Friday, February 29, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!: Final Answers

Here's the answers to last weeks trivia quiz.

Thus another Awards season comes to a close for One Line Review.









1. Match the Oscar apparel with the celebrity:

Bjork __H__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Cher __D__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Audrey Hepburn __A__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Katharine Hepburn __C__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Trey Parker __F__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Julia Roberts __G__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Sharon Stone __E__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Barbra Streisand __B__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

(A.) de Givenchy floral dress (1954)

(B.) See-through black sequined pajamas (1969)

(C.) Pantsuit and clogs (1974)

(D.) Black rooster-feathered headdress (1986)

(E.) Gap Turtleneck (1996)

(F.) Knock-off Versace green dress (2000)

(G.) Black Valentino dress with white stripe (2001)

(H.) “Swan” Dress (2001)

2. What did Honorary Oscar winner Stanley Donen do during his acceptance speech in 1998?

√ (A.) He tap danced to Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek.”

(B.) He did several one-arm push ups. [That was Jack Palance accepting Best Supporting actor for CITY SLICKERS.]

(C.) He pretended to have a broken leg, and coming out in an electric wheelchair-gone-wild, crashed through a breakaway wall. [That was Blake Edwards.]

(D.) He asked that the Academy to keep the Oscar as he felt he was “still in the game” and could win a competitive one at a future date. [That was Peter O'Toole.]

3. Who is the only person to receive two posthumous acting nominations (in 1956 and 1957)?

(A.) Humphrey Bogart

(B.) Montgomery Clift

√ (C.) James Dean

(D.) Marilyn Monroe

4. Name any two actors or actresses nominated for the first time this year.

There were nine actors up for their first Oscars: Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, Ruby Dee, Hal Holbrook, Viggo Mortensen, Ellen Page, Saoirse Ronan, Amy Ryan, and Tilda Swinton.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Best Picture 25 Years Ago: Gandhi (1982)— A Review

Ambitious filmization of the life of Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi begins with a disclaimer: “No man’s life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record and try to find one’s way to the heart of the man….” This (unnecessary) opener is at odds with both the films’ over-three-hour length and its historical achievement-by-achievement approach to Gandhi’s work: covering his adult life (and his major accomplishment of securing India’s independence from Britain) through to his assassination at the age of 78. The film does offer a singular performance by Ben Kingsley as Gandhi and a cast-of-thousands epic scale.

The narrative gets under way quickly, without (thankfully) any clunky backstory, beginning with Gandhi’s first nonviolent stand against injustice prompted by the young lawyer’s being thrown off a South African train for being “colored” and sitting in first class. This section unfolds swiftly, and, as an introduction to Gandhi’s motivations, serves the film well. Things slow down when Gandhi returns to India, however. The scenes in which Gandhi explores India do not fulfill their intended purpose. The opening of Gandhi’s eyes to the vast country and peoples of India is told to the audience but not effectively shown (we see Gandhi’s travels, but at a distance), and this is a significant misstep of the film as a whole. The film gets back on track when lead actor Kingsley, now in Indian garb and spinning cotton, convinces the viewer of Gandhi’s connection to the land and conviction to its people.

Kingsley’s Oscar-winning performance is legendary in its replacement of any image one may have had of the actual subject: Kingsley is everyone’s vision of the real Gandhi. Of course, what exists of the real Gandhi is little-seen, verité newsreel footage (in long-shot) and Kingsley’s Gandhi exists in widescreen color close-ups (in a film that swept the Academy Awards). But Kingsley became Gandhi not only because his “look” was right, but so were Gandhi’s words as he spoke them. Yes, one feels, this is Gandhi: how he would have spoken and the way he would have reacted to people around him. An officer threatens to arrest Gandhi and Gandhi merely says “on what charge?” and the man withers. Kingsley offers other credible moments. As Gandhi is beaten, burning the British-issued Indian passes, his shaking hand reaches for a last one to throw in the fire before he passes out. When Gandhi lives like a commoner, and is visited by Nehru (Roshan Seth) and his entourage, he takes them through his chores, feeding his goats. Kingsley, with a distinct duck footed walk, gives the impression of a Gandhi both acclimated to his new surroundings and immersed in his own beliefs.

Ironically, the most memorable parts of GANDHI are the violent ones. The massacre at Amritsar is possibly the film’s most memorable sequence, particularly the image of the piled-up bullet shells. Again this serves an irony and must be chalked up to a certain amount of failure upon the filmmakers. The depiction of “justice” should have been more memorable than that of “injustice” in a film about Gandhi.

A flaw of the film is that it doesn’t flesh out other figures around the central one. Biographical narratives are no different than fictional ones: we see more of the central character through three-dimensional supporting characters. Obviously, the expectation of real-life-based films is that nothing is left out and we get the full “story,” but particularly in light of GANDHI’s opening title card, the film should have bucked the system, shown less history and more characterization. The narrative has a reporter’s eye— there’s an outweighing of what Gandhi did over why he did it.

An illustration of the strength of the supporting characters that does exist appears in the handful of moments with Gandhi’s wife Kasturba (“Ba”), played by Rohini Hattangadi. In an early, very short scene we see her brought into Gandhi’s cause (she is at first shocked that he wishes her to perform the work of “untouchables,” but then sees his reasoning); in a later scene she speaks of her husband to Margaret Bourke-White (Candice Bergen) about his thoughts on the injustices to women in society. In between, we see little of her and thereby Gandhi’s sadness at her death offers not much more beyond surface emotions.

Eventually the storyline follows a back-and-forth between Gandhi’s actions and the reaction of an alternating roomful of British officials pondering his latest move. An exemplary cast of Britishers have all-but cameos: including John Mills, Trevor Howard, and John Gielgud (the weight of John Gielgud’s performance does help to illustrate the odds by which Gandhi fought, however). The movie does guide the viewer easily through complex legal, political, and religious issues without appearing to oversimplify history.

GANDHI will probably inspire its viewer to seek to know more about its subject. The film serves as a springboard for further study, if it doesn’t particularly warrant repeat viewings in itself. Gandhi’s words are enough to inspire the viewer into examining injustices in their own life. When minister Charlie Andrews (Ian Charleson) joins Gandhi he asks if Gandhi is surprised by his action, to which Gandhi states: “When you’re fighting in a just cause people seem to pop up, like you, right out of the pavement.”

Perhaps its approach as an epic is the film’s partial undoing: it has an austere quality for such humanistic subject matter. Although, again, Kingsley brings the film back down to earth throughout. It might have benefited by a more intimate approach nonetheless. But as it stands, at the very least, it shines a light on a figure that has seen little treatment on film and deserves much more.

Gandhi (1982): Ambitious film covers several key events in the life of Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi, and if a full-bodied Gandhi does not entirely emerge, a faithful overview of his life is presented with a singular performance by lead Ben Kingsley.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards: The Final Tally

Fourteen feature-length films join the list of Oscar-winners this year, as follows:

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
— 4 Oscars

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
— 3 Oscars

LA VIE EN ROSE
— 2 Oscars
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
— 2 Oscars


ATONEMENT— 1 Oscar
THE COUNTERFEITERS— 1 Oscar
ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE— 1 Oscar
THE GOLDEN COMPASS— 1 Oscar
JUNO— 1 Oscar
MICHAEL CLAYTON— 1 Oscar
ONCE— 1 Oscar
RATATOUILLE— 1 Oscar
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET— 1 Oscar
TAXI TO THE DARKSIDE— 1 Oscar

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards: Interesting Facts

With the Awards over, here are some statistics about the winners:

• For only the second year in Oscar history have all four acting winners been of foreign descent. The only other time was for films 1964: Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Peter Ustinov, Lila Kedrova.

• Marion Cotillard is the first winner ever for a French-speaking performance.

• Marion Cotillard is the second Best Actress winner ever for a foreign-language performance; the first was Sophia Loren for TWO WOMEN (1961).

• Of the 11 times an actor has been nominated in both lead and supporting categories in the same year, Cate Blanchett joins the losers of both, making it 7 to 4 in favor of the winners.

• The Coen Brothers are only the second "duo" to win Best Director (following Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for WEST SIDE STORY [1961]).

