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The Best Picture Project – American Beauty (1999)

Poster image of a woman's belly with her hand holding a rose against it.Directed by Sam Mendes

Written by Alan Ball

Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher and Scott Bakula

I love American Beauty and couldn’t be more pleased it was chosen as Best Picture, especially since it represents the one time in the last fifteen years where the Academy was really tempted to hang it’s hat on another picture – one that was less abrasive, less divisive, had less murder, drugs, Lolita storylines, and infidelity – and chose instead to honor the more challenging film. Continue reading

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Grin and Bare It – Actresses and Nudity

(Author’s note: This essay originally appeared in four parts and is compiled into one here)

Part I: First Nudity After-30

Recently my wife and I watched The Proposal, the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic-comedy.  Normally I’m not big on Sandra Bullock romantic comedies, though I did enjoy Two Weeks Notice.  While The Proposal was enjoyable – if completely farfetched – I was struck by the nude scene Ms. Bullock performs halfway through the movie.  Leading into the release of the film I’d heard all the fuss about her doing a nude scene for the movie and even if I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it – by the time it hit DVD I forgot all about it – it wasn’t unwelcome. 

When I saw it I was pretty impressed about how well she’s holding up at 44 and then I remembered all the press leading into the film making a big deal about this being her first nude scene and this got me thinking about what other actresses waited until later in their careers – specifically, post-30 – to do nudity.  Below Below are a dozen – a baker’s dozen – not necessarily the best debuts, and not necessarily actresses who went on to greater things, but just an even dozen, from oldest to youngest, of women who waited until they were beyond thirty to do nudity on film for the first time.

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