Saturday, November 24, 2007

1931 oscar winning actress

Back story: Full of "writer's angst" despite his character's literary success, Albert Finney is edgily unpredictable, honoring an admired script by Bo Goldman, an Oscar winner for 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and 1980's Melvin and Howard. And Diane Keaton (family-exhausted wife) is close to her peak. So with the late Dana Hill holding her own as the couple's justifiably pouty daughter, this cult item is arguably second to 1991's The Commitments as the best movie from maddeningly uneven director Alan Parker.

Extras, extras: Commentary by Goldman and Parker, who hasn't been heard from much since 2003's The Life of David Gale (which deserved to stiff) and 1999's Angela's Ashes (which didn't).

* * * 1/2
2007, Weinstein/Genius, PG-13, $30

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Warner | Emmy | Rose | Dreamworks | Oscar winner | Extras | Shrek | PG | Brian Dennehy | J Robert Oppenheimer | Marion Cotillard | Alan Parker | Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Your gut says there's more (or maybe less) than meets Michael Moore's eye here. But armed with horror stories, Mr. Provocateur's undeniably devastating critique of America's health care system proves that bedside "bleeding" really didn't go out centuries ago.

Back story: A relatively restrained Moore trumpets Canadian, French and Cuban treatment (an acquaintance recently lauded his own experience in Cuba). Bottom line: a movie that will endure until its keg of dynamite is defused.

Extras, extras: Standouts are Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren on how most of us are one affliction away from bankruptcy; Marcia Angell on drug companies' profit motive and how Jonas Salk never patented his polio vaccine; plus retired British Labor Party maven Tony Benn on basic humanitarianism.

Day One
* * * 1/2
1989, Acorn, unrated, no extras, $25

Best of the non-documentary Manhattan Project films got the Emmy for Outstanding Drama/Comedy special (tying with the Holly Hunter-Amy Madigan Roe vs. Wade). But don't expect much comedy.

Back story: Compressing Peter Wyden's super same-name book into a compact near-21/2 hours, the teleplay covers lots of ground before the A-bomb developers get to Los Alamos, N.M. — explaining, for instance, how physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was pegged as a security risk in America's postwar milieu. As Oppenheimer, David Strathairn comes close to matching his Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck as a career performance, while Brian Dennehy bests Paul Newman (1989's disappointing Fat Man and Little Boy) and Brian Donlevy (1947's The Beginning or the End) as Gen. Leslie Groves.

Also on DVD:

Shrek the Third
* * *
2007, DreamWorks, rated PG, $30

Faced with fatherhood and a literally royal opportunity after the death of his Frog King father-in-law, the green one approaches Life's Next Stage with uncertainty, just as we do when faced with any second sequel. Like 2004's Shrek 2, this one's a mild but not catastrophic letdown, albeit a lopsided one; Third's first and final thirds are packed with good jokes and redeeming revelry, but the middle sags so badly that it contributed some to summer's sequel malaise (less dispiriting than Jimmy Carter's old-school '70s malaise, but in the ballpark). For far more of the pernicious same, see also Ocean's Thirteen (2007, Warner, PG-13, $29), Chapter 3 of lazy Vegas high jinks, though with a couple of compensations: Al Pacino's casting as a targeted casino owner plus the recently underused Ellen Barkin still coming off as the thinking man's sex bomb at age 53.

La Vie en Rose
* * 1/2
2007, Warner, PG-13, $28

As the year's most serious Oscar competition to date for Julie Christie in Away From Her, Marion Cotillard is so spectacular as troubled French songbird Edith Piaf that it's difficult to imagine the movie without her, though it would certainly be as episodic. Hollywood traded in this kind of showbiz biopic for decades to diminishing returns, with Susan Hayward as boozy singer Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow, new on DVD as we speak (1955, Warner, unrated, $20). Cotillard, though, ranks at the highest level — with Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard in 2001's telepic Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (overall, a much better movie than Rose). Indeed, compare the dissipated Cotillard here with her alluring bistro owner in Ridley Scott's mildly underrated A Good Life from last year and see if you'd guess she was the same actress.

Box sets

•Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Sony, PG, $40): All three versions in one box: the original, 1980's theatrically released "special edition" and the director's cut plus featurettes. Most welcome: a fold-out sheet which, in timeline fashion, spells out how the versions differ.

•Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, Criterion, unrated, $125): Among the most-wanted movies on DVD by serious cultists, director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 15-hour-plus epic (which was a TV film also released theatrically) is about fatal German fallout after World War I. Monumental extras include the full-length 1931 screen version of Arthur Doblin's novel.

