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Current Worry: Glenn Close as "Albert Nobbs"

You may have noticed -- and perhaps been aggrieved by -- the fact that The Film Experience rarely posts those abundantly released clips from upcoming movies. I'm okay with trailers and enjoy writing about them but I tend not to enjoy seeing film scenes out of context unless I've already seen the film. There's a lot of them floating around now for Drive, for example, which I would caution everyone NOT to watch if by chance you've held out this long. For me, one of the absolute greatest pleasures of seeing that particular movie the first time was the sense of discovery I felt at literally every moment. I had successfully only looked at posters, nothing else (not even reviews or the trailer), before seeing it so everything was a surprise. It was a wondrous experience to fully soak in a film's tone and structure and performances with absolutely no preconceived notions about what those things would be look, sound, feel or play out like.

Now, admittedly Drive is a special movie and not many movies would be that much of a revelation if you went in cold. The only other movie this year I've successfully refused any and all knowledge of beyond the super basics is The Skin I Live In. I'm crossing my fingers there, too.

But I couldn't resist seeing Glenn in drag in Albert Nobbs (which I just saw at Awards Daily) since stills and the like have been so scarce and we've been talking about it Oscar-wise for so long.

But curses! Again I'm experiencing the danger of disappointment in seeing scenes out of context. This scene plays as... nothing. It plays so flat. Visually drab, muted to the point of dull performances. Perhaps in the moment within the film, it'll be an interesting, compelling, funny or moving scene. But on its own... not sold.

My only observation: Glenn is very quiet, her Mr. Nobbs a meek meek man. My biggest fear for the film involved the director Rodrigo García. He is admirably committed to actresses (genuine points for that) but he tends to wrap his films in warm narcotized blankets as if he didn't want anything vivid or unruly to wiggle out. Even Naomi Watt's sexual provocations and Annette Bening's thorny social forcefield in Mother and Child, both of which would have felt like shocks to the system with certain directors behind the wheel, felt a smidge drowsy. If Close's whole performance is this restrained can she really make a Best Actress Oscar-win play out of it?

New Readers Note: Why is this post titled "worry"? If you're just joining us I worry because I've been rooting for Glenn Close to win an Oscar since 1987. I want this to be great.

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Reader Comments (33)

(You made me watch, I usually avoid trailers AND anything likewise.)

I feel nothing too, but I'm rationalising that that's a good thing because it doesn't seem BAD and like everything, it probably will only get better when put in perspective.

Even though I wasn't alive in 1983 can I say I one-upped you and wanted Glenn to win an Oscar since then?

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

oh nat, say it ain't so....

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermatt

It's good to be precautious when it comes to Oscar. The Academy gives us such disappointments!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I hope the movie isn't a failure, though the first reviews from Telluride aren't good and this scene... doesn't say anything. But still I think Glenn can win this year. Albert Nobbs role is against type, her best works are showy and electrifying, this one seems very minimal and, yes, restrained. There's something completally new from her and audiences and Ampas could be captivated by it. And the Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liasons losses still hurt.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferdi

There are two ways a real-life woman would impersonate a man in such a situation. She'd either take it way over-the-top, like Lily Tomlin as Tommy Velour, or very VERY understated so as to give away as little as possible. The meekness of the character seems to come through loud and clear here. Of course, nuance and subtlety are not generally the traits Oscar looks for, but they can work on occasion. For Glenn, I'd say at some point she'll have to have at least one Alex Forrest or Marquise Isabel moment, but she may not need more.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Well, it doesn't look like a Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil or Alex Forrest performance. I have to wonder why the powers that be chose to release that particular clip, of all the possible scenes they could have shown.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Not a great scene, but I like the fact she's restrained. She's not known for that. She's showing us versatility. Maybe the Oscar won't happen, but who cares? The Oscars are politically driven. Sure, it would be great if she could win, but just the fact she's still going strong is great. Besides, when the man mentions a possible wife in Nobb's future, Close flashes a look of worry, fear, and desperation in one quick look. It could be these complex layers in her performance that will add up to a more memorable character in the end. THAT may be enough to seal the deal on a nomination. If Nobbs is an interesting character study, it will no doubt be thanks to Close's acting (and perhaps writing).

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

I hate and never watch trailers for many reasons.

the handful of reviews I have read so far on Nobbs have been lukewarm, at best ... however, Close's performance has been praised.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrick

This is what I got out of the scene: She doesn't want to live like a man anymore so she's looking for a business that will allow that. Excited for this one.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex BBats

It's almost as if she's holding back as hard as she can. Of course, that can be a wonderful technique (see Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix in "Signs" - two wonderfully understated and underrated performances in an otherwise dopey movie). I'll withhold judgment until I see the whole movie.

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProspero

Many scenes in Dangerous Liaisons (such as the one where she is in front of the mirror) were played by Close practically without twitching a nerve, and yet her eyes, SOMETHING in her radiated the most incredible nuances that made it very clear to us that her feelings were smoldering inside. Maybe there'll be several of those moments in Nobbs. I have no doubt she will get nominated. As for the Close-Streep duel, well, may the best one win! I am increasingly convinced that when the Academy finally gives Meryl her much-awaited third Oscar, a fourth one will soon follow. Isn't that what happened with Hepburn?