• Austria won its first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with THE COUNTERFEITERS.

• ENCHANTED joins last year's DREAMGIRLS as the two films that received three Best Song nominations but failed to take the category (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and THE LION KING are the only other films to get three nonminations— both won the award).

• Kevin O'Connell, Oscar's "biggest loser" after twenty nominations and no wins, retains his unfortunate title having lost for Best Sound for TRANSFORMERS.

Monday, February 25, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards: A Review

Jon Stewart has become the Johnny Carson of Oscar hosts with this year’s awards. He brought a low-key classiness to the show, which was mared only by less-than-memorable speeches and few genuine “moments.” In fact, it was Stewart himself who engineered the best speech of the night by bringing out slighted ONCE singer-songwriter Markéta Irglová to speak after she’d been cut off unjustly.

Both “parts” of the ONCE Best Song acceptances were the highlight of the show. “Make art” said Glen Hansard; “no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible,” said Markéta Irglová. And the performing of “Falling Slowly” was so charming: love that Glen Hansard used the damaged guitar from the film.

Stewart was not the right choice I thought a couple years ago, but this year following the WGA strike and it being an election year, he was perfect. I can easily see him becoming an Oscar-show-host fixture: the heir to Billy Crystal following the reigns of Bob Hope (40s, 50s, 60s), Carson (70s, 80s), and Crystal (80s, 90s).

The evening was off brilliantly with Stewart zeroing in on the VANITY FAIR party as the target for humor (rather than going for the studios or producers). His political jokes fared well too (AWAY FROM HER is about a woman who forgets her husband— Hilary Clinton thought it was the “feel good” movie of the year; Oscar is 80 which makes him the front-runner for the Republican nomination.)

The use of old Oscar footage (which dated back to the 1939/40 ceremony and Hattie McDaniel) was well played and gave the show the sense of history it always seems to be missing. The only famous clip I missed was Art Carney kicking his foot up in the air when he won in the 70s: they hit ALL the biggies though. Oddly the reel that DIDN’T work for me was the Best Picture rundown, and I think I know why. Because there have been so many oddball winners over the years, the reel should have included sound-ups on the BIG winners: the CASABLANCAs and the LAWRENCE OF ARABIAs to cover the CIMARRONs and the BEAUTIFUL MINDs. The way they did it gave every film equal weight: but time has exposed the duds. The “interview” bites with Barbra Streisand and Michael Douglas/Catherine Zeta-Jones actually worked, but they were dropped halfway through the show: it would have been better not introducing these at all, if they would just be in the first half (you know others were done but cut for time).

What we could have done without is the Jerry Seinfeld “Bee” from BEE MOVIE! Can we be finally be freed from this movie? It wasn’t even nominated for Best Animated Film: doesn’t this tell the Oscar producers something?

Jennifer Hudson’s appearance was a little startling in a way we all could have predicted last year: it was like oh yeah Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar, weird. Liked John Travolta’s entrance even if his hair is totally bizarre. Nominee Viggo Mortensen resembled Michael Douglas in KING OF CALIFORNIA. Katherine Heigl was a bundle of nerves. Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen’s Halle Berry/Judi Dench thing went on far too long and was barely amusing. BIZZAREST cutaway of the night: Cameron Diaz (for several seconds) during the Robert Boyle tribute.

Robert Boyle: nice speech and actually his extreme age didn’t really come off that badly, which I had feared. It was nice that he rattled off directors that he was honored to work with. This is EASILY the last hurrah for Mr. Hitchcock at the Oscars.

Winner Tilda Swinton’s paleness, particularly in a black dress, was disconcerting. Note to nominess: try to look AT LEAST as good as you did in the movie you’re up for. I will say this for Swinton though, when she was harassed on the red carpet about who she’d thank if she won (TRANSLATION: you have no chance), she declined to answer. And then Richard Roeper had the nerve to say that SHE didn’t think she’d win: no bonehead, she didn’t want to answer a question that ASSUMED she wouldn’t.

And now, the Coens. Yes, their speech(es) were cocky and mostly pointless. But, then again, it would have been worse if they suddenly weren’t themselves, just to please “Oscar.” So, I’ll just say I’m mixed on their acceptances.

Marion Cotillard is as cute as a button. I think she expected to be clapped off sooner, which is why the end of her speech got a little rambly and overdone. Still, she was genuinely overwhelmed and she was sweet. And her win was groundbreaking, since it was a foreign-language performance. The Oscars have slighted foreign-language performances more than any other “minority” through the years— they’re only just getting around to honoring them. I also liked Javier Bardem’s speech when he talked about (and to) his mother, and included a little Spanish.

Diablo Cody wisely stepped away from the mike when she began to cry at the end of her speech: it made for a heartfelt moment rather than a potentially awkward one.

Other funny Stewart bits: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA on the iphone, the Angelina Jolie “and the baby goes to” award, playing Wii tennis with young actress Jamia Simone Nash.

This was the best Oscars in recent history. Not very many AMAZING moments, but quietly classy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards


What film title will be placed on the Hollywood/Highland Oscar Best Picture placard for 2007? Following the awards, see below for the full list of winners. Click here for the official Oscar ballot.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN WINS BEST PICTURE, 4 OSCARS TOTAL

Complete List of Nominees and Winners:

BEST PICTURE
"Atonement"
"Juno"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men" (Winner)
"There Will Be Blood"

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie, "Away From Her"
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"(Winner)
Laura Linney, "The Savages"
Ellen Page, "Juno"

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"(Winner)
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Valley of Elah"
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster"
Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton" (Winner)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"(Winner)
Hal Holbrook, "Into The Wild"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton"

BEST DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men" (Winner)
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Jason Reitman, "Juno"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Diablo Cody, "Juno" (Winner)
Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Brad Bird, Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird, "Ratatouille"
Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages"

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"
Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"(Winner)
Sarah Polley, "Away From Her"

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"Beaufort" (Israel)
"The Counterfeiters" (Austria) (Winner)
"Katyn" (Poland)
"Mongol" (Kazakhstan)
"12" (Russia)

BEST ANIMATED FILM
"Persepolis"
"Ratatouille" (Winner)
"Surf's Up"

BEST ART DIRECTION
"American Gangster"
"Atonement"
"The Golden Compass"
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (Winner)
"There Will Be Blood"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" Roger Deakins
"Atonement," Seamus Mcgarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," Janusz Kaminski
"No Country For Old Men," Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood," Robert Elswit (Winner)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
"Across the Universe," Albert Wolsky
"Atonement," Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age," Alexandra Byrne (Winner)
"La Vie En Rose," Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street," Colleen Atwood

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
"No End in Sight"
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"
"Sicko"
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (Winner)
"War/ Dance"

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
"Freeheld" (Winner)
"La Corona" ("The Crown")
"Salim Baba"
"Sari's Mother"

BEST FILM EDITING
"The Bourne Ultimatum," Christopher Rouse (Winner)
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild," Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men," Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood," Dylan Tichenor

BEST MAKEUP
"La Vie en Rose" (Winner)
"Norbit"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
"Atonement", Dario Marianelli (Winner)
"The Kite Runner", Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton", James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille", Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma", Marco Beltrami

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Winner)
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted"
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush"
"So Close" from "Enchanted"
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted"

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
"I Met the Walrus"
"Madame Tutli-Putli"
"Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)"
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)"
"Peter & the Wolf" (Winner)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
"At Night"
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)"
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Winner)
"Tanghi Argentini"
"The Tonto Woman"

BEST SOUND EDITING
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Winner)
"No Country For Old Men"
"Ratatouille"
"There Will Be Blood"
"Transformers"

BEST SOUND MIXING
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Winner)
"No Country For Old Men"
"Ratatouille"
"3:10 to Yuma"
"Transformers"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
"The Golden Compass" (Winner)
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
"Transformers"

Official winners list.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One Line Review Ranks...

