foreign Correspondent looks and feels more appropriately like Hitchcock’s previous and later works. The Criterion Collection, recently very kind to Hitchcock on Blu-ray, now gives this latter feature a suitably well-rounded treatment, with a documentary on the film’s visual effects, an »
- Jeremy Carr
After directing more than twenty feature films in Britain, Alfred Hitchcock’s big introduction to Hollywood came in the form of two films released only four months apart in 1940, both of which were nominated for that year’s Best Picture Academy Award. The gothic chamber drama Rebecca ended up taking home the Oscar, while the trans-continental wartime adventure Foreign Correspondent eventually became all but a footnote in the Hitchcock canon. While Rebecca is no doubt a complex, layered masterwork with its fair share of brilliant Hitchcockian touches (check out IndieWire’s excellent take on the film’s lesbian themes), critics and historians have contended that Rebecca was at least as much a David O. Selznick film as it was a Hitchcock entry. In fact, Hitch himself told Truffaut that he didn’t see Rebecca as a Hitchcock picture because of its lack of humor. But Foreign Correspondent (whose Criterion treatment was released this week) displays a more »
- Landon Palmer
Criterion adds another illustrious Alfred Hitchcock title to the collection this month with Foreign Correspondent, which followed hot on the heels of Rebecca in 1940, the beginning of the director’s American period. Though not a perfect film, it does register as one of his most unfairly overlooked films, even as it shows various signs of outside tampering as a film belonging very much to the period in which it was made. Though suffering from the effect of too many cooks in the writing kitchen, it’s a title as filled with plot twists as it is wit, as well as Hitchcock’s signature elaborate set pieces.
Opening with a dedication to the bravery of those foreign correspondents and others that risk their lives in war time, we enter into the realm of a Us newsroom where frustration is running high at the lack of actual coverage worthy news filtering in from the correspondents. »
- Nicholas Bell
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season The naval assault against the Lannisters has failed, and that little prick Joffrey remains atop the throne. Elsewhere, Daenerys is gathering an army to join her and her trio of dragons, Robb Stark is working to mend fences and create allies, and the White Walkers are continuing their ridiculously slow journey towards civilization. I’ve never read the novels, and I can’t imagine doing so without photos so I can recognize who’s who in the enormous list of characters, but this is some wonderfully dense and entertaining television. Season three continues to follow numerous story threads and characters, and while some are more engaging than others there’s not a single dud among them. The production value remains high resulting not only in strong performances »
- Rob Hunter
Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent is exactly the kind of film that benefits from a Criterion Collection release. I don't consider this to be one of Hitch's "best", but at the same time it's got the elements that make his films fascinating, and, most importantly, entertaining. And Criterion always does a great job bringing a focus to some of Hitchcock's less discussed gems. Add to that, Foreign Correspondent carries an additional weight as a result of its place in history as a propaganda film, emphasized most in Joel McCrea's speech at the end of the film amid the bombing of London, warning those back in the U.S. just what exactly Germany was up to. The scene was added after filming had already wrapped, just over a month before the film would actually hit theaters. Following Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second American feature. Both would be nominated for »
- Brad Brevet
Cinema history has a few great double-up years: 12-month periods in which a classic filmmaker had not one but two great films. Mel Brooks may be the most notorious, releasing two of the best comedies of all time in 1974 (“Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein”) and Steven Spielberg has arguably done it a few times, inarguably in 1993 (“Jurassic Park” & “Schindler’s List”) and he would double-up again in 2002 (“Minority Report” & “Catch Me If You Can”) and 2011 (“Tintin” & “War Horse”).
One of the most-often forgotten double-up years was Alfred Hitchcock’s first year as an American filmmaker — 1940, which saw the premiere of “Rebecca” in April and “Foreign Correspondent” in August. The former has been a Criterion inductee for years and the latter joins the most important club in Blu-ray/DVD history this week in a finely-transferred and wonderfully accompanied release.
“Rebecca” has the higher historical pedigree, largely because it’s less dry »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Hitchcock’s War Face
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Foreign Correspondent is often underrated or forgotten when it comes to lists of the director’s “best” films. In fact, it was nominated for an Oscar Best Picture the same year as Rebecca (which won), and, personally, I think it’s the better movie. It’s certainly more of a “Hitchcock film” than Rebecca, as it is one of those cross-country espionage adventure-thrillers along the lines of The 39 Steps, Saboteur, and North by Northwest.
It was the director’s second Hollywood movie. Although Hitchcock was contracted to David O. Selznick (who produced Rebecca), Hitch’s deal allowed Selznick to “farm out” the director to other studios and producers, for a piece of Hitchcock’s salary, of course. In this case, Foreign Correspondent was produced by Walter Wanger (who had also produced John Ford’s Stagecoach). It’s interesting that »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Happy birthday to the glamorous Kim Novak, who is 81 today. It’s impossible to think of Novak without remembering her shock blonde super-coif in Vertigo (not to mention the way she werrrrrked Edith Head‘s form-sucking pencil skirts), and thus, it’s impossible to think of Novak without remembering the great female roles in Hitchcock movies. Here are my picks for the 10 best.