•Yankeeography (2002-07, A&E, unrated, $100): OK, they left out my idol Joe Pepitone, but here's Yankees announcer John Sterling with 12 discs of the Emmy-winning series spanning Ruth and Gehrig to Derek Jeter. With: 10 shows never before on DVD and classy pinstriped packaging to match my Yankees bedsheets and pillowcases.

Due Tuesday: Not-quite sweater girl John Travolta in Hairspray; Ingmar Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel; Live Free or Die Hard

Furious on Film 11.01.07: Issue 112

Another trip to Iwo Jima, more war stories from Iraq, the origins of the horror complete with the debut of the vampire and a Japanese film in English that everyone hates and I somehow managed to review anyway!

Before we start this week I'd like to remind everyone why it's taken so long to get back to reviewing films. Here below lies a list of links to the Furious on Film top 100 director's column. The one that took a huge chunk out of my life but earned me more positive feedback than a bundle of WCW reviews. Be warned though, this is a long read.
Anne Bancroft, the versatile actress who won an Academy Award for portraying Helen Keller's teacher in "The Miracle Worker," but who may be best remembered as the sultry suburban housewife who seduced Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate," died June 6 of uterine cancer at a New York hospital. She was 73.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Ms. Bancroft won every major acting award -- the Oscar, Tony and Emmy -- and played such a range of roles that she defied typecasting. She performed opposite such stars as Anthony Hopkins, Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine and two generations of Fondas, Henry and Jane, and was considered as formidable an acting talent as any of them.

Actress Anne Bancroft in her New York City apartment in 1963, the year she won her best actress Oscar for her role in 1962's "The Miracle Worker." (Associated Press)

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"She was the most wonderfully rich, malleable, interesting, independent actress I ever worked with," Arthur Penn, who directed Ms. Bancroft in the stage and film versions of "The Miracle Worker," said several years ago. "She can play anything."

Besides her Academy Award for "The Miracle Worker" (1962), a role she originated on Broadway in 1959, Ms. Bancroft received Oscar nominations for "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964), "The Graduate" (1967), "The Turning Point" (1977) and "Agnes of God" (1985).

She received a Tony Award in 1958 for her first starring role on Broadway, playing opposite Henry Fonda in "Two for the Seesaw." The following year, she won her second Tony for the role of Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker," in which she was the teacher working with the blind and deaf Helen Keller, played by 12-year-old Patty Duke.

"She and I spent a moment in time that can never be re-created," a tearful Duke said yesterday from her home in California. "By her example, she was a teacher to me. What she gave me in those times has taken me through my whole life."

Ms. Bancroft lamented that "The Miracle Worker" had become overshadowed in recent years by her role as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate." Ms. Bancroft's stocking-clad leg arched across the movie poster, its signature song by Simon and Garfunkel ("Mrs. Robinson") was a huge hit, and the movie's themes of rebellion and alienation made it a cultural touchstone of its generation. With her low, smoky voice and her matter-of-fact seduction of the young college graduate played by Hoffman, Ms. Bancroft could almost be said to have seduced an entire nation.

In a statement, Mike Nichols, who directed "The Graduate," praised Ms. Bancroft for her "combination of brains, humor, frankness and sense. . . . Her beauty was constantly shifting with her roles, and because she was a consummate actress, she changed radically for every part."

In later years, Ms. Bancroft received praise for "Golda," her one-woman portrayal on Broadway of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in 1977 and 1978; as a mother superior in "Agnes of God"; as the sympathetic wife of the unemployed Jack Lemmon in "Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1974); as a letter-writing bookworm in the charming "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986); as a centenarian widow of a Civil War veteran in "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" (1994). For her role as the mother of a mixed-race child in the TV film "Deep in My Heart" (1999), Ms. Bancroft won an Emmy Award.

Explaining her ability to play such diverse roles, she told the Virginian-Pilot in 2001, "To be an actress, you have to be a liar."

She was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano on Sept. 17, 1931, into a family of Italian immigrants in the Bronx, N.Y. By age 4, she was taking dance and acting lessons. At 9, she wrote on the fence behind her family's house, "I want to be an actress."

She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York before going to Hollywood in 1950. It was Darryl F. Zanuck, head of Twentieth Century Fox, who gave her the name Bancroft.

Academy Award
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Academy Award

Awarded for Excellence in cinematic achievements
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Country United States
First awarded May 16, 1929, to honor achievements of 1927/1928
Official website
The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)[1] to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers. The formal ceremony at which the awards are presented is among the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremonies in the world.

