4 Shots From 4 Inaugural Oscar Winners: Wings, Sunrise, The Last Command, Seventh Heaven


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is the 90th anniversary of the very first Academy Awards ceremony!

On May 16th, 1929, a private dinner was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California.  The dinner was largely meant to celebrate the establishment of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, the AMPAS was founded to help mediate labor disputes between the studios and the unions.  As almost an afterthought, it was decided that AMPAS would also give out annual awards to honor the best films of the year.

12 awards were handed out on May 16th, before an audience of 270 people.  The entire awards ceremony took 15 minutes.  That’s quite a contrast to what the Academy eventually became.

In honor of that 15-minute ceremony, here’s….

4 Shots From 4 Films Honored At The Very First Oscar Ceremony

Wings (1927, dir by William Wellman) Won The Outstanding Production Awards

Sunrise (1927, dir by F.W. Murnau) Won Best Unique and Artistic Picture

The Last Command (1928, dir by Josef von Sternberg) Won Best Actor — Emil Jannings

Seventh Heaven (1927, dir by Frank Borzage) Winner Best Actress — Janet Gaynor

Along with her performance in Seventh Heaven, Janet Gaynor was also honored for her work in Street Angel and Sunrise.  Emil Jannings was honored for his work in both The Last Command and The Way of all Flesh,

Here’s what else won at the inaugural Oscar ceremony:

Best Direction, Comedy Picture — Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights

Best Direction, Drama Picture — Frank Borzage for Seventh Heaven

Best Original Story — Ben Hecht for Underworld

Best Adaptation — Benjamin Glazer for Seventh Heaven, based on the play by Austin Strong

Best Art Direction — William Cameron Menzies for The Dove and Tempest

Best Cinematography — Charles Rosher and Karl Struss for Sunrise

Best Engineering Effects — Roy Pomeroy for Wings

Best Title Writing — Joseph Farnham for Fair Co-Ed; Laugh, Clown, Laugh; and Telling the World.

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions for April


To repeat what I say every month, it’s pretty much a fool’s errand to try to guess what’s going to be nominated for an Oscar this early in the year.  Some of the choices below — A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, The Irishman, Little Women,Once Upon A Time In Hollywood — are there because of their directors or their stars.  Some — like Cats and 1917 — are there because they sound like they’re either going to be brilliant or total disasters.  Call of the Wild and Fair and Balanced are listed because of my own instincts, for whatever they’re worth.  Harriet is listed because Clayton Davis over at Awards Circuit is currently predicting that it will be nominated and he’s got a pretty good track record as far as predicting these things is concerned.  Queen & Slim is listed because I saw a few people on twitter raving about a preview of it that they were lucky enough to see.  Myself, I have no idea what Queen & Slim is about, beyond the fact that it deals with two people on a date who are pulled over by the police.  (That’s according to the imdb.)  See how random this is?

So, I guess what I’m saying is that you should take these predictions with a grain of salt.  In fact, you should pour salt all over these predictions.  The Oscar race usually doesn’t even start to become clear until around September.

The Cannes Film Festival will be held next month.  Sometimes, Cannes lends some clarity to the Oscar race.  (Tree of Life and BlackKklansman both stated their Oscar campaigns at Cannes.)  Just as often, Cannes turns out to be totally useless as far as being  predictive tool is concerned.  Though the official lineup has not yet been announced, it seems probable that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and perhaps a few more contenders will be screened at Cannes next month.  We’ll see what happens!

If you’re interested in more predictions that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to, be sure to check out my Oscar predictions for January, February, and March!  See how my thinking has progressed.  Check out just how random my guesses occasionally are.

Best Picture

1917

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Call of the Wild

Cats

Fair and Balanced

Harriet

The Irishman

Little Women

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Queen & Slim

Best Director

Tom Hooper for Cats

Kassi Lemmons for Harriet

Sam Mendes for 1917

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Ben Affleck in Torrance

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood

John Lithgow in Fair and Balanced

Eddie Murphy in My Name Is Dolemite

Edward Norton in Motherless Brooklyn

Best Actress

Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Blake Lively in The Rhythm Section

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari

Harrison Ford in Call of the Wild

Malcolm McDowell in Fair and Balanced

Sir Ian McKellen in Cats

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Dame Judi Dench in Cats

Laura Dern in Little Women

Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Lisa’s Far Too Early Oscar Predictions For March


So, it’s that time of the month again!

