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OSCARS: Banner Year For Acting Means Tough Decisions For The Academy

By | Saturday November 30, 2013 @ 9:00am PST
Pete Hammond

This is a year with such quality acting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shouldAwardsLine.LogoBW seriously consider following the example set with the best picture category a few years back and expand to 10 potential nominees. It’s an embarrassment of riches with some history-making possibilities.

robertredfordlost2Consider the battle of the 77-year-olds: Robert Redford in All Is Lost and Bruce Dern in Nebraska. Neither has won an acting Oscar and both have only been nominated once before for their onscreen work. If either manages to take the gold, they would be the oldest ever to win in the best actor category. Or consider that on the 50th anniversary of Sidney Poitier’s groundbreaking best actor victory in 1963 for Lilies Of The Field, there’s suchbrucedern3 a diverse list of candidates this year, including African-Americans Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and the UK-born Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) and Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom). You could even throw in another fine performance from April’s 42, in which Chadwick Boseman memorably starred as Jackie Robinson. We could also see two-time winner Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks) and never-been-nominated Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Mud) grabbing nominations in both lead and supporting. Read More »

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OSCARS: Moments In Oscar History, Part 2: Actors & Actresses

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 9:00pm PST

In honor of the 85th Academy Awards, AwardsLine is spotlighting memorable moments and winners from the last eight decades. Part 1 was The Producers. This is Part 2: Actors & Actresses. Part 3 will be The Directors.

Sidney Poitier, 1964: Academy Award winner Jack Lemmon hosted the 36th Academy Awards, which took place April 13, 1964, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Though the Academy still rarely awards comedies, best picture and director honors went to Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones. Hud claimed two of the acting trophies, for lead actress Patricia Neal and supporting actor Melvyn Douglas, while Sidney Poitier was best actor for Lilies of the Field and Margaret Rutherford was supporting actress for The V.I.P.s. Among the acting winners, only Poitier was on hand to accept his statuette at the ceremony.

“Because it is a long journey to this moment, I am naturally indebted to countless numbers of people, principally among whom are Ralph Nelson, James Poe, William Barrett, Martin Baum, and of course, the members of the Academy. For all of them, all I can say is a very special thank you.”—Sidney Poitier (pictured with Sidney Skolsky) accepting his first Oscar for Lilies of the Field. He won a second honorary Oscar in 2001.

Barbra Streisand, 1969: The 41st Academy Awards took place April 14, 1969, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with a group of 10 hosts that included Ingrid Bergman, Sidney Poitier, and Burt Lancaster. The best picture Oscar went to Oliver!, and its director Carol Reed also took home a statuette. Cliff Robertson won the lead actor trophy for Charly, but the actress category was a tie—the second in Oscar history—between Katharine Hepburn for Lion in Winter and Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl. It was the first Oscar for Streisand, and Hepburn’s third— director Anthony Harvey accepted for Hepburn, who was not in attendance.
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OSCAR: Javier Bardem Q&A

Pete Hammond

Javier Bardem’s first acting job was at the age of six, but his career has heated up since the mid-1980s not only in a number of notable films in his native Spain for such directors as Pedro Almodovar but now as a full-fledged international star. Nominated twice for Oscars, first in 2000 for Before Night Falls and then winning Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for No Country For Old Men, Bardem has an impressive list of credits including The Sea Inside, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and earlier this year in Eat Pray Love. But his most challenging role to date is as a man whose life is in freefall in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and now has earned him Best Actor nominations for Spain’s Goya, England’s BAFTA, and his third nod for an Oscar. It returns him to Spanish languageIt returns him to Spanish language filmmaking and won him Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. Although the film’s uncompromisingly depressing subject matter scared off potential distributors at first, Roadside Attractions eventually picked up the movie for the U.S. market and released it on January 29:

DEADLINE: This is the first time you worked with Alejandro and it is a challenging role in every way imaginable. What was it that made you want to get involved?
JAVIER BARDEM: First of all, I am a very huge fan of his prior films. But I read it like three times in a row before I said yes. … Read More »

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OSCAR: Vets Spotlight Strong Best Actor Field

Pete Hammond

After a 3-part series highlighting the 2010 Best Picture hopefuls and their realistic Oscar chances, I now turn to the acting races beginning with the men in contention for their lead performances. Of course there is always debate over what constitutes a leading vs supporting role and indeed  the line does get blurred in some instances for competitive reasons. For instance, in 1991, Anthony Hopkins probably could have gone either way for his Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs but went for lead and won. Conversely, after toying with a push for lead in 2005’s Syriana, George Clooney made the strategic switch to the less competitive supporting category and won. Interestingly, he faced off against Brokeback Mountain’s co-lead Jake Gyllenhaal who dropped down to supporting category in order to avoid facing off against his co-star Heath Ledger who was eventually nominated for lead actor. Over the course of this young awards season, there has been some buzz here and there about the category status of leading men like Wall Street: Money Never Sleep’s Michael Douglas, The Fighter’s Christian Bale, The Kings Speech’s Geoffrey Rush, Fair Game’s Sean Penn, and Another Year’s Jim Broadbent. All of them have now comfortably settled into supporting mode – at least in the eyes of the studios campaigning them. As far as the Academy is concerned, the ultimate decision will be up to the actors’ peer group and that branch is always capable of surprise. Here is the rundown of those who remain … Read More »

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