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Posts tagged ‘oscars’

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February 27, 2014

Susan Marg

Remembering a Hollywood Legend

During Oscar Season


“Oscar and I have something in common.

Oscar first came to the Hollywood scene in 1928.

So did I.

We’re both a little weather beaten,

but we’re still here and plan to be around for a whole lot longer.”

— John Wayne, when presenting the 1979 Best Picture Oscar,

shortly before his death that same year


February 22, 2014

Susan Marg

Fashion Statement 2


“A dress should be tight enough to prove you’re a woman

and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.”

– Edith Head, Costume Designer,

who received thirty-five Oscar nominations, winning eight times.

This year’s nominees are:

Michael Wilkinson for American Hustle.

William Chang Suk Pin for The Grandmaster.

Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.

Michael O’Connor for The Invisible Woman.

Patricia Norris for 12 Years a Slave.

(The drawing is a “Google Doodle.”)


January 29, 2014

Susan Marg

60 Years Ago: Down by the Docks

Oil on canvas 1934 by Pino Janni. Photo by: cliff1066.

Oil on canvas 1934 by Pino Janni. Photo by: cliff1066.

My husband and I watched On the Waterfront from 1954 the other night.  What a movie! Based on a series of articles, it’s about corruption in the longshoremen’s union in New York, although it was shot in Hoboken, Frank Sinatra’s hometown.

Everyone knows that its star Marlon Brando won his first Best Actor Oscar for his role as Terry Molloy.  When he told his brother, “I coulda been a contender,” it was heartbreaking. He had been nominated three times before: in 1951 for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar Named Desire; in 1952 for Emiliano Zapata in Viva Zapata; and in 1953 for Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.  The later was in the same year that Brando played the iconic rebel biker Johnny Strabler in The Wild One.

Look at who else was in the cast.  Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  Eva Marie Saint, in her debut film role, won for Best Supporting Actress. Unaccredited actors included Fred Gwynne, Martin Balsam, and Pat Hingle.

Behind the scenes, Elia Kazan directed and Budd Schulberg wrote the screenplay.  They earned Oscars, too.  All told, On the Waterfront had twelve Oscar nominations, including one for Leonard Bernstein for Best Score.

Yep, twelve, and On the Waterfront won in eight categories.

In 1981 Reds, which, coincidentally, was also about unions, albeit it in the 1910s leading up to the Russian revolution, repeated the feat, earning twelve nominations which included recognition for its star, director, and screenwriter, Warren Beatty, as well as Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Maureen Stapleton, other members of the cast.  It won in three categories, losing to Chariots of Fire for Best Picture.

All of this brings us to the current Oscar season.  Gravity and American Hustle, both of which I saw and thought were terrific, each received ten nominations, and Twelve Years a Slave received nine.  Impressive numbers to be sure, but not record-breaking.

Is it too early to say that they don’t make movies like they used to? Or, were there so many good movies this year that will all be around for a long time to come?

Before you answer those questions, On the Waterfront was shot for just under a million dollars and grossed ten times its production costs in its initial release.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


December 4, 2013

Susan Marg

Let’s Go to the Movies

I love this time of year.  No, I’m not thinking about holiday parties or hearing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” for the twentieth time in a television commercial. And I certainly won’t spend the month putting together my New Year’s resolutions. I’m talking about the movies!

Photo by: Janine

Photo by: Janine

The Oscar buzz has already started. Frontrunners, per pundits, include 12 Years A Slave and Gravity with Captain Phillips gaining.  It’s a competitive awards season this year, some even call it “cluttered. For me it means more movies worth watching and performances to appreciate.  I’m partial to Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (which I saw last weekend) and Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine.

There’s more comedy, drama, romance, fantasy out there: Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Fruitvale Station, Prisoners, Rush, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Before Midnight, Mud, The Place Beyond The Pines, Philomena, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, The Book Thief, Her, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Lone Survivor, Labor Day and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

And more to come.  David O. Russell’s American Hustle with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence (what a cast!) is in theaters December 18. The Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks (who might be nominated for Best Actor for Captain Phillips) playing Walt Disney opens everywhere December 20, and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio (and Matthew McConaughey, again, but in a supporting role) opens Christmas Day. The trailers are wild.

I haven’t seen everything I’ve mentioned, nor will I.  I’m usually guided by the reviews, good or bad.  But I’ll be drawn to the cinema again and again.  If I have an appetite for action, I might take in Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a runaway success.  It stars a talented young actress who has already scored an Oscar.

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


“Let’s Go to the Movies” from “Annie”:


July 4, 2013

Susan Marg

Reviewed by Gayle Colopy for  on July 2, 2013


Hollywood or Bust

By Susan Marg

Publisher: Cowgirl Jane Press

ISBN: 978-0-578-11882-6


Hollywood Or Bust is a collection of celebrity quotes from actors, producers and other notables in the film industry. The quotes are grouped in chapters loosely based around the quest for recognition and fame, the up and downsides of having achieved it (or not), and the inevitable downhill slide once the public has moved on to newer, fresher flavors of celebrity. The book covers a wide time span, with quotes from studio heads of the “Golden Age” of motion pictures to contemporary luminaries like Lindsay Lohan and Quentin Tarantino.

The path to stardom begins with a vision. (Hilary Swank: “I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream.” Each has their own definition of what stardom means. (Harrison Ford: “Stars are people who sell a lot of popcorn.”) There are ruminations on the effects of stardom. (Clint Eastwood: “It’s like waking up with a hooker – how the hell did I get here?” Robert Mitchum: “I’ve still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven’t changed anything but my underwear.”)

There is a price to be paid for success. (Bette Midler: “The worst part of success if to try to find someone who is happy for you.”) Artistic ambitions may take a back seat to other considerations. (Charlton Heston: “The trouble with movies as a business is that they’re an art; the trouble with movies as an art is that they’re a business.” Michael Caine: “You get paid the same for a bad film as you do for a good one.”) Disillusionment may set in. (William Faulkner: Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder.” Marilyn Monroe: “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”

Eventually, there is a fall from grace. (Michael Medevoy, producer: “This is a business that eats its elders instead of its young.” Joan Collins: “The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.”) The stars may come and go, but that entity known as Hollywood lives forever, a force unto itself. (Michelangelo Antonioni: “Hollywood is like being nowhere and talking to nobody about nothing.”

The collection is a slim, breezy read, something one could knock off during a long waiting room visit or a very short flight. Like junk food, there’s not much nutritional value here, but for those with an interest in stars talking about stardom, Hollywood Or Bust may prove to be irresistible.


The reviewer Gayle Colopy:  Gayle is a semi-retired veteran of various governmental, non-profit and commercial enterprises, and is now a freelance writer based in northern California. His literary preferences are Beat-era American literature, classic erotica, and fiction writers who blossomed in the Sixties, including Joseph Heller, Donald Barthelme, Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, William S. Burroughs, Terry Southern, and Hunter S. Thompson.