Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Best Pictures from the Outside In: '29/'06

(The Broadway Melody + The Departed = Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd)

Today marks the second installment of the new Best Pictures from the Outside In feature that Nathaniel and Goatdog and I decided to inaugurate this summer—born largely out of a phone conversation Nathaniel and I had about our awe (mixed with jealousy) that Goatdog has so few Best Pic nominees left to see, and our collective urge to revisit winners that we each saw way, way back in our proto-Oscargeek childhoods. Plus, none of us could wait to see The Life of Émile Zola again, and this project seemed to furnish the right alibi.

Goatdog and Nathaniel both rang in the feature last week, when we jabbered about the earliest victor, Wings, and the most recent, No Country for Old Men. I missed my chance at joining in the full, six-pompom salute to our new endeavor, but suffice it to say: if you had told me in 8th grade, when I was still renewing Inside Oscar every two weeks at the public library but had only seen ten or twelve of the movies in the book, that I would one day have two friends who wanted to make this same tiptoe through the AMPAS tulips with me, and obsess over all the same talking points and triumphs and injustices, I would have been pulling my jaw off the floor and my head out of the clouds. And not just because I would have had no idea what the "internet" was.

This week's conversation, hosted by Goatdog, covers our varying levels of agitation about 1929's The Broadway Melody and our universal enthusiasm for 2006's The Departed, even if we all want to recast Jack Nicholson. After you're done reading the discussion, hopefully dropping us a comment, and pitying my predicament of never making a single graphic to rival Goatdog's or Nathaniel's, head back to my main site, where I'm archiving our march through Oscartime. I've got links to all of our discussions, and to my own grades and reviews of the winners, riders at the top of those reviews that commemorate each year's race (including deserving winners and non-nominees), and the required bouquet of gratuitous lists.

Enjoy! And visit this space next week, when we revisit the winners from 1930 and 2005 and inevitably rehash one of the great, tear-inducing miscarriages in Oscar's entire back-catalog. By which I mean, of course, the soul-sickening nomination of the gruesomely stodgy 1929 biopic Disraeli. Thank God it lost. (Hey, what did you think I was talking about?)

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Let Them Eat Birthday Cake!

Back in effect, y'all. I still have some spring-quarter papers and projects to assess and then my final grades to tabulate and submit, but this website is eager to spring back to life. I meant to get an early start one week ago, to commemorate Nathaniel's birthday—even though certain snakes in the grass have recently informed me that too many of my recent posts are all about Nathaniel. But, I just survived yet another apartment move, and though nothing (amazingly!) was broken or lost, my internet connection was scuttled until about 48 hours ago. So here, better late than never, is the latest addition to the Best Actress pages. Far be it from me to imply how old Nathaniel just turned, but let's just say that I have selected 1938 as a fitting year of tribute—and all the more fitting because we saw White Banners for the first time together in my Hartford apartment, we both love Bette Davis, and we both really love Norma Shearer, earning her sixth and final Best Actress nomination for Marie Antoinette.

Bette copped the Oscar, but to learn who wins my vote, you'll have to click here. The usual poll has already been supplied to determine who you think should have won from Oscar's list, but I'm playing it a bit coy about my own favorite performances from that year, which is also slowing down the other two polls. I rented a lot of 1938 movies in preparation for this Nathaniel-a-thon, and despite wind or rain or sleet or U-Haul or AT&T, I intend to finish out my viewing list... or at least get a little closer. So, tune back in for my own 1938 Dream Team, and some remarks about Luise Rainer, Irene Dunne, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn x 2, Margaret Sullavan Redux, Sally Eilers, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, and several other ladies who were bright lights in '38! (And it's never too late to wish Nathaniel a happy birthday!)

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