Oscar History

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Entries by Margaret de Larios (50)

Apr 27 2015

Yes No Maybe So: Johnny Depp and Yet Another Hairpiece in 'Black Mass'

Margaret here...Johnny Depp is struggling -- as much as anyone who commands a ten-figure salary and goes home to a private island can be said to be struggling.His last real hit was the fourthPirates of the Caribbeanmovie in 2011,and it's been even longer since critics have had much nice to say about one of his performances.He's looking for a comeback,and it looks like he may have one in Scott Cooper's Whitey Bulger biopicBlack Mass,due later this year.

Warner Brothers recently debuted footage ofBlack Massat CinemaCon,and the buzz was very positive.The first official trailer was released not long after,which means we can now weigh in on whether the people who are starting to throwthe O-wordaround are on to something,or just experiencing the power of low expectations.

trailer and YNMS breakdownafter the jump

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Apr 03 2015

Cast This: NBC's "The Wiz Live"

Margarethere.Earlier this week,NBC announced that this December they will be following the surprise ratings smash that wasThe Sound of Music Liveand the more modestly-ratedPeter Pan Livewith a third simulcast musical:The Wiz!Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (fresh off their third and likely final Oscar ceremony) are returning,with Harvey Fierstein on board to augment William F.Brown's original book.The team is also partnering with Cirque du Soleil for the production,with plans to later move it to Broadway.

The 1975 "Super Soul Musical"is,for many reasons,an excellent choice.Because it's a pop musical,the network heads' desire to stunt cast with big stars will actually serve the material.And it's become a staple in high school productions because of its generosity with its musical parts- it requires a deep cast,with 9 characters who have their own show-stoppable numbers.

Like with most pop music,the score toThe Wizis only as strong as the people performing it,and the right actor can take even the least crucial number and make it into a sensation.That makes casting especially crucial.We owe it to the good people of NBC to make their jobs easy!

Here'smy dream cast:

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Mar 28 2015

Attending the Mad Men "Black and Red Ball"

Margaret reporting from Los Angeles.On Wednesday night,television phenomenonMad Menscreened its final premiere,and I had the pleasure of attending to represent The Film Experience.亚博主页This premiere leads off the second half of Mad Men's seventh and final season.While introducing the episode,AMC President Charlie Collier spoke to the legacy of the show,claiming that:

in the history of television,there will be a permanent line of demarcation: Before Mad Men,and After Mad Men.''

It's a strong claim,but it's true.

Compare the television landscape of today to the television landscape of a decade ago,and the influence of Mad Men's success is evident.Certainly without that show AMC would not have taken off and there would be noBreaking Bad,norThe Walking Dead.The Americans,Downton Abbey,and Netflix's entire original programming arm also oweMad Mena sizable debt.

The Event
In celebration of their achievement,the cast and crew gathered in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles which housed the Oscars for many year.亚博主页The Pavilion isn't new toMad Meneither,the foyer having played the lobby of a Rome hotel in season three.

Margaret and Jordan attending for The Film Experience亚博主页

Nearly the entire cast was present except for Elisabeth Moss (currently on Broadway) and Jessica Pare.When Robert Morse was called on stage he practically held court,and all but did a soft-shoe.Jon Hamm was,understandably,like the class president,high-fiving everyone and adorably rough-housing with little Bobby Draper when he seemed to get restless.And finally,Kiernan Shipka who we watched grow up on the show,is now unnervingly tall and very poised.

The mutual respect and love among the team was evident,and the program reserved special (and richly deserved) praise for the visual artists who gaveMad Menso much of its richness: cinematographer Chris Manley,production designer Dan Bishop,art director Christopher Brown,set decorator Claudette Didul,props master Ellen Freund,and the genius costume designer Janie Bryant whose work on the show is so long overdue for an Emmy.Christina Hendricks clearly adores them giving enormous hugs to everyone.

Coming up on seven full seasons,Mad Menhas pulled down four Emmys for Best Drama Series,traced the decade of shifting cultural history between 1960 and 1970,and has inspired more spiraling fan theories than its cast has smoked cigarettes.

Keirnan Shipka,Jon Hamm,and January Jones at the event on Wednesday

So how does it end?The first of the final episodes,true to the series spirit,plays it close to the vest.It riffs on the show's established intertwining themes (sex,business,identity) but it's a little looser,a little more relaxed.(As if they knew that the TFE readership would be on the look out for a "Mad Men at the Movies"reference,they toss off an acesMildred Piercejoke midway through.) The pace is unhurried,as ever,and where the slow burn will flame out is still anyone's guess.TV has changed so much sinceMad Menarrived.How will it change once it's gone?

Mad Men returns to AMC for its final episodes onSunday April 5th,10/9c

Mar 19 2015

We Can't Wait #2: Ricki and the Flash

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated.Margaretwith our runner-up...

Rick Springfield & Meryl Streep.Will they make lovely music together?

Who & What:Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme teams up with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody for a dramedy starring Oscar-winning(-and-winning-and-winning) actress Meryl Streep.The story is about a woman who left her family behind to realize her dreams of rock'n'roll stardom,and returns years later to try and make things right with them.The script has been described as funny and touching,and the supporting cast includes Kevin Kline (Sophie's Choicereunion!) and her daughter Mamie Gummer (Heartburnreunion!). If you listen really close,you can hear the sound of the HFPA penciling this onto their 2016 ballots for the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe.

Why we're excited about it:First of all,who among us can say they don't want to see Meryl "Greatest Living Actress™"Streep all tatted up,strutting around in leather pants and combat bootswhile shredding on an electric guitar?And given the creative talents involved,the potential for this is sky-high. Both Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody may have some misses in their filmography,but Demme is on an upswing following actressy gemRachel Getting Marriedand if there's a chance that Diablo Cody has written a lead character half as excellent as Mavis Gary in 2011'sYoung AdultI will be camping out in front of my local multiplex from right this second until opening night.Plus 'musician neglects family,becomes rock star'is a kind of story that's almost always told about men,and has been at least a dozen times in the past decade.Points for freshness!

What if it all goes wrong?:The last time Meryl worked with Jonathan Demme,it was onThe Manchurian Candidate,one of her worst performances to date.There's also the omnipresent danger of Meryl fatigue.

When:August 7,in that dependable spot where Streep vehicles have had so much counter-programming box office success.

Feb 27 2015

Black History Month: Spike Lee's '4 Little Girls'

Our black history month coverage continues withMargareton Spike Lee's 1997 nominee for Best Documentary Feature...

Spike Lee is famously an Oscar loser.With every passing year--25 of them now behind us--it makes less and less sense thatDo the Right Thinglost its nomination for Best Original Screenplay,let alone that it failed to earn Oscar nominations in the Best Picture or Best Director categories.When one thinks of Spike Lee,what comes to mind is a distinct stylization,and a reputation for incendiary cultural commentary.His inflammatory style has often been implicated as the cause of his cool reception from the film establishment.

His less remembered brush with Oscar was a nomination for Best Documentary in 1997 for his film4 Little Girls,and that loss is more mysterious.No less artfully crafted or emotionally gut-punching than the best of his filmography,the documentary is also more formally and stylistically straightforward: other than the title card up front identifying it as "A Spike Lee Joint"it's absent many of the colorful hallmarks of the Lee's work.

The historical events examined by4 Little Girlsshould be familiar to anyone who caught the recent Best Picture contenderSelma.[Read more...]

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