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||| Frank Capra |||
Frank Capra

It goes without saying that Capra is one of the greatest and most beloved directors of all time, especially renowned for his madcap romantic comedies. He is one of the few directors who ever managed to balance whimsy with meaningfulness without loosing the ability to entertain.

Only Frank Capra, with his light hand and good sense of allowing the actors to be their roles, could carry off this tale of a naive average American used by an unscrupulous politician through a nationwide goodwill drive. No one was ever better at having strong yet vulnerable women not only aid, but often come to the rescue, of the leading man.

Frank Capra's final film is a hilarious translation of a Damon Runyon tale set in 1930s New York, as gangster Glenn Ford repays street peddler Bette Davis for her "good luck" apples by passing her off as a well-to-do society lady for her visiting daughter (Ann-Margret in her film debut). This excellent and thoroughly enjoyable remake of his own 1933 "Lady for a Day" is a beautiful swan song to a master storyteller. Widescreen!

In this black comedy about two sweet old ladies whose basement holds a murderously funny secret, Capra utilizes star Cary Grant to his zany, patented “double take” best. Capra’s brilliance in comic casting is demonstrated with such reliable character actors as Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and Jack Carson who manage to play their parts to the hilt without chewing up the scenery.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Oscar Handicap 2014: Leading Actor and Actress

By EdwardHavens

March 1st, 2014

Here, we will examine the results of voting patters for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Oscar Handicap 2014: Leading Actor and Actress

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

Best Actor

The Breakdowns
1) As long as you're not the nominee in the lowest grossing film in this category at the time of the nomination announcements, you've won 32 of 35 (91.43%). Advantage: Bale, DiCaprio, Ejiofor, McConaughey
2) As long as you're not the youngest nominee, you've won 28 of 35 (80%). Advantage: Bale, Dern, DiCaprio, McConaughey
3) The SAG Award winner in this category has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category 15 of the 19 times the former award has been awarded (78.95%). Advantage: McConaughey
4) Those who received the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama have won the Best Actor Oscar 23 of 35 (65.71%). Advantage: McConaughey
5) Playing a fictional character has helped the winner 22 of 35 (62.86%). Advantage: Bale, Dern
6) Actors working from a screenplay adapted from a previously published work have won 20 of 35 (57.14%). Advantage: DiCaprio, Ejiofor
7) Those previously nominated for an Oscar have won the Best Actor Oscar 20 of 35 (57.14%). Advantage: bale, DiCaprio
8) The winner of at least two awards from four major critics organizations (Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle) has yielded an Oscar 18 of 35 (51.43%). Advantage: Dern

By The Numbers
Hopefully, an Oscar will convince Mr. McConaughey to stay far away from dumb rom-coms for the remainder of his career
Christian Bale, "American Hustle": +1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, +7, -8 (150 of 264, 56.82%)
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska": -1, +2, -3, -4, +5, -6, -7, +8 (117 of 264, 44.32%)
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street": +1, +2, -3, -4, -5, +6, +7, -8 (146 of 264, 55.30%)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave": +1, -2, -3, -4, -5, +6, -7, -8 (120 of 264, 45.45%)
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club": +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, -6, -7, -8 (158 of 264, 59.85%)

Best Actress

The Breakdowns
1) As long as you're not the nominee in the lowest grossing film in this category at the time of the nominations announcement, you've won 33 of the last 35 ceremonies (94.29%). Advantage: Adams, Blanchett, Bullock, Dench
2) The winner of the Golden Globe for Drama has gone to win here 28 of 35 (80%). Advantage: Blanchett
3) As long as you're not the youngest nominee, you've won 27 of 35 (77.14%). Advantage: Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, Streep
4) Playing an American has helped the winner in this category 26 of 35 (74.29%). Advantage: Adams, Blanchett, Bullock, Streep
5) Playing a fictional character has helped the winner 24 of 35 (68.57%). Advantage: Adams, Blanchett, Bullock, Streep
6) The SAG Award winner in this category has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category 13 of 19 (68.42%). Advantage: Blacnhett
7) The Best Actress winner has starred in a Best Picture nominee 23 of 35 (65.71%). Advantage: Adams, Bullock, Dench
8) First-time nominees in this category have won 18 of 35 (51.43%). Advantage: Adams
9) Actresses working from materials previously published or produced have won 18 of 35 (51.43%). Advantage: Dench, Streep

By The Numbers
Blanchett is the statistical leader, but sometimes forces outside the award show can cause a great upset
Amy Adams, "American Hustle": +1, -2, -3, +4, +5, -6, +7, +8, -9 (162 of 299, 54.18%)
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine": +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8, -9 (197 of 299, 65.89%)
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity": +1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, +7, -8, +9 (187 of 299, 62.54%)
Judi Dench, "Philomena": +1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, +7, -8, +9 (151 of 299, 50.50%)
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County": -1, -2, +3, +4, +5, -6, -7, -8, +9 (142 of 299, 47.49%)


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