Tuesday, December 30, 2014


What a year.  Can you believe that the most controversial Hollywood film of the year, one that made us wonder if theaters showing it would be the targets of terrorist attacks, was a new Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy called The Interview?  This movie isn't exactly a classic like Chaplin's The Great Dictator or Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. It's got Franco as a ditzy tabloid TV show host who explains what a great "money shot" is in gay porn.  Seth Rogen plays his TV producer who gets instructions on how to hide a big, thick metal tube of CIA secrets up his bum.  Even the White House got involved with the controversy regarding The Interview.  Who knew that Seth Rogen's butt in a new movie would become part of a symbol of American patriotism and free speech?  This is the movie that has Korean dictator Kim Jong-un saying "I've got a butthole and it's working overtime."

Let's go back to the glory days of Hollywood and some entertainment from a filmmaker who had four Oscars on his mantlepiece.

Rich with witty dialogue, this is a must-see classic sophisticated comedy that's a festive rental for New Year's Eve.  One of my favorite exchanges is between two working class women, longtime best friends, who work for the upper class folks in the town.  Mrs. Finney's loud grown daughters are beating on her eardrums with their squabbling.  Sadie, Mrs. Finney's best friend, sings "Auld Lang Syne" through the ruckus.

Mrs.  Finney:  "Can't we have peace in this house even on New Year's Eve?"

Sadie:  "You got it all mixed up with Christmas.  New Year's Eve is when people go back to killing each other."

Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern and Jeanne Crain starred in A LETTER TO THREE WIVES.  If you love ALL ABOUT EVE, you need to see this one.
My favorite character is Linda Darnell as Lora Mae Finney, the luscious babe with dollar signs in her eyes.  She's got a comeback for every line you can toss at her.  If Linda Darnell had ever received an Oscar nomination in her film career, it should've been for this delicious performance.  Burly Paul Douglas plays the town's bachelor millionaire businessman.  He's Lora Mae's boss.  He'd like to spend time with her after office hours.

Thelma Ritter stars as Sadie (holding a beer in the photo below).  Need I say more?
The details in some scenes are as smart as the dialogue and the golden cast.  Here's my short podcast on the joys of A Letter To Three Wives:

What happens after Lora Mae traps her bear?  Get A Letter To Three Wives and find out.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Randall Park, Overlooked Actor

Can an Asian brother get some love from network news reporters on TV?  It may not have been Number One at the box office over the weekend, but THE INTERVIEW sure was the top movie in network news headlines and reports because of the whole Sony hacking mess.  First we couldn't see it.  Then we could see it.  The comedy's two stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco, benefitted from all the news coverage.  They constantly got mentioned in the reports.  They play two best buddies, employees of a tabloid TV talk show, who get the wacky CIA assignment to terminate Kim Jong-un while they're in Korea to do an exclusive interview of him.  But the doofus TV host, played by Franco, has second thoughts about the CIA plot.  He and the Korean dictator have some male bonding time and discover they like the same things -- Margaritas and Katy Perry music.
In the entertainment news reports about The Interview, do you remember hearing the name Randall Park?  No?  Neither do I.  And we should've heard his name along with mentions of co-stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.  Randall Park is the L.A. actor who kills it as Kim Jong-un in the comedy.  In fact, his performance is one of the best things about The Interview.  I saw the movie and reviewed it here on my blogsite.

He makes the dictator so charming, so playful, so misunderstood that you see why Franco's nitwit TV host has second thoughts on his assassination orders from the CIA.
I've been a Randall Park fan for years.  I've noticed him in several national TV commercials and in episodes of popular TV shows such as MADtv and The Mindy Project.  He's got the comic acting gift.   I've been HBO deprived in the last couple of years.  I didn't know until friends told me yesterday that Park played a Midwest governor on the HBO sitcom, VEEP, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  Park played Danny Chung.

I'm really surprised that Randall Park hasn't gotten any mention in the reports on The Interview seen on ABC's network evening news or on Good Morning America.  The actor has a lead role in an upcoming ABC sitcom.  This sitcom is a rarity for network TV.

FRESH OFF THE BOAT is the name of the memoir written by celebrity chef and hip-hop music lover, Eddie Huang.   It's been adapted into a sitcom that premieres early 2015 on ABC.  Randall Park plays the family's restaurant owner dad.  Here's the trailer.