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to honor outstanding film achievements of 1927 and 1928. It was hosted by actor Douglas Fairbanks and director William C. DeMille. Most recently, the 79th Academy Awards ceremony was held on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to honor outstanding film achievements of 2006. It was hosted by day-time television talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

The 80th Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, February 24, 2008, and will be hosted by Comedy Central's The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart. AMPAS, a professional honorary organization, maintains a voting membership of 5,830 as of 2007. Actors constitute the largest voting bloc, numbering 1,311 members (22 percent) of the Academy's composition. Votes for Oscars have been tabulated and certified by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (and its predecessor Price Waterhouse) for the past 72 annual awards ceremonies.[2]

1 The Oscar
2 Ownership of Oscar statuettes
3 Academy membership
4 Nominations
5 Awards night
6 Venues
7 Criticism
8 Awards
8.1 Academy Awards of Merit
8.1.1 Current Awards
8.1.2 Retired Awards
8.1.3 Newest Awards
8.1.4 Proposed Awards
8.2 Special Awards
8.2.1 Current Special Awards
8.2.2 Retired Special Award
9 Academy Award records
9.1 Film records
9.2 Acting records
9.3 Miscellaneous records
10 See also
11 References
12 References
13 External links

[edit] The Oscar
The official name of the Oscar statuette is the Academy Award of Merit. Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, it is 13.5 in (34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5 lb (3.85 kg) and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes each represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Technicians.[3] MGM's art director Cedric Gibbons, one of the original Academy members, supervised the design of the award trophy by printing the design on scroll.[4] In need of a model for his statue Gibbons was introduced by his then wife Dolores del Río to Emilio "El Indio" Fernández. Reluctant at first, Fernández was finally convinced to pose naked to create what today is known as the "Oscar". Then sculptor George Stanley sculpted Gibbons' design in clay, and Alex Smith cast the statue in tin and copper and then gold-plated it over a composition of 92.5 percent tin and 7.5 percent copper. The only addition to the Oscar since it was created is a minor streamlining of the base. Approximately 40 Oscars are made each year in Chicago, Illinois by the manufacturer, R.S. Owens. If they fail to meet strict quality control standards, the statuettes are cut in half and melted down.[5]

The root of the name "Oscar" is contested. One biography of Bette Davis claims that she named the Oscar after her first husband, bandleader Harmon Oscar Nelson.[6] Another claimed origin is that of the Academy's Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, who first saw the award in 1931 and made reference of the statuette reminding her of her Uncle Oscar. Columnist Sidney Skolsky was present during Herrick's naming and seized the name in his byline, "Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette 'Oscar'" (Levy 2003). Both Oscar and Academy Award are registered trademarks of the Academy, fiercely protected through litigation and threats thereof.

As of the most recent ceremony held in 2007, a total of 2,622 Oscars have been awarded.[7] 290 different actors have won an acting Oscar (including Honorary awards and Juvenile awards). Of these, 144 are still alive today.

[edit] Ownership of Oscar statuettes
Since 1950, the statuettes have been legally encumbered by the requirement that neither winners nor their heirs may sell the statuettes without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for $1. If a winner refuses to agree to this stipulation, then the Academy keeps the statuette. Academy Awards not protected by this agreement have been sold in public auctions and private deals for six-figure sums (Levy 2003).

This rule is highly controversial, since it implies that the winner does not own the award.[8] The case of Michael Todd's grandson trying to sell Todd's Oscar statuette illustrates that there are many who do not agree with this idea. When Todd's grandson attempted to sell Todd's Oscar statuette to a movie prop collector, the Academy won the legal battle by getting a permanent injunction. Although some Oscar sales transactions have been successful, the buyers have subsequently returned the statuettes to the Academy, which keeps them in its treasury.

[edit] Academy membership
All members must be invited to join. Invitation comes from the Board of Governors, on behalf of Academy Branch Executive Committees. Membership eligibility may be achieved by a competitive nomination or a member may submit a name based on other significant contribution to the field of motion pictures. Though winning an Academy Award usually results in an invitation to join, membership is not automatic.

New membership proposals are considered annually. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership, although as recently as 2007 press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join. The 2007 release also stated that it has "just under" 6,000 voting members; though the membership had been growing until 2003, stricter policies have kept its size steady since then.[9]

Academy membership is divided into 15 Branches, representing different disciplines in motion pictures. Members whose work does not fall within one of the Branches may belong to a group known as "Members At Large."

[edit] Nominations
Today, according to Rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules, a film must open in the previous calendar year, from midnight at the start of January 1 to midnight at the end of December 31, in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify.[10] Rule 2 states that a film must be "feature-length", defined as a minimum of 40 minutes, except for short subject awards and it must exist either on a 35 mm or 70 mm film print or on 24 fps or 48 fps progressive scan digital film print with native resolution not less than 1280x720.

