erik lundegaard

Movies - The Oscars posts

Sunday March 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

“When I arrived in L.A. [in 1974, to receive an honorary Academy Award for his lifelong contribution to film and film preservation], I thought that the Oscar was like our Legion of Honor. But it's much more important than that because everyone and his brother gets one of those eventually. An Oscar is truly a serious matter. I didn't realize how much it meant. It's comparable to being chosen as a master craftsman by one's fellows in the time of the guilds.”

--Henri Langlois, in the documentary "Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the  Cinémathèque” (2004). Langlois, who is considered the father of film preservation, the auteur theory, and the Nouvelle Vague, took film more seriously than the Academy. He took the Academy more seriously than the Academy.

Henri Langlois at the Academy Awards, 1974

Posted at 08:05 AM on Mar 18, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Sunday February 26, 2012

The 2011 Academy Awards - Postmortem

At the start of the evening I said I wanted one thing: pleasant surprises. I didn't get any and won my Oscar pool—or at least split it four ways: with Mr. B, Mr. P and Jayne. If Viola had won I would've won it outright. But how can you not love Meryl? And her speech? In 2005, I wrote an MSNBC piece on which performers were overdue for an Oscar, and brought up her name even then:

An argument could be made that the actress most-due is Meryl Streep. Yes, she’s won, twice in fact (lead and supporting), but not since 1982. Since then she’s been nominated nine times (eight lead, one supporting). Time to get her out of her seat already.

Even so, this was the wrong year. Should've been Viola's year.

So what were the surprises--pleasant or otherwise? That “The Artist” won? Dujardin? Davis? “Midnight in Paris”? “The Descendants”? That Billy Crystal was funny? It seems we have the Academy figured out. Too bad.

I guess the big surprise for us was that Uncle Vinny left early. What the hell, dude? I kept looking for you to share something and found you gone.

The line of the night, at our party, came from David, who, after Penelope Cruz said something innocuous like “And the winner is...,” but in her dynamite accent, and of course looking like she does, David, after a pause, asked, “Can we rewind that?”

Amen.

Our 2012 Oscar party.

Mr. B raises faux-Oscar high after tying with three others for first place. But he gave a helluva speech.

Posted at 11:00 PM on Feb 26, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Woody Allen at the Oscars 2002

I saw this video clip on Slate.com today of Woody Allen's only Oscar visit in 2002. It was great seeing it again. I realized what a terrific person he was, and how much fun it was just listening him. And I thought of that old joke. Y'know, this... this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.” And the doctor says, “Well, why don't you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about my relationship with Woody. It's totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd. But I guess I keep going through it because ... I need the eggs.

Posted at 02:55 PM on Feb 26, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Lancelot Links: Oscar Edition

  • The most interesting piece I've read this Oscar season is the least-surprising. Three reporters at The LA Times, John Horn, Nicole Sperling and Doug Smith, finally break the cloak on anonymity that has always surrounded the Academy and give us exact numbers ... and it's pretty much as we always suspected: Oscar is old, white and male. Specifically, he's 94% white, 77% male, and with an average age of 62. I once compared the Academy to Gordon Jump on “WKRP in Cincinnati” and it's not far off. The surprise? I always assumed the Academy was made up of past nominees and winners but 64% of its members, including TV stars Erik Estrada and Gavin McLeod, have never been nominated. So how did they get in? We don't really get that from the Times. We don't get a sense of who gets invited and why. Apparently women and non-whites are still vast minorities in terms of even new membership. At the same time, I don't think this kind of rash action is doing anyone any good:

“People of color are always peripheral,” said veteran African American character actor Bernie Casey (“Under Siege”), who said he recently quit the academy because he was disenchanted with its racial makeup.

No live-blogging tonight kids. Oscar hosting. But I'm sure I'll have an opinion or two when the night is through...

Berenice Bejo in "The Artist"

Oui, vous est tres jolie. Je t'aime, vraiment. Mais... meilleure actrice?

Posted at 07:56 AM on Feb 26, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars, Lancelot Links
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Friday February 24, 2012

From 'Godfather' to 'Crash': My Rankings of Most Every Best Picture Winner Since 1927

Meh.

