Outside Reading — Oscars Eve edition

behind the scenes

I still love watching the Oscars by Karen Han

To be simultaneously devoted to modern cinematic art and the Academy Awards is an invitation to perpetual heartbreak, and I type that as someone with fairly mainstream tastes (as opposed to the film fans out there who breathless advocate for artistic superiority of Fatih Akin, Abel Ferrara, and other wild iconoclasts). Writing for Polygon, Karen Han expertly articulates the dilemma, evocatively sharing the feeling of borrowed triumph that comes from watching a personal favorite claim the prize that remains the pinnacle of modern cultural achievement accolades, despite the perpetual diminishing of its stature that the Academy itself has inflected. Someday, they’ll again hire a ceremony producer that is actually excited about the Oscars, instead of all these people who seem to resent the time given over to, you know, the awards. That’ll be a fine night.


catherine burns

Catherine Burns: The Vanishing of an Oscar-Nominated Actress by Scott Feinberg and Scott Johnson

It’s also worth remembering that earning a place on the annual Oscar list isn’t a guarantee of continued success or even lasting acknowledgment of existence, at least if there’s a concerted effort to pull away. The investigation, jointly undertaken by Scott Feinberg and Scott Johnson for The Hollywood Reporter, rambles down the where-are-they-now path in search of Catherine Burns, an Oscar nominee for her supporting role in the 1969 drama Last Summer. (Along with Dyan Cannon, Sylvia Miles, and Susannah York, she lost out to Goldie Hawn, doing her sweet, ditzy hippie thing in Cactus Flower.) The discoveries made in seeking out Burns are surprising and a little bittersweet, illuminating the distance between the red carpet and the finishing spot of some who stroll it.


wild west


Winner of Worst Picture and four Razzies at the 2000 Golden Raspberry Awards, Wild Wild West is one of those disasters that only can only be cooked up on the rumba line of oblivious, overfunded ineptitude enabled by the Hollywood structure. For Mel, Ralph Jones provides a genially gobsmacked rundown of all the ill turns that must be taken to result in such a glorious mess. I saw this movie in the theaters. It was one of the experiences that made me think, ‘Maybe I don’t need to buy a ticket to everything.’

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