79 Years of Oscar's Best Picture Winners (1927-2006):














1. Casablanca— 1943
2. Annie Hall— 1977
3. The Godfather— 1972
4. Lawrence of Arabia— 1962
5. All About Eve— 1950
6. The Godfather, Part II— 1974
7. The Best Years of Our Lives— 1946
8. The Bridge on the River Kwai— 1957
9. West Side Story— 1961
10. Schindler’s List— 1993


The Apartment— 1960 (****)
Unforgiven— 1992 (****)
On the Waterfront— 1954 (****)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest— 1975 (****)
Amadeus— 1984 (****)
Dances With Wolves— 1990 (****)
It Happened One Night— 1934 (****)
Kramer vs. Kramer— 1979 (****)
All Quiet on the Western Front— 1930 (****)
Hamlet— 1948 (****)
American Beauty— 1999 (*** 1/2)
Gone With the Wind— 1939 (*** 1/2)
Midnight Cowboy— 1969 (*** 1/2)
The Sound of Music— 1965 (*** 1/2)
The Departed— 2006 (*** 1/2)
Platoon— 1986 (*** 1/2)
Chicago— 2002 (*** 1/2)
You Can’t Take It With You— 1938 (*** 1/2)
Patton— 1970 (*** 1/2)
The Last Emperor— 1987 (*** 1/2)
Mutiny on the Bounty— 1935 (*** 1/2)
Terms of Endearment— 1983 (*** 1/2)
The French Connection— 1971 (*** 1/2)
Driving Miss Daisy— 1989 (*** 1/2)
Titanic— 1997 (***)
Rocky— 1976 (***)
In the Heat of the Night— 1967 (***)
A Man for All Seasons— 1966 (***)
The Life of Emile Zola— 1937 (***)
Gladiator— 2000 (***)
My Fair Lady— 1964 (***)
From Here To Eternity— 1953 (***)
The Deer Hunter— 1978 (***)
Rebecca— 1940 (***)
Out of Africa— 1985 (***)
Marty— 1955 (***)
Going My Way— 1944 (***)
Shakespeare in Love— 1998 (***)
Rain Man— 1988 (***)
The Silence of the Lambs— 1991 (***)
The English Patient— 1996 (***)
All the King’s Men— 1949 (***)
Oliver!— 1968 (***)
Gandhi— 1982 (***)
How Green Was My Valley— 1941 (***)
Forrest Gump— 1994 (** 1/2)
The Lord of the Rings: The ROTK— 2003 (** 1/2)
Grand Hotel— 1932 (** 1/2)
Wings— 1927 (** 1/2)
Gentlemen’s Agreement— 1947 (** 1/2)
Million Dollar Baby— 2004 (** 1/2)
The Lost Weekend— 1945 (** 1/2)
Mrs. Miniver— 1942 (** 1/2)
Ordinary People— 1980 (** 1/2)
The Sting— 1973 (** 1/2)
Braveheart— 1995 (** 1/2)
Crash— 2005 (** 1/2)
Ben-Hur— 1959 (** 1/2)
The Greatest Show on Earth— 1952 (** 1/2)
Cavalcade— 1933 (** 1/2)
Tom Jones— 1963 (** 1/2)
An American in Paris— 1951 (** 1/2)
Chariots of Fire— 1981 (** 1/2)
The Broadway Melody— 1929 (**)
The Great Ziegfeld— 1936 (**)
Around the World in 80 Days— 1956 (**)
Gigi— 1958 (**)
A Beautiful Mind— 2001 (**)
Cimarron— 1931 (**)

Last Year's Oscar-winning Best Picture: "The Departed" Plus One Line Review's Best Picture Ranking

The set-up of THE DEPARTED is that a bright but troubled rookie cop (Leonardo DiCaprio as William Costigan, Jr.) is recruited to infiltrate Boston crime kingpin Frank Costello’s (Jack Nicholson) organization, and finds that Costello’s own informant within the department (Matt Damon as “Colin Sullivan”) is looking to root him out— now each is trying to unmask the other first. The movie is another venture into the crime drama by Martin Scorsese, who delivers a movie in this genre every five years: GOODFELLAS, CASINO, GANGS OF NEW YORK.

THE DEPARTED is based on the Hong Kong film INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002), a pulpy little thriller that was a great success in its home country (even prompting sequels). THE DEPARTED has taken this pedigree and expanded on it with a complete Hollywood-style overhaul: and it benefits well from the A-list treatment. Screenwriter William Monahan and editor Thelma Schoonmaker structure the film with overlapping scenes that keep the pace up and emphasize the parallels between the characters (as Frank says early on regarding those who become cops or criminals: “When you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”).

The ensemble excels, led by pros DiCaprio and Damon, with only, strangely, Jack Nicholson slightly off the mark. Nicholson is never entirely believable in the role of Frank Costello, especially in scenes that include bits where he was obviously “ad-libbing”— when these moments are not invisible, you find yourself seeing just a well-known actor showing off. However, these few moments in the movie don’t do any real “damage” to the piece as a whole.

Mark Wahlberg as no-B.S. special unit Detective Sergeant Dignam is a standout among the supporting players. His portrayal is one of someone who is completely sure of himself: actor and character, alike. He has one of the best lines in the film to illustrate just that: “I’m the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy.”

Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Ray Winstone play variations on characters they’ve played in the past yet each fits seamlessly into the framework. The casting (and performance) of Vera Farmiga as psychiatrist Dr. Madolyn Madden solidifies the film. Farmiga is sexy but not overly showy for her character’s profession and her performance avoids cliché: she exudes an intelligence that is both book smart and relationship savvy, yet she errs in her own relationship choices with both men. This reflects her human fallibility and shows a different side to both male lead characters— one that they share — a hope at normalcy.

The plot is labyrinthine and part of the fun is seeing various different principals mixing on-screen. The film is a solid entertainment, even old-fashioned in a way (especially with Scorsese at the helm, he who bills his films as “pictures” and uses such camera devices as an iris shot— a standard of silent movies). The film fits in with Scorsese’s oeuvre, although the camerawork is much more subdued. There are echoes of GOODFELLAS in the very first minutes (Sullivan’s character goes through an initiation not unlike the “You look like a gangster” scenes with Henry Hill.). And there are autobiographical ties (Sullivan was an alter boy, Costello has a penchant for drawing, all the principals grow up in an immigrant culture), a signature song selection, and the defined Scorsese protagonist of a man-in-crisis: but herein its threefold (Costigan, Sullivan, and Costello: each handling the pressure in different ways and gradations).

THE DEPARTED won the Oscar for Best Picture and it was, indeed, the best movie available for the award in a weak year. Scorsese won his Oscar for both career achievement and for turning in a solid moneymaker in his now signature genre.

The Departed (2006): A solid, even somewhat old-fashioned, Hollywood-done-well film with an ensemble of established pros and a labyrinthine plot that never lags.









*****

One Line Review Ranks...
79 Years of Oscar's Best Picture Winners (1927-2006):

















1. Casablanca— 1943
2. Annie Hall— 1977
3. The Godfather— 1972
4. Lawrence of Arabia— 1962
5. All About Eve— 1950
6. The Godfather, Part II— 1974
7. The Best Years of Our Lives— 1946
8. The Bridge on the River Kwai— 1957
9. West Side Story— 1961
10. Schindler’s List— 1993


