Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Also-Ran’s Project – Topsy-Turvy (Best Original Screenplay, et al, Also-Ran 1999)

Topsy Turvy.jpgDirected 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[1] 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[2].

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

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The Also-Ran’s Project — The Front Page (Best Picture Also-Ran 1930/31)

The Front Page (1931 film) poster.jpgDirected 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[1] 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

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The Also-Rans Project – A Star is Born (Best Picture Also-Ran 1937)

A Star Is Born 1937 poster.jpgDirected 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.

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The Also-Ran’s Project – San Francisco (Best Picture Also-Ran 1936)

San Francisco (film) poster.jpgDirected 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

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