Count on the fingers of one hand how many network sitcoms you can recall that were about Asian-American families.  Not holding up all the fingers on that one hand, are you?  There was the breakthrough Margaret Cho sitcom, also on ABC, that pretty much gave her an emotional breakdown trying to deal with network executives.  That Margaret Cho show, All-American Girl, aired 1994 to 1995.

1994 and 2015.  A long time in between network sitcoms about Asian-American families.

With that in mind, coupled with the fact that he has a key role in the most controversial movie of 2014, a movie that even got the White House involved, I think some entertainment news reporters should profile actor Randall Park.  At least, ABC should.

Just my opinion.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Tim Burton directed Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice (1988) and Batman (1989).  This year, we see them try new things and exercise new artistic muscles in movie.  Keaton got rave reviews for his challenging dramatic performance in Birdman.  Burton is famous for surreal movies or movies about surreal people like the two films I mentioned plus Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks! and his under-appreciated love story, Big Fish.  I've been kind of ho-hum about Burton's most recent films like his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and his version of the vampire TV series, Dark Shadows.  But I recommend his new movie, Big Eyes.  It's based on the real life story of painter Margaret Keane.  She's still alive and met with Amy Adams, the actress who plays her.  Adams goes very blonde, a shade that matches Keane's, and gives a solid performance.  She goes from demure to defiant in this role.
When I was a kid in Los Angeles, her drawings were a sensation.  She painted sad-faced children with eyes so big that the youngsters looked like outer space aliens on earth.  These images were a mass market hit.  People loved them.  But, initially, the public thought that Margaret Keane's untalented, controlling, egotistical husband was the artist.
Those adjectives comes from the way he's portrayed in the film.  Christoph Waltz, as good as Adams, makes him a sexy, charming weasel. Man, is Waltz a good actor.
The characters with the big eyes in the paintings look as if they're unable to sleep because they can't shut their big eyes.  We wait for Margaret, the wife, to wake the hell up and kick this bad marriage to the curb.
I sat through Big Eyes and thought "This is why we started an annual Black History Month."  Margaret is constantly contributing, contributing, contributing and giving to the art world, whether you think her stuff is great or not.  She's treated like a second class citizen.  When her work proves to be marketable, someone else gets involved, takes the credit for it, gets the fame and gets the big money.  Her history is swept under a rug.

Big Eyes doesn't have the special effects and sci-fi/fantasy elements we've come to expect in a Tim Burton film.  Here, the fantasy is the batch of lies created by a greedy husband in a bad second marriage for one good woman.

The action starts at a time when the American woman was not so independent.  You could be a social outcast if you were an unwed mother in the 1950s.  Not that Margaret was, but that's the way things were.  Women were meant to marry young and be housewives.  She takes a bold, independent step and moves out of a bad marriage.  She puts her loving daughter in the back seat of the car and drives them to a new life in San Francisco.

Popular, sophisticated Walter seems to be the answer.  But this second marriage unexpectedly leads her into a cult-like existence.  She's isolated in her own new, upscale home.  She lies to her daughter.  She cuts herself off from old friends.  The house is somewhat removed, so there's no next door neighbor within a short walking distance.

It's the women in her life that have the true vision and see things the way there are.  Her daughter.  Her best friend.  Sales ladies (of sorts) who meet her on their door-to-door mission.  Men, like the newspaper columnist, believe what Walter tells them.  It's worth sitting through the movie to see Walter get his come-uppence in court.  He is one hot mess of a man.  From Walter, Margaret needs to reclaim her history and her identity.

It's really interesting to see director Tim Burton in less-is-more mode.  Maybe it's not that complicated a story but it holds your interest and the acting is excellent.  There are no evil Martians.  There's no Beetlejuice.  The horror is the fantasy created in an emotionally abusive marriage and the rape of a woman's identity.  Burton did a mighty fine job.

Had she lived, I bet that Margaret Keane in Big Eyes is the quality of screen assignment Marilyn Monroe hoped to get when she hit her mid-30s.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

THE INTERVIEW, A Fine Bromance

How does The Interview compare to current big studio releases?  I liked it more than The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1, the unnecessary Annie remake, more than Horrible Bosses 2 and more than Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie.

