Friday, February 19, 2010

For the Weekend: Oscars on the Brain

The Academy Awards are almost here (March 7th)!  And that means you can expect some award-winning movies to show up on television in anticipation.  TCM has its annual "31 Days of Oscar" schedule of fun.  And this weekend, even AMC has some great Oscar-winning movies on.  So, I say let's start celebrating the best of the best!

TCM's weekend schedule includes some real powerhouses.  On Saturday, start your weekend out with a good dose of one of England's greatest actors, Richard Burton.  And that voice, that voice!  Who wouldn't mind starting their weekend just listening to Burton talk for a few hours?!  It makes me melt just thinking about it.  The double-feature of "The Night of the Iguana" (1964) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) starts at 8:15am EST.  Both are screen adaptations of plays by great American playwrights - Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee, respectively.  "Iguana," directed by the legendary John Huston, tells the story of a defrocked priest and his sins in a small Mexico hotel.  Filmed in then-secluded Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, Huston gave each of the five leads (Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Sue Lyon, and Grayson Hall being the other four) a gold-encrusted pistol with a bullet engraved with each actor's name, so that if they really got frustrated enough with each other, they had a designated weapon to use.  Luckily, there were no problems between the cast.  In "Virginia Woolf," Burton joins his famous wife Elizabeth Taylor for a mighty dramatic story of a middle-aged married couple on the brink of destruction.  Taylor won the Best Actress Oscar for this film, and each of the other cast members (Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis) were nominated as well.

For a more recent Academy Award winner, AMC is showing "The Queen" (2006) a couple of times this weekend.  The story of England's royal family and prime minister after the death of Princess Diana in 1997 is heartwarmingly told in this film directed by Stephen Frears.  The always-amazing Helen Mirren won a much-disserved Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, and Michael Sheen's portrayal of Prime Minister Tony Blair is great to watch.  Frears was nominated for his direction of this film as well.

So, start gearing up for the Oscars this weekend with some great films of the past Academy Award races.  Also, check out the TCM widget I previously posted today for some extra Oscar fun and viewing ideas.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

(Post-tidbit:  "Virginia Woolf" was the fourth film Burton and Taylor did together.  They ended up doing eleven films together total.)


  1. Night of the Iguana and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as a double feature? Wow. Both great movies, but that intensity back to back would be too much to take. If I was going to do a double feature, I think I'd have to watch something like The Hangover after one of those to lighten the mood.

    - Chris

  2. Chris -

    I like your suggestion. It is a pretty intense double feature.