Posted by Susana Segat on Feb 27, 2011.

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The Oscars in Cambridge

There's nothing like the Oscars to distract us from our daily woes. That one night of glamor, gossip, and art-world politics.

Tonight's the night: get the popcorn popping!

Our little city of Cambridge has been a player in Hollywood for many years. Who doesn't have one or two stories to tell about movie magic?

LOVE STORY

Have you ever walked down Oxford Street, between Harvard Yard and Porter Square? Check out the sign in the window of the laundromat (see picture above). 'Love Story' was a huge deal in the early 1970's and if you haven't seen it, get a hanky and enjoy some cultural history - it's a blast.

'Love Story' got 7 nominations at the 1971 Oscars for Best Actor (Ryan O'Neal), Best Supporting Actor (John Marley), Best Actress (Ali MacGraw), Best Director (Arthur Hiller), Best Picture (Howard Minsky) and Best Writing (Erich Segal). It won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score (Francis Lai).

THE GOOD MOTHER

Right down the block, on Prentiss Street, Diane Keaton starred in 'The Good Mother' in 1988. That movie didn't do well at the box office, but it is memorable to me for two reasons.

First, it's interesting to see what location scouts can do to your neighborhoods. It was the dead of winter: all the trees were bare and the sidewalks stark. But the scene was supposed to be shot in the summer. So the film crew worked all night attaching lush green leaves, one by one, on all of the branches that might be caught by the camera angles. Since the camera was never going to see the tops of the trees, they only made the bottom branches of the trees look good. That green swatch of summer glory was really fun to see.

Second, there's a bit of trivia. I believe that this movie cast Cambridge's Matt Damon's in one of his first film roles, as an uncredited extra. So even though 'The Good Mother' didn't rate an Oscar nomination, at least there's a connection to the awards through Matt!

THE TOWN

This year, we got to see some great shots of Harvard Square in Cambridge's Ben Affleck's 'The Town.' I didn't get to see any of the actual filming - but if you did, I would love to hear about it; could you tell us your story in the Comments section below?

'The Town' is getting one Oscar nomination tonight, for Jeremy Renner for Actor in a Supporting Role.

THE FIGHTER

And I hesitate to say it because it went by fast on the screen, but I believe that I saw one of CCTV's cable show hosts as an extra in 'The Fighter,' walking out of the Lexington Theater behind Mark Wahlberg. Fantastic! Confirmation, anyone?

AND...

What movies am I missing? Join the conversation in the Comments section below please.

TONIGHT'S SHOW

If you want to be social, The Brattle Film Foundation is hosting an Oscar Party in Harvard Square.
http://brattlefilm.org/brattlefilm/events/2011/oscar/

If you want to have a virtual party, there are some computer sites that will be jumping.

On Twitter, there is #oscars. Host James Franco also has #jamesfranco.

On the web, I noticed two rich sites:
www.oscars.org (the official Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences site), and
http://oscars.nytimes.com/dashboard, the New York Times 2011 Live Coverage site.

Any others?

Comments

Yes, that was Bob LeTremouille exiting the Lexington theater behind the stars in The Fighter. I was on a plane to India when I caught him as an extra in The Invention of Lying.....

_The_ Cambridge movie, in my opinion, is 1977's Between the Lines (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075744/) directed by Joan Micklin Silver. It's the story of an underground newspaper, whose offices were at the corner of Pearl and Putnam, about to be taken over by more corporate oriented owners. The conceptual art battle between the critic (Jeff Goldblum) and the artist is absurdist comedy, and the ensemble cast is superb. And, yes, I forgive it that it is ostensibly set in Boston, while featuring the streets of Cambridge.

I thought I recognized Bob in The Fighter! He didn't get credited on imdb, but glad to confirm that.

Between the Lines goes on my list of things to watch. I don't remember having seen it.

What about the original Brinks Job? Was there a Harvard Square scene in that one?