This Day in Movie History: December 27

This Day in Movie History – December 27 – brings us another trio of pictures that opened attempting to make their Oscar qualifying runs.

13 years ago brought Traffic, Steven Soderbegh’s epic pic which explored the war on drugs from various different angles with multiple storylines. With an all-star cast featuring Michael Douglas, Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Don Cheadle, Traffic won Oscars for its Direction, Supporting Actor (del Toro), and Adapted Screenplay. It would lose Best Picture to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. It was a massive box office success earning $124 million domestically. **Blogger’s note: a few scenes of Traffic were filmed in my town of Columbus, Ohio and I got to witness part of it being filmed at the Ohio Statehouse. I saw Michael Douglas descend the steps of the Statehouse (it’s early in the movie) and I even got to chat briefly with Mr. Soderbergh, who was wearing an Ohio State ball cap (Go Bucks!).

22 years ago today saw the release of Fried Green Tomatoes, Jon Avnet’s Depression era comedic drama. It combined the Best Actress winner from two years prior, Jessica Tandy, with the Best Actress winner from the previous year, Kathy Bates. The pic resonated with audiences with an $82 million domestic box office tally but received Oscar nods only for Tandy in Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay, winning neither.

Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt opened 17 years ago today. The biopic of Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt cast Woody Harrelson in the title role with Courtney Love and Edward Norton in supporting roles. Flynt failed to resonate with moviegoers earning just $20 million. It did manage to pick up Oscar nominations (but no wins) for Forman and Harrelson.

As for actors with birthdays today, John Amos turns 74. You may know the veteran actor best for TV work from “Good Times” to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “The West Wing” to the miniseries Roots. He’s had his share of notable film roles as well, including Coming to America, Die Hard 2, and Madea’s Witness Protection.

Actress Theresa Randle is 49 today. She’s appeared in many high-profile pics over the past coupe of decades from the two Bad Boys flicks to Sugar Hill to Beverly Hills Cop III to her starring role in Spike Lee’s Girl 6.

As for Six Degrees of Separation between the two birthdays performers:

John Amos was in Coming to America with Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy was in Beverly Hills Cop III with Theresa Randle

And that’s today in Movie History!