Flashback: Frances McDormand Cringes to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in ‘Almost Famous’ Deleted Scene

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Rolling Stone 26 April, 2021 - 03:14pm 18 views

Who is Frances Mcdormand?

Frances McDormand just won best actress for "Nomadland." ... The director of "Nomadland" Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian descent to earn best director at the Oscars tonight. McDormand has won numerous awards throughout her career, including two Emmys and a Tony. CNNThe 2021 Oscars: Live updates

On the heels of her third win for Best Actress, we revisit a role she should have won an Oscar for

Frances McDormand just wants to sing karaoke. She suggested this last night at the 2021 Oscars, a pretty lame evening save for her howling and unsurprisingly awesome acceptance speech for Best Actress — her third time winning the award. “When you’ve got voices like Leslie [Odom Jr.] and Marcus [Mumford], we should add a karaoke bar,” she said.

Twenty years ago last fall, McDormand starred in Almost Famous as Elaine Miller, a college professor who frequently told her budding music journalist son that rock & roll was about “drugs and promiscuous sex.” She was the kind of mother who made soy cutlets and celebrated Christmas in September when she knew it wouldn’t be commercialized. And, in a deleted scene from Cameron Crowe’s film, she is asked to endure all eight minutes and two seconds of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”

In the video above, Elaine arrives home to find William (Patrick Fugit) in the living room with his journalism teacher and school counselor Mrs. Deegan, who is played by Crowe’s real-life mother, Alice. Anita’s boyfriend Darryl is also here, claiming to be moral support. The teacher informs Elaine that Rolling Stone has assigned William a piece on Stillwater, and needs to miss four days of school to go on the road with them. She instantly says no, quoting a Johann Wolfgang von Goethe line that William quickly reciprocates.

In an effort to prove to his mother that rock should be taken seriously, he plays her “Stairway to Heaven,” smartly telling her it’s filled with J.R.R. Tolkien references. “This song will change your life,” he says. The scene lasts the entire song, as Elaine flips open a newspaper while everyone else air drums to the 1971 classic. “They sound like nice kids,” she says when it finishes. “Is it meant to elevate humanity? Sure. Let’s elevate humanity, after we sell you drugs and sex.”

It’s not discussed often enough that McDormand and Fugit are matching in Seventies orange here, and although the scene was cut, you can still catch a glimpse of the outfits in the final version of the film. “Frances was making listening the most entertaining thing I’d ever seen,” Crowe told Rolling Stone last August. “I was sure that we’d have the full length of the scene and it would just be a hilarious intermission kind of thing in the movie, where now you’re going to listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and watch Frances McDormand rise in the pain of it. I thought we might be able to earn the length of it.”

Sadly, they didn’t, but thankfully it’s living on YouTube. Led Zeppelin denied the use of their song, but instead gave Crowe “Bron-Yr-Aur,” “That’s the Way,” “Tangerine,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and “The Rain Song.” “That was a huge buoy to swim to,” Crowe said, “because without Led Zeppelin, it’s just not the same movie.”

McDormand was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Almost Famous, but lost to Marcia Gay Harden in Pollock. If the Academy knows what’s good for them, they should listen to McDormand and add a karaoke bar at next year’s ceremony (and also, maybe, a host). McDormand would sing “Stairway to Heaven” and everyone could air drum — presumably six feet apart.

In This Article: Almost Famous, Flashback, Frances McDormand, Led Zeppelin

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NOMADLAND Accepts the Oscar for Best Picture

ABC 27 April, 2021 - 01:00am

How Do I Become Frances McDormand?

Vogue 27 April, 2021 - 01:00am

At the outset of the 2021 Oscars, I couldn’t help wondering if Frances McDormand was okay. She seemed sad, somehow, until I clocked the megawatt, toothy, Hollywood-crafted grins all around her and realized: Oh, she’s not sad. She’s just normal. She’s just Fran. That’s one of the 63-year-old actor’s many gifts: the ability to effortlessly inhabit a space, turning the Oscar ceremonial stage into just another place she happened to occupy. She’s never disrespectful or over it, she’s just...again, Fran. (I could really use some kind of synonym here!)