No, not that time.  I meant, that it’s time for me to share my Oscar predictions.  Here are the usual disclaimers: I haven’t seen any of these films, it’s way too early in the year for me to attempt to do this, this list is all about instinct and wishful thinking, blah blah blah blah.

To see how my thinking has evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January and February!

Best Picture

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Call of the Wild

Fair and Blanced

Ford v. Ferrari

Harriet

The Irishman

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Little Women

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Torrance

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Little Women

Kasi Lemmons for Harriet

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Joe Talbot for The Last Black Man In San Francisco

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Ben Affleck in Torrance

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood

John Lithgow in Fair and Balanced

Eddie Murphy in My Name Is Dolemite

Best Actress

Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Blake Lively in The Rhythm Section

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Afre Woodard in Clemency

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari

Harrison Ford in Call of the Wild

Danny Glover in The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Malcolm McDowell in Fair and Balanced

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in Little Women

Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Janelle Monae in Harriet

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

A few notes on the predictions:

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is a biopic about Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rogers is played by Tom Hanks and this sounds like the type of role that could get him his first Oscar nomination since …. well, forever.

Call of the Wild is an adaptation of Jack London’s novel.  It apparently features a CGI wolf.  It also has a potentially good supporting role for Harrison Ford, who has only one previous nomination to his name.

Fair and Balanced is about the history of Fox News and it was directed by Jay Roach.  It sounds terrible but if Vice and Adam McKay could get a nomination just for attacking Dick Cheney, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fair and Balanced manages to do the same.  John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes while the never-nominated Malcolm McDowell plays Rupert Murdoch.

Ford v Ferrari is a film about cars and competition and, if it’s a box office success, it sounds like it could pick up some nominations.  The film stars Christian Bale and Matt Damon.  I placed Damon in the supporting category because he plays Bale’s boss and his character is described as being “eccentric.”

Harriet is a biopic of Harriet Tubman.  It just sounds like it should be an Oscar nominee.  Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet while Janelle Monae …. well, I’m not sure who she plays.  But I’m going to predict she’ll get a supporting actress nomination.  What can I say?  It’s early in the year and supporting actress is always hard to predict.

The Irishman is directed by Martin Scorsese and it has a cast to die for: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, and more!  The Irishman should also have the full force of Netflix behind it.  My one concern is that the film is apparently going to use CGI to “de-age” its cast so that they can play characters who are in their 30s and 40s.  If it works, it’ll be great.  If it doesn’t, it’s going to be a huge distraction from whatever else is going on in the movie.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco was a big hit at Sundance.  Can Joe Talbot get a nomination for his directorial debut?  Can Danny Glover score his first ever nomination?  We’ll find out!

Little Women is Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to Lady Bird.  Previous adaptations of Little Women have done well at the Oscars.  I’m predicting acting nominations for Saoirse Ronan and Laura Dern but Meryl Steep is also in this film so she’s definitely a possibility as well.  At this point, Meryl could get nominated for appearing in a two-minute video on YouTube.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Quentin Taranino’s 9th film.  Tarantino’s film usually do well with the Oscars and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is about Hollywood’s favorite subject, itself.  Some would say that Brad Pitt is overdue for an acting win.  Margot Robbie, meanwhile, is a rising star and some feel that she should have won for I, Tonya.

Torrance features Ben Affleck in what sounds like an Oscar bait role.  Affleck plays an alcoholic who ends up coaching a high school basketball team.  Director Gavin O’Connor previously worked wonders with Warrior so Torrance sounds right up his alley.

My Name is Dolemite is a biopic of the comedian and blaxploitation film star, Rudy Ray Moore.  Eddie Murphy plays Moore and the role sounds like it could allow him to display both his comedic and dramatic skills.  In theory, the Academy loves a comeback.