This is sort of a gonzo first pick, but give it up: The Lady Vanishes rules and Dame May Whitty, with all her grandmotherly charms, is just a subversive ol’ hoot as the bad-ass spy who sets up the intrigue of the story. This is the kind of role Margaret Rutherford would win an Oscar for. You underestimate the depth of how much she kicks ass.
Is it wild? Oh, yes. Is it sometimes a little embarrassing? »
- Louis Virtel
Ja from Mnpp here with a fun new weekly game for us to play!
One of the reasons I love horror films is because more than most genres they give us the chance to see how movies can manipulate their audience into morally tricky identification territory. I find it fascinating, from a psychological standpoint, seeing how a master like say Alfred Hitchcock can use cinema to turn the simple act of mopping up a bathroom into widespread criminal complicity. Some times the bad guys are just so much more interesting than the good guys, ya know? So that's what this here series is about - I'm going to give you a film's protagonist and its antagonist, list a couple of their pros and their cons, and then you're gonna tell me whose team you're on. This week I give you...
Mrs. Danvers vs. The Second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca »
Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85. Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died at her home near San Francisco. A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America's top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top 50 screen legends ranked Temple at No. »
- Associated Press
Martha Mendoza, Associated Press
San Francisco (AP) - Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85.
Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died Monday night at her home near San Francisco. She was surrounded by family members and caregivers, publicist Cheryl Kagan said.
"We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black," a family statement said. The family would not disclose Temple's cause of death.
A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America's top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, »
- The Associated Press
Exclusive: Mini-series about famed film couple to be executive produced by Olivier’s son.
London-based production company Ten Cent Adventures is in development on 4 x 60-minute mini-series The Oliviers, about the life and love of the iconic British actors.
According to production a portion of the budget has already been raised through private investors while talks are underway with broadcasters and an A-list cast. A director has yet to be attached.
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Maximilian Schell movie director (photo: Maximilian Schell and Maria Schell) (See previous post: “Maximilian Schell Dies: Best Actor Oscar Winner for ‘Judgment at Nuremberg.’”) Maximilian Schell’s first film as a director was the 1970 (dubbed) German-language release First Love / Erste Liebe, adapted from Igor Turgenev’s novella, and starring Englishman John Moulder-Brown, Frenchwoman Dominique Sanda, and Schell in this tale about a doomed love affair in Czarist Russia. Italian Valentina Cortese and British Marius Goring provided support. Directed by a former Best Actor Oscar winner, First Love, a movie that could just as easily have been dubbed into Swedish or Swahili (or English), ended up nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Three years later, nominated in that same category was Schell’s second feature film as a director, The Pedestrian / Der Fußgänger, in which a car accident forces a German businessman to delve deep into his past. »
- Andre Soares
‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Alicia Rhett dead at 98; was oldest surviving credited Gwtw cast member Gone with the Wind actress Alicia Rhett, the oldest surviving credited cast member of the 1939 Oscar-winning blockbuster, died on January 3, 2014, at the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community in Charleston, South Carolina, where Rhett had been living since August 2002. Alicia Rhett, born on February 1, 1915, in Savannah, Georgia, was 98. (Photo: Alicia Rhett as India Wilkes in Gone with the Wind.) In Gone with the Wind, the David O. Selznick production made in conjunction with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM head Louis B. Mayer was Selznick’s father-in-law), the stage-trained Alicia Rhett played India Wilkes, the embittered sister of Ashley Wilkes, whom Scarlett O’Hara loves — though Ashley eventually marries Melanie Hamilton (Rhett had auditioned for the role), while Scarlett ends up with Rhett Butler. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller, Gone with the Wind was (mostly) directed by Victor Fleming »
- Andre Soares
Oscar-nominated ‘Imitation of Life’ actress Juanita Moore has died Juanita Moore, Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee for the 1959 blockbuster Imitation of Life, died on New Year’s Day 2014 at her home in Los Angeles. According to various online sources, Juanita Moore (born on October 19, 1922) was 91; her step-grandson, actor Kirk Kahn, said she was 99. (Photo: Juanita Moore in the late ’50s. See also: Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner photos at the 50th anniversary screening of Imitation of Life at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.) Juanita Moore movies The Los Angeles-born Juanita Moore began her show business career as a chorus girl at New York City’s Cotton Club. According to the IMDb, Moore was an extra/bit player in a trio of films of the ’40s, including Vincente Minnelli’s all-black musical Cabin in the Sky (1942) and Elia Kazan’s socially conscious melodrama Pinky (1949), in which Jeanne Crain plays a (very, »
- Andre Soares
Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies who have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way. Frederic Back (1924-2013) - Animator who won two Oscars for his short films Crac! (watch below) and The Man Who Planted Trees. He was also nominated two other times, for All Nothing and The Mighty River. He died of cancer on December 24. (Lat) Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) - Actress who won an Oscar for her lead performance in Hitchcock's Suspicion and was nominated for Rebecca (below) and The Constant Nymph. The sister of fellow...
- Christopher Campbell
20 items from 2014
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