The Apartment— 1960 (****)
Unforgiven— 1992 (****)
On the Waterfront— 1954 (****)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest— 1975 (****)
Amadeus— 1984 (****)
Dances With Wolves— 1990 (****)
It Happened One Night— 1934 (****)
Kramer vs. Kramer— 1979 (****)
All Quiet on the Western Front— 1930 (****)
Hamlet— 1948 (****)
American Beauty— 1999 (*** 1/2)
Gone With the Wind— 1939 (*** 1/2)
Midnight Cowboy— 1969 (*** 1/2)
The Sound of Music— 1965 (*** 1/2)
The Departed— 2006 (*** 1/2)
Platoon— 1986 (*** 1/2)
Chicago— 2002 (*** 1/2)
You Can’t Take It With You— 1938 (*** 1/2)
Patton— 1970 (*** 1/2)
The Last Emperor— 1987 (*** 1/2)
Mutiny on the Bounty— 1935 (*** 1/2)
Terms of Endearment— 1983 (*** 1/2)
The French Connection— 1971 (*** 1/2)
Driving Miss Daisy— 1989 (*** 1/2)
Titanic— 1997 (***)
Rocky— 1976 (***)
In the Heat of the Night— 1967 (***)
A Man for All Seasons— 1966 (***)
The Life of Emile Zola— 1937 (***)
Gladiator— 2000 (***)
My Fair Lady— 1964 (***)
From Here To Eternity— 1953 (***)
The Deer Hunter— 1978 (***)
Rebecca— 1940 (***)
Out of Africa— 1985 (***)
Marty— 1955 (***)
Going My Way— 1944 (***)
Shakespeare in Love— 1998 (***)
Rain Man— 1988 (***)
The Silence of the Lambs— 1991 (***)
The English Patient— 1996 (***)
All the King’s Men— 1949 (***)
Oliver!— 1968 (***)
Gandhi— 1982 (***)
How Green Was My Valley— 1941 (***)
Forrest Gump— 1994 (** 1/2)
The Lord of the Rings: The ROTK— 2003 (** 1/2)
Grand Hotel— 1932 (** 1/2)
Wings— 1927 (** 1/2)
Gentlemen’s Agreement— 1947 (** 1/2)
Million Dollar Baby— 2004 (** 1/2)
The Lost Weekend— 1945 (** 1/2)
Mrs. Miniver— 1942 (** 1/2)
Ordinary People— 1980 (** 1/2)
The Sting— 1973 (** 1/2)
Braveheart— 1995 (** 1/2)
Crash— 2005 (** 1/2)
Ben-Hur— 1959 (** 1/2)
The Greatest Show on Earth— 1952 (** 1/2)
Cavalcade— 1933 (** 1/2)
Tom Jones— 1963 (** 1/2)
An American in Paris— 1951 (** 1/2)
Chariots of Fire— 1981 (** 1/2)
The Broadway Melody— 1929 (**)
The Great Ziegfeld— 1936 (**)
Around the World in 80 Days— 1956 (**)
Gigi— 1958 (**)
A Beautiful Mind— 2001 (**)
Cimarron— 1931 (**)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!

Here's the final dose of Oscar Trivia for this year, leading up to the 80th Annual Oscars on Sunday. Next Friday I'll post the answers.










1. Match the Oscar apparel with the celebrity:

Bjork _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Cher _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Audrey Hepburn _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Katharine Hepburn _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Trey Parker _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Julia Roberts _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Sharon Stone _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Barbra Streisand _____ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

(A.) de Givenchy floral dress (1954)

(B.) See-through black sequined pajamas (1969)

(C.) Pantsuit and clogs (1974)

(D.) Black rooster-feathered headdress (1986)

(E.) Gap Turtleneck (1996)

(F.) Knock-off Versace green dress (2000)

(G.) Black Valentino dress with white stripe (2001)

(H.) “Swan” Dress (2001)

2. What did Honorary Oscar winner Stanley Donen do during his acceptance speech in 1998?

(A.) He tap danced to Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek.”

(B.) He did several one-arm push ups.

(C.) He pretended to have a broken leg, and coming out in an electric wheelchair-gone-wild, crashed through a breakaway wall.

(D.) He asked that the Academy to keep the Oscar as he felt he was “still in the game” and could win a competitive one at a future date.

3. Who is the only person to receive two posthumous acting nominations (in 1956 and 1957)?

(A.) Humphrey Bogart

(B.) Montgomery Clift

(C.) James Dean

(D.) Marilyn Monroe

4. Name any two actors or actresses nominated for the first time this year.

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S TRIVIA QUIZ:

1. Match the Oscar winner and a quote from their speech:

Sally Field for Places in the Heart (1984) __F_ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Joe Pesci for Goodfellas (1990) __A__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Tom Hanks for Philadelphia (1993) __D__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

James Cameron for Titanic (1997) __B__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful (1998) __G__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Anjelina Jolie for Girl, Interrupted (1999) __C__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004) __H__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain (2005) __E__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

(A.) “Um. It’s my privilege. Thank you.” (Entire speech.)

(B.) “I’m king of the world!”

(C.) “I am so in love with my brother right now. He just held my hand and told me that he loved me.”

(D.) “I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels.”

(E.) “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

(F.) “I can’t deny the fact you like me— right now, you like me!”

(G.) “I would like to be Jupiter and kidnap everybody and lie down in the firmament, making love to everybody!”

(H.) “My grandma used to sit down and talk to me…. and she still talks to me, only now in my dreams. And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we've got a lot to talk about."

2. Which is the only false statement about the following Oscar winners for Best Picture?

(A.) Best Picture winner Marty (1955) was adapted from a drama that originated on television.

(B.) Best Picture winner Lawrence of Arabia (1962) does not have a single female speaking part.

(C.) Best Picture winner Midnight Cowboy (1969) was rated X.

√ (D.) Best Picture winner Forrest Gump (1994) was the first film ever released on DVD. [TWISTER (1996) ws the first film released on DVD]

3. Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) are only the third and fourth Best Pictures winners respectively to win in what category, first given for films of 1934?

(A.) Make-Up

√ (B.) Song

(C.) Sound/Sound Recording

(D.) Special Effects/Visual Effects

4. During the first year of the Oscars, the sound film was in its infancy, and the first Best Picture winners were silent: Wings (1927s Best Production [which the Academy has labeled the first “Best Picture”]) and Sunrise (1927s Best Quality of Production).

Which is false about the first year of the Academy Awards?

(A.) The first year of the Oscars contained a category for silent film “title writing,” made obsolete by year two.

(B.) Despite the fact that it was one of the Oscar-nominated Best Pictures, silent film The Way of All Flesh (1927) has since been lost and no print survives today.

(C.) So that it would not have an unfair advantage over silent films, The Jazz Singer, the first “talkie,” was not allowed to compete as a Best Picture but was given a special award as a consolation prize.

√ (D.) Due to the universality of silent films, more foreign-language films were nominated for Best Picture in the first years of the Academy Awards than in any other subsequent year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Oscars that were: The 2006 Oscars, Plus a Review of Little Miss Sunshine

The 2006 Oscars honored a small independent film (dark horse Best Picture nominee LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), punished too-early Oscar buzz (DREAMGIRLS received the most nominations of any film, but was shut out of the Best Picture race), and gave Martin Scorsese his belated Oscar for Best Director (for THE DEPARTED).

The film that was getting the most attention was LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. This movie opened the door for a low budget character-driven, under-two-hours-in-length film to compete in the Best Picture derby (again). Although it didn’t take home the top prize, just the notion that it might was enough to keep Oscar-watchers excited by the final envelope. And, after all, the film did manage to win two of its other three nominations (Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor [Alan Arkin’s surprise win]). JUNO’s 2007 nomination for Best Picture is easily attributable to LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’s trailblazing.

DREAMGIRLS offered a legacy of nervous Oscar campaigners in the fall of ’07, worried about a DREAMGIRLS backfire. But if anything, the movie with early buzz was ATONEMENT, which did not suffer the same fate, reaping plenty of Oscar nominations, including a Best Picture nod. DREAMGIRLS did not seem to have any real excitement surrounding it at the 2006 Oscars, a combination of its no-Best-Picture-nomination stigma and the fact that Jennifer Hudson was such a shoo-in to win for Best Supporting Actress that it offered no suspense. Additionally, Eddie Murphy’s loss for Best Supporting Actor ratcheted-up DREAMGIRLS also-ran status.

Meryl Streep landed a record fourteenth acting nomination for THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and if not for Helen Mirren, would have easily taken home her third Academy Award. VENUS brought Peter O’Toole his eighth nomination, which only served to make him the sole all-time Best Actor loser, separating him from Richard Burton’s losing streak (with seven nominations). When Peter O’Toole initially refused his Honorary Oscar, saying he was still in the running for a competitive one, he may have had a point. Surely this honorary win hurt his chances just a little bit this year. On the other side of the age barrier, Kate Winslet became the youngest person (at age 31) to reap a fifth acting nomination.

2006’s Oscars will also be remembered for the films of the Mexican trio of directors (“the three Amigos”): Alfonso Cuaron (CHILDREN OF MEN), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (BABEL), and particularly Guillermo del Toro (whose PAN’S LABRYINTH took home three Awards [although oddly didn’t win foreign language film]). And a footnote would be Al Gore’s prominence on the show as well as AN INCONVIENT TRUTH’s win for not only Best Documentary, but for Best Song.

