MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

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SAG AWARDS vs ACADEMY AWARDS… I’m puzzled and am  thinking that no one in the media paid any attention on January 14, 2016 when nominees for Academy Awards were announced as to which actors were also on the nominee’s list for the SAG awards announced on December 9, 2015. The SAG awards viewed last night also include nominations for television as opposed to the Academy Awards which is about film only shown in the theatre medium.
The Academy list for Best Actor in a Leading role is the same as the SAG list except Matt Damon is on the Academy list instead of Johnny Depp. The Best Actor in a Supporting Role list is almost the same except the UK actor Tom Hardy is on the list instead of the UK actor Idris Elba, the senior citizen US actor Sylvester Stallone is on the list instead of the nine year old Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay and US actor Mark Ruffalo is on the list instead of US actor Michael Shannon.
The Academy list for Best Actress in a Leading Role is almost the same as the SAG list except UK senior actress Charlotte Rampling is on the list instead of UK senior actress Helen Mirren, and US actress Jennifer Lawrence is on the list instead of US actress Sarah Silverman. The Best Actress list for the Academy in a Supporting Role is the same except that US actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is on the list instead of UK actress Helen Mirren.
Perhaps some of the actors that voted for nominees on the SAG December 9, 2015 list changed their votes a bit when they voted for Academy nominees in late December?

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OSCAR STATS ~ 2015

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Contrary to popular belief the Oscars consist of more than: five nominations each for Best Actor/Actress, and five nominations each for Best supporting Actor/Actress. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a Multi-National entity. There are twenty-four categories and NOT counting the twenty people nominated for: Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress there are one hundred eighty-five people nominated (eight men and one woman have two or more nominations in different categories) to receive Oscars for their work released in 2015. Nominees ethnicity are represented from twenty-nine countries in the 2015 nominations: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chili, Columbia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States, and Wales.

Of the five nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role: three represent the United States, one from Ireland and one from the United Kingdom. Of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actor: Three are from the United Kingdom and two the United States. For Best Actress in a Leading Role there are: three from the United States, one from the United Kingdom and one from Australia. For Best Supporting Actress there are: two from the United States, one from Canada, one from Sweden, one from the United Kingdom.

Of the one hundred eighty-five other nominees: one hundred forty-six are men, thirty-nine are women consisting of diverse backgrounds that aren’t visually apparent by random google searches.

The Academy Board of Governors approves membership to the Academy. Actors Membership requirements are: (Copied From Academy Bylaws at Oscars.org):
Article III, Section 1. Membership shall be by invitation of the Board of Governors. Invitations to active membership shall be limited to those persons active in the motion picture arts and sciences, or credited with screen achievements, or who have otherwise achieved distinction in the motion picture arts and sciences and who, in the opinion of the Board, are qualified for membership.
To be considered for invitation to membership in the Actors Branch of the Academy, an individual must:
(a) have a minimum of three theatrical feature film credits, in all of which the roles played were scripted roles, one of which was released in the past five years, and all of which are of a caliber that reflect the high standards of the Academy,
and/or
(b) have been nominated for an Academy Award in one of the acting categories,
or
(c) have, in the judgment of the Actors Branch Executive Committee, otherwise achieved unique distinction, earned special merit or made an outstanding contribution as a motion picture actor.

There are fifty-one Governor Board Members with three representatives for each of the seventeen branches of the Film Industry represented that have the final say on who is invited to become a member. The seventeen Branches are: Actors, Casting Directors, Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Designers, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Make-up Artists & Hairstylists, Music, Producers, Public Relations, Short Films & Feature Animation, Sound, Visual Effects and Writers Branch. There are thirty-four men and seventeen women on this Board; fifty are from the United States one is from the United Kingdom.
There are seven Officers named from the Governor Board: a President, a First Vice President, three Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, a Secretary and a CEO in charge of a 300 people staff.

In 2014 two hundred seventy-one multi-national artists and executives were invited to join the Academy’s membership twenty actors were on the list: twelve from the U.S., three from the UK, one from Somalia, one from Germany, one from Ireland, one from Denmark and one from Mexico; fourteen were men, six were women. When the Academy Award season comes around actors nominate actors, once nominated then the membership votes for all academy categories.

The Board of Governors also oversees the special Governors Awards. On November 14, 2015 at a Black Tie invite only dinner five hundred guests celebrated the presentation of the 2015 awards. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was presented to Debbie Reynolds (which was accepted in her honor by her granddaughter Billie Lourd). An Honorary Award was presented to actress Gena Rowlands by her son Director Nick Cassevetes. A second Honorary Award was presented to Director Spike Lee by actors featured in his films that had boosted their careers and expanded their prominence; Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. At this awards dinner Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs discussed the Academy’s ‘New Initiative; a 2020 five-year move to increase film industry diversity in front of and behind the camera’.