The members of the various branches nominate those in their respective fields while all members may submit nominees for Best Picture. The winners are then determined by a second round of voting in which all members are then allowed to vote in most categories, including Best Picture.[11]

As of the 79th Academy Awards, 847 members (past and present) of the Screen Actors Guild have been nominated for an Oscar (in all categories).

[edit] Awards night
The major awards are given out at a live televised ceremony, most commonly in February or March following the relevant calendar year, and six weeks after the announcement of the nominees. This is an elaborate extravaganza, with the invited guests walking up the red carpet in the creations of the most prominent fashion designers of the day. Black tie dress is the most common outfit for men, although fashion may dictate not wearing a bowtie, and musical performers typically do not adhere to this (the artists who recorded the nominees for Best Original Song quite often perform those songs live at the awards ceremony, and the fact that they are performing is often used to promote the television broadcast). The Academy has for several years claimed that the award show has a billion viewers internationally, but this has so far not been confirmed by any independent sources. Neither has the Academy explained how it has reached this figure.

The Academy Awards is the only awards ceremony televised live across the United States excluding Alaska and Hawaii; the Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys are broadcast live in the East Coast, but they are on tape delay in the West Coast.

The Awards show was first televised on NBC in 1953. NBC continued to broadcast the event until 1960 when the ABC Network took over, televising the festivities through 1970, after which NBC reassumed the broadcasts. ABC once again took over broadcast duties in 1976; it has contracted to do so through the year 2014.[12]

After more than sixty years of being held in late March or early April, the ceremonies were moved up to late February or early March starting in 2004 to help disrupt and shorten the intense lobbying and ad campaigns associated with Oscar season in the film industry. The earlier date is also to advantage of ABC, as it currently usually occurs during the highly profitable and important February sweeps period. The Awards show holds the distinction of having won the most Emmys in history, with 38 wins and 167 nominations.[13]

On March 30, 1981, the awards ceremony was postponed for one day after the shooting of President Ronald Reagan and others in Washington, D.C. In 2007, the awards event itself was designated a National Special Security Event by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Movie studios are strictly prohibited from advertising movies during the broadcast.

Since 2002 movie stars have been seen arriving at the Academy Awards in hybrid vehicles;[14] during the telecast of the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio and former vice president Al Gore announced that ecologically intelligent practices had been integrated into the planning and execution of the Oscar presentation and several related events.[15]

[edit] Venues
The 1st Academy Awards were presented at a banquet dinner at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood. Subsequent banquet ceremonies in the 1930s and early 40s were held in Los Angeles at either The Ambassador Hotel or the Biltmore Hotel.

Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood then hosted the awards from 1944 to 1946, followed by the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1948. The 21st Academy Awards in 1949 were held at the "Academy Award Theater" at the Academy's then-headquarters on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.[16]

From 1950 to 1960, the awards were presented at Hollywood's Pantages Theater. The Oscars then moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California in 1961. By 1968, the Academy decided to move the ceremonies back to Los Angeles, this time at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Los Angeles Music Center. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion hosted 20 consecutive Oscar ceremonies until 1988, when the Academy started to alternate between the Music Center and the Shrine Auditorium.

In 2002, Hollywood's Kodak Theater became the first permanent home of the awards. It is connected to the Hollywood & Highland Center, which contains 640,000 square feet (59,000 m²) of space including retail, restaurants, nightclubs, other establishments and a six-screen cinema. In fact, the Grand Staircase columns at the Kodak Theater showcase every movie that has won the Best Picture title since the first Academy Awards in 1928.

[edit] Criticism
Critics have noted that many Best Picture Academy Award winners in the past have not stood the test of time. Several of these films, such as Around the World in 80 Days, Grand Hotel and Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth are often considered to have aged poorly and to have little of the impact they had on their initial release.[17][18][19] Several films that currently have wide critical approval were not named Best Picture.[20]

It has been suggested that actors are at a disadvantage in comedic roles, as few acting awards have been given for performances in films that could be considered primarily comedic. Notable examples of actors who have received Oscars for comedic roles are James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday, Josephine Hull in Harvey, Jack Lemmon in Mister Roberts, Peter Ustinov in Topkapi, Walter Matthau in The Fortune Cookie, Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower, George Burns in The Sunshine Boys, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, Jack Palance in City Slickers, Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets, Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda and Jessica Lange in Tootsie. This was joked about at the 2007 awards by Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and Will Ferrell.[21][22]

Studios also lobby heavily for their films to be considered, leading to the complaint that nominations and awards may be largely a result of this lobbying rather than the quality of the material.[23]


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