Directed by Mike Leigh
Screenplay by Mike Leigh
Starring Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Lesley Manville, Timothy Spall, Kevin McKidd, Shirley Henderson, and others
There was no reason I had to reach down to a Best Original Screenplay loser to find a 199 entry for this series. After all, while I’ve seen everything in the 1999 Best Picture and Best Director races, there were various lead acting losers who’s films I’d not seen: Sean Penn in Sweet and Lowdown; Denzel Washington in The Hurricane; Janet McTeer in Tumbleweeds; Julianne Moore in The End of the Affair; and Meryl Streep in Music of the Heart.
So, if I had all those options from the acting categories alone, why did I reach so far down to find Topsy-Turvy? The short answer is Mike Leigh. Continue reading
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, adaptation by Bartlett Cormack, additional dialog by Charles Lederer
Starring Pat O’Brien, Adolph Menjou
At the first Academy Awards Lewis Milestone won Best Director for Two Arabian Knights, while Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won Best Picture. Unfortunately, both accomplishments are rendered somewhat to the dustbin of history with the Academy retroactively deciding Wings was Best Picture of the first Oscars, while Frank Borzage was Best Director for 7th Heaven.
How can that be? you ask. Continue reading
Directed by William Wellman
Written by William Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell
Starring Janet Gaynor, Frederic March, Adolph Menjou, Lionel Stander and Andy Devine
Esther (Janet Gaynor), dreams of making it in Hollywood, but when she arrives in California she finds success a little hard to come by. Pluck and desire are not enough – you need luck and coincidence, too. Fortunately, she meets movie star Norman Maine (Frederic March), who gives her career a massive assist. In pretty short order she’s a star and married to Norman, who agrees to give up booze for her. Things turn, though, when Esther’s fame – by now she’s renamed Vicki Lester – eclipses Norman, something his fragile ego cannot take. He turns to booze again and quickly hits bottom. When he realizes Vicki is willing to throw her entire career away just to do what it takes to sober him up, he swims out into the ocean and drowns.
Directed by W.S. Van Dyke
Screenplay by Anita Loos, Story by Robert Hopkins
Starring Clark Gable, Jeannette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy
One of the beautiful things about his Project is getting to learn things about movies I never knew. You know, like the trends and hidden meanings behind the Oscars themselves. And honestly, looking at the losers has been far richer in discovery than looking at the winners. After all, if we didn’t look at the losers we’d never know just what kind of a force William Holden was in the 1950s, what with having been in something like 5 or 6 Best Picture nominees. Some actors will go their whole career without even being considered for a role in a Best Picture nominee, and here was William Holden scoring that many in one decade. Continue reading