That's what surprised me most. Not that I loved or hated most of the best picture winners since 1927 but that I didn't have much feeling one way or another. “The Departed”? “The English Patient”? “Rain Man”? “The Deer Hunter”? “In the Heat of the Night”? “From Here to Eternity”? “Lost Weekend”? Did I even see “Lost Weekend”? What do I really remember about it? Maybe better put that in the NOT SEEN group. Only fair.

In his discussion yesterday on the New Yorker site, critic Richard Brody said the switch from five best picture nominees to 10, or 9, or what have you, was a good thing, because it inspired passion among moviegoers. Which is something the Academy is generally good at tamping down. These films are sometimes an example of that.

I certainly have passion for my top 10. I have a different kind of passion for my bottom five. But the middle took a lot of rejiggering and soul-searching. How to rank this movie? By my feeling upon first watching it? By my feelings now? By how much I'd like to watch it again? By how deep it is, or how well it tells its story, or exemplifies its genre?

I wound up choosing an awkward mix of all of these criteria and it was still tough. I kept going back and forth. Am I putting this one low because so many people like it? Am I putting this one high because so many people don't? It's hard to separate your feelings from society's but you give it a go. In the end I thought “Would I rather watch 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King' right now or 'Driving Miss Daisy'?” I may be the only person this side of Bruce Beresford who would answer the latter. Probably not him, either.

Revelation: I like big and boldly drawn: “My Fair Lady” and “Gone with the Wind” and “Patton” and “Titanic.” Yes, “Titanic.” A friend of mine, a songwriter, always runs across contemporaries who disparage middle-of-the-road work, but he says that's what he strives for. He thinks of it like a mountain, where the middle is the highest point, and the hardest to attain. Some of these big movies do that.

Lesser revelation: I dig the '70s. It was the glory period of American filmmaking, easy riders and raging bulls and all that. It was also the period I first became aware of the Oscars. I was coming of age then. The Academy seemed important then. Maybe it was. Maybe it honored more important movies. And even when it didn't, as in '76, choosing “Rocky” over “All the President's Men,” “Network” and “Taxi Driver,” well, its choice was still a good movie. “Rocky” is another boldly drawn story but finely defined along the edges. It has patience and grit. It tells its tale really, really well. It's not its fault it had so many awful children.

Sometimes the titles get in the way. They're so storied, I think, “Shouldn't this be higher?” Then I think about what the film is, what it lacks, and go, “Meh.”

But, really, you can make your argument for No.s 25 through 60 and I'll probably buy it. To do this properly, I'd have to watch all of these movies again but who wants to do that? They're only best pictures.

Final note: I've also included a column on the greatest disparities between my opinion and the mass opinion on IMDb. No surprise: The movies I love and they didn't tend to be musicals. There's a +63 variance for “An American in Paris,” +41 for “West Side Story,” and +35 for “My Fair Lady.” The next one is “Titanic,” which feels like a musical. On the other side of the equation, movies they loved and I didn't, we have the recent and the blockbusty: “Forrest Gump” at -57, “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” at -52, and “Braveheart” at -50. We agreed on exactly two: “The Godfather” and “Cuckoo's Nest.”

Enjoy. Your results will vary.

MY RANK
MOVIE IMDb RANK IMDb RATING IMDb VOTES ME v. IMDb
1 The Godfather (1972) 1 9.2 535,083 0
2 Annie Hall (1977) 25 8.2 87,916 23
3 Casablanca (1943) 6 8.7 209,989 3
4 The Godfather, Part II (1974) 2 9.0 336,575 -2
5 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 5 8.8 300,314 0
6 On the Waterfront (1954) 12 8.4 52,369 6
7 Amadeus (1984) 12 8.4 128,078 5
8 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 11 8.5 98,407 3
9 All About Eve (1950) 12 8.4 43,955 3
10 An American In Paris (1951) 73 7.2 11,808 63






11 Unforgiven (1992) 22 8.3 135,496 11
12 My Fair Lady (1964) 47 7.9 35,262 35
13 Gone With the Wind (1939) 25 8.2 106,428 12
14 The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957) 12 8.4 76,003 -2
15 No Country For Old Men (2007) 25 8.2 274,692 10
16 West Side Story (1961) 57 7.7 37,371 41
17 The Sting (1973) 12 8.4 85,891 -5
18 Rocky (1976) 34 8.1 143,362 16
19 The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 6 8.7 344,094 -13
20 Patton (1970) 38 8.0 49,384 18