The making of a film is a huge project. Any movie theater ticket buying customer that loves film no matter how good or bad and stays to the bitter end watching the hundreds of names scroll past of artists that worked as a team on that production knows there is one thing the list never points out… ethnicity, nationality, color. I’m hoping that all two hundred and five multi-national nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards are afforded a chance this year to celebrate their nominations and not have this honor diminished because of the color or lack of color of their skin.

John Williams ~ 1980’s


In the 1970’s John Williams Original Music Score Nominations for the Oscars enlivened ten memorable movies of the decade with three wins. In the 1980’s Williams was nominated for eleven movies with one win. All were unforgettable movies with remarkable music scores. Besides congratulations on this fantastic feat since this is John Williams Birth month we’ll also give him a shout out for a belated (February 8, 1932) Happy Birthday!
1980’s John Williams – Nominations/Win Original Music Score
1980 Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lucasfilm, Paramount
*1982 E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Universal
1983 Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Lucasfilm, Paramount
1984 The River, Universal
1987 Empire of the Sun, Warner Brothers
1987 Witches of Eastwick, Warner Brothers
1988 Accidental Tourist, Warner Brothers
1989 Born on the Fourth of July, A. Kitman Ho & Ixtlan, Universal
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucasfilm, Paramount
1980-1989 Best Oscar Songs
1980 Fame, from the movie Fame MGM Music by Michael Gore Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
1981 Arthur’s Theme from the movie Arthur – Arthur, Rollins, Joffe, Morra and Brezner, Orion Music and Lyrics by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen.
1982 Up Where We Belong from the movie Officer and a Gentleman-Lorimar Elfand, Paramount. Music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte -. Lyrics by Will Jennings
1983 Flashdance…What a Feeling from the movie Flashdance, Polygram, Paramount. Music by Giorgio Moroder Lyrics by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara
1984 I just Called to Say I Love You from the movie The woman In Red Orion. Music and Lyrics by Stevie Wonder
1985 Say You Say Me from the movie White Nights, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Lional Richie
1986 Take My Breath Away from the movie Top Gun Simpson/Bruckheimer, Paramount. Music by Giorgio Moroder Lyrics by Tom Whitlock.
1987 The Time of my Life from the movie Dirty Dancing Vestron. Music by Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz. Lyrics by Franke Previte.
1988 Let the River Run from the movie Working Girl 20th Century Fox. Music and Lyrics by Carly Simon
1989 Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid Walt Disney Pictures with Silver Screen Partners IV, Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman.

Best Oscar Songs of the Sixties


Some of the most memorable Best Oscar winning or Oscar nominated songs of the sixties were written by the teams of: Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer, Burt Bacharach/Hal David and James Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn.
I’m sure you recognize all of these songs:
Best Songs 1960-1969
1960 Never on Sunday from the movie Never on Sunday Melinafilm, Lopert Pictures music and lyrics by Manos Hadjidakis
1961 Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s Paramount music by Henry Mancini Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
1962 Days of Wine and Roses from Days of Wine and Roses Warner Brothers, Music by Henry Mancini Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
1963 Call Me Irresponsible from Papa’s Delicate Condition Paramount Music by James Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
1964 Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins, Disney. Music by Richard M Sherman lyrics by Robert B Sherman
1965 The Shadow of Your Smile from The Sandpipers MGM Music by Johnny Mandel Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
1966 Born Free from the movie Born Free Columbia. Music by John Barry. Lyrics by Don Black.
1967 Talk to the Animals from Doctor Doolittle. Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
1968 The Windmills of Your Mind The Thomas Crown Affair UA Music by Michel Legrand Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
1969 Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Music by Burt Bacharach Lyrics by Hal David

In 1960 a Special Award was given to Hayley Mills for the movie Pollyanna, for the most outstanding juvenile performance during 1960. This was the twelfth and last juvenile performer to receive a Miniature Statuette Hayley’s award was presented to her by the first recipient– Shirley Temple.
1962 was the first year an under 18 year old actor was allowed to compete in the regular nominating process. Sixteen year old Patty Duke won Best Supporting Actress for The Miracle Worker. Nine year old Mary Badham was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Caesar and Cleopatra

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Historically speaking, I guess I am one of the few people that do like George Bernard Shaw’s version of these two ancient history Icons. Played by two of classic Hollywood’s acting icons, British born Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh.
Leonard Maltin is not happy with this British made film version but again I have to disagree with him. Watching this version made me want to learn more about the real life characters, Caesar born in 100bc and Cleopatra born in 69 bc, when they met in 49bc Cleo was 20 years old. That is where the story begins. Was the movie historically accurate, who knows but it is in color and was nominated for Art direction-Interior Decoration for 1945. A bonus to the film is having Stewart Granger as Apollodorus I’m thinking that kudos should have also gone out to the Costume Designer for this film.

