To be honest, when I read the subject of “Oscar movies” I had to go read up on a list. I’m not a big award watcher, and don’t really pay attention as to whether a movie is staled for one (or several) or not. I don’t tend to read critiques either. If a movie sounds interesting […]
Monthly Archives: February 2013
The Oscars celebrated its 85th show this year. That’s a lot of movies to choose from for Best Picture. Usually, the Best Picture winners are not the first movies I run out to see. When I go to the movie theater, it’s to see the mind blowing special effect movies, like Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Life of Pi… I save the other movies for home.
Also, Best Picture winners tend to be ‘serious’ and sometimes too self-important. You don’t see comedies elected or winning Best Picture as in the past. I think the last comedy to win was Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” back in 1977. I like to watch a movie which will leave me feeling good, not depressed. I appreciate well-acted movies, but I like to smile and laugh while watching good acting!
So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite Oscar movies is the 1950’s classic “All About Eve”. It’s a comedy and drama rolled into one wild ride of witty dialogue and pitch perfect acting. I didn’t know it was based on a book until I read it this morning! The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr.
The story is described as an “elegantly bitchy backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Bette Davis), weaving a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Taking pity on the girl, Margo takes Eve as her personal assistant. Before long, it becomes apparent that naïve Eve is a Machiavellian conniver who cold-bloodedly uses Margo, her director Bill Sampson (Gary Merill), Lloyd’s wife Karen (Celeste Holm), and waspish critic Addison De Witt (George Sanders) to rise to the top of the theatrical heap. Also appearing in All About Eve is Marilyn Monroe, introduced by Addison De Witt as “a graduate of the Copacabana school of dramatic art.”
And who can forget the memorable line spoken by Margo Channing, standing on the staircase holding a martini glass: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Abel Green from Varity said it best: Mankiewicz’s flair for dialog is so perfected that all three actresses shoot fireworks whenever they open their mouths.
All About Eve received 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Thou shall not kill.
For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.
When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.
As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.
For me — and the Academy — the best picture of 2012 was Ben Affleck’s Argo. It was taut, gripping, well acted and entertaining as heck. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish, even though I knew how it would end. Of course the movie wasn’t particularly true, despite appearances. Affleck and co. certainly took dramatic license with a few pivotal plot points to rachet up the tension.
My question is, does it matter? In movies or in historical fiction, is it okay to fudge the facts?
As a Canadian, I wish they’d given our ambassador Ken Taylor more of the due he and his wife, Pat, deserved. They put their own lives at great risk to shelter the Americans when others turned them away. I’m glad that after Ken Taylor’s friends saw the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival and expressed outrage, Affleck flew the Taylors to LA to see the movie and changed the movie’s postscript to reflect that the rescue was a joint Canadian/US effort. I understand the movie is from the CIA agent’s POV, and that this is Hollywood. Truth is relative.
But as a viewer does it matter?
In real life, they never went to the bazaar. Pat Taylor bought the plane tickets with no drama. They flew out of Iran without a hitch. Thank goodness! But does that make for a dramatic movie? Not so much. As a viewer or reader, I want a tale that keeps me riveted, and Argo delivered. If I read a historical romance, I want it to be as true to the time period as possible, but the most important aspect is capturing the spirit of the era or events. I don’t need slavish accuracy at the expense of drama.
How about you? Does it bother you when movies or books aren’t historically accurate?
Truth is, I’m not a huge movie person. I’m the one who says, “I want to see that!” but somehow never actually goes. I also learned a long time ago that, generally speaking, if the critics love a movie, I very likely won’t. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for a blog on my favorite Oscar winning movie, does it?
Anyway, in the spirit of the occasion, I put on one of my red-carpet outfits (sweats and slippers) and found myself a list of movies that had won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Honestly, I wasn’t very hopeful about actually finding one I’d seen and loved, but I did better than that…I found two. One I no longer love the way I used to but, once-upon-a-time, adored with all the girlish fervor of my teenage heart. The other I saw not that long ago and fell in love with—Gigi (Best Picture 1958) and The King’s Speech (Best Picture 2010).
Hmmm…I just realized both are period pieces and, while I didn’t see that before, it’s really no strange thing for a history fanatic like me.
So, Gigi, set in turn of the century (1800s-1900s) Paris is billed as a romantic comedy about the conquest of love over cynicism and is really a coming of age story. The title character is a young woman (played by Leslie Carron), born into a family of courtesans, being groomed to eventually join the “family business”. Along the way she is sent to her great-aunt to learn the tricks of the trade, including how to move in the best circles without embarrassing herself. In the end, the ‘hero’, a free-wheeling playboy and much older than her, who has known Gigi since she was a child, realizes he’s grown to love her, and offers her ‘carte blanche’. She in turn tells him basically to eat shit and die, because she doesn’t want her life to be a constant round of looking for the next protector when the one she has grows tired of her. Yeah, liberation!… except… she’s in love with him and changes her mind, deciding she’d rather be miserable with him than without him. Anyway, in the end, he realizes he’s in love with her too and asks for her hand in marriage.
