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This Day in Oscar History: October 31 (2014)

Here's what happened today in Oscar History.

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Oscar Profile #211: Joan Fontaine

FontaineBorn October 22, 1917 to British parents in Tokyo, Japan, Joan de Bouvier de Havilland, better known as Joan Fontaine, was the younger sister of Olivia de Havilland by fifteen months.

A sickly child, Joan moved to California with her mother and sister after her parents’ separation in 1919 while still a baby. She returned to Japan at 16 in 1933 to complete her education. Following her elder sister into acting, her mother, whom Joan always believed favored Olivia, insisted she change her name and not tread on the name of her sister who was already making a name for herself. She was first Joan St. John, then Joan Burfield before settling on her stepfather’s name of Fontaine. She made her film debut as Burfield in a small role in 1935’s No More Ladies. The film opened on June 14, 1935 exactly one day before de Havilland’s first film, Alibi Ike, but unlike de Havilland who had three more 1935 films in the can, Fontaine had to wait a year and a half for her next role, another minor part.

Fontaine always credited Katharine Hepburn, the star of 1937’s Quality Street in which she had a small part with bringing her to the attention of RKO executives who began to build her career. Her first starring role of note was in 1937’s A Damsel in Distress opposite Fred Astaire for which she was ridiculed for her amateurish dancing. It was back to supporting roles in such films as Gunga Din and The Women in 1939, the year she married actor Brian Aherne. Major stardom came quickly after that, however, when she won the coveted role of the second Mrs. de Winter in David O. Selznick’s 1940 film of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, the first Hollywood film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 30 (2014)

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This Day in Oscar History: October 29 (2014)

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This Day in Oscar History: October 28 (2014)

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 24-26, 2014

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 27 (2014)

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This Day in Oscar History: October 26 (2014)

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This Day in Oscar History: October 25 (2014)

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 43, 2014)

Every week, we'll take a look back 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years into the box office past to explore how Oscar's nominees were doing at the box office that weekend historically. All data is taken from Box Office Mojo. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office. The second 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 chance at this stage of the game. Please let us know if you like our new feature or if you want to see more information and we'll see what we can do!

This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend

None

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This Day in Oscar History: October 24 (2014)

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87th Oscars Documentary Short Subject Shortlist

The Academy's second announcement regarding eligible features this year comes for the Documentary Short Subject category. In 2013, the list arrived on Dec. 10. This time, it's Dec. 20, ten days later. With the Foreign Language Film list only two days behind, it's hard to extrapolate why this is the case. Based on past years, the Best Animated Feature and Animated Short Film shortlists will be next towards the beginning of November; followed by the Live-Action Short Film list in late November; the Documentary Feature set in early December; the Visual Effects bake-off list shortly thereafter; the Original Score and Makeup lists following closely; with the Original Song and Foreign Language Film shortlists following those up. This is all purely speculation based on last year's announcements. Now to this one:

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87th Oscars: Foreign Language Film Submissions

A record 83 countries submitted films this year. The announcement was made earlier this month and I updated the 87th Oscars page, but forgot to post an actual article. Here it is without commentary.

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Oscar Profile #210: Franz Waxman

WaxmanBorn December 24, 1906 in Upper Silesia, Germany, now Slaskie, Poland, Franz Wachsmann, later Waxman, pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family’s misgivings, supplementing his piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary as a bank teller.

The young composer found a job arranging music for a popular Berlin jazz band which led to a career in German films. His first job was orchestrating Frederick Hollander’s score for The Blue Angel, the film that made a star of Marlene Dietrich. After both scoring and arranging a number of German films, he came to Hollywood’s attention for his scoring of Fritz Lang’s Liliom for Fritz Lang in France. Moving to Hollywood, he was immediately hired by universal at director James Whale’s suggestion to score The Bride of Frankenstein which immediately put him in the top ranks of Hollywood composers.

Working first for Universal, then MGM, Waxman’s original scores in the 1930s included Fury, Captains Courageous and The Young in Heart for which he received two Oscar nominations, one for his original score and one for scoring, which he earned as the film’s arranger. Competitive awards for scoring began with the 1934 awards and continued through the 1967 awards. Awards for score composition began with the 1938 awards and continue to the present day. Waxman, from 1930 to 1960, scored more than 150 films.

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This Day in Oscar History: October 23 (2014)

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