Let me get real.  Comedies with Seth Rogen and James Franco are guilty pleasures for me.  Pineapple Express and This Is The End ...love 'em.  Movies with those two are basically bromances.  They gives us definite man-love on the down-low, only it's not so down-low.  I'll put it like this -- if Seth Rogen and James Franco had made Brokeback Mountain, that movie would've had weed-smoking scenes and a happy ending.

Rogen and Franco have a fine bromance in The Interview.

The Interview is funny.  It's about media manipulation, freedom of the press and being responsible with that freedom.  James Franco plays Dave Skylark, a popular Billy Bush-type tabloid entertainment news TV host.  Rogen plays his harried producer, a guy who longs to do more substantial, hardcore news.  Handsome, well-dressed and a bit of an idiot, Dave Skylark winds up in Korea with the chance to interview Kim Jong-un.  His best buddy/producer Aaron Rapaport goes with him.  Will Dave ask puffball questions like he asks celebrities on his tabloid show or will he crossover and ask well-researched, tough political questions and thus conduct a serious news interview?  Also..will Dave and Aaron terminate the Korean leader for the CIA?  Yes, they've been approached by the CIA to perform an outlandish task.  These two dudes are given spy gadgets.
The movie opens with Dave at work on "Skylark Tonight."  Eminem is his guest and reveals that his music leaves "...a breadcrumbs trail of gayness."

When Dave and Aaron discuss the Korean leader before they head overseas, Dave remarks "I hear he doesn't pee or poop."  Later, when Dave tells that to the Korean leader (who happens to be a fan of Dave's), Kim confirms that he does indeed have a functioning anus.  Says Kim Jong-un, "I've got a butthole and it's working overtime."
To think that a movie with Kim Jong-un talking about his butthole to a clueless national TV personality got the involvement of our President Obama because of the Sony hacking mess.  Lord, have mercy.

When Dave Skylark and the mysterious Korean leader meet, you don't feel that espionage is at play and murder will be attempted.  In fact, it's more like a blind date that goes really, really well.  First Kim shows Dave some of his secret military possessions.  He points to one tank and says, "It was a gift to my grandfather from Stalin."  Dave responds, "In my country, it's pronounced Stallone."

Not only does overwhelmed Aaron frantically beg Dave to be a serious TV journalist for once,  Aaron's got to hide sensitive information in his butt per orders from the CIA.  Information in a metal tube.  A big metal tube.
I would not expect anything less from a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy.

One of the other reasons I wanted to see The Interview is because I really dig actor Randall Park.  He's been in numerous TV commercials, episodes of TV series and in movies.  He's a pro at comedy and, come February, he'll play the dad on a new ABC sitcom called Fresh Off The Boat.  It's about an Asian-American family.  I hated the title but I discovered that the sitcom is based on a memoir of the same name.

Randall Park is an absolute hoot as the Korean dictator, a seemingly misunderstand man with father issues -- a man who likes Margaritas and Katy Perry music.  There's conflict over the orders Dave and Aaron got from the CIA.  Dave has a new Korean buddy.
These two need to get the TV interview and then get the heck back to the USA pronto.
The Interview has got a brisk pace, the acting is good, there's action, there's almost sex and there's innocently homo-erotic dialogue during stressful moments.  Fans of Seth Rogen & James Franco bromance comedies will dig it.  As usual, Franco seems to be a closet bear chaser.  And Rogen is the unaware bear.  If you liked Pineapple Express and This Is The End, you'll like The Interview.  I laughed a lot. I needed something loopy.
In the category of films that mocked real-life dictators or had a wacky political anarchy, it's not on the same top shelf with Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940) or Duck Soup (1933) starring the Marx Brothers or Woody Allen's Bananas (1971).  But, when The Interview pokes American TV journalism today, an age in which the line between news and entertainment has been erased, I would put this comedy on a double bill with Broadcast News, the sharp 1987 comedy/drama written and directed by James L. Brooks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ARISE TV Lifted My Spirits

Arise TV resurrected my spirit this year.  Thank you, Arise TV, for the invites to be a guest film reviewer on Arise On Screen.  That fresh, new weekend film review and entertainment news show is hosted by Mike Sargent.  Mike is a movie critic, an indie filmmaker and a New York City radio host.  I've posted one of my favorite episodes.  So, if you need a half-hour of some background entertainment as your wrapping presents or putting final decorations on the Christmas tree, play this video.  Being in the Arise On Screen mix has been one of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my TV career.
The New York City-based show is fresh and new because TV --- network TV morning news programs or syndicated shows -- rarely, if ever, presented or present black film critics on a regular basis.  You must admit that movie critics on television has been predominantly a Caucasian boys club.  Mike's show kicks open a door with black male film critics and women of all colors.  I wish TV columnists would take note of the racial and sexual diversity Arise On Screen presents every weekend.  I've been proud to be on the show.  I totally dig the entire crew.  This program proves that black folks can indeed join the conversation about big new Hollywood releases, indie films, foreign films and we can discuss old Hollywood classics.  The show is more groundbreaking than folks realize.

