Oscar History

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« Michael's Best of 2012 | Main | Amir's Most Anticipated Films of 2013 »

Mine is the Way of the Link ♫

Buzzfeed Young Christopher Walken looks just like Scarlett Johansson
Where the Day Takes You 140 still-living actresses who were born before 1930! 
Coming Soon the Carrie remake pushed back several months to October release... same weekend as Malavita so I get JMoore and MPfeiffer on the same weekend. ayyiiieeeeee
Backstage a plea to the Academy to dump Nicole Kidman and choose Ann Dowd. Ugh, people... you can have both. Just don't nominate Amy Adamzzz or Maggie Smith (she's better on Downton Abbey anyway!). But FWIW Kidman is genius so this article is suspect ;) 

Pajiba lists 10 FYC Ads least likely to be "considered" by Oscar. Sad really because I guarantee youse that the one for On the Road praises two performances that will inevitably be better than something that will be nominated instead of them. 
MNPP watch JA squirm his way through Les Miz. He just can't deal with the all the singing. The constant singing!!!

Speaking of Lez Misérables, Buzzfeed has a funny character guide that is so so so true. I love the recurring Cosette gag. Here's Javert...

Playbill YAY. Sutton Foster will be back on your TV on Monday with the return of "Bunheads". Watch it with me!
Slate Even bigger YAY. Downton Abbey is back on Sunday. With Shirley Maclaine joining the cast
Gawker shares the best thing on TV this week (apparently)... Jessica Lange doing "the Name Game" for American Horror Story. A twitter follower asked me if I'd watched it but I had to admit I hadn't. I can't deal with Ryan Murphy television: so erratic in plot/characterization/quality... even within single scenes! 

Have you seen the Jennifer Lawrence issue of Vanity Fair? I kind of love Jennifer Lawrence as a celebrity even if I don't love her performance in Silver Linings Playbook (though that's almost the definition of "celebrity" in terms of performance, it's so look at me sparkly and charismatic) but I'm starting to remember how very young she is with some of her quotes. Like this one:

 Not to sound rude, but [acting] is stupid,” Lawrence says. “Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’

Ugh, I hate it when actors are "above" acting. Blargh. Acting is an art. And art is important. Be proud of your craft. Actors are magicians of embodiment, sculpters of emotion, and channellers of human truth. Or they can be when they're doing it right.

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Reader Comments (35)

Loved that character guide. Favorite: "If you don't like Enjolras you are wrong".

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Ha ha yes it's the definition of squirm. I know you've been sensitive about people hating on the movie, Nat, so your linkage means a lot to me. Like I said therein, me and Miz were just doomed from the start really. But seriously - TOO MUCH SINGING. ;)

Nat you should at least watch the "Name Game" clip from AHS if you haven't yet - Lange For Life! I agree about Ryan Murphy in general (I could never make it though an entire episode of Glee, but then... more singing there ya know) but the bonkers-ness almost always works for me with AHS. Of course getting electroshock therapy would be visualized with a retro pop number. Of course! It all makes sense! ;)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJA

half of those FYCs are fake though... or maybe i'm missing the point

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfr

I have to say I kind of agree with Jennifer Lawrence. Acting is attention seeking behavior based often on delusions about stardom. That's not to say it can't be important and fulfilling, but I think if her point is toward unraveling what a starfucking society we are, I'm into it.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

The LesMizerHaterade is amusing to me. These people know there are multiple recordings of this show and that it played on Broadway and London (and most major metropolises) for ages. That's like going to Batman and complaining that it's got too many nocturnal scenes or something.

Still, I guess the fact that people are talking about it so much means it made an impact (Les Miz? Really? Who knew?) and we can only hope more movie musicals of this caliber will follow (Next to Normal, Into the Woods, Follies . . . the last one directed by Almodovar, pretty please).