THE CEREMONY was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, who seemed more excited about getting the job, than really hitting it out of the ballpark (although she got in a few laughs there seemed to be too many “borrowed” bits from her previous hosting gigs). The show was entertaining on the whole, however, with a fun recurring bit in which interpretive dancers “acted out” symbols of nominated films in silhouette. Of course, there were the usual out-of-left-field clip packages to drag the show out. The best speech of the evening could have been Alan Arkin’s— but by reading it off a sheet of paper, its impact was totally lost. Best Actor Forrest Whittaker also read from a sheet of paper, however, he recited it in such a way as to pull it off the page (and since he’d been stumbling through his speeches all through awards season— it was good he wrote it down this time). Who knows what he really meant though by thanking God for giving him “this moment in this lifetime that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime into the next lifetime.” I guess Martin Scorsese’s career win and gracious speech would have to rate as the best speech and moment of the evening.

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is one of those little-films-that-could that keeps you rooting for it along the way, with a finale that doesn’t let you down.

The movie is about a dysfunctional family who tries to hold things together as they travel several hundred miles to Redondo Beach, California for seven-year-old Olive’s chance to compete in the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant. Abigail Breslin’s Olive hoping up-and-down and screaming when she hears the news that she’s in the competition is just one of those classic moments in movies— and since it starts the film rolling, a fortuitous one for the filmmakers.

The main thrust of the story and the central characterization never falters: we want Olive to compete and win-or-lose to take something away from being a part of this mixed-up family— who may be better for her than what the outside world has to offer. Screenwritery characterization (Frank is a suicidal Proust scholar/ Richard is a screwed-up motivational speaker who has an impending book deal/ Grandpa Edwin is an bigot with “Nazi bullets in him”) set up a built-in weakness to the piece as a whole. It’s made worse by having each of the subplots tidy themselves up in obvious and/or convenient ways. Only Frank’s story is left dangling, thankfully unresolved. Although I wouldn’t begrudge the film’s Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay, it does seem to have won for being brilliant in part.

The ensemble give solid individual performances, but more importantly the actors work well with each other. The conflict between Greg Kinnear’s “Richard” and Steve Carrell’s “Frank” (“Sarcasm is the refuge of losers.”) works particularly well. It’s nice that although the film is mostly a black comedy, it does have its share of laugh-out-loud moments, such as when the not-speaking Dwayne writes in his notepad that he hates everyone and Frank asks, “What about your family?” to which Dwayne underlines the “everyone.” The dialogue is very sharp throughout (Toni Collette’s Sheryl talks about Grandpa Edwin: “The intervention was a fiasco: he was like a two year-old.”).

Conceit with the VW bus’ “trouble” is smart and works very well within the plot, since because of it, like it or not, it forces the whole family to work together. Their arrival at the pageant is a great set piece with the various car troubles: very funny (although a mild repetition of it doesn’t come off as well when they depart— it’s just a expedient “out”).

Alan Arkin won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the deal may have been sealed when Grandpa Edwin tells Olive that she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Although “grumpy old man” may not have been much of a stretch for Arkin, he does offer a certain pro’s eye to the cast: an effortlessness that deserved praise.

Dwayne (Paul Dano)’s freak-out toward the end rescues the film from possible isn’t-life-quirky oblivion and leads to that oh-so-perfect final pageant sequence. When the family comes together to protect Olive and then to support her, we see a critical glimmer of hope.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006): Funny black comedy with an irresistible central character whose journey to happiness is found without any traditional success.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Academy Preps for the 80th Oscars

So I was down to see the Academy's "Meet the Oscars" exhibit at Hollywood and Highland. I snapped some shots of the outside pre-set-up for this year's awards, in addition to the exhibit. They really didn't have that many "old" Oscars on display-- below is one of the old statuettes (note the marble base). I liked that they had Robert Boyle's Honorary Oscar (with nameplate) in a nice display with his photo, etc. Mostly you got to see the myriad of not-yet-labeled Oscars for this year plus they had some touch screens for Oscar trivia-- I did pretty well on these.







Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This Month on TCM: 1952s Best Picture— The Greatest Show on Earth

On Thursday February 28th, TCM continues its 31 Days of Oscar films, among them Best Picture-winner THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.




A time capsule of ‘50s mainstream entertainment, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH features popular stars, Technicolor photography, and a plot heaping with soap suds— and it was the #1 box office attraction of its year.

There is no doubt that this movie won the Oscar for Best Picture as a reward to Cecil B. DeMille for his pioneering achievements in the medium and for a career of popular movies, many of them epic undertakings, rather than solely on this one film’s own merits. THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is one of the least impressive Oscar-winning Best Pictures, but it does entertain in that irresistible DeMille fashion— super corny but a big, splashy show.

It tells the epic tale of life behind-the-scenes of the “greatest show on earth,” when a traveling circus hopes to stay in the black by relying mainly on outsider trapeze artist (and ladies man) “The Great Sebastian” (Cornel Wilde) and their own expert female trapeze artist “Holly” (Betty Hutton) who vies for the attention of the crowds and eventually Sebastian himself. Charlton Heston is “Brad Braden,” the no-nonsense head of the company who keeps everyone in check. Heston is a pro handling DeMille’s over dramatics and stilted dialogue (“Holly, this is circus.”)— no wonder DeMille gave him Moses in the even more over-the-top TEN COMMANDMENTS. The others in the cast, particularly Betty Hutton, fare much worse in rising above such lines as Holly’s: “You haven’t got anything but sawdust in your veins!” Also among the troupe is sexy “Angel,” (played by Gloria Grahame) who knows Sebastian from the past, but her trained elephant Ruth is much more interesting and integral to the plot beats.

Framing the film is DeMille’s voice-of-god narration about this “greatest show on earth.” DeMille expertly integrates many real acts (an entertainment bonus) including: a horseback riding dog, the “world’s smallest bareback rider,” and a man who jumps rope on the trapeze; we also see such famed real-life clowns as Lou Jacobs and Emmett Kelly. During Dorothy Lamour’s “Lula Lady” number, when her fellow ladies climb ropes and swing from them, the camera pans across the audience revealing a terrific unbilled cameo, which I won’t reveal— but it adds to the fun. We are also treated to second unit work of how the big top is erected. Additionally, the Technicolor vibrancy— of the cotton candy, the floats, the colorful costumes— is among the film’s main assets. Victor Young’s jubilant score keeps the film “up” as well.

The suspense is old-school Hollywood (Sebastian and Holly are doing their acts without nets!/ Who is the mysterious clown “Buttons” [James Stewart], and why is he never seen without his make-up?…. Hmmmmmm). On top of such diversions as the “Buttons” subplot is one involving gambling cheats at the booths, which only serves to show what a tough guy Brad is and how he keeps the show in line. Then Sebastian is injured!— but is the damage permanent? The plot leads to a big finale, involving the circus train and some none-too-convincing special effects (even for 1952). Can the troupe pull together and still put on a show? Spoiler alert: You bet ya!

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952): One of the least impressive Oscar-winning Best Pictures, but entertaining in that irresistible Cecil B. DeMille fashion— super corny but a big, splashy show— with bonus entertainment value in real-life circus acts of the day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Predictions: The 80th Annual Academy Awards


We're less than a week away from the big night. Here are my predictions for the winners in the big categories:

Best Picture: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Best Actress: Since I posted this (yesterday) I've already changed my mind about Julie Christie and I'm gonna go with Ellen Page for JUNO (changed 2/19/08)!
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett for I'M NOT THERE

I also think NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN not only gets the above three awards, but that it will sweep— an early sign will be if it takes Sound Editing and Sound Mixing away from TRANSFORMERS.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ebert & Roeper: If We Picked the Winners... Online

Michael Phillips and Richard Roeper did the annual show as an online webisode. I won't reveal what they picked (especially since there are many surprises). I've seen 18/20 performances (I didn't see Tommy Lee Jones' performance in IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH or Cate Blanchett in ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE), in this record-breaking year of 18 films represented in the acting categories. I've seen all the Picture and Director nominees. And here are...

my picks:

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Best Actress: Julie Christie in AWAY FROM HER
Best Supporting Actor: Hal Holbrook in INTO THE WILD
Best Supporting Actress:Amy Ryan in GONE, BABY GONE
Best Director: Jason Reitman for JUNO
Best Picture: JUNO

Link to Ebert & Roeper webisode.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Indiana Jones: All Four Trailers

Now that Crystal Skull's trailer is up on youtube, here's all four trailers from youtube:

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)



INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984)



INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)


INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!