In this episode, we kick it off by discussing the entertainment news of this year's Oscars.  I talked about Whoopi Goldberg who, for about 20 years, was the only black actress in Academy Awards history who had two Oscar nominations to her credit.  She was a Best Actress nominee for 1985's The Color Purple...
...and she won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1990's Ghost.
Today, Viola Davis now also has two nominations on her resumé -- for Best Supporting Actress in Doubt (2008) and Best Actress for The Help (2011).

Screen newcomer Jennifer Lawrence has three Oscar nominations to her credit.  Amy Adams has five.  Only one Oscar nomination for the late Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno, Rosie Perez and Angela Bassett.  That's a deep statement on Hollywood's good script opportunities for black and Hispanic actresses.

Mike Sargent, the fascinating Justine Browning and I will also talk about non-hairy ancient Greeks and take a visit to The Grand Bupadest Hotel.

Enjoy this episode of Arise On Screen.

If you live in New York's Tri-State area, you can watch Arise On Screen Saturdays at 5:30pm Eastern time on Time Warner Ch. 92 or Verizon Ch. 481.

The show repeats Sundays at 5:00pm and 7:30pm Eastern.

If you're in Europe, you TV viewers can watch the show on SKYY.

For folks here in the States who don't have Time Warner or Verizon, the show streams online at the times I listed.  Just log on to www.Arise.TV.

Merry Christmas and thank you so much for your attention.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

History in SELMA

Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.  And I hope Ava DuVernay makes Oscar history as the first African American woman nominated for Best Director.  In this film, we follow Dr. Martin Luther King through one of the most important, most widely-seen marches of his civil rights activist leadership. It was a march in Selma, Alabama.  The gifted British actor David Oyelowo is excellent as Dr. King.  He makes him a man, a complicated man, of dimension.  A man with imperfections and doubts and occasional marital discord.  King was an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things with his life -- extraordinary things that benefitted millions of us.  Why did Dr. King lead that potentially dangerous walk across a bridge a Selma, Alabama?  Because black Americans were denied the right to vote.  This was the 1960s.

Oyelowo is seen here with the film's director (far right) and with Oprah Winfrey, a supporting cast member.  Oprah's also the film's producer.
Decades have passed since the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Ms. DuVernay told National Public Radio about a young male in Los Angeles of 18 or 19 who didn't know what MLK stood for.  He saw the initials in relation to a federal holiday in January, a day that meant department store sales.  The teen was unaware of the fullness and magnificence of Dr. King's legacy.  Now Dr. King, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is real to that teen.  I think Ms. DuVernay's film will have that impact on other youths.
Director DuVernay grew up in what is now called South Los Angeles.  She lived in Compton.  I grew up within walking distance of Compton.  I went to high school in Watts when South Los Angeles was still called South Central L.A.  Our family watched Dr. King on the network evening news regularly.  I remember the day he was shot and killed.  The next school day, all us students were somber.  So were the teachers.  The principal announced the classes would end early that day, in the late morning, and we could go home in case turbulence would erupt in Watts again, this time in anger at the assassination of Dr. King.  King's life and times were a part of my history when I was a boy.

In Selma,  there's a montage of Americans watching network news coverage of the Selma march.  We see a barbershop in Watts in that montage.

With history in mind, I'm attaching a Spike Lee interview I did in 1997.  This appeared on Channel 5's Good Day New York.  The filmmaker was promoting what I feel is one of his finest works, a documentary called 4 Little Girls.

I went to see Selma with a friend who's a lot younger than I am.  In the first ten minutes of Selma, I gasped.  I knew that the action was leading up to a tragic event -- one that made international headlines and intensified Dr. King's mission for Civil Rights.  The movie audience was shocked at the evil deed.  I leaned over to my friend and whispered "That really happened."  She didn't know about this true-life tragedy.

