Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD

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FYC Booklets: Shame

Ever since we shared that Harry Potter "Consider..." book, I've been meaning open to crack open the other FYC ads that have arrived. So let's do that starting with Shame.

Shame... Why didn't this one come in a black plastic or brown paper wrapping like porn? The cover blurb courtesy of New York magazine says

Michael Fassbender has arrived."

Where? We'll be right over!

We get the meaning but that happened with Hunger, thank you, and was immediately confirmed over and over again for the next year and change with the consecutive openings of Inglourious Basterds, Jane Eyre and X-Men First Class and so on. He's not only arrived, he's moved in.

More Shame and modest FYC proposals after the jump

"Time" gets the splash page quote beside that familiar image of Fassbender giving us the bedroom eyes on the subway:

Michael Fassbender is one of the most thrilling actors of his generation. His storm-cloud charisma, readiness for extreme physical transformation and melodic Irish lilt position him as an heir to Daniel Day-Lewis."

I don't quite get the qualifier "one of" when its more potent and true to just say "the". But "Storm-cloud charisma" is a great description so well done whomever at Time. The next page enlists four more magazines to collect eleven adjectives on Fassy & Shame's behalf which are: Brilliant (x2), Ferocious, Incredible, Devastating, Worthy, Scorching (x2), Best, Haunting, Stunning, Chilling, and Fascinating. 

Oscary Name Dropping in this booklet: DDL, Midnight Cowboy, Leaving Las Vegas

The next fold out is all quotes for its Best Actor candidate again though Carey Mulligan's face sneaks in on the outer edges. Though Fassy remains clothed throughout the book these quotes make sure you know he gets starkers... "courage performance by a full-frontal Fassbender"... "completely unselfconscious about the full-frontal nudity and graphically simulated sex acts required of him...." What's perhaps most interesting beyond the frequent reminders of his trouser-dropping (which isn't a typical Oscar selling point since... ever) is that other Oscar-winners are name-checked:

Michael Fassbender's role, playing a Manhattan sex addict, is on par with Nicolas Cage's Oscar-winning turn as an alcoholic in 'Leaving Las Vegas'"

The next fold out is two imagines from the "New York New York" sequence with Brandon crying on one side and Sissy singing on the other. The adjective "Massive" is used and not in reference to Brandon's cock, but to the size of the acting.

Carey Mulligan gets the last fold out to herself and Variety gets the last word:

Carey Mulligan energizes the picture. Her character's musical solo is one of the many exquisite interludes that give this tough-minded picture a soul."

The back cover is a nightscape of the city and it only asks voters to consider it for Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress (in large type) and  Director, Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography and Score nominations (in small type). That might seem for a tall order for a small controversial film like Shame but its completely modest compared to almost every other FYC ad out there. You should see the screeners! Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy asks you to consider 10 different men for Supporting Actor and Young Adult's screener even asks you to think about its visual effects! If by visual effects they mean Charlize Theron's impossible beauty, and how she can make it ugly with her moods, consider it considered!

Would you vote for Shame in any categories?

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Reader Comments (12)

All these cold shoulders that Mulligan has been getting lately made me root for her so much more than I thought I'd have two months ago. She's still not in my top 5, but I sure will be cheering if she snatches that slot from Woodenlay on nomination day.

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoy


Okay am I the only one who thinks Fassbender's penis exposure is being a bit oversold? Particularly on this site (but also everywhere), I keep hearing about how the full frontals are EVERYWHERE and he's naked most of the running time, etc. and so I actually expected that! But there's actually barely any penis at all! Not a single clear shot, and only a couple of shady, brief glimpses. I'm not being a perv; I'm just stating the facts. Though it was a bit of a tease. Maybe that's the point? Basically you can see that it's huge and then you can't see it anymore. The sex scenes are rather graphic by cinema standards I suppose, but as a contemporary gay man desensitized by porn, I didn't find them to be anything "shocking" or "controversial".

I guess I feel like all the fuss sort of detracts from the actual performance on display, especially since the "fuss" is not over all that much. The perf is American-Psycho-great, in more ways than one.

Great film in general. I love that they made Mulligan's and Fassender's characters Irish to innoculate the actors from accent slips. It kind of worked.

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Keller

I'd consider Beharie for Supporting Actress but that'd be it for Shame, I think. I liked Fassbender and Mulligan, but probably not enough to make them Top 5 in their categories.

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Nick -- does this mean we're nearing your awards? can't wait ;)

December 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I agree with Adam. For all the chatter you hardly see Fassbender full-frontal for more than ten seconds. It's so quick and often obscured by shadow that you can't ever get a good look. The female nudity is much more pervasive and visible.

Anyway, I don't think the film is all that great. It's such a simple, bare bones character-destroys themselves-through-addiction kind of thing that it doesn't feel like it has all that much to say. "Hunger" was so much better,

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

I was pleased to see no trimming went on,mulligan will be the shock supp actress comes oscar morning!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

How come they compare Fassbender to Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas? Are they out of their mind? Cage might have won an Oscar, but his performance was average and he's a mediocre actor. Fassbender is the best actor I've seen in a dozen years...
The "omigodanakedman" aspect is frankly ridiculous...we're definitely not talking about a sexy movie. Sex is to Shame what drug is to Requiem for a Dream.it's an amazing movie, amazing, but it hasn't been completely understood in the US. I've read a lot of reviews that were the proof the reviewer had understood zilch of the meaning of the movie. Well...Fassbender deserves all the praise he's been garnering lately. He'll never win an Oscar for the antithesis of an Osvar bait, but wait and see, he'll get that statuette before he hits 40, probably earlier.

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Obviously Nicolas Cage has made some VERY bad decisions, but his performance in Leaving Las Vegas is one of the greats. If Fassbender is being compared to that, it's a testament to Fassbender. It means that he's giving a REAL performance of a scripted addict, giving major humanity to someone without projecting it. At least that's how I would read that without having seen the performance (which just opened in Montreal the other day.)
I feel sad sometimes that someone who could deliver a miracle like Vegas, as well as some of the outrageousness of things like Moonstruck, could go on to SUCH a horrific place.
I only hope that Michael Fassbender doesn't suffer the same fate.

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Mike -- agreed. Cage is truly mesmerizing in Leaving Las Vegas but he's so hard to respect as an actor since he crapped on his own gift so much.

Katie & Adam -- i get what you're saying but honestly naked men in movies *are* rare even though it might seem no big deal to anyone who has ever seen a porn ;)

December 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Poor Fassy! To thing of the amount of bad taste jokes he's going to get from Crystal and Gervais regarding his nudity...

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Poor Fassy? More like *rich* Fassy, as he appears to have been amply rewarded...down there.

Gervais and Crystal may go there, but what's it to Fassy? Razz him all they want, I'm sure he'll take it in stride. (Like Samantha on Sex and the City said, "Maybe he just wanted to show it off. Like a monkey.")

And, with all due respect to that one awesome performance of Nic Cage's, if I were Shame's FYC ad, I'd have paraphrased and editorialized the name-check to read, "...on par with [Elisabeth Shue's should've-been] Oscar-winning turn as [a prostitute] in 'Leaving Las Vegas'." (But alas, that's the unfair world we live in.)

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Well if the nudity talk gets more people to see Shame (and I think it will), then more power to it, but I just worry that a lot of people's reactions will be mostly of the "hey, there wasn't actually that much nudity" variety and they may feel cheated and end up resenting what is actually a pretty terrific and challenging film. But I guess if nudity is all people want out of it, then who cares what they end up thinking about it.

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Keller
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