FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Joseph L. Mankiewicz |||
Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Mankiewicz directed 20 films in a 26-year period, and was very successful at every kind of film, from Shakespeare to western, drama to musical, epics to two-character pictures, and regardless of the genre, he was known as a witty dialogist, a master in the use of flashback and a talented actors' director.

The 1950 Oscar for Best Picture and Screenplay brought Mankiewicz wide recognition as a writer and a director, with his sardonic look at show business glamour and the empty lives behind it. This well orchestrated cast of brilliant and catty character actors is built around veteran actress Bette Davis and Anne Baxter as her understudy desperate for stardom.

One of Mankiewicz’ more intimate films, this highly regarded and major artistic achievement is a spirited romantic comedy set in England of the 1880’s about a widow who moves into a haunted seashore house and resists the attempts of a sea captain specter to scare her away. This is a pleasing and poignant romance that is equally satisfying as a good old ghost story.

Mankiewicz wrote and directed this witty dissection of matrimony that has three women review the ups and downs of their marriages (with all its romance, fears and foibles) after receiving a letter telling them that one of their husbands has been unfaithful. Once again Mankiewicz deftly utilizes the skills of a well-chosen ensemble, which includes a young Kirk Douglas at his dreamiest.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

Advertisement

Oscar Handicap 2011: Best Picture of the Year

By EdwardHavens

February 26th, 2011

We begin (or conclude, depending on how you go about perusing) our eighth series of articles with the most important and prestigious award in all cinema.

Oscar Handicap 2011: Best Picture of the Year

We took a look many of the major categories over the past 25 ceremonies (for the films of 1985 through 2009), and found some surprising mathematical data, which may give some pause about who might win on February 27th.

Please note: These are not predictions on how the awards will turn out. Like in baseball, there are always more stats that could delve deeper into any category (like how well Albert Pujols hits with men in scoring position, with less than two outs, away his home stadium, during day games, against left handers, on artificial turf, when the count is 3-1, etc.), but these numbers are meant to entertain and start some interesting discussions about the nominees.

For clarification purposes, when there is mention of a pre-award favorite, this describes how this person won at least two of the top five pre-Oscar awards, between the Golden Globe for Drama, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review, the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. Also, when there is mention of someone playing a real person, the character that actor played must not be a fictionalized version of a real person, such as with Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There or Joe Pesci in GoodFellas. Had Pesci won for Raging Bull, that would have counted. Joey LaMotta was a real person. But Tommy DeVito in GoodFellas was (allegedly) a fictionalized version of Lucchese family gangster Thomas DeSimone, and thus does not qualify for this category.

And now, on with the show...

There are basically two camps for Best Picture this year: those who think The King's Speech has the best chance to win Best Picture, and those who think The Social Network still has a chance. Can we prove one camp is more on target than the other?

The Breakdowns:
1) Films nominated for Best Editing have won for Best Picture every year during the past 25 ceremonies (100%). Advantage: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network
2) Best Picture winners have come from movies whose directors were also nominated for Best Director 24 of 25 (96%). Advantage: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, The Social Network, True Grit
3) Movies with a screenplay nominated by the WGA have won Best Picture 24 of 25 times (96%). Advantage: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit
4) Films with at least five other nominations have won Best Picture 24 of 25 (96%). Advantage: The Fighter, Inception, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit
5) Best Picture winners have had at least one acting nomination 21 of 25 (84%). Advantage: Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit, Winter's Bone
6) The director of the Best Picture winner has also won the DGA Award 20 of 25 (80%). Advantage: The King's Speech
7) Stories not predominantly set in modern times have won 19 of 25 (76%). Advantage: The King's Speech, True Grit
8) The picture with the most nominations has gone on to win Best Picture 18 of 25 (72%). Advantage: The King's Speech
9) The winner of Best Picture was released after September 30th 18 of 25 (72%). Advantage: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit
10) The Best Picture winner has also won the PGA Golden Laurel 15 of the 21 times the latter award has been presented (71.42%). Advantage: The King's Speech
11) Pictures that have received the Golden Globe for drama have won 15 of 25 (60%). Advantage: The Social Network
12) Movies based on materials previously published or produced have won Best Picture 15 of 25 (60%). Advantage: 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone
Bonus) The winner of the SAG Ensemble Acting Award has won the Best Picture Oscar only 7 of the 15 times the latter award has been handed out (46.67%) Disadvantage: The King's Speech

By The Numbers
The King's Speech has received more Best Picture awards this season than any other film, and there is no reason to suspect Sunday night will end any different. But if there is a spoiler, it should be The Social Network.

Black Swan (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin): +1, +2, +3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11, -12
The Fighter (David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11, +12
Inception (Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan): -1, -2, +3, +4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12
The Kids Are All Right (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray): -1, -2, +3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, -12
The King's Speech (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin): +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, +10, -11, -12
127 Hours (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson): +1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11, +12
The Social Network (Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Cean Chaffin): +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, +11, +12
Toy Story 3 (Darla K. Anderson): -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, +12
True Grit (Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen): -1, +2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10, -11, +12
Winter's Bone (Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin): -1, -2, -3, -4, +5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, +12

Personal prediction for Best Picture: The King's Speech
Personal choice amongst these nominees: The Social Network


All articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature
The Technical Categories