Fanny and Alexander

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Take a visual break. Now that all of the preparation, planning and organizing the perfect family Christmas get together is over. Sit in that comfy recliner, kick back and travel back in time (even though you have to read sub-titles) to watch Fanny and Alexander’s best Christmas which would end up being their worst Christmas.

Depending on which version you watch it is 3-4 hours long and it is best to have your mind set on a Mini Series Adult Drama or a Downton Abbey type story only in Swedish.

The 1983 Ingmar Berman Film was his last movie and some say it was his best movie; Ingmar was nominated for an Oscar for Directing and the Screenplay written directly for the Screen. It won the Oscar for Sven Nykvist for Cinematography, Art Set Decoration for Anna Asp and Best Foreign Language Film for Sweden.

The vintage Christmas scenes at the beginning of the movie are like visual Christmas Candy for your eyes.

Bride of Frankenstein 1935


Once again seeing Boris Karloff in his element on screen as The Monster always brings on a sense of Halloween.  In this story, our Dr. Frankenstein, played by Colin Clive, wants to be done with the mad scientist business- that is until another evil doctor kidnaps his wife and forces him to make another monster- this time, a woman.

Impressive notables in this film?

Characters Percy Bysshe Shelley (husband to Mary Shelley) and Lord Byron are both present, giving the story a sense of authenticity. One may remember that it was during some travels across Europe with Lord Byron that Mary Shelley originally got her idea for Frankenstein.

Director James Whale, who directed the original Frankenstein and this sequel, finds modern influence in the character of Doctor Whale on Once Upon A Time- who you may remember plays the doctor in the Black and White Frankenstein episode.

In accordance with the Hays Code, the Bride of Frankenstein was forced to cut Elsa Lanchester’s cleavage, a number of excessive murders, and too many references to God.

This film is part of the award winning Universal Monsters DVD collection, make sure to at least watch a few this spooky holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

Fiddler on the Roof


Fiddler on the Roof, a powerful yet beautiful film, Israeli actor Topol (35 at the time) is brilliant as Tevye the father of five daughters that lived in a small simple village in Russia during turbulent times at the turn of the last century.

From the opening strains of music in this film we slowly grow to love the characters, and it is difficult at the end of the film to see them being forced to make a Distant Journey. What will happen to them? What will become of them? Will they ever see each other again? One hundred years later people no matter what ethnicity are still being forced to make distant journeys, evidently history has not taught us anything…can’t we all just learn to get along?

This film was nominated in seven categories: Topol, Best Actor; Leonard Frey, Best Supporting Actor; Norman Jewison, Director; and Set Direction. The movie received the Oscar in three categories: Sound, Cinematography, and John Williams received the Oscar for Adaption and Original song score. The lyricists Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Boch are responsible for the song lyrics that move the storyline ahead and once started we just can’t get the words and music out of our heads: Tradition, Matchmaker, If I were a Rich Man, Sabbath Prayer, To Life, Miracle of Miracles, Tevye’s Dream, Sunrise Sunset, Do You Love Me, Far From the Home I love; Little Bird, Little Chavela; Anatevka.

Female

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If you’re not familiar with Ruth Chatterton, now’s the time to get familiar. While there may be good reason to not know Ruth, her work in some fantastic pre-code films in the 20’s and 30’s warrant attention. Those that paired her with husband George Brent were always particularly steamy.

One film most memorable is FEMALE, starring opposite hubby George. As in most of the pre-codes Hollywood goes to town with risqué topics- here we see the successful career women, unable to keep a man of her own, and as a result goes through them like water. Thus many a young engineer comes through her car company only to be spotted, tried out, and promptly disposed of. On a whim, and not wanting to be known for her success, Ruth takes to the town and runs into George. They flirt, and play and at the end of the night separate. Of course the next morning when he starts as the wonder boy engineer at her company, and suddenly doesn’t want anything to do with her. He knows this game, but she’s never been turned down before. The problem—she doesn’t really know how to be chased, and a man, well..likes to feel like a man. And so begins her transformation into a somewhat helpless lily in order to snatch the man she wants. But can she maintain the farce long enough to secure the man, or will her true nature get the better of her?