Before Dr. Martin Luther King's march in Selma, Alabama there was a dark Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama.  A racial hate crime occurred a month after Dr. King's March on Washington for racial equality and civil rights.  Here's my 1997 Spike Lee interview.  This bit of history will give Selma more depth when you see it:
If you have not seen that Spike Lee documentary, I highly recommend renting it.

There has never been a theatrical release major movie about Dr. King.  The biopics we've seen have been TV productions. I repeat that David Oyelowo is excellent as King.  Another really solid performance comes from Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, the former Vice-President sworn into office the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in November 1963.
Selma shows us that peaceful protest was not at all easy.  It took bravery.  People stared down the possibility of death.  And there was tension within the movement.  Some black men felt Dr. King needed more muscle.  He needed to be militant.  King and his non-violent protestors had their opponents, like the more militant black leader, Malcolm X.  In Selma, we see a meeting between those two leaders.

The 1960s.  That was a decade both terrific and terrible.  There was the March on Washington, the U.S. landed a man on the moon, we had the fresh new attitude in the White House of President John F. Kennedy and his embrace of the fine arts, we had great rock music and great new films.  We also suddenly and tragically lost Medgar Evers, President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Dr. King and presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy to assassin's bullets.

When the Oscars telecast was still held annually in early April, the first and only time the ceremony was postponed was because of the nation mourning the untimely death of Dr. King in April 1968.

Here's a trailer for Selma.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

UNBROKEN by Angelina Jolie

A great thing about American movies in the last ten years or so has been the number of films directed by women.  I mentioned this back in 2006/2007 when I worked on-air with Whoopi Goldberg on her syndicated weekday morning radio show -- if a woman had directed a Hollywood film or a network TV episode when Whoopi and I were kids, that woman was groundbreaking actress/director/producer Ida Lupino.  Things are different now.  Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director.  She won for 2008's The Hurt Locker.  That drama about the Iraq war also won the Oscar for Best Picture.  Also in 2008, Kimberly Peirce directed Stop-Loss, about the veterans of our Iraq war.  She directed Hilary Swank to a Best Actress Oscar victory for Boys Don't Cry.

Angelina Jolie won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted.  She went behind the camera as director and producer of the World War 2 biographical drama, Unbroken.  It opens Christmas Day.  Based on a best-selling book of the same name, it's the story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, a World War 2 veteran who passed away this year at age 97.  His life story was one of survival, resilience and redemption.  Not only was Lou in active combat, he survived beatings when he was a Japanese prisoner of war.  As Lou says in the film, "If I can take it, I can make it."

His experience in wartime truly was a living hell.  He kept his religious faith and forgave his enemies after the war was over.

How is the movie?  Big and impressive.  There are memorable scenes, such as the fighter plane sequences and the nearly 50 days of Zamperini being lost at sea.  Zamperini and two crewmembers fight starvation, storms and sharks.  British actor Jack O'Connell is terrific as Lou.  You'd swear he'd grown up in Southern California like Lou did.  I did wonder, before she cast O'Connell, if Jolie auditioned any young Italian-American actors in Southern and Northern California, West Coast guys who really had Italian immigrant relatives like Lou did.  Unbroken moves you, yet it falls short of being a classic -- like Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.

I don't think Jolie had a giant a budget like Spielberg may have had to do that 1998 Tom Hanks film.  However, she gets the most out of fewer extras and locations.  Remember how Saving Private Ryan opens with that graphic sequence of hundreds of G.I.s in battle during the D-Day invasion?  Jolie opens with a pilot combat sequence and concentrates on about a half dozen soldiers.  Very effective.  It's action-packed and focusing on fewer men hits you with the realization of how young our military men in WW2 were.  They were guys right out of high school or in their early 20s thrust into sheer horror and facing absolute evil as they bravely fought for freedom.  Jolie has a nice economy as director.
The movie is in three chapters after we're introduced to Lou, his home life and his athletic prowess.  There's air combat, there's nearly 50 days of sea survival after a crash landing, and then we're on land with Lou in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.  He was a first generation Italian-American.  As a little boy, he spoke no English when he and his immigrant parents moved to Torrance, California during the Great Depression.   After he stopped getting in trouble and focused on his track skills, he was good enough to make the track team for the historic 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.  Adolf Hitler was in attendance.  Also on the track team was black American Jesse Owens.  You know how Hitler felt about Jews and black people.  The training Zamperini got for track taught him endurance.  That'll come in handy when he's a P.O.W.