The Woman In The Window is based on an excellent novel and features Amy Adams as an agoraphobic woman who thinks that she may have witnessed a murder.  Adams is definitely a bit overdue for an Oscar.

The Rhythm Section is also based on a novel.  While it’s thriller plot doesn’t sound like typical Oscar bait, the film’s release was moved from February to November.  That would seem to indicate that Paramount has faith in both it and Blake Lively’s lead performance.

Clemency was another hit at Sundance.  Alfre Woodard is an acclaimed actress who has only been twice nominated for an Oscar.  A nomination here would honor not just Woodard’s performance but her entire career.

The Kitchen is a crime drama.  Tiffany Haddish, who is definitely an up-and-coming star, plays the wife of a Irish mobster who, when her husband is sent to prison, takes over his rackets.  It sounds like a good role and there are a lot of people who think Haddish’s performance in Girls Trip was unfairly snubbed.

The Goldfinch is based on a novel by Donna Tartt.  Nicole Kidman plays a wealthy widow who adopts the survivor of a terrorist bomber.  It just sounds like the type of role for which Kidman would be nominated.

In the end, nobody knows anything.  Especially me!  We’ll see how all of this plays out over the next few months!

 

 

 

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions for February


Well, with the 2018 Oscars finally out of the way, we can now shift our focus to the 2019 race.

As of February, that race is totally cloudy.  The predictions below should be taken with a grain of salt because 1) they’re mostly wild guesses and 2) the Oscar race never starts to become clear until after the summer.  You could probably argue that doing predictions this early in the year is a pointless exercise but here we are!

Best Picture

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Call of the Wild

Captain Marvel

Harriet

The Irishman

The Last Thing He Wanted

Little Women

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Report

Toy Story 4

 

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Little Women

Kassi Lemmons for Harriet

Chris Sanders for Call of the Wild

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

Taron Egerton in Rocketman

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Ian McKellen in The Good Liar

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Emma Thompson in Late Night

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

 

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Last Thing He Wanted

Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari

Harrison Ford in Call of the Wild

Al Pacino in The Irishman

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

Best Supporting Actress

Annette Bening in The Report

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Janelle Monae in Harriet

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Meryl Streep in Little Women

 

After checking out my pointless predictions for February, be sure to check out my even more pointless predictions for January!

A Few Thoughts On The Oscars….


Well, that was …. interesting.

Actually, I really enjoyed the 91s Annual Oscar ceremony this year.  And you know why I enjoyed it?

There wasn’t a host.

For all the talk about how not having a host would be the death of the Oscars, the ceremony functioned just fine without an endless opening monologue.  It turns out that the Oscars don’t need someone organizing a huge selfie.  It does’t need someone demanding that the audience buy girl scout cookies.  It doesn’t need Jimmy Kimmel bringing in random tourists or sending actors to crash the theater across the street.  The presenters can do the job of the host just fine and, even better, they’re gone before you get sick of listening to them.

The show seemed to move quicker, though it still went over 3 hours.  In fact, at 3 hours and 20 minutes, it wasn’t really any shorter than the previous ceremonies.

The audience seemed strangely subdued.  Perhaps that’s because so many mediocre films were winning.  Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, 4 in total.  Of course, not once was the name Bryan Singer mentioned.  Singer was like Voldemort at the Oscars.  In fact, you could kind of sense that people in the auditorium were cringing with every award that Bohemian Rhapsody won.  They were probably imagining what some of the headlines will be tomorrow.  “While patting themselves on the back for being woke, the Academy honored Bryan Singer.”

According to my TSL colleague, Leonard Wilson, there were boos in the audience when Green Book won best picture.  I didn’t hear them but I don’t doubt they were there.  Green Book isn’t a terrible film as much as it’s just a rather bland one.  It’s a film about a different era that feels like it was made in a different era.  Much like the last film to win without being nominated for best director, it seems destined to be forgotten.

(That last film, by the way, was Argo, which was an okay film — much like Green Book — but which isn’t exactly held up as a groundbreaking winner.)

