Born April 29, 1917 in New York, New York, Celeste Holm was an only child whose father was an insurance adjustor for Lloyd’s of London and her mother a portrait artist. Because of her parents’ occupations, she traveled extensively with them as a child, later studying drama while attending the University of Chicago. She became a stage actress in the late 1930s after marrying actor and future director Ralph Nelson in 1936 when he was twenty and she was nineteen. Their son, philosopher Ted Nelson, was born the following year. They were divorced in 1939. She gave her son over to her parents to raise as she continued to pursue her career, seeing him only occasionally throughout his childhood. She married second husband Francis Davies in 1940.
Holm made her Broadway debut in 1938, and continued to make appearances on the Broadway stage off and on through 1991. Her most significant roles were as Ado Annie in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma! and as Evalina in the following year’s Bloomer Girl. She was later one of the replacements for both Gertrude Lawrence and Angela Lansbury in the original runs of The King and I and Mame, respectively.
We had four films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
The Magnificent Seven
In 1954, Akira Kurosawa released one of the seminal films of his career, a film that has been copied, aped, and imitated for more than 60 years. It received two Oscar nominations, for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Six years later, John Sturges brought another seminal film to the cineplex, The Magnificent Seven. Based on Kurosawa’s work, the film was nominated for a single Oscar for Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.
The concept surrounds the hiring of seven samurai (or gunfighters) to protect a specific locale. Both the original film and its American remake centered on a poor village seeking protection. The trailers for Antoine Fuqua’s modern adaptation (still a western, like the 1960 version), suggest it’s largely to aid a young widow, but the concept still centers around safeguarding a poor village. How similar or dissimilar from either of its two forebears will be up to audiences to decide. While many who check it out might not be familiar with the Kurosawa or Sturges films, the Academy most certainly will as most of them are cineastes or rabid film buffs.
Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. All data is collected from Box Office Mojo. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.
This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend
The Magnificent Seven (Wide)
Oscar Potential: Original Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing.
Oscar Potential: Animated Feature.
The Dressmaker (Limited)
Oscar Potential: Actress (Kate Winslet).
Born March 2, 1892 in East Prussia, Germany, which is now part of Russia, Felix Bressart made his stage debut in 1914 and his film debut in 1928. The Jewish character actor was forced to leave his home country in 1933 but continued to make German language films in Austria until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1936.
Welcomed with open arms by the German artist colony in Hollywood, Bressart began his American film career as Deanna Durbin’s music teacher in 1939’s Three Smart Girls Grow Up. He scored a big hit that same year as one of the Russian commissars in Ninotchka. He was immediately typecast, his stock-in-trade being disheveled academics, wistful European philosophers, scientists and music professors of diverse ethnicity, his roles often consisting of equal parts pathos and comedy. With his lanky frame, big nose, toothbrush moustache and horn-rimmed glasses, the shy, reserved, often physically clumsy actor struck audiences as a cross between Groucho Marx and Albert Einstein. Signed to an MGM contract, he quickly became one of the screen’s most popular character actors. He also had a sideline as a non-medical practitioner with a busy practice in Beverly Hills.
We had hoped to put together a list prior to the Telluride/Venice/Toronto festival lineup, but various factors got in the way and we missed our opportunity. Now that a number of the year’s potential Oscar contenders have been screened in at least one of these festivals, the year-end competition is beginning to take place.
When we last put our list together, we were all certain The Birth of a Nation would run away with several Oscar nominations. However, after recent revelations about director/writer/star Nate Parker’s past, those potential outcomes have become heavily weighed down by doubt. It was a route with Parker’s film being removed from nearly every prediction out there. It may be too early to know if that was wise, but right now, things aren’t looking good. Meanwhile, films like La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Lion, and Jackie have existed the festivals with sizable buzz for one aspect of each film or another. Our predictions reflect these changes.
Star out by reading our individual commentaries on the race and then dig into our look at nine of the year’s top categories.