As it turns out, a 1936 Olympics competitor is the cruel, jealous Japanese officer in the prisoner of war camp.  He's played quite effectively by actor Takamasa Ishihara.

I have a feeling that Jolie was influenced by the work of director David Lean, specifically his WW2 epic war drama, The Bridge on the River Kwai.  This film won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1957.  But...the trailer for Unbroken gave me the impression there was going to be a track meet showdown in the Japanese prisoner of war camp.  Here's the trailer:
I expected some major Chariots of Fire action with Lou and his Japanese captors.
For all its good intentions, powerful scenes, exciting action and top-notch acting, Unbroken needs something more.  A touch more soul so that it doesn't seem like two hours with a motivational speaker. In The Bridge on the River Kwai, David Lean gave us duty, survival and resilience.  The soul was Alec Guiness  as the unflappable British colonel, a Japanese P.O.W. who says near the end, "What have I done?" as other officer sums up the essence of war when he looks on and states "Madness! Madness!"

Unbroken needed a touch of Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai or a final shot of the Japanese officer like that final shot of Marlene Dietrich's character, Madame Bertholt, in 1961's Judgment at Nuremberg.  When the Nazi war crimes trial is over, she sits alone in silence, not answering her ringing phone.  Madame Bertholt was married to a Nazi officer.  She claimed to be unaware of Nazi crimes against humanity.
Unbroken is still a worth-while film to see.  It's the quality of film that would've made it a good field trip for high school students because of its inspirational messages.  With non-graphic violence, brief backside nudity and only about one four-letter latrine word, it's a PG-13 film.  The movie just needed a little more payoff from the screenplay in the last act, considering the long grueling, physical and emotional journey it took us on.  Plus, it feels its own importance.  However, Jolie did an admirable job as director.
Jesse Owens is a character in the early part of Unbroken.  This history-making, famous athlete is seen briefly in the film.  The legendary Jesse Owens deserves his own biopic.  I still say that Olympics champion should be played by one of the stars of The Hurt Locker, actor Anthony Mackie.

If you see Angelina Jolie on NBC a few times promoting this film, that's because Unbroken comes from Universal, the sister company to NBC.  On Sunday's edition of Today, Jolie talked about her affection for the real-life Zamperini.  He got to see a rough cut of the film before he died.  Angelina Jolie called him "a father figure" to her.
I've never heard her say that about her real-life father, actor Jon Voight.

Dig these Women in Film history facts:  The first person to get an Oscar nomination for acting thanks to a woman director was Ruth Chatterton, Best Actress Oscar nominee for 1930's Sarah and Son,  directed by Dorothy Arzner.  Italian actor Giancarlo Gianni was a Best Actor of 1976 Oscar nominee for the foreign film, Seven Beauties, directed by Italy's Lina Wertmüller.  For that same film, Lina Wertmüller was the first woman to get an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Barbra Streisand directed Amy Irving to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for 1983's Yentl.  Streisand directed Nick Nolte to a Best Actor Oscar nomination and Kate Nelligan to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for 1991's The Price of Tides, also nominated for Best Picture.

Tom Hanks was a Best Actor Oscar nominee for 1988's Big, directed by Penny Marshall.  Sofia Coppola directed Bill Murray to an Oscar nomination in the same category for 2003's Lost in Translation.  Patty Jenkins directed Charlize Theron to a Best Actress Oscar win for 2003's Monster.  Lisa Cholodenko directed Annette Bening to a Best Actress Oscar nomination and Mark Ruffalo to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for The Kids Are All Right, also a nominee for Best Picture of 2010.

Meryl Streep has been a Best Actress Oscar nominee thanks to two female directors -- Nora Ephron of 2009's Julie & Julia and Phyllida Law of 2011's The Iron Lady, the Margaret Thatcher biopic that earned Streep her third Oscar.  

Those are some of the Oscar nominations that came for films directed by women.  Let's see how Angelina Jolie does with Unbroken when the Oscar nominations are announced January 15th.

Oscar Buzz for TILL

 I'm on Twitter and, in the last three weeks, there's been Oscar buzz from a few established movie critics. The buzz was that Cate B...