TCM's 31 Days of Oscar: Week 2

Feb 08, 2016 by Sling Staff

Turner Classic Movies is counting down to the Academy Awards with 31 Days of Oscar, a marathon of hundreds of Oscar-nominated films. With ten or more movies running every day and none of them repeating during February, the schedule is a little overwhelming to even the most seasoned cineaste.

So contributors Sarah Moffatt, Evan Wilder, Oliver Ward, and Alex Castle are going to take it a week at a time, with a full schedule for the week with comments on some of our favorites. Note that most of the movies are going to show up in TCM’s on-demand section soon after they air, so you can catch them even if you miss the live broadcast.

Week 2:

(All times Eastern)

Monday, February 8

7:00 AM A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)
9:30 AM Mister Roberts (1955)
11:45 AM I Dream too Much (1935)
1:30 PM That Girl from Paris (1936)
3:30 PM Flying Down to Rio (1933)
5:15 PM Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
8:00 PM Baby Doll (1956)
10:00 PM Patton (1970) – George C. Scott is one of the great character actors of all time – his work in Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite comedy performances – and his Oscar-winning turn as General George Patton is the rock that 1970’s Best Picture winner is built upon, along with an Oscar-winning script by Francis Ford Coppola and direction by Franklin Schaffner, who also took home a trophy. It was also, incidentally, Elvis Presley’s favorite movie ever, so as you watch try to imagine an opiate-addled King of Rock and Roll endlessly quoting the opening monologue around the house. (AC)
1:00 AM The Hustler (1961)
3:30 AM The Graduate (1967) – Hello darkness my old friend. The sea change in Hollywood, the moment the movies started targeting younger people, was with Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Charles Webb’s novel about a young man (Dustin Hoffman) fresh out of school and uncertain about what his future holds. Fun fact: Hoffman was only six years younger than Anne Bancroft, who played Mrs. Robinson, the friend of the family with whom Hoffman has an affair despite the fact that he is interested in her daughter (Katharine Ross). (AC)
5:30 AM The Singing Nun (1966)

Tuesday, February 9

7:15AM All the Brothers were Valiant (1953)
9:00 AM Meet John Doe (1941)
11:15 AM The Hanging Tree (1959)
1:15 PM The Mark (1961)
3:30 PM Billy Budd (1962)
5:45 PM Logan’s Run (1975) – A few years after Michael York abandoned Liza Minnelli to the Nazis (basically) in Cabaret, he starred in this sci-fi flick as the titular Logan 5, on the run for being old in a society where turning 30 is effectively a death sentence. Read into it what you will -— be it an allegory about dating, ageism in Hollywood, or maybe a meditation on Jack Weinberg’s warning never to trust anyone over 30 -— just be sure to watch before your life-clock hand crystal starts flashing red. Despite losing in the cinematography and art direction categories, Logan’s Run received a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects (e.g., those fancy hand crystals). (OW)
8:00 PM Cabaret (1972) – This film is the heartbeat of jazz dance as we know it today. This was the first time I really learned to appreciate the value of “less is more” when it came to choreography (Who knew the impact of a small shoulder shrug or quick ankle roll?). Bob Fosse, arguably one of the greatest choreographers of all time (definitely of the jazz genre), not only choreographed the whole film, he also directed it. Liza Minnelli had been in and around the biz all her life; her mother was Judy Garland and her father was Vincente Minnelli, esteemed director of amazing, Oscar-nominated films including An American In Paris, GiGi, Designing Woman, and a segment in The Story of Three Loves. Cabaret is the film that launched Liza into stardom and made her a household name. The film won a grand total of eight Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and five technical awards. Minnelli plays Sally Bowles, a young American performer in the Kit Kat Klub placed in Berlin during 1931 under the growing presence of the Nazi Party. Sally finds herself caught in between two men: one a writer and the other a rich playboy, both of whom are bisexual. After an unexpected surprise, Sally is forced to make a decision about her future in a city that is growing more and more hostile every day. (SM)
10:15 PM Barry Lyndon (1975) – Possibly the least well-known of Stanley Kubrick’s films, this is nonetheless a fascinating piece of work, set in 18th-century England and following an unscrupulous social climber (Ryan O’Neal) from his teens into old age. Though the story is engaging, this film is most notable for how gorgeous it is; Kubrick shot the interiors by candlelight, and much of the movie looks like an oil painting from the time. The movie won Oscars for Art Direction, Cinematography, Costuming, and Score. This one might be best watched on-demand, though. It’s really long. (AC)
1:30 AM A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Kubrick here adapts Anthony Burgess’ novel about a teenage delinquent (Malcolm McDowell) in a slightly dystopian future whose exploits land him in an experimental program to recondition his violent impulses. Kubrick is faithful to the invented dialect of Burgess’ book (which is well worth reading whether or not you’ve seen the movie), and like all of Kubrick’s pictures, is fascinating to look at, full of Kubrick’s signature reverse dollies, long pans, and wide shots. (AC)
4:00 AM The Entertainer (1960)
5:45 AM That Hamilton Woman (1941)