The top moment for me was Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performing Shallow. Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech was amazing.  My second favorite moment was when Olivia Colman defeated Glenn Close for Best Actress.  That’s nothing against Close.  It’s just Close was such a favorite that it was nice to see Colman score an upset victory.

Now, we just wait for the ratings to come in.  My fear is that the ratings are going to suck and ABC will be say, “It’s because we didn’t have a host!  It’s because we didn’t do Best Popular Film!  It’s because we didn’t give out any awards during the commercial break!”

Of course, the opposite is true.  Despite some unfortunate winners, this was a pretty enjoyable broadcast.  This was what the Oscars should always be like.  We don’t need a host.  We just need better nominees.

(In my opinion, Eighth Grade was the best film of the year.  Of course, it didn’t get a single nomination.)

Well, this concludes another Oscar Sunday!

Thank you, everyone, for visiting the site today.  With the Oscars now out of the way, we can focus our attention on the films of 2019!  Let’s hope this year in film is a good one!

Thanks, everyone.

Love ya.

 

Here Are Your 2018 Oscar Winners!


Here are the winner of the 91st Academy Awards!

(I went 13 for 24, which is the worst I’ve done in a while. Oh well.  It was a strange year.)

Best Picture — Green Book

Best Director — Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Best Actor — Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Actress — Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Best Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Best Supporting Actress — Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Adapted Screenplay — BlackKklansman

Best Original Screenplay — Green Book

Best Animated Feature Film — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign Language Film — Roma

Best Documentary Feature — Free Solo

Best Documentary (Short Subject) — Period,  End of Sentence.

Best Live Action Short Film — Skin

Best Animated Short Film — Bao

Best Original Score — Black Panther

Best Original Song — “Shallow” from A Star is Born

Best Sound Editing — Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Sound Mixing — Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Production Design — Black Panther

Best Cinematography — Roma

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Vice

Best Costume Design — Black Panther

Best Editing — Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Visual Effects — First Man

6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Picture: The 2010s


Concluding our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 2010s.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010, dir by Banksy)

This wonderfully subversive documentary was my second-favorite film of 2010, right behind Black Swan.  Was it real or was it all a hoax?  In then end, does it matter?  This brilliant film definitely deserved to be the first documentary to be nominated for best picture.  Instead, sadly enough, it was only nominated for Best Documentary Feature and it lost to the rather boring Inside Job.

Upstream Color (2013, dir by Shane Carruth)

Shane Carruth’s haunting and enigmatic Upstream Color was a film unlike any others.  This brilliant film was my favorite of 2013 but, sadly, it was totally snubbed by the Academy.

A Field In England (2014, dir by Ben Wheatley)

Speaking of haunting and enigmatic, A Field In England may not be for everyone but it’s still one of the most memorable films released over the past 6 years.  Was it a horror story?  Was it a historical heist film?  Was it all a hallucination, inspired by eating mushrooms found in the field mentioned in the title?  Your guess is as good as mine but you’ll never forget about it, even if the Academy saw fit to snub it.

Calvary (2014, dir by John Michael McDonagh)

This Irish meditation on sin and salvation featured one of Brendan Gleeson’s best performances, a brilliant script, and an unforgettable ending.  Sadly, not only was Gleeson snubbed but the Academy ignored the rest of the film as well.  Still, it’s one of the best films ever made about being Catholic and Irish in the 21st Century.

Carol (2015, dir by Todd Haynes)

How this film was not nominated for best picture, I’ll never understand.  Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara have never been better.  This is a moving and poignant film about two women who, in the end, refuse to allow society to dictate who they are and who they love.

American Honey (2016, dir Andrea Arnold)

In American Honey, Andrea Arnold creates an unforgettable portrait of life on the fringes and she gets a star-making performance from Sasha Lane, as well.  Even Shia LaBeouf is tolerable in this film!  American Honey was perhaps too long and, narratively, too loose for the Academy’s a taste.  That’s a shame because American Honey is a film that future historians will look at when they want to know what America was like in 2016.

And that concludes our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture!  Enjoy the Oscars, everyone!