Party Down: 208* Occasions to Celebrate
I have been deliriously working all through the holiday "break," but it is obvious that the Holy Spirit, in Its infinite wisdom, takes real, genuine vacations. To adduce only the most glaring piece of evidence, no Best Actress nominee has ever been touched with God's thumbprint and dropped into the world any earlier than January 5. That sounds like at least four days of Law & Order from the couch, if you ask me. Of course, once the gifts started coming, they were good ones: Jane Wyman (b. 1917) and Diane Keaton (b. 1946) both celebrate their anniversaries today, though one is still with us and the other, like Sidney J. Mussburger, has already Merged with the Infinite. Still, film history would genuinely look different without either of these gals, and so we honor them.
We're going to keep on honoring them, and 206 other women, and whoever else joins their club on January 24. It ain't over till New Year's Eve baby Sarah Miles sings, or does whatever Sarah Miles does. I've had this calendar posted on my webpage for a couple of years now, as one more manifestation of the ridiculous and the sublime, one more excrescence of what Jane might have called my Magnificent Obsession. You can come and leave a flower any time you like, for anyone you like, provided that on at least one occasion her peers in the business gave her a really, really gold star, or at least urged her to think she was getting one. If your favorite actress is Rita Hayworth or Jennifer Jason Leigh or Alfre Woodard or Taylor Schilling, you're just going to have to wait until she cops that first lead-category nomination. (Based on sabermetric calculations, my money is on Alfre, then Jennifer, then Rita, then Taylor.)
To maintain the festivities, I'll be dropping in on the occasional birthday girl over the year and watching a title from her filmography that I have never seen. In some cases, the thrill of anticipation is through the roof, as I will finally catch up with some Buñuel, some Lang, some Hitchcock, and some Rossellini that I keep missingor, you know, I'll finally see Kitten with a Whip, or the Village People vehicle Can't Stop the Music, which starred Best Actress nominee Valerie Perrine (emerita of the best-ever roster in the category) and was also directed by Roberto Rossellini. Sometimes I will be in trouble, but I will strive for the best. I shot myself in the foot last year, filling so many holes in order to write career retrospectives on Annette Bening and that young'un Jennifer Lawrence that I'm only left with a few dregs... unless Jennifer puts out a new movie this year, but I haven't heard a single murmur about her doing that.
I'll come up with something. I don't know how you spend your lunch hours, but I have confirmed a surviving and accessible print of a movie I have not seen by each one of these
If there's a movie featuring one of Oscar's anointees that you think I'll like or find interesting and that you know I haven't seen, feel free to suggest it down in the Comments. (You can flip through my back pages here, in case you haven't got 182 better things to do.) I won't promise, and I'm going to be stingy with hints about my often-spontaneous plans, but I'm still eager for nudges, even if I wind up saving 'em for later. You can also comment on the reviews I do post in this same space, so I won't be eating cake and lighting sparklers by myself.
Happy 2012, actresses and actressexuals everywhere. Together, let's think of the right gift for the woman who has everything, i.e., two consecutive Academy Awards and the stamina of a Galapagos tortoise, even though most people, hearing her name, would go "Who?" We don't have a lot of time. I'm thinking candlesticks.