Here's this week's dose of Oscar Trivia, leading up to the 80th Annual Oscars on the 24th. Next Friday I'll post the answers.










1. Match the Oscar winner and a quote from their speech:

Sally Field for PLACES IN THE HEART (1984) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Joe Pesci for GOODFELLAS (1990) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Tom Hanks for PHILADELPHIA (1993) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

James Cameron for TITANIC (1997) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Roberto Benigni for LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1998) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Anjelina Jolie for GIRL, INTERRUPTED (1999) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Jamie Foxx for RAY (2004) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

Ang Lee for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) _____
(A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or H)

(A.) “Um. It’s my privilege. Thank you.” (Entire speech.)

(B.) “I’m king of the world!”

(C.) “I am so in love with my brother right now. He just held my hand and told me that he loved me.”

(D.) “I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels.”

(E.) “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

(F.) “I can’t deny the fact you like me— right now, you like me!”

(G.) “I would like to be Jupiter and kidnap everybody and lie down in the firmament, making love to everybody!”

(H.) “My grandma used to sit down and talk to me…. and she still talks to me, only now in my dreams. And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we've got a lot to talk about."

2. Which is the only FALSE statement about the following Oscar winners for Best Picture?

(A.) Best Picture winner MARTY (1955) was adapted from a drama that originated on television.

(B.) Best Picture winner LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) does not have a single female speaking part.

(C.) Best Picture winner MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) was rated X.

(D.) Best Picture winner FORREST GUMP (1994) was the first film ever released on DVD.

3. TITANIC (1997) and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) are only the third and fourth Best Pictures winners respectively to win in what category, first given for films of 1934?

(A.) Make-Up

(B.) Song

(C.) Sound/Sound Recording

(D.) Special Effects/Visual Effects

4. During the first year of the Oscars, the sound film was in its infancy, and the first Best Picture winners were silent: WINGS (1927s Best Production [which the Academy has labeled the first “Best Picture”]) and SUNRISE (1927s Best Quality of Production).

Which is FALSE about the first year of the Academy Awards?

(A.) The first year of the Oscars contained a category for silent film “title writing,” made obsolete by year two.

(B.) Despite the fact that it was one of the Oscar-nominated Best Pictures, silent film THE WAY OF ALL FLESH (1927) has since been lost and no print survives today.

(C.) So that it would not have an unfair advantage over silent films, THE JAZZ SINGER, the first “talkie,” was not allowed to compete as a Best Picture but was given a special award as a consolation prize.

(D.) Due to the universality of silent films, more foreign-language films were nominated for Best Picture in the first year of the Academy Awards than in any other subsequent year.

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S TRIVIA QUIZ:

1. Match the actor with the Oscars they’ve won:

Alec Baldwin __E__ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Michael Caine __C__ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Katharine Hepburn __B__ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Hilary Swank __D__ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Denzel Washington __A__ (A, B, C, D, or E)

(A.) One Lead Acting Oscar; one Supporting Acting Oscar

(B.) Four Lead Acting Oscars

(C.) Two Supporting Acting Oscars

(D.) Two Lead Acting Oscars

(E.) Zero Oscars

2. What unusual coincidence is true about all four Best Supporting Actress winners from 1978-81?

(A.) They were all born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

(B.) They all won the Oscar on their birthdays.

(C.) They were all pregnant when they won.

√ (D.) They all have the same initials— “M.S.” [Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, Mary Steenburgen, and Maureen Stapleton]

3. Which is the only fictional character listed below for which an actor has played and not won an Oscar?

√ (A.) Tarzan

(B.) Santa Claus [Edmund Gwenn in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET]

(C.) The Village Idiot [John Mills in RYAN'S DAUGHTER]

(D.) Mary Poppins [Julie Andrews in MARY POPPINS]

4. Of all directors, William Wyler has been responsible for directing the most actors in nominated performances. With 20 acting nominations to his credit, which director holds the record among living directors? Hint: This director has seen an Oscar winner in each of the four acting categories.

(A.) Woody Allen [ANNIE HALL (2), INTERIORS (2), MANHATTAN (1), HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (2), CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (1), HUSBANDS AND WIVES (1), BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (3), MIGHTY APHRODITE (1), SWEET AND LOWDOWN (2)]— TOTAL= 15. In terms of the hint above, there has never been a Best (Lead) Actor winner for a Woody Allen movie.

(B.) Clint Eastwood [UNFORGIVEN (2), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1), MYSTIC RIVER (3), MILLION DOLLAR BABY (3)]— TOTAL= 9. In terms of the hint above, there has never been a Best Supporting Actress winner for a Clint Eastwood movie.

√ (C.) Martin Scorsese [ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (2), TAXI DRIVER (2), RAGING BULL (3), THE COLOR OF MONEY (2), GOODFELLAS (2), CAPE FEAR (2), THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1), CASINO (1), GANGS OF NEW YORK (1), THE AVIATOR (3), THE DEPARTED (1)]— TOTAL= 20. In terms of the hint above here are the Oscar winners: Best Actor: Robert DeNiro for RAGING BULL and Paul Newman for THE COLOR OF MONEY; Best Actress: Ellen Burstyn for ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE; Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci in GOODFELLAS; Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett in THE AVIATOR.

(D.) Steven Spielberg [CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (1), THE COLOR PURPLE (3), SCHINDLER'S LIST (2), AMISTAD (1), SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1)]— TOTAL= 8. In terms of the hint above, there has never been an acting winner for a Steven Spielberg movie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Woody Allen is Back in New York City-- and With Larry David

After another flop with CASSANDRA'S DREAM (critically panned AND his worst commercial disaster since SEPTEMBER— it hasn't even grossed $1 million domestic [SHADOWS AND FOG managed $2.7 million in 1992, to give a little perspective]), Woody Allen somehow has a bright future. 72-year-old Allen has another film coming out this year, just signed a three-picture deal (financed in Spain), and, in between, he'll return to native New York City. That's what I'm most excited about, especially since his New York film will star Larry David. This is a possible match made in movie heaven. At the very least it will get some attention. And maybe Woody will ramp things up and not lazy-out with his stilted all-in-medium-shot technique of non-directing. Yes, I've been frustrated with the Allen output for some time. Just one good film in the last ten years (the terrific MATCH POINT). The Larry David-starrer shoots in the Spring and also features Evan Rachel Wood. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Writers Guild Strike 2007 is Over

FADE IN:
On Sunday, the WGA began a 48-hour vote. On Tuesday, it was announced that 92.5% of the membership voted to end the strike. Writers were back to work today. The strike lasted 14 weeks and 2 days (100 days). The Oscars dodged a bullet. All is well in Hollywood again.

THE END

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

100 Days to "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"!

We're in the home stretch. After years and years of talk, Indy is back! Set to open May 22, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL will begin it's promotional push shortly. Announced yesterday, the teaser trailer is set to air on GOOD MORNING AMERICA this Thursday, February 14th between 8 and 9 A.M.

Link to official site.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Vanity Fair" Goes Psycho... And Vertigo, And The Birds...

Hitchcock would have been amused. For Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue, they placed current stars into old stills of Alfred Hitchcock films. They are all pretty good— only a few duds. Love THE BIRDS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and PSYCHO treatments. Nice touch having Eva Marie Saint in LIFEBOAT.

