Oscar History

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Soundtracking:Southland Tales

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"I saw this in the theater with a friend who (like me) has a very high tolerance for obscure,messy film.We both left the screening saying,'What the hell WAS that?' "- RV

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Entries in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (7)

Mar 13 2019

Soundtracking: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

byChris Feil

If you want to look to reinforcement of traditional gender roles in the movies,sadly you can look to the history of movie musicals for consistent examples.It's a genre that consistently returns to tropes and archetypes for its structure,but that just makes it all the more rewarding when there are examples to the contrary.TakeGentlemen Prefer Blondesfor example - no seriously,take it and watch it on a loop because it is perfect cinema.

The film gives us two unique musical heroines in Jane Russell's Dorothy Shaw and Marilyn Monroe's Lorelei Lee,a team on the stage and in dealing with men.They are two ingenues that subvert genre tropes and traditional images of women looking for love on screen,and you can see how they do so in their solo songs...

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Jan 13 2018

50 days til Oscar.50 movies with no Oscar love

by Nathaniel R

Oooh we're getting so close!It's just 50 days until Hollywood's High Holy Night and just 10 until we know which films will be competing for which prizes.As this season winnows down to its "winners"it's good to remember that "losers"is a temporary notion.As we've said often and will continue to say: Greatness is its own reward.Oscar has been around for 90 years now and if the past 89 are any indication some movies that are completely ignored come January 23rd when the nominations are announced will be more celebrated by the people of,say,2049 (if the world survives that long) than by the people of now.Don't believe me?Here are FIFTY randomly chosen movies of large critical or popular or historical reputation and/or devout still vocal fanbases that received ZERO -- that's right zero -- Oscar nominations in their day...

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May 18 2017

Beauty Break: Happy 90th Birthday to the Grauman's Chinese!

One of my favorite places in Hollywood turned 90 years old today.The Grauman's Chinese Theater,which often houses premieres and events,opened on this day in 1927,so its centennial is just ten years away.It's currently known as the TCL Theater and was called the Mann Theater before that but it's still popularly known as Grauman's.You can rename something as perks for modern corporations but sometimes the original name hangs around (as well as it should).Don't even get me started on beautiful Broadway theaters chucking their iconic stage giant names for "American Airlines Theater"or whatnot.DO NOT GET ME STARTED.

The Grauman's most familiar pop culture aspect is its large collection of cement tiles out front bearing the handprints of movie stars from all eras.So it's time for a Beauty Break.Which of these ceremonies after the jump do you most wish you had been at?

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Jul 12 2016

Best Shot(s): Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Commence squealing.For what could be more delightful than an evening with two perfect musical comedy performances?It's time to talkGentlemen Prefer Blondesstarring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.The film,currently streaming on Netflix,was the runner up in our Readers Choice polling for Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

20th Century Fox.Released on July 15th,1953 in New York
Director: Howard Hawks;Cinematographer: Harry J Wild
Starring: Jane Russell as 'Dorothy',Marilyn Monroe as 'Lorelei',Charles Coburn as 'Piggy', Elliott Reid as 'Malone', Tommy Noonan as 'Esmond Jr'

Howard Hawk's classic was not the first iteration of the story.It was based on the stage musical which itself was based on a book which had already spawned two non-musicals.The 1949 stage musical,a huge hit on Broadway,had introduced Carol Channing to the world.New star Marilyn Monroe got Channing's  star-making "Lorelei"role for the screen.(The same thing would happen to Channing sixteen years later with herothersignature roleHello Dolly) But sometimes a movie turns out so spectacularly well that it's impossible to imagine it existing in any other shape than the one it's in,all other versions prior or subsequent feel like faint cultural echoes.

Best Shots after the jump...

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Nov 13 2012

Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glennhere with atuesday top tenon a topic dear to my heart,and Nathaniel's too.We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual Golden Globe Awards.Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation's occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list),I thinkIlike most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn't have.The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and,thus,stick out more.Sure,Burlesque,Across the Universe,Nine,andMamma Miaare recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark"a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress.Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn't?There's more than you'd think!

11with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of "musical"by the HFPA –Ray?Coal Miner's Daughter?Walk the Line?The Rose?– it's a surprise that Robert Altman's classicNashvilleand Lars von Trier's masterpieceDancer in the Darkweren't classified as such.The former because,well,it's also pretty funny,right?The latter because it was a true,honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense.Altman's ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct "Best Acting Debut"category) andDancer in the Darksnagged one for Bjork's performance.Still,it's about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we'll let it slide.


10.Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead:Airplane!,The Coal Miner's Daughter(won),Fame,The Idolmaker,Melvin & Howard
Oh sure,laugh!Yes,this infamous movie was scorned upon release,but so wasBurlesqueand they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later.Given the universal acclaim for,if nothing else,its soundtrack you'd think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track.No,it's not great art but who's ever heard of Taylor Hackford'sThe Idolmakersince?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbeesafter the jump

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Aug 07 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - An Appreciation

[Editor's Note: Last winter when Michelle Williams was in theaters cooing as "Marilyn",I had planned on a Marilyn week.It didn't happen but I wanted to share this piece by our once in a blue moon contributorEster Bloombecause I,too,adore this movie.- Nathaniel]

'Say,they told me you were stupid!'

'I can be smart when it's important,but most men don't like it.' "

Marilyn Monroe is not so different from Lorelei Lee,the part she plays inGentlemen Prefer Blondes.Both are entertainers from small towns who started out poor but are determined to transcend their origins;both turn themselves into sexy cartoons;both play dumb when necessary;and both perform under alliterative pseudonyms that are as girly as all get out.(Compare the name "Lorelei Lee"with that of her friend "Dorothy Shaw."The difference tells you almost everything you need to know about their characters.)

Maybe Monroe recognized a kindred spirit in Lorelei Lee...

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