It’s a beautifully lush movie, in the same vein as My Fair Lady, but from a Humanist point of view, there are so many things wrong with it, I can’t even begin to tell you. All I will say is, keep it away from your impressionable tweens and young teenage daughters, unless you’re giving them an object lesson in how life shouldn’t be lived. Why did I love it back then? Because for a young girl without an ounce of self-confidence or sense, it seemed like a fairy tale romance—the kind of thing I’d want to happen to me when I got older. I grew out of it and now, when I think of Gigi going from playing hopscotch in the street with her friends to being dressed up and paraded into Maxim’s as a tart, it makes my teeth clench. I know I shouldn’t judge a generation on the messages in one movie, but if that was acceptable in 1958, I’m glad I wasn’t around.
If you want a movie night with your daughters, rent The King’s Speech instead. Teach them about perseverance, dedication, the power of honor and standing up to your responsibilities, even when taking on the job is the last thing you want to do.
A much better choice.
It’s time for the Oscars again. So many good movies have won a coveted Oscar, but I was told I had to pick my favorite.
My favorite Oscar winning movie would have to be Avatar.
I LOVED this movie. I even paid to watch it in the theaters three times. This is an unheard of thing for me. Very very seldom do I watch a movie in the theater twice, let alone three times.
And then of course I bought it on Blu-Ray as soon as it came out. LOL
But seriously. From the moment I saw the first preview of this movie, I had to see it. And now I catch myself comparing other movies to it. Sometimes my mom and I will go to the movies while the kids are in school and my hubby is at work. When he asks me how I liked the film, I will say things like, “It was good, but it wasn’t Avatar good.”
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go get it.
Check out The Fire Inside and see why Night Owl Romance gave it Five Stars and a Top Pick!
Sometimes I’m lazy. Well, not lazy. I’ve done a CRAPTON this week.
But there’s a hole in the bottom of my motivation bucket. So I thought I’d fill that hole with candy instead of the blog post I’m supposed to write.
I bought these pictures fair and square for you to enjoy. You’re welcome. 😉 Well, except for the last one. That’s yours truly and some incredibly HAWT EC Cavemen.
I have no room to talk about the films that have been nominated for Oscars this year – or in the past several year. I’m a migraineur. Movies are a major trigger for me, so I very rarely go. This from someone who spent a huge portion of her childhood in a movie theater consuming story after story. Not to mention the fact that I blame a movie for making the twelve year old me mad enough at how a film ended that I borrowed Mom’s typewriter and rewrote it the way *I* wanted it to end.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done that.
Looking at a list of Oscar winning films past, I see that I actually have seen a few of them. Gladiator – powerful story, amazing production and worthy of the awards it won, but it doesn’t haunt me. In 2009, it was the movie that didn’t win that stuck with me: Up – the animated movie based on something that actually happened in my neighborhood. Though it didn’t win, that movie was 100% worthy of the Oscar if only because it spawned a meme. “SQUIRREL!”
My favorite is The English Patient and not just because I had a terrific crush on Ralph Fiennes character. Incredible cinematography. For the gorgeous desert shots alone, it was worth seeing in the movie theater (and yes, I had to leave at one point to take migraine meds so I could see how the movie ended – it was worth it). The plot summary from IMDB: “Beginning in the 1930’s, “The English Patient” tells the story of Count Almásy who is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics that is later revealed in a series of flashbacks while Almásy is on his death bed after being horribly burned in a plane crash.”
Frankly, it’s a crappy summary, because the film is rich with layers, and parallel stories, and cause and effect. Beautiful story telling – all the more because the story touches on the kinds of betrayals that would make you hate a character – and I couldn’t hate anyone in this movie. Except, of course, the Nazis. So why has this movie stayed with me after so many years?
Because while I disliked some of the choices the characters made, I understood them. And secretly, I’m not sure whether I wouldn’t have made the same deal-with-the-devil choices were I faced with similar threats to my loved ones.
Keep the Oscar love coming. I’m really enjoying seeing which movies resonated for other people. Is there a movie that years later, you can still see in your mind’s eye (and feel in your gut)?
With the Academy Awards fast approaching, we’re all chatting about the movies of the year. We’re also discussing our favorite Oscar winners of years past. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised at my pick. Those who don’t know me well? Hm. I don’t know how you’ll feel, but let’s find out, shall we? If I can get a drumroll, I’ll drop this happy little bomb. My favorite Oscar-winner is…Philadelphia.