Link to the spread!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

BAFTA Winners 2007


BAFTA AWARDS:

Best Film - Atonement

Best British Film - This Is England

The Carl Foreman Award - Matt Greenhalgh (Control)

Director - Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men)

Best Original Screenplay - Juno

Best Adapted Screenplay - The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Film Not in the English Language - The Lives Of Others

Best Animated Film - Ratatouille

Leading Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Leading Actress - Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)

Supporting Actor - Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

Supporting Actress - Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Music - La Vie En Rose

Cinematography - No Country For Old Men

Editing - The Bourne Ultimatum

Production Design - Atonement

Costume Design - La Vie En Rose

Sound - The Bourne Ultimatum

Special Visual Effects - The Golden Compass

Make Up & Hair - La Vie En Rose

Short Animation - The Pearce Sisters

Short Film - Dog Altogether

Orange Rising Star Award - Shia LaBeouf

Bafta Fellowship - Sir Anthony Hopkins

Link to BAFTA site's list of nominees and winners.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

WGA Awards 2007 & London Film Critics Winners Announced

No surprises here... and a clear shot to the Oscar for JUNO and NO COUNTRY.

Original Screenplay: JUNO

Adapted screenplay: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Documentary Screenplay: TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE

Link to complete list of winners.


London Film Critics Winners:

FILM OF THE YEAR
* No Country for Old Men
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
There Will Be Blood
Zodiac
The Bourne Ultimatum

ATTENBOROUGH AWARD FOR BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
Once
* Control
Atonement
Eastern Promises
This Is England

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
* The Lives of Others
Letters from Iwo Jima
Tell No One

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck — The Lives of Others
* Paul Thomas Anderson — There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen — No Country for Old Men
David Fincher — Zodiac
Cristian Mungui — 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

BRITISH DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Anton Corbijn — Control
* Paul Greengrass — The Bourne Ultimatum
Shane Meadows — This Is England
Joe Wright — Atonement
Danny Boyle — Sunshine

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Ulrich Mühe — The Lives of Others
Casey Affleck — The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
George Clooney — Michael Clayton
Tommy Lee Jones — In the Valley of Elah
* Daniel Day Lewis — There Will Be Blood

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Laura Linney — The Savages
* Marion Cotillard — La Vie en Rose
Maggie Gyllenhaal — Sherrybaby
Angelina Jolie — A Mighty Heart
Anamaria Marinca — 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Sam Riley — Control
* James McAvoy — Atonement
Christian Bale — 3:10 to Yuma
Jim Broadbent — And When Did You Last See Your Father
Jonny Lee Miller — The Flying Scotsman

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Samantha Morton — Control
* Julie Christie — Away from Her
Keira Knightley — Atonement
Helena Bonham Carter — Sweeney Todd
Sienna Miller — Interview

BRITISH ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
* Tom Wilkinson — Michael Clayton
Toby Jones — The Painted Veil
Alfred Molina — The Hoax
Toby Kebell — Control
Albert Finney — Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

BRITISH ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (tie)
Saoirse Ronan — Atonement
Imelda Staunton — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Tilda Swinton — Michael Clayton
* Kelly Macdonald — No Country for Old Men
* Vanessa Redgrave — Atonement

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
* Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck — The Lives of Others
Joel and Ethan Coen — No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson — There Will Be Blood
Ronald Harwood — The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Christopher Hampton — Atonement

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH — ACTING
Saoirse Ronan — Atonement
* Sam Riley — Control
Thomas Turgoose — This Is England
Benedict Cumberbatch — Amazing Grace
Dakota Blue Richards — The Golden Compass

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH — FILMMAKING
John Carney, writer and director — Once
Sarah Gavron, director — Brick Lane
* Anton Corbijn, director — Control
Matt Greenhalgh, writer — Control
Stevan Riley, writer, director, producer — Blue Blood

DILYS POWELL AWARD: Julie Walters

Friday, February 8, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!

Here's this week's dose of Oscar Trivia, leading up to the 80th Annual Oscars on the 24th. Next Friday I'll post the answers.










1. Match the actor with the Oscars they’ve won:

Alec Baldwin _____ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Michael Caine _____ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Katharine Hepburn _____ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Hilary Swank _____ (A, B, C, D, or E)

Denzel Washington _____ (A, B, C, D, or E)

(A.) One Lead Acting Oscar; one Supporting Acting Oscar

(B.) Four Lead Acting Oscars

(C.) Two Supporting Acting Oscars

(D.) Two Lead Acting Oscars

(E.) Zero Oscars

2. What unusual coincidence is true about all four Best Supporting Actress winners from 1978-81?

(A.) They were all born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

(B.) They all won the Oscar on their birthdays.

(C.) They were all pregnant when they won.

(D.) They all have the same initials— “M.S.”

3. Which is the only fictional character listed below for which an actor has played and not won an Oscar?

(A.) Tarzan

(B.) Santa Claus

(C.) The Village Idiot

(D.) Mary Poppins

4. Of all directors, William Wyler has been responsible for directing the most actors in nominated performances. With 20 acting nominations to his credit, which director holds the record among living directors? Hint: This director has seen an Oscar winner in each of the four acting categories.

(A.) Woody Allen

(B.) Clint Eastwood

(C.) Martin Scorsese

(D.) Steven Spielberg

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S TRIVIA QUIZ:

1. Who received the first standing ovation in Oscar history?

√(A). D. W. Griffith [in 1936 at the Eighth Annual Academy Awards when he received an Honorary Oscar]

(B.) Charlie Chaplin

(C.) Al Jolson

(D.) Irving J. Thalberg (posthumously)

2. In which decade did all of the following people win a Special or Honorary Oscar: Orson Welles, Lillian Gish, Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Groucho Marx, Jean Renoir, Mary Pickford, and Laurence Olivier.

(A.) The 1930s

(B.) The 1950s

√ (C.) The 1970s

(D.) The 1990s

3. Which of the following never happened?

(A.) An unknown man accepted no-show Alice Brady’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar and walked off with it, never to be seen again, in 1938.

√ (B.) Helen Grigor, a high school student, roller skated across the stage and attempted to snatch Joanne Woodward’s Oscar from her in 1958.

(C.) Stan Berman, a cabdriver, appeared onstage with a homemade Oscar for Bob Hope in 1962.

(D.) Robert Opal, a streaker, ran across the stage completely nude in 1973.

4. Why did presenter Goldie Hawn say “Oh, my god!” when she opened the Best Actor envelope at the 1971 Oscars?

√ (A.) The winner was George C. Scott (Patton) who had stated that he would refuse the Oscar if he won it.

(B.) It was a tie— both Gene Hackman (The French Connection) and Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) had won.

(C.) She gave herself a paper cut and bled all over the envelope.

(D.) There was an earthquake, which shook the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for several seconds.

5. What occurred when Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith presented the Oscar to Best Supporting Actress Geena Davis in 1989?

(A.) Melanie Griffith, in giving Supporting Actor winner Kevin Kline his envelope as a memento, accidentally gave him both the Supporting Actor and unread Supporting Actress envelopes, causing Don Johnson to have to run backstage to find Kline while the audience waited.

√ (B.) For the first time, Don Johnson used the phrase “And the Oscar goes to…” instead of the up-until-then-traditional “And the winner is…”

(C.) Don Johnson proposed to Melanie Griffith (she accepted).

(D.) A protestor stood up in the audience and shouted “Hollywood is a bunch of hypocrites! AIDS action now! 102,000 People Dead! People Are Dying”,” before he was bodily removed from the auditorium. Johnson and Griffith were visibly upset.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Writers Guild Strike 2007, Weeks Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen

Yes, it still technically continues. And yet with the buzz of an imminent end so loud its earpiercing, it ain't over till it's over. The biggest announcement Oscar-wise? No, not that the show will go on. But rather, that the "Vanity Fair" after-party has been called off (it would have been that famed A-lister bashes 15th). Here's a link to the New York Times article.

The WGA Awards will be announced on Saturday and the Guilds on both coasts are planning meetings for members to discuss the latest developments in the negotiations (see Hollywood Reporter story). Variety today had an article that described the striking today as the "last day of school."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Josh Brolin As New Terminator?

About 100 blogs today have reprinted the following quote from director McG (from the213.net interview: link), so I'll do it too:

"There's guys out there like Russell Crowe and Eric Bana, bring a good physicality, they do what they do, but I don't know if they're exactly right at the end of the day. (Smiles) Josh Brolin is a very exciting actor - we'll see."