McDormand is known for her eclectic Oscar acceptance speeches—when she won in the best-actress category for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri four years ago, her inclusion-rider shout-out lit up the internet—and this year was no exception. When McDormand got onstage to accept the best-picture Oscar along with the rest of the cast and crew of Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, she let out a wolf howl in honor of Nomadland sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder, who died in March at age 35. And when she subsequently collected her award for best actress, she quoted Macbeth: “I have no words—my voice is in my sword,” she said, adding, “We know the sword is our work. And I like work.”

McDormand has never fit the Hollywood mold—she’s worn Birkenstocks to the Oscars and been totally unfazed when her Oscar was stolen at an after-party, and she famously doesn’t wear makeup—and this year it struck me just how apt that felt.

This year’s Oscars came at a time when most of the world is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, with India in desperate need of global assistance as cases rise and supplies run out. Of course, there was some level of inherent dissonance in coming together to honor Hollywood in light of all that tragedy, but McDormand and her cast taking home two of the night’s biggest awards felt like the best possible outcome. Nomadland, after all, is largely about the American fight for economic survival in increasingly uncertain times, and McDormand isn’t the kind of celebrity to wallpaper over reality with a huge smile and a long speech—she’s going to quote Shakespeare, honor her departed colleague, and get out of there.

It seems anathema to the whole concept of the McDormand ethos to say that I want to be McDormand when I grow up—after all, I’m 99% sure she would tell me to just be myself—but I can’t help wanting to be her anyway. I can’t think of any Hollywood A-lister who projects a stronger air of comfort within themselves; and while it might be easy for an Oscar winner to summon that confidence, McDormand had it even in her earliest roles. I would liken her to Tom Hanks, but that seems simplistic; she’s not an everywoman, she’s her own woman, and she clearly doesn’t care if you’re here for it (even though, of course, we are).

McDormand’s next big role will be in the film adaptation of Miriam Toews’s Women Talking, which follows a group of women in an isolated Mennonite colony in Bolivia in the wake of a series of assaults committed by the colony’s men, and while the project is still in production, I wouldn’t be surprised if it netted McDormand more industry accolades. One thing I’m sure of, though, is that she’ll accept them bare-faced, possibly Birkenstocked, and in her own inimitable style.

McDormand and Hopkins take major acting Oscars

The Star 27 April, 2021 - 01:00am

South Dakota in spotlight after Nomadland wins top awards

Kotatv 26 April, 2021 - 08:25pm

A film featuring several scenes shot here in the Black Hills won Best Picture at the 93rd Annual Oscars and It wasn’t the only award for the night.

Frances McDormand won Best Actress and the director Chloé Zhao, whose previous film The Rider largely took place on the Pine Ridge Reservation, won for best director.

For this category, she was the second woman and the first woman of color to win.

This film featured many Places in the Mount Rushmore State including Reptile Gardens.

“The cast and crew, Frances, like I said it was a neat experience they are very nice people, and like I said we were pretty tickled to be able to be a part of that whole operation and be featured slightly,” says Clint Hubbeling from the Reptile Gardens.

And this win puts South Dakota in the spotlight, which Executive Director of visit Rapid City Julie Schmitz Jensen hopes will provide a boost for the state’s second-largest industry: Tourism.

“People are going to see some of those landscapes of the Badlands and some of the fun things she did at Wall Drug and Reptile Gardens and I think they are going to say you know what if it’s good enough for Frances McDormand, it’s good enough for us,” says Jensen.

Jensen says that witnessing the beauty of South Dakota on the big screen is one of the best ways to show potential visitors just what our state is all about.

“As much as we try to market our city and our area and our state, there are still a lot of people that don’t know much about South Dakota and all the beauty here. So it’s obviously going to open some doors, open some eyes, and so we know economically it’s going to give us a boost but again hard to gauge what that looks like,” says Jensen.

Jensen hopes this high-profile win will encourage more filmmakers to tell stories in our state and showcase everything that South Dakota has to offer.

Our 2021 Oscars Recap : Pop Culture Happy Hour

NPR 26 April, 2021 - 05:53am

We are wrapping up this year's Oscars. It was a big night for Nomadland, which took best picture, best actress for Frances McDormand, and a historic best director win for Chloé Zhao. But there were also huge upsets, most notably in best actor, where Anthony Hopkins won over Chadwick Boseman. And the telecast took some big risks that didn't always pay off.

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