Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Best Animated Short - 1941

1941, what a memorable year. It was the year Ted Williams hit a walk-off home run in the All Star game, and went on to hit .406 to become the last hitter to bat .400 in a year they qualified for the batting title. Yet his accomplishment went mostly unnoticed as fellow outfielder Joe DiMaggio stole most of the thunder with his legendary 56-game hitting streak. He later played a role in the Yankees' Game 4 comeback in the World Series that started after Mickey Owen couldn't get his hands on Hugh Casey's spitball. It was the year that Lou Gehrig lost his battle against what may or may not be the disease that bears hi name today. And of course the "date which will live in infamy" happened in 1941.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ranking the Oscar Nominated Shorts: 1942-1951

Well, it's that time again: Time to hunker down, look at the films from the past ten reviews and rank them subjectively by how much I liked them. It's the seventh time that I'll do one of these, and it's also the second to the last, as there are only ten reviews left to go. Unfortunately, there's no telling how long it'll take me to get those ten reviews out. I've made my list two weeks ago when I still had a sizable queue, but I've just gotten so busy and tired that I just haven't felt like writing. So now I've got like no queue. I'm hoping that I can get back on track after this week but considering the next review is the epic 1941 where ten films were nominated, I can't make any guarantees.

But enough talk, let's get to the rankings. There are 51 films from these past ten years, thanks to all the years with six or seven nominations.

NULL: Rippling Romance (1945)
This Columbia cartoon is now considered lost. That may not be the case based on what Thad (Komorowski?) has said, but he's also the one that says the film isn't worth getting declared not-lost.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Best Documentary Highlights Double Feature (1942)

Documentaries fulfill an important niche in filmmaking, combining the art of moviemaking with the task of showing the world as it is. I once attended a talk by Oscar winning producer Paul Wagner who won an Oscar for his documentary The Stone Cutters and was enthralled by his filmmaking experiences about having to frame shots in addition to conducting the interviews. While there have been some documentaries that really made a splash on the scene like Bowling for Columbine, the 2005 Best Documentary Feature race, The Times of Harvey Milk, any all of the animated Documentary shorts, the documentary has kind of gotten the shaft with the Oscars. Few people care about the Best Documentary Feature, and nobody cares about the Documentary Short. Why, awards for documentaries weren't awarded until 1941 when the Academy decided to honor some films that did well with war coverage. This was nine years after categories for short films were instituted, including Best Animated Short.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Best Animated Short - 1942

1942. For all intents and purposes, many Americans probably believe that World War II began around this time. Never mind that there has been fighting in Europe for three years and in Asia for over a decade, but 1942 is significant for being the first full year of involvement by the United States of America, and that's when stuff got real. Because America!

Yeah...I'm sure that's how the Europeans and Asians view Americans. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Best Animated Short - 1943

It's August 7. On this day nine years ago Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs worked through a gritty start just long enough to go five innings and have his team take the lead against the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs would score a few more insurance runs and the Cubs ended up with an 8-4 win, the 300th victory of his career. Of course Maddux wasn't the only pitcher to record his 300th win in the week between August 4-11. On August 11, 1961, Warren Spahn wound up on top in a gritty 2-1 battle against the Cubs thanks to an 8th-inning home run by Gino Cimoli. On August 4, 1985, Tom Seaver won his 300th game in New York, but wearing the uniform of the Chicago White Sox when he defeated the Yankees 4-1 on Phil Rizzuto Day. And on August 5, 2007, Tom Glavine became the second Tom to win 300 when he topped the Cubs 8-3. A grand total of four pitchers can celebrate the anniversaries of their milestone win on the week of August 4-11. No other week-long period can boast that many.

And what does that have to do with the Academy Awards? Nothing whatsoever!