Category: Academy Awards

Oscar Profile #552: Walter Lang

Born August 10, 1896, in Memphis, Tennessee, Walter Lang entered the film business as a young man when he got a job in a production company, working his way up to assistant director and then director. His first film as director was 1925’s The Red Kimono. He worked steadily even though he temporarily quit the business to study art in Paris.

Lang, who was a distant nephew of director Fritz Lang, met future wife Madalynne Field in 1936 when he directed Love Before Breakfast starring Carole Lombard. Field and Lombard met while performing for Sennett’s Bathing Beauties in the late 1920s and had remained friends with Field acting as Lombard’s secretary. Lang and Field were married in 1937. Lombard and Clark Gable were godparents of Lang’s son, Richard, who became a Hollywood director himself.

Lang then began a long tenure at Twentieth Century-Fox. Among his early films for Fox were Second Honeymoon with Tyrone Power and Loretta Young, The Little Princess with Shirley Temple, The Great Profile with John Barrymore, Tin Pan Alley with Alice Faye and Betty Grable, Moon Over Miami with Grable and Don Ameche, Weekend in Havana with Faye and Carmen Miranda, and Greenwich Village with Miranda and Ameche.

In 1945, Lang became one of Fox’s top directors with his direction of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair with Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, and Vivian Blaine. He followed it with Claudia and David with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young, Sentimental Journey with Maureen O’Hara and John Payne, Mother Wore Tights with Grable and Dan Dailey, Sitting Pretty with O’Hara, Young, and Clifton Webb, and When My Baby Smiles at Me with Grable and Dailey. Webb and Dailey were both nominated for Oscars for Best Actor of 1948 for the latter two films.

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This Day in Oscar History: June 17 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 16 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 15 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 14 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 13 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 12 (2021)

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Oscar in Box Office History (Week 23, 2021)

Every week, we’ll take a look back in 5-year intervals at the box office past to explore how Oscar’s nominees were doing at the box office each weekend historically. The first section under each year is the positioning of all Oscar nominees during that weekend at the box office (as well as a section looking at the inflation-adjusted numbers). The third section is an alphabetical list of those films and the categories in which they were nominated. And to start each week off, we’ll be looking at the films releasing over the weekend that have the best chance of getting Oscar nominations and specifying the categories where we think they have the best shots at this stage of the game. If you have any suggestions for more data you’d like to see, please let us know.

This Year: Potential Oscar Nominees Releasing This Weekend

In the Heights (Wide)

Oscar Potential: Picture, Directing, Actor (Anthony Ramos), Actress (Leslie Grace), Supporting Actor (Jimmy Smits), Supporting Actresss (Olga Merediz), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song (if any new songs created for the film), Film Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound.

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This Day in Oscar History: June 11 (2021)

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Oscar Profile #551: Joe Pasternak

Born September 19, 1901, in a town in Austria-Hungary that is now part of Romania, József Paszternák, known professionally as Joe Pasternak, was one of eleven children of a town clerk. He emigrated to the US as a teenager in 1920 and stayed with an uncle in Philadelphia. He had a variety of jobs while studying acting in New York.

In 1922, Pastnak got a job as a busboy at Paramount Studios in Astoria, Queens and quickly rose to head waiter before quitting to become an assistant to director Allan Dwan. He worked as assistant director on 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera and 1926’s It’s the Old Army Game. He then directed a two-reel comedy starring El Brendel before going to work for Wesley Ruggles at Universal.

Universal sent Pasternak to Europe as associate producer on films made in Germany and Hungary. He returned to the U.S. in 1936, brining with him director Henry Koster. After seeing 14-year-old Deanna Durbin in the short, Every Sunday, he cast her in Three Smart Girls directed by Koster, the film that saved Universal from bankruptcy. As such, he was nominated for the Irving G. Thalberg Honorary Award at the 1938 Oscars. He would make ten films with Durbin including Mad About Music, That Certain Age, First Love and It Started with Eve.

While at Universal, Pasternak was also instrumental in reinventing Marlene Dietrich’s screen persona beginning with 1939’s Destry Rides Again. He produced two more Dietrich films before moving on to MGM in 1941.

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This Day in Oscar History: June 10 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 9 (2021)

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This Day in Oscar History: June 8 (2021)

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 4-6, 2021

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

This Day in Oscar History: June 7 (2021)

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