Red Carpet Line-Up Returns. I don't know if you've missed it but I have. This two-part SAG edition is less quickfire chat and more epistolary but we haven't talked to Kurt Osenlund in way too long since he flew the coop for The House Next Door.
NATHANIEL: Kurt I miss you. You have moved to the far off land of Brooklyn and we never see each other. And yet, when I watch the Best Actresses walking the red carpet I know you're out there somewhere gazing at the same visions. So a few questions to kick things off about the Screen Actors Fashionista Guild.
Which of the Best Actresses did it for you? And was this in line with what you think of their performances or the inverse of that? Character arcs aren't cut from runway cloth but sometimes I think people judge the gowns based on how much they're currently loving the woman inside.
Anyway, tell me your "best", both performance wise and clothing wise. (Don't cheat and say Helen Mirren since she didn't show. Or the cameras just didn't bother searching for her because 'getouttahereHitchcock'!). [More plus Supporting Actresses after the jump]
I'm going with Cotillard, and not just because her look stands out though it does - she's giving the only real variance in silhouette and the only Best Actress who didn't do the soft, over one shoulder curls.
KURT: Lord knows I miss you too, Nathaniel, even more than I miss my initial high hopes for this year's Supporting Actor crop. And indeed, I had my eye on the SAG ladies' outfits--just a few of the things I used to drown out the smack-yourself earnestness of TBS's female announcer ("Look! There's Ben Affleck! Ar-go find your seat!"). It's a great question, the whole look-versus-performance thing. And since you brought up Mirren, her lack of presence is pretty indicative of how I felt about her turn--vacuous work from a pro on autopilot.
My favorite performance of the bunch was, indeed, Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany, who caught me (very pleasantly) off guard many times over. I haven't quite decided on how I feel about Lawrence, the person, but as an actress, I think she has a bona fide, Streep-ian understanding of the women she plays, which screams big-time career longevity. I don't really get her (otherwise safe) dress's construction, in regard to the whole presumed-wardrobe-malfunction thing. Does it come apart for cocktail hour? Go sheer when she wants to tease the goods? My (possibly fashion-challenged) bewilderment drops it to third place. In last, sadly, is Ms. Chastain, whose only look that's ever thrilled me was last year's Oscar dress. I should note that Chastain's oft-underwhelming red carpet attire is the one and only thing I do not like about her (As much as I dug Lawrence's perf, I'm secretly rooting for a Chastain Oscar win--that best-since-Julia-Roberts smile beaming at the podium). I'm probably over-exerting myself with this response already, but in second is Watts, who is head-to-toe class in this vintage-looking number, and wore the sideswept hair best (Chastain might have taken a cue and left her necklace at home--err, ya know, with the jeweler). Beyond the physical, though, I found nothing too impressive about Watt's Impossible work.
Which leaves Cotillard, who, like you, takes my top spot. I think this is a great and bold silhouette without being in anyway showily offbeat (ahem, Lucy Liu's Golden Globes Garden of Eden). Cotillard's turn in Rust & Bone? A nice addition to her resume, but handily overshadowed by Matthias "Be-Still-My-Levi's" Schoenart
NATHANIEL: Did I tell you that I spoke to him at a Rust & Bone luncheon (that sounds so unappetizing!)? I begged him not to throw it all away for Hollywood cuz you know they're throwing offers his way and if they ever figure out how strong he'd be as an action lead they'd totally have him making crap movies forever. He promised to not sell out but did not deny my suggestion that the sell-out offers were already on the table. I'm kinda mad that Cotillard missed her Best Actress nomination with Oscar because I really wanted to use my friend's Oscar Trivia joke "the first best actress nominated character to constantly troll for dick on her cel phone!"
Anyway: Ladies! SUPPORTING LADIES
Nicole Kidman always towers over her co-nominees... physically, but often performance-wise too. She wins my prize here. The dress is so interesting, the hair is daring and there's that weird detail of green earings with this? Anne Hathaway loves wearing black with bright red lipstick and now that her hair is short she's just one step away from anonymity in a Robert Palmer video (a reference no one under 37 will get, sorry!). I don't really find this flattering but I'm happy she's winning. I wish Helen Hunt had gone a little softer because she can be severe looking but man her performance is good. It's so good I sometimes can't believe that people even noticed how good it was, if you know what I mean.
Do you know what I mean?
KURT: I'm very happy to say that I get the Robert Palmer reference, which is quite astute of you. I'm intrigued by your exchange with Schoenarts, by which I mean: I hate you, but that's interesting. I'm glad to hear that he's apparently batting away the unsurprising Hollywood offers, as we certainly need more male Tildas who stick to their artsy guns. (Sidebar: Have you seen the nominated live-action short Death of a Shadow? Schoenarts plays the lead, and it's nifty, steampunk-y stuff). Moving on...
I think Hathaway is my MVP here, though I must say, with each speech, she edges closer to bringing up my most recent meal. I've adored her for a while, and I'll be pleased when she wins (sorry haters, her Les Miz solo is bananas), but she's playing the rule-abiding ingenue card to the most grating degree, like the valedictorian who spoke at my high school graduation, and brought along her thesaurus while doing some serious faculty butt-kissing. Now that Anne's got a Golden Globe to clobber her "self-doubt," here's hoping she uses her Oscar as a weapon against her goody-goodiness. I still think Nicole looks lovely, and I don't always warm to her awards gowns. She's my runner-up, and I love her more post-Paperboy than I ever have (her pre-screening New York Film Festival Q&A was just heaven).
I love your comment about Hunt's performance. It really is so wonderful. Supporting Actress was easily my favorite category this year--so many rich turns to choose from. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hunt in the fall for a whopping 20 min. (no sarcasm there at all, as you know how brief some Q&A's can be), and she was as lovely as could be expected, yet surprisingly demure/reserved. On that note, I find her look a little ill-fitting, and I'm not talking about the cut. I agree it's somewhat harsh/severe feeling, however flattering to what's still a very svelte figure. But Sally Field still gets my bronze medal. That flirty violet just makes me want to hug her, as I always want to, even (or perhaps especially) when she's wailing about typhus as Mary Todd.
NATHANIEL: Sally Field is so huggable that I feel totally sadistic sometimes when I watch her. I need her in bipolar hysterics which is why Mary Todd is such a perfect bookend to M'Lynn in the cemetery. Suffer, Sally, SUFFER! I love her so much that I'm actually desperate to see her lose on February 24th because a) more suffering and b) I live in terror of a surprise victory which would only make people hate her. Younger movie maniacs didn't live through it but the world turned on her quite harshly after that second Oscar. I can't imagine how tarnished her legacy would be with three Oscars!