Wednesday, February 10

8:00 AM The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)
9:45 AM The Broadway Melody (1929)
11:45 AM Our Dancing Daughters (1928)
1:15 PM Mannequin (1938)
3:00 PM General Spanky (1936)
4:30 PM Cain and Mabel (1936)
6:15 PM Pat and Mike (1952)
8:00 PM The Great Escape (1963)
11:00 PM Bullitt (1968)
1:00 AM Papillon (1973) – What could be better than a Steve McQueen triple feature? The Great Escape is a WWII-set heist picture co-starring James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, and James Coburn; Bullitt is the template for the modern cop movie, with a boundary-pushing (if geographically impossible) car chase through San Francisco; and Papillon features McQueen’s best performance as a wrongly convicted prisoner in 1930s France who befriends an embezzler (Dustin Hoffman) and hatches an escape plot.
3:45 AM This Land is Mine (1943)
5:30 AM Step Lively (1944)

Thursday, February 11

7:00 AM A Farewell to Arms (1932)
8:30 AM The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
10:30 AM The Letter (1940)
12:15 PM The Letter (1929)
1:30 PM The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
4:30 PM Maytime (1937)
6:45 PM She Done Him Wrong (1933)
8:00 PM Imitation of Life (1934)
10:00 PM The Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
11:45 PM Top Hat (1935)
1:30 AM The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
3:15 AM The Son of Monte Cristo (1941)
5:00 AM The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

Friday, February 12

7:00 AM Viva, Villa! (1934)
9:00 AM The Richest Girl in the World (1934)
10:30 AM Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
12:15 PM That Forsyte Woman (1949)
2:15 PM The Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
4:15 PM The Gunfighter (1950)
5:45 PM Marooned (1969)
8:00 PM Tootsie (1982) – I don’t even know where to start with how much I love this movie. At first glance, it looks like a stupid Mrs. Doubtfire-style farce, but it is so much more than that; an incisive take on gender politics, a love-triangle comedy, an insightful look at the frustrations of working actors, and most importantly a very funny and subtle comedy. Dustin Hoffman does a great job as the frustrated actor who resorts to masquerading as a woman in order to get work on a soap opera, but the supporting performances are terrific across the board, with Bill Murray operating in his best dry mode as Hoffman’s playwright roommate; Sydney Pollack – the movie’s director – as Hoffman’s exasperated agent; Jessica Lange as Hoffman’s co-star on the soap; and most indelibly for me, Teri Garr as Hoffman’s insecure acting student turned lover. If you have ever known a frustrated New York actress, Garr’s performance is almost too real. (AC)
I wanted to write a little segment about Tootsie, too, but I think Alex pretty much nailed it. I love this movie because of how progressive the film was at the time. I mean, cross-dressing in the early 80s? Not the most common concept for a film. In fact, I think the next time that was successfully pulled off was 1995’s To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar. Though that film was not about cross-dressing to help your career, but the hardship of being a female whether you were born in a female body or not. Somehow you can look past Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze in drag and appreciate the story for its message – same as Tootsie. (SM)
10:00 PM Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
12:00 AM The Deer Hunter (1978)
3:15 AM GoodFellas (1990) – Not to take anything away from The Godfather or Donnie Brasco or Casino or any of the other great Mob movies of the last 50 years, but Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas stands alone. Based on the true story of Henry Hill, the movie follows Hill (Ray Liotta)’s rise from teenaged Mob gofer to midlevel gangster, from the Mob’s ‘50s heyday to its late-’80s collapse. Hill is one of the great unreliable narrators in film, ratting out everything his pals (Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Paul Sorvino) ever did while repeatedly insisting he’s not a rat and minimizing his own involvement in beatings, murders, and heists. I have watched this movie at least 20 times and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. (AC)
5:45 AM Bloodbrothers (1978)

Saturday, February 13

7:45 AM Days of Heaven (1978)
9:30 AM The Magnificent Seven (1960)
12:00 AM The Americanization of Emily (1964)
2:00 AM And the Oscar Goes To… (2014)
4:00 PM Best Friends (1982)
6:00 PM Hooper (1978)
8:00 PM Steel Magnolias (1989)
10:15 PM Being There (1979)
12:30 AM Lolita (1962)
3:15 AM The Story of Three Loves (1953)

Sunday, February 14

6:00 AM Fanny (1961)
8:30 AM Love Affair (1939)
10:15 AM The Awful Truth (1937)
12:00 PM The Philadelphia Story (1940)
2:00 PM Adam’s Rib (1949)
4:00 PM Born Yesterday (1950)
6:00 PM Sabrina (1954) – A year after her win for Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn received a second Oscar nomination for her role in Sabrina, but she lost to the quintessential Hitchcock blonde, Grace Kelly, who won for The Country Girl (Kelly’s other 1954 performances in Rear Window and Dial M for Murder weren’t nominated). Though famed costume designer Edith Head won the film’s only Oscar, many of Hepburn’s memorable ensembles were actually designed by a young Givenchy, who would later design the quintessential little black dress for Hepburn to wear in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (OW)
8:00 PM Casablanca (1942) – Having won three – Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing – of its eight Academy Award nominations, Casablanca is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time by several critics, including Roger Ebert. The film stars Humphrey Bogart, who was on the rise to becoming the king of Hollywood, and three-time Academy Award winner Ingrid Bergman, none of which were for this particular film. Bogart plays as Rick Blaine, a nightclub owner in Casablanca, Morocco, who learns his former love Isla (Bergman) is in town with her husband, who is a known rebel. With the Nazis hot on their trail, Isla turns to Rick for help getting out of the country and the Germans' grasp. This film also has some of the most recognizable quotes: Does “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “We’ll always have Paris,” “Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time,” or “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” ring a bell? (SM)
10:00 PM Now, Voyager (1942)
12:15 AM Jezebel (1938)
2:15 AM Wuthering Heights (1939)
4:15 AM Lydia (1941)

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