Death turns 30th anniversary: ​​Let’s re-live the Oscar winner

Between his mega-hit “Back to the Future” sequel and his Oscar juggler crowd, “Forrest Gump,” Robert Zemeckis Directed the spectacular black comedy “Death Becomes Her” 30 years ago, released in theaters on July 31, 1992. In the summer of mostly safe, audience-friendly comedies such as “Sister Act” and “Housesitter,” “Death Beaks Her” entered the market as a grotesque piece of dark, absurd humor that doesn’t fit an obvious category. Let’s take a moment and reflect on the 30th anniversary of “death becomes his.”

starring Meryl Streep, Bruce Wills And goldie hawnThe film tells of a fading actress named Madeline (Streep) who takes a magical immortality remedy that makes her beautiful and bewildered, only to find her old rival Helen (Han) has consumed the potion long ago. . After Madeline’s husband Ernest (Willis) pushes Madeline down the stairs, breaks her neck, wreaks havoc and swells as both Madeline and Helen suffer increasingly debilitating physical shocks and still survive, His epic fury gets back in action.

The surprising casting added an extra ounce of eagerness to the film. Streep had made a name for herself as a serious dramatic actress for more than a decade, having received nine Oscar nominations by 1992 (she now has 21 bids to her name). He ventured into the comedy genre with 1989’s “She-Devil” and 1991’s “Defending Your Life”, but “Death Beams Her” gave audiences the wildest and most engaging twist the genre has ever seen. Willis had successfully transitioned from popular television comedy actor in “Moonlighting” to action movie superstar with the first two “Die Hard” films, and thus his appearance as a nerdy, alcoholic plastic surgeon in “Death Became Hers” has been widely accepted by many. was a surprise to the people (kevin kline was initially cast but later dropped). Even Hawn didn’t seem like a possible option for the project, as he didn’t break too many rules like “Wildcats” and “Overboard”.

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Reviews upon the film’s release were mostly mixed, and box office receipts did not match the major hits Zemeckis had received since “Back to the Future”. Peter Travers Rolling Stone of Rolling Stone quite liked it, calling it “a battery of special effects, a star-studded cast letting their hair down and a sharp bitch script”. but Janet Muslin The New York Times said, “While the familiar fun and energy of Mr. Zemeckis’ direction is always present, audiences have plenty of opportunities to wonder why those good qualities are nowhere to be found.” The film debuted at number one at the box office with $12 million, its final worldwide gross of $149 million, which was not a flop but a huge hit considering its $55 million budget.

With “Death Becoming Her” in ticket sales, early 1993 didn’t receive many award nominations, but the film made it to three major festivals. At the Golden Globes, Streep was nominated for Best Comedy Actress Whoopi Goldberg For “Sister Act” Shirley MacLaine For “used people” Geena Davis For “A League of Their Own” and the winner Miranda Richardson For “Enchanted April”. Streep has been even more popular at the Golden Globes than at the Oscars, and this nomination for “Death Becomes Her” earned her 10th place (she’s had 32 Golden Globe nominations to date).

“Death Becomes Her” also won Best Visual Effects at both the BAFTA Awards and the Academy Awards. At the BAFTAs, the film competed in the categories “Batman Returns,” “Alien 3” and, oddly enough, “Beauty and the Beast.” At the Oscars, it won just “Batman Returns” and “Alien 3.” competed with. Visual effects often go into large-scale action movies like “Independence Day” and “Titanic”, not offbeat black comedy, but “Death Becoming Her” pushed the boundaries for special effects in 1992, not only effective The manner showed Streep walk down a flight of steps with her head turned in the wrong direction, but stepped into a room with a huge see-through hole in Han’s stomach. The final scene of two inverted head heads floating across the concrete is particularly innovative.

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Simply put, audience members had never seen the kind of visual effects on display during “Death Beaks Her” in 1992. In an interview with Yahoo Movies for the film’s 25th anniversary in 2017, the special effects art director doug chiang said, “Computers of the time could do hard surfaces like graphics machines really well. But [Robert] Zemeckis wanted to play with human bodies, distorted proportions — breaking Meryl Streep’s neck, for example, and other crazy things like that. In some ways, giving it a very nuanced sensibility, but at the same time making it as real and as believable as possible.” The film marked one of the early uses of Photoshop in its visual effects, which gave Chiang the distinctive comic tone of the film. “Death Becomes Her” was the attraction for me, it was really one of those films that bridged that technology gap,” Chiang announced.

That year’s lack of fierce competition in the visual effects category helped “Death Became Her” win both the BAFTAs and the Oscars. Tim Burton“Batman Returns” was a blockbuster summer sequel that impressed on a number of levels, but many of its scenes appear to be in-camera, with some sequences employing the CGI special effects needed to win in this category. And “Alien 3,” while showing lots of great effects throughout, was a mostly disgusting sequel that many Academy voters didn’t want to reward.

Before opening the envelope at the 1993 Academy Awards (see below), presenter Andie McDowell Noted, “Today, studio magicians can accommodate any writer’s imagination or a director’s desire to render that magic.” “Death Beaks Her” is the only title on the list that plays into McDowell’s narrator, a film with a number of notable special effects that dazzle audiences and serve an obvious purpose. In the end, it won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for Ken Ralston, doug chiang, Douglas Smyth and tom woodruff junior,

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Zemeckis has long been known for making advances in visual effects in his films. The blending of live-action and animation in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was revolutionary in its time, and the visuals of Tom Hanks Interacting with long-dead presidents in “Forrest Gump” was seamless. For most of the 2000s he moved away from live action entirely to focus on developing new moves in visual effects in the animation world for “The Polar Express,” “Beowulf” and “A Christmas Carol”. gone. For “Death Beaks Her,” he intelligently stars the outstanding performances and superb screenplay, while he integrates amazing special effects from scene to scene to enhance the creative narrative.

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