When Philadelphia came out, it was met with such mixed reaction in the small town I lived in, and the idea seemed to underscore the very message of the film. I fought with my parents for the right to go see the film, and I’m so glad they relented. The movie left me broken on several levels. I literally wept at the main character’s arc (played by Tom Hanks), from starting out happy and healthy and quietly gay to being forced to “out” himself. He faced discrimination in the workplace as well as in the hospital where he was supposed to be receiving “care,” and his life became a bit of a public spectacle when he chose to sue his former employer for letting him go for suspect reasons after it was disclosed he was gay.
One of the scenes that hit me hardest was the one where Denzel Washington’s character rushed to the doctor to find out if he could have contracted AIDS/HIV from simply shaking Hanks’s hand. That scene, the homophobic lawyer who is uneducated in regards to the disease and overreacts? That personified the town I lived in. It was a (VERY) small, rural New Mexico town. We were 100 miles from Target, for Pete’s sake. The nearest airport was 3 1/2 hours away. We were isolated, incredibly remote and the town was filled with small-town ideology. My mindset was considered radical and liberal because I was a strong proponent of equality across the board. I didn’t care what the reasons were someone had been shut out. I just wanted them included. And I wanted the small-town fear that surrounded the AIDS/HIV reality of the 90’s to be squashed by education and tolerance.
Philadelphia was more than a 90-minute Oscar-worthy performance for Tom Hanks. This movie was a message to those who needed it most. The real shame of it all was that those who truly needed it most probably missed it thanks to homophobia, discrimination or fear of learning their beliefs could be logically challenged.
I’ll always be grateful that Philadelphia came along when it did and that Hollywood recognized it for what it was — as much message as movie.
Even though I love movies, I have not seen a single film nominated for the Oscars. Not one. No time. ~Lesigh~ The only movies I manage to sneak in are with my kid as a family activity and half of those, I pay for on demand, months after they’ve been in the movie theater. No complaints really. My life is full. So I’ll talk about my all-time favorite Oscar films with a focus on love.
While there are truly many great Oscar-winning films (list here), if I only had two of them, my film library would be complete. The first is quite simply one of best films about love ever made—Casablanca (3 Oscars including best picture in 1943). No HEA here. In the world of Casablanca, where the world hangs in a balance with World War II in full blaze, we see and feel the sacrifices that people, flawed and beaten up, are willing to make for love. It’s love at its most unselfish and its most painful. Sometimes the price of love is the ability to say good bye, to let go for a greater good. Or because it is what’s best for the one you love.
Because life is not always such a downer, my other favorite must-have Oscar winner is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King which ran away with 11 Oscars including best picture in 2003. Actually I love and own all three of the trilogy, but this one took best picture so I’m going with it.
While LOTR has an HEA—the world is saved, Aragorn and Arwen get their happy ending, Eowyn finds love in Faramir, and Sam discovers the courage to win his Rosie—the real love this story celebrates is friendship. The relationship between Sam and Frodo grounds the movie and enables all the others to get to their happy ending. Sam, who never wanted to be a hero or leave the Shire, stays with Frodo to the bitter end. Even if Frodo cannot himself throw the ring, Sam’s dogged loyalty and reliability got him all the way to that precipice in Mt. Doom and home again. Love should always bring you home.
So how have award winning movies captured love at its best? Which of them are must owns and why?
I’m not much of a movie-goer. I always seem to watch movies when they finally make it to television. In 2012, I think I went to the movies once and that was because there was no way I could miss watching a piece of my childhood brought to life again. When I realized this post was about the Oscars…I had to actually look up the movies I’ve seen recently to see if they were nominated. I figured they weren’t.
The only film I could think of that won anything was The Black Swan which I finally saw over Thanksgiving…and that didn’t win an Oscar, right? *googles it* It won an Academy Award, not the Oscars. *shrug* I don’t watch the Oscarls, the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, MTV Music Awards or anything like that because none of the people/groups I want to win ever do. *mutters*
But this time, oh this time something I really loved won. This goes back to my childhood coming back to entertain me.
My sister and I wrangled her youngest son (a 21-year-old) into watch The Muppets with us. For us, The Muppets couldn’t have been anything but wonderful. From the opening song to the credits we snorted, giggled and guffawed our way through the movie. Yes, children were turning to stare at us, but we didn’t care. Their parents and grandparents enjoyed the movie. And wasn’t that the way things were? The Muppets were hilarious whether it was on their show or in movies. And for me, for my sister, it was. My nephew, who probably never saw any of the Muppets movies, spent the entire film laughing at me and my sister.
Until this song came on:
This song brought the three of us together in a giggling, snorting mess.
Even now, a year and a half later, I’ll get a random text message from my nephew saying “Am I man or a Muppet? Cause if I’m a Muppet, I’m a very manly Muppet.” Which only makes me giggle (and earns me weird looks from others).
Sooo yeah, this was the only movie I’d seen in 2011 that won an Oscar for anything. But I’m actually okay with that since it was a good movie.
Did you see The Muppets? And I have to ask: “Are you a (wo)Man or a Muppet?”