The 2009 TERMINATOR film would be my single most anticiapted film of next year and I would be very happy if Josh Brolin got the part: he seems a good choice. I'm sure if McG is so willing to spill the beans about this, an announcement is not far off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Worst Box office weekends

Bestweekever.com put a list together of the worst box office weekends of the last decade. It comes as no surprise that many of these weekends are in January/February. However, of course, even the #1 "worst" weekend was when EPIC MOVIE made $18 and that was BIG BOX OFFICE for that film-- I imagine that MEET THE SPARTANS isn't the last "sequel" we'll get in EPIC MOVIE's wake.

Here's a link to the bestweekever post, and a look at the movies that were #1 when their respective weekends bombed, below:

10. October 26-28, 2001 (K-PAX #1 with $17.2 million)
9. June 27-29, 1997 (FACE/OFF #1 with $23.3 million)
8. February 24-26, 2006 (TYLER PERRY'S MADEA FAMILY REUNION #1 with #30 million)
7. June 16-18, 2000 (SHAFT #1 with $21.7 million)
6. January 27-29, 2006 (BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 #1 with $27.7 million)
5. April 25-27, 1997 (VOLCANO #1 with $14.6 million)
4. September 14-16, 2001 (HARDBALL #1 with $9.4 million)
3. Fenruary 9-11, 2007 (NORBIT #1 with $34.2 million)
2. March 21-23, 2003 (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE #1, with $16.2)
1. January 26-28, 2007 (EPIC MOVIE #1, with $18.6 million)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Best Superbowl XLII (2008) Commercials

Another Superbowl, and the ads proved yet again to be a far cry from years past, but still there were a few I really liked. I offer my favorite five, below:

#1. COCA-COLA: Stewie and Underdog floats at the Macy's Day Parade duke it out (loved it!) [Fourth Quarter]







#2. BUD LIGHT: Will Ferrell as "Jackie Moon" [his SEMI-PRO character] and his various "ad-libs" ("Bud Light: Suck one", etc.) [Fourth Quarter]



#3. T-MOBILE: Charles Barkley adding Dwayne Wade to his top five ("That's why I don't eat shrimp," etc.) [Second Quarter]






#4. DORITOS: mouse trap ad (OK, bordering on stupid but I did like it) [Second Quarter]








#5. AMP ENERGY (Definately weird... but you got to love the WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT) [Fourth Quarter]








Arguably this was the most eyecatching commercial, but I didn't like it much:

E-TRADE: Baby buys stock [Third Quarter]










Of the movie trailers, I think THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN ("You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember") came off best, but the foot thing in the Adam Sandler DON'T MESS WITH ZOHAN was pretty funny in an Adam Sandlery way. Of the TV promos, I liked the HOUSE ads, particularly the first one that had Hugh Laurie riffing the Superbowl theme on his electric guitar.

see all the Superbowl commercials at this link.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

PGA Awards 2007

The best feature film PGA award went to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN— besting co-Oscar frontrunner THERE WILL BE BLOOD.


RATATOUILLE won best animated film. SICKO won best documentary film. (Could it win the Oscar over NO END IN SIGHT?)

Link to UPI story with full list of PGA winners.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Millvina Dean, Last Titanic Survivor, Turns 96

The Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912 (the ship fully sank in the early hours of April 15) and according to the NEW YORK TIMES headline which followed, there were 866 survivors. Now with the death of Barbara Dainton in October 2007, only one survivor remains. Millvina Dean, who was just two months old at the time of the sinking, is 96 years old today. She was the youngest person onboard (and naturally has no recollection of the sinking), and boarded the ship with her parents and brother as a third-class passenger, en route to relocate to Wichita, Kansas from England. Her mother and brother survived, but her father perished.

Because her father died as a result of the sinking, Millvina Dean has never seen James Cameron's film in its entirety [she's reportedly see several scenes featured on television]. In fact out of the six Titanic survivors alive when the film was released in 1997, only two are known to have seen the Cameron film: Eleanor Johnson Shuman (who was at the Chicago premiere where she met James Cameron; she saw the movie a few times) and Michel Navratil (who watched it at home a few years after it came out, with his family).


Surely, in four years' time on the 100th anniversary of the sinking, the movie will get a re-release.

RMS Titanic link on wikipedia.

TITANIC (1997) link at wikipedia.

Millvina Dean link at wikipedia.

A link to a youtube home video of her at an interview in 1998.

Link to Encyclopedia Titanica message boards re: Titanic survivors who saw the Cameron film.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Oscar Trivia Friday!

Here's this week's dose of Oscar Trivia, leading up to the 80th Annual Oscars on the 24th. Next Friday I'll post the answers.










1. Who received the first standing ovation in Oscar history?

(A). D. W. Griffith

(B.) Charlie Chaplin

(C.) Al Jolson

(D.) Irving J. Thalberg (posthumously)

2. In which decade did all of the following people win a Special or Honorary Oscar: Orson Welles, Lillian Gish, Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Groucho Marx, Jean Renoir, Mary Pickford, and Laurence Olivier.

(A.) The 1930s

(B.) The 1950s

(C.) The 1970s

(D.) The 1990s

3. Which of the following never happened?

(A.) An unknown man accepted no-show Alice Brady’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar and walked off with it, never to be seen again in 1938.

(B.) Helen Grigor, a high school student, roller skated across the stage and attempted to snatch Joanne Woodward’s Oscar from her in 1958.

(C.) Stan Berman, a cabdriver, appeared onstage with a homemade Oscar for Bob Hope in 1962.

(D.) Robert Opal, a streaker, ran across the stage completely nude in 1973.

4. Why did presenter Goldie Hawn say “Oh, my god!” when she opened the Best Actor envelope at the 1971 Oscars?

(A.) The winner was George C. Scott (Patton) who had stated that he would refuse the Oscar if he won it.

(B.) It was a tie— both Gene Hackman (The French Connection) and Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) had won.

(C.) She gave herself a paper cut and bled all over the envelope.

(D.) There was an earthquake, which shook the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for several seconds.

5. What occurred when Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith presented the Oscar to Best Supporting Actress Geena Davis in 1989?

(A.) Melanie Griffith, in giving Supporting Actor winner Kevin Kline his envelope as a memento, accidentally gave him both the Supporting Actor and unread Supporting Actress envelopes, causing Don Johnson to have to run backstage to find Kline while the audience waited.

(B.) For the first time, Don Johnson used the phrase “And the Oscar goes to…” instead of the up-until-then-traditional “And the winner is…”

(C.) Don Johnson proposed to Melanie Griffith (she accepted).

(D.) A protestor stood up in the audience and shouted “Hollywood is a bunch of hypocrites! AIDS action now! 102,000 People Dead! People Are Dying”,” before he was bodily removed from the auditorium. Johnson and Griffith were visibly upset.

*****

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S TRIVIA QUIZ:

Johnny Carson __B__ (A, B, C, D, E, F,G, H, I, or J)

Chevy Chase __C__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Billy Crystal __D__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Ellen DeGeneres __J__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Whoopi Goldberg __F__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Bob Hope __A__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

David Letterman __E__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Steve Martin __G__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Chris Rock __H__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

Jon Stewart __I__ (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, or J)

(A.) “Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s known at my house, ‘Passover.’” (1968)

(B.) “I see a lot of new faces, especially on the old faces.” (1979)

(C.) “Good evening, Hollywood phonies.” (1988)

(D.) “Where is that big terrible number that usually opens the Oscars?... The one that goes (singing): “It’s a wonderful night for Oscar…” (1990)

(E.) “Uma…. Oprah…. Have you kids met Keanu?” (1995)

(F.) “… the last time I was here the most controversial thing you could put on a dress was a ribbon. But times change.” (1999)

(G.) “… hosting the Oscars is like making love to a beautiful woman— it’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town.” (2001)

(H.) “OK, who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen the last four years?” (2005)

(I.) “’Good Night and Good Luck,’ which is not just Edward R. Murrow's signoff, it's also how Mr. Clooney ends all his dates.” (2006)

(J.) "I think most people dream of winning an Academy Award, I had a dream of actually hosting the Academy Awards, and so let that be a lesson to you kids out there— aim lower." (2007)