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Friday, February 22, 2013

Before the Oscars: The Hammies

by Ben Cohen

Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild at BAMcinemaFest 2012

You can blame the Academy Awards for all the hoopla associated today with awards shows. The red carpet, the long speeches, and the terrible jokes—the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards all came after the granddaddy Oscar.

Feeling left out, we decided that we at the BAM blog should give our own honors. But first, we need a good name. In honor of the BAM Hamm Archives, we present to you the first-ever Hammy Awards (affectionately known as the Hammies).

This inaugural Hammy will honor nine nominees who fulfill two criteria:
  1. They have all received an Oscar nomination
  2. They have appeared at BAM

And the nominees are:

1. Julien Bryan
Short Subject (One-reel) for Siege (1940)

Julien Bryan gave a series of lectures in the fall of 1937 that included his celebrated motion picture reels. A year later, the daring reporter filmed the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw and made a documentary short called Siege. In 1941, Siege was nominated for an Oscar for "Best One-reel Short" at the 13th Academy Awards. From one of the 1937 BAM programs: "There have been countless testimonies to the authenticity, the human drama and the insight into economic and social problems that Mr. Bryan's motion pictures possess."

2. Ruth Gordon
Winner: Actress in a Supporting Role for Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Nominated: Writing (Original Screenplay) for A Double Life (1947); Writing (Story and Screenplay) for Adam’s Rib (1950); Writing (Story and Screenplay) for Pat and Mike (1952), Actress in a Supporting Role for Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

In 1940, Ruth Gordon appeared at BAM in a feature presentation of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. The film was nominated for two Oscars and Gordon was nominated five times in her celebrated career. She won an Oscar in 1968 for her role as Minnie Castevet in Rosemary's Baby.

3. Ingmar Bergman
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1973)
Nominated: Writing (Story and Screenplay—written directly for the screen) for Wild Strawberries (1959); Writing (Story and Screenplay—written directly for the screen) for Through the Glass Darkly (1962); Directing, Best Picture, and Writing (Story and Screenplay--based on factual material or material not previously published or produced) for Cries and Whispers (1973); Directing for Face to Face (1976); Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) for Autumn Sonata (1978); Directing and Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) for Fanny & Alexander (1983)

The nine-time Academy Award nominee was a regular at BAM. Here the great director is photographed backstage at BAM in 1991.

Ingmar Bergman, Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden. Photo by Bengt Wanselius

4. Philip Glass
Music (Original Dramatic Score) for Kundun (1997), Music (Original Score) for The House (2002), Music (Original Score) for Notes on a Scandal (2006).

Glass is well known for his contributions to film scores and we're proud of our longstanding relationship with his work. Last year we saw the re-staging of perhaps one of his greatest works, Einstein on the Beach as part of the 30th Next Wave Festival.

5. Kevin Spacey
Actor in a Supporting Role for The Usual Suspects (1995); Actor in a Leading Role for American Beauty (1999)

The two-time Oscar winner took the stage at BAM last year in his celebrated role as Richard III. Icing on the Oscar cake: Richard III was directed by Sam Mendes (winner of Best Director for American Beauty). That reminds us, did you know that Richard III's remains were recently discovered under a parking lot?

6. Robert Redford
Directing for Ordinary People (1980); Honorary Award To Robert Redford: Actor, director, producer, creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere (2001).
Nominated: Actor for The Sting (1973); Directing and Best Picture for Quiz Show (1994)

What would film be today without the vision of Robert Redford? He created Sundance, for heavens sake. He won an Oscar in 1980 for Best Director (Ordinary People) and we are always glad to have him at BAM for a Q&A. Our favorite moment was just a few years ago when Redford participated in a Q&A with the real Woodward and Bernstein following a screening of All the Presidents Men (winner of four Oscars).

Click the above photo to see Redford's speech at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002

7. Werner Herzog
Documentary (Feature) for Encounters at the End of the World (2008)

The Oscar nominee was at BAM in 2012 for a very memorable talk with moderator Paul Holdengräber. Here he is explaining the trust between an actor and director, in this case: Nicolas Cage.

8. Wim Wenders
Documentary (Feature) for Buena Vista Social Club (1999); Documentary (Feature) for Pina (2011).

We were really rooting for Wenders' documentary Pina to win last year. Pina deserves her own honorary nomination here. Hollywood might not have recognized her until 2012, but better late than never.

9. Quvenzhané Wallis
Actress in a Leading Role for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

She's only nine years old; the youngest actress ever to receive an Oscar nomination. She proved that she is ready for the red-carpet last June here at BAM (just look at this dress she wore to the screening and Q&A of Beasts of the Southern Wild at BAMcinemaFest).

Photo by Rebecca Greenfield

...and this is just the beginning. Juliette Binoche, Geoffrey Rush, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, and many others have all graced both BAM and the Academy's stages.

So, who do you think deserves the Hammy? More importantly, who did we snub?

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