21 The Sound of Music (1965) 47 7.9 68,810 26
22 The Last Emperor (1987) 54 7.8 33,160 32
23 American Beauty (1999) 10 8.5 389,392 -13
24 Schindler's List (1993) 3 8.9 375,193 -21
25 Hamlet (1948) 47 7.9 6,557 22
26 The French Connection (1971) 47 7.9 42,667 21
27 All Quiet On the Western Front (1930) 34 8.1 28,205 7
28 The Deer Hunter (1978) 25 8.2 117,540 -3
29 Midnight Cowboy (1969) 38 8.0 42,805 9
30 It Happened One Night (1934) 22 8.3 32,375 -8






31 Titanic (1997) 64 7.5 336,027 33
32 The Apartment (1960) 12 8.4 49,785 -20
33 Dances With Wolves (1990) 38 8.0 94,144 5
34 All the King's Men (1949) 62 7.6 5,597 28
35 A Man For All Seasons (1966) 38 8.0 14,614 3
36 Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979) 57 7.7 40,353 21
37 Platoon (1986) 25 8.2 145,818 -12
38 The Hurt Locker (2009) 57 7.7 137,683 19
39 In the Heat of the Night (1967) 38 8.0 26,928 -1
40 Rain Man (1988) 38 8.0 165,428 -2






41 Driving Miss Daisy (1989) 66 7.4 30,411 25
42 Gandhi (1982) 34 8.1 71,833 -8
43 Rebecca (1940) 12 8.4 45,011 -31
44 Million Dollar Baby (2004) 25 8.2 204,335 -19
45 Slumdog Millionaire (2008) 25 8.2 269,582 -20
46 Chariots of Fire (1981) 73 7.2 20,114 27
47 Chicago (2002) 73 7.2 99,936 26
48 Terms of Endearment (1983) 70 7.3 21,085 22
49 The English Patient (1996) 70 7.3 72,322 21
50 Gladiator (2000) 12 8.4 397,268 -38






51 You Can't Take It With You (1938) 38 8.0 10,500 -13
52 Shakespeare In Love (1998) 70 7.3 97,391 18
53 The Departed (2006) 9 8.5 368,308 -44
54 The King's Speech (2010) 25 8.2 155,972 -29
55 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 3 8.9 501,289 -52
56 How Green Was My Valley (1941) 47 7.9 8,993 -9
57 Ordinary People (1980) 54 7.8 20,192 -3
58 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) 22 8.3 21,793 -36
59 From Here To Eternity (1953) 47 7.9 19,141 -12
60 A Beautiful Mind (2001) 38 8.0 202,651 -22






61 Gentleman's Agreement (1947) 66 7.4 5,688 5
62 Braveheart (1995) 12 8.4 327,548 -50
63 Forrest Gump (1994) 6 8.7 446,991 -57
64 Out of Africa (1985) 76 7.0 25,363 12
65 Going My Way (1944) 66 7.4 4,143 1
66 Tom Jones (1963) 77 6.9 4,857 11
67 Oliver! (1968) 64 7.5 12,026 -3
68 Around the World In 80 Days (1956) 80 6.8 9,129 12
69 The Greatest Show On Earth (1952) 81 6.7 5,186 12
70 Crash (2005) 38 8.0 217,777 -32







HAVEN'T SEEN IMDb RANK IMDb RATING IMDb VOTES

Wings (1927) 54 7.8 3,792

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1928) 12 8.4 15,384

The Broadway Melody (1929) 82 6.4 2,466

Cimarron (1931) 84 6.1 1,744

Grand Hotel (1932) 62 7.6 7,300

Cavalcade (1933) 83 6.3 1,426

Mutiny On the Bounty (1935) 47 7.9 9,276

The Great Ziegfeld (1936) 77 6.9 2,583

The Life of Emile Zola (1937) 66 7.4 2,376

Mrs. Miniver (1942) 57 7.7 6,058

The Lost Weekend (1945) 34 8.1 14,287

Marty (1955) 57 7.7 8,028

Gigi (1958) 77 6.9 7,472

Ben-Hur (1959) 25 8.2 76,925
Posted at 08:10 AM on Feb 24, 2012 in category Movies - The Oscars
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