While researching my 2015 Oscar Stats Post I decided to go back through the last eleven years of Best Actor/Supporting Actor, Best Actress/Supporting Actress lists for the Academy Awards and for SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild) to see whose names were on the nominations lists and what Country or State they were from. Names that kept popping up over those years were Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. TCM is playing a ‘six degrees to Kevin Bacon’ type game in connection to the Academy Awards the month of February; at Classic Hollywood we thought it would be fun to try the ‘six degrees’ test with Leonardo and Kate from the Academy List. The trick is we would only be using names on the Best Acting nominee list for Leonardo and the Best Actress list for Kate (UK actresses only) of course there are always exceptions to the rules.
In 2004 there were twelve actor/actresses nominated from the US three born in California, one from Illinois, one Kansas, one Kentucky, one Missouri, one Nebraska, two New York, one Tennessee, and one from Texas. There were four from the UK, one Australia, one Columbia and one born in Israel.
Jamie Fox received the Best Actor Award for 2004, the Best Acting nominee/winner list for the Academy is the same as the 2004 SAG list except that Clint Eastwood in on the Academy list and Paul Giamatti is on the SAG list, the Academy Best Actress List is the same as the SAG list.
Leonardo DiCaprio also on the 2004 Best Actor Nominee list worked with Jamie Fox on Django Unchained in 2012, Johnnie Depp on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993, was directed by Clint Eastwood in the movie J. Edgar in 2011 and would have worked with Don Cheadle in Boogie Nights in 1997 if he hadn’t instead taken the part of Jack Dawson in the movie Titanic…in which of course he costarred with Kate Winslet that was also nominated for a Best Actress award in 2004. Imelda Staunton among the nominees for Best Actress in 2004 acted with Kate in the 1995 version of Sense & Sensibility.

The Thin Man ~ New Year’s Eve

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What better way to end this noirish year than sitting back on New Year’s Eve and enjoying two of our favorite Dashiell Hammett characters Nick and Nora Charles. When ‘The Thin Man’ was made in 1934 Noir films hadn’t yet been labeled. However the James Wong Howe photography, the angles, shadows, lighting set the tone for this twisted who done it murder mystery. The delightful repartee dialogue written by Albert Hackett and his wife Frances Goodrich is delivered sloshingly through the talents of Myrna Loy and William Powell. Nick Charles advice on the correct way to mix drinks could be heeded tonight during the New Year’s Eve celebrations!
‘The important thing is the shaking of a drink. You shake a Manhattan to a Fox Trot, a Bronx to a two-step time, a Dry Martini you always shake to a Waltz!’
Happy New Year to all of our Classic Hollywood followers!

Lady on a Train

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Nothing says Christmas to me more this year than the Deanna Durbin Christmas Noir movie Lady on a Train, directed in 1945 by French Director Charles David, Durbin’s future husband: December 21, 1950. The original story Lady on a Train was by Leslie Charteris author of ‘The Saint’ series of books. Lady on a Train is a fun Christmas movie mystery interspersed with Noir tendencies, no opera in this film. Durbin’s rendition of Silent Night is spot on. David Bruce and Durbin’s chemistry is great especially the Gimme a Little Kiss song sequence. Thanks TCM for adding this Durbin movie to your TCM schedule this Christmas Season.

Warren Oates

“There were forty western series, and I went from one to the other. I started out playing the third bad guy on a horse and worked my way up to the No. 1 bad guy,” Oates once quipped.

Most known for the films/tv by director Sam Peckinpah (Ride the High Country, Major Dundee, The Rifleman) Warren Oates succeeded at playing the wayward cowboy. Persistence, a love of filming on location (which gained and lost him 3 wives), and pure old fashioned grit won him a long list of tv appearances and a few substantial roles- his most famous being The Wild Bunch.

But what is fame when you have talent?

Oates role as GTO in Monte Hellman’s 1971 cult classic Two-Lane Blacktop was so powerful that it has been studied in film schools in large part due to Oates’ heartbreaking portrayal of GTO. Famed film critic Leonard Maltin himself has remarked that Oates’ performance in this film was as good as any he’d seen and should have won the Oscar.

Summer Under The Stars 2015 TCM

Turner Classic Movies is once again highlighting a Star each day of August, with a lineup of films. The Stars and Day highlighted are below!  Enjoy!

1. Gene Tierney

2. Olivia de Havilland

3. Adolphe Menjou

4.Teresa Wright

5. Fred Astaire

6. Michael Caine

7. Katharine Hepburn

8. Raymond Massey

9. Robert Walker

10. Joan Crawford

11. Rex Ingram

12. Robert Mitchum

13. Ann-Margaret

14. Groucho Marx

15. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr

16. Patricia Neal

17. Lee J. Cobb

18. Vivien Leigh

19. John Wayne

20. Mae Clarke

21. Alan Arkin

22. Marlene Dietrich

23. Debbie Reynolds

24. Warren Oates

25. Virginia Bruce

26. Greta Garbo

27. Monty Woolley

28. Ingrid Bergman

29. George C. Scott

30. Gary Cooper

31. Shelley Winters


And just to make sure we keep the expectation bar high.. here’s their lineup from 2012– http://www.tcm.com/summer/index.html


The Sheik

TCM’s Silent Sundays gives us access to a plethora of great silent films.

The Sheik was the film that propelled Rudolph Valentino into super stardom as the first sex god of the screen. Watching it the other evening, I was reminded by how much was not shown in these old films. Sure, you get some scandalous stuff in early films bearing see through shirts and underwater scenes with a well placed branch… but what you get in The Sheik is a drawn curtain, and an assumption. The assumption of rape.

A no holds barred storyline has the Sheik holding an English beauty Lady Diana( Agnes Ayres) captive, and pretty much doing whatever he wants with her. We’re only given glimpses of the relationship through some horrific close-ups of Valentino’s eyes, and the dismay felt by the close friend of the Sheik’s (Adolphe Menjou) when he sees the savagery the Sheik has succumbed to. Every thing else is behind the scenes. So behind the scenes in fact that we’re hardly given the idea that Lady Diana is indeed falling in love with her captor, and as all good Classic Hollywood films go the truth is finally revealed at the end.

Valentino died at 31, his last film The Son of the Sheik had him in dual roles as son and father. His death caused riots and suicides. If you want to see what the commotion of Valentino was all about make sure to catch him on TCM this month.