The Oscars are tomorrow night. If the Independent Spirit Awards from tonight are any indication, this Oscar race is going to be one to watch. Given the fact that the competition for Supporting Actor is pretty much a given (Congratulations to Jared Leto ahead of time. He just won an Independent Spirit Award. If he doesn’t win, I’ll be really surprised.) Also, congrats to Lupita Nyong’o, unless they give Jennifer Lawrence two Oscars in a row. She’s 23. She’s got time. Cate Blanchett will probably take home the Best Actress Oscar, unless Sandra Bullock comes up from behind. But who knows? This year seems to be a little up in the air for Best Actor and Actress. If the results from the Golden Globes sway voters at all, Amy Adams and Leonardo DiCaprio could take home Oscars instead. Matthew McConaughey is pretty much battling it out with Leo. Chiwetel deserves Best Actor in my humble opinion. Frozen will win Best Original Song (duh.) And Gravity director, Alfonso Cuaron has been sweeping the awards for Director. Then again, since Steve McQueen just won for 12 Years tonight at the Independent Spirit Awards, he could win as well. Best Picture is anyone’s game, but my money is on 12 Years a Slave. But who can tell? American Hustle might be a stealthy one and take the top prize.
During the filming of Popeye with Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall was inspired to start a children’s television series in the vain of the classic television show Shirley Temple’s Storybook where fairy tales were at the forefront. The production values and the guest-stars were top notch, and in 1982, Faerie Tale Theatre hit the airwaves. With witty dialogue and cultural references that are relevant even today, it’s amazing how popular this show still is. It’s not just a kid’s show either. Like Shelley Duvall said in her intros, it was meant for children of all ages. What’s more impressive, is the sheer amount of all-star guest appearances that graced the screen. Shelley Duvall and her show had a certain appeal that made actors WANT to be on her show. Past, present, and future Oscar-winning actors like Tatum O’Neal, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Alan Arkin, Anjelica Houston and Helen Mirren all appeared on the show. Numerous character actors, still working today, such as Conchata Ferrel, Christopher Lee, Harry Dean Stanton, Doris Roberts, and John Lithgow, just to name a few, had screen time. The list goes on and on. You can view lists of episodes with guest stars here. What I find fascinating, is these actors, who were and are well-respected, did a so-called “kids” show and gave full-out, amazing performances. It didn’t matter if the audience was all-children, or adults. Faerie Tale Theatre was a show where the quality of the episodes and the quantity of the guest stars were equally matched, and brilliant. Inspiration from illustrations done by famous artists like Norman Rockwell, Gustav Klimt, and Arthur Rackham helped make the back drops and sets unique to each individual fairy tale. In fact, I doubt that in this day and age, a show like this, of this caliber, would even make it onto the airwaves. The acting was superb and it shows. It probably harkens back to the theatrical training of many of the stars of the show. Christopher Reeve was Julliard trained, Bernadette Peters was a Broadway vet, and Vanessa Redgrave comes from theatrical family for example.
Below is the beginning of Goldilocks and the Three Bears starring Oscar-winner, Tatum O’Neal, Emmy-winner, John Lithgow, and Grammy-winner, Carol King. It’s one of my favorite episodes, and it’s timeless in terms of production values and episode quality. The full series is available on YouTube for free and worth watching.
The other night, I was watching The Blind Side for the first time expecting myself to be fully engrossed in the story that helped Sandra Bullock win an Academy Award for Best Actress. While I enjoyed the movie, it wasn’t until Kathy Bates came on the screen that I had one of Oprah’s “Ah Ha” moments. To put it plainly, Kathy Bates makes every project she appears in so much better. I saw Revolutionary Road back when it had first come out in theaters, and it was the most depressing movie I had ever seen in my life. One of the only redeeming qualities of the film (besides the fact that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were amazing despite the subject and tone of the project) was that it had Kathy Bates to liven it up. With Michael Shannon playing her son, the two of them brought their unique talents to the screen in amazing performances.
The thing that I love about films and TV shows is the fact that we are able to capture moments that are able to be relived at any time. Kathy Bates has had some fantastic moments captured on screen in her career, and even though she has an Oscar for Misery, I think the general public should be made more aware of her wonderful talent. Quite simply, her gusto and light she brings with every role has helped us enjoy movies like Titanic, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Midnight in Paris. There is a reason that she won both the comedy and drama Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Supporting Actress in the same year (1998) for The Waterboy and Primary Colors. She is fantastic at what she does as an actor, and makes no apologies for being just who she is as a person. She has always been someone I admire as an actor, and she is on my dream list of people I’d love to work with for that reason. She is a character actress. She’s a an actress. And she makes every movie she’s in 1000 times better.