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Sasha over at Awards Daily seemed to praise the performance, but acknowledged that it is very understated and subtle. It seems that in order for her to win, there will have to be a resurgence of positive feeling toward her, so that voters can tick her name off as a career prize; ie, not on merit alone.

If she were to win, it would probably be akin to Jeff Bridges' win: a "we owe him one" award. Voters will simply imagine all of Close's other good performances when they're voting.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Wait a second Bryan! Are you saying Crazy Heart is a forgettable film? How DAAAAAAARE you. #sarcasm

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex BBats

Well, Bryan, I can understand that Close has never won, but I wish they had thought the same thoughts about Meryl by now! Several times over!

And, Alex, maybe you should have said: "Are you implying that Bridges gave a forgettable performance in Crazy Heart? #sarcasm

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

***Not to say that subtlety can't = good performance! It's just that that seems to be how the Academy thinks.***

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

"Albert Nobbs role is against type, her best works are showy and electrifying, this one seems very minimal and, yes, restrained. There's something completally new from her and audiences and Ampas could be captivated by it."

I think the problem with that is no one remembers that anymore. It was so long ago.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

@Alex BBats: you caught me ;)

@Marcos: I agree that Meryl deserves another one. But I'm not too worried about that; Meryl will die as a three-time Oscar winner, mark my words.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Bryan - Umm, Meryl will not die. Haven't you heard?

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

The performance has an overly careful feeling to it - which may be a legitimate approach to the character. But studied restraint seldom wins Oscars. Looks to have neither the warm and fuzzies nor the fireworks which Oscar voters seem to like. Close will probably snag a nomination. Streep too. But haven't you noticed? All the planets are aligned behind Viola Davis and "The Help" this year . People - and I'm sure plenty of Academy members - are crazy about this film - even to the extent of thinking they'd be making a laudable political statement by voting for it. I'd say at this point it's on a clear course to Best Picture and Best Actress wins. And - let's face it - Davis is a fantastic actress. So I'd be quite okay if she took top honors.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterken

Well, Ken, you may very well be right. Let me see her performance, but I think I will agree with you... And, as usual, Streep would be the first to be beaming and cheering in the audience, particularly at the giant Davis who was with her in Doubt and who will, no doubt, be paying homage to her and "apologizing, " as Mirren and Bullock and many others did before them!

Suddenly this reminds me of Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson battling it out in 1951 only to see Judy Holliday beat them to it! That's how much the two divas split the vote!

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Can't they give her an Apated Screenplay Oscar?

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfull


September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfull

I don't think the clip is THAT bad, although I have never been particularly crazy about seeing this film. I don't think Close deserved the Oscar for Fatal Attraction (NEVER liked that movie and even more so now...it just hasn't aged well and has entered camp territory). Dangerous Liaisons is another story, but we won't go there. But I am not entirely sold at all that this race will come down to Close vs. Meryl Streep. If anything, I think The Iron Lady has potential to get even MORE mixed reviews than Albert Nobbs is getting, particularly considering that Phyllida Lloyd doesn't seem to be the strongest director.

The more the year progresses, the more I can see Viola Davis becoming the dark horse to win Best Actress. I agree with Ken...it's a critically acclaimed performance in a very popular, very loved film...the only person I could see potentially making an upset is Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn...if she really wows then I think she may be Best Actress 2011...Keira Knightley seems too polarizing for a win (and so does the film. She may be a nominee, however). They just don't "get" Tilda Swinton. Elizabeth Olsen/Rooney Mara/Felicity Jones are too new. Charlize Theron has already won. Kirsten Dunst's film will obviously not be everyone's cup of tea and there's a good chance not many will see it. So, yeah.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I think Viola davis is gonna win, too, specially after a year without any black actors nominated. And it's time for a second actress to win the Oscar. And it's time for Viola Davis. Close's time was long time ago, but, well, I think Cher and Foster deserved thier Oscars.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal roth,
You think they were the best in their category?

Sarandon should've booted out Streep ('88).

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfull

3rtfull: I don't understand your comment about Sarandon and Streep. Maybe I'm missing something here. But as far as the Oscar is concerned they crossed paths only twice. The first time (1982) they both lost, and the second time around (1996) Sarandon beat Streep to it! So what did you mean? :)

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

No. Sarandon should've been a Best Actress nominee that year (Bull Durham) over Streep in "A Cry in the Dark".

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfull

I see 3rtfull, but that particular year I would have given the "comedy" spot to Sarandon over Melanie Griffith, not Streep. But, of course, Working Girl was more popular than Bull Durham.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

A Cry In The Dark was one of Streep's strongest performances. I would rate it as one of her Top 5.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz


September 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjackie


FYI I own the dvd of ACITD

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfull

3rtfull, so?

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Meryl is a creative force and she will win a third when she wants to win a third. Glenn will be nominated, and Viola will take home the prize...because Meryl wants it that way, of course! Glenn will win for the musical version of Sunset Boulevard (whenever that gets off the ground), and my psychic powers tell me, Viola will win twice this decade in Lead Actress.

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSoSueMe
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