Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Also-Ran’s Project – Secrets & Lies (Best Picture Also-Ran 1996)

Image result for secrets and lies movie posterDirected by Mike Leigh

Written by Mike Leigh

Starring Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Claire Rushbrook, and Phyllis Logan

A few entries back I wrote about Topsy-Turvy, which was just the second Mike Leigh film I’d ever seen.  Because I had such a blind spot for him, I was under the assumption he specialized in the kind of muddy, earthy, improvisational dramas I really had no interest in.  I wouldn’t say I expected to find some sort of misery porn in his work, but that’s not far off the mark.  So I was glad when Topsy-Turvy proved a rather joyous and exuberant experience, with buoyant performances, colorful and beautiful camera work, and not a fleck of mud – either literal, or emotion – in sight.  To be fair, that movie was certainly too long, and too enamored with giving everything and everybody a chance in front of the camera, but on the whole I quite enjoyed it. Continue reading


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The Also-Ran’s Project – Anne of the Thousand Days (Best Picture/Actress/Actor Also-Ran 1969)

Original movie poster for the film Anne of the Thousand Days.jpgDirected by Charles Jarrott

Screenplay by Bridget Boland, John Hale and Richard Sokolove, from the play by Maxwell Anderson

Starring Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold, Anthony Quayle and John Colicos

Richard Burton was nominated for seven Oscars over a 25-year span, including three straight in the 1960s:

  • Best Actor 1977 – Equus
  • Best Actor 1969 – Anne of the Thousand Days
  • Best Actor 1966 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Best Actor 1965 – The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  • Best Actor 1964 – Becket
  • Best Actor 1953 – The Robe
  • Best Supporting Actor 1952 – My Cousin Rachel

You would think the closest he came to the winning was in 1966 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which was the year’s most nominated film with 13, and which won his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor her second.  So, an Oscar for Burton has the appeal of being a good story – matching man and wife Oscars.  Alas, Burton lost to Paul Scofield for A Man for All Seasons.[1]  In Oscar history there is just one bigger acting loser than Richard Burton: only Peter O’Toole has more Oscar noms (eight), without a win.[2] Continue reading

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