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

The only thing that bothers me is maggie doing her usual crotchety old wind bag and pushing out far more deserving risk taking work etc.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I agree with Tim. There are more than enough odes to actors/acting and all Lawrence is showing is humility, self-awareness and a willingness to undermine celebrity self-importance. I think that quote actually shows a lot of maturity, not immaturity. Good for her!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJase

I also have to say my piece about Les Mis, since I finally saw it. And I'm doing it in list form, since I can't be coherent. My initial reaction was that it was "terrible," but I'm calming down now:

1) It is not made for Tim enjoyment, to be fair.
2) The trailer made me think I was wrong about that because it was really pretty and has good actors.
3) Everything up through Fantine's death is pretty okay (barring any screentime for Russell Crowe)
4) I got pulled in at a few points. I thought it was going to be good about 25 minutes in.
5) I had a lot of general problems which were not so much with the movie as with the source material -- this is a musical about some weird romanticized version of the poor in France (who are all dressed in Zoolander's Derelicte garb) getting saved by an upper-middle class dude. Bourgeois individual and marriage plot transcend the crisis of war. Heavily sentimental archetypes I couldn't bring myself to care about. This is also a general problem I have with literature, but what can you do?
6) Russell Crowe was terrible. Awful. Horrible.
7) I understand what Tom Hooper was trying to do with the close-ups: gain a semblance of intimacy by focusing on the raw emotion of the characters. But I think this was a really counterintuitive move that didn't pay off. People want to watch big grandly staged musicals for sets and costumes as much as for the acting. And he wasted a lot of really great production design by shooting what essentially turned into 15 back-to-back music videos. I thought "On My Own" was the worst culprit; the style totally took me out of the movie. I almost wonder if his budget didn't allow for a lot of production bombast.
8) Getting back to the source material, why does every single character get their own solo? Most of them hardly even matter in terms of the story. It's a really shitty narrative.
9) I am with JA -- constant singing would be okay if there was at least a LITTLE bit of silence here and there. You never get a single chance to exhale. There's no "pause and reflect" time.
10) It was dull as dishwater. Boring.
11) I have seen Nat running fanboy interference on Les Mis like crazy on this site lately and saying people calling the movie "terrible" are way off base, but I have to say that although I don't think it was terrible, I genuinely think it was poor. Lots of poor direction choices, lots of poor casting choices, bad source material. The only thing that doesn't make it terrible are the performances of Hathaway, Jackman, and Redmayne and the first 25 minutes or so.

I give it a C.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

GO Jessica Chastain !

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I guess in theory you could parse Jennifer's quote down to humility, but I don't really buy that reading of it. I mean, for me, the "I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’ thing sounds silly to me. Why can't performers (no matter how "silly" their artwork is) take pride in their jobs instead of being so ingratiatingly self deprecating. It just tends to annoy me, which is why I always take pleasure in Nicole Kidman saying in her acceptance speech at the Oscars that the reason why "these things" matter in dark climates is because art is important.

Sure, on the totem pole doctors, firefighters, teachers are more important but the quote just seems so heedless.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Tim, not everyone wants to watch big musicals for sets and costumes. At least this musical lover is in it for the emotion of someone acting inside a song. Les Miz has a reputation for being a bit of a pop schlock beltorama musical, so I think the closeups/intimacy were a way to cut against the grain and unearth something new in the material, which I appreciated.

I know some people had issues with the closeups, but I felt they cut back what would have been a whole lotta Sara Lee Poundcake with Hagen Daaz Dulce De Leche on top. And I've said it before here, I appreciated it wasn't like Chicago or Nine where there was a cut every other bar of the song.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

Anthony Hopkins posses the best nonchalant attitude about acting, not the craft itself which he respects, but that need for people to justify its importance with awards or better yet saying if said actor doesn't play this role the role is ruined, he says bull----, doesn't matter who plays what, in the end, it just doesn't matter.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Anthony Hopkins possesses the best nonchalant attitude about acting, not the craft itself which he respects, but that need for people to justify its importance with awards or better yet saying if said actor doesn't play this role the role is ruined, he says bull----, doesn't matter who plays what, in the end, it just doesn't matter.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Is Maggie Smith assured a nomination now? Really? Dream line up would be Hathaway, Hunt, Field (they are locks), Kidman and Dowd.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

"Les Miz has a reputation for being a bit of a pop schlock beltorama musical, so I think the closeups/intimacy were a way to cut against the grain and unearth something new in the material, which I appreciated."

See, that's kind of what I think is the problem -- it was trying to have it's cake and eat it too, trying to be more naturalistic and intimate with source material that is incredibly difficult to make naturalistic and intimate. But since the whole thing is pathos and allegory expressed through song (Valjean = Jesus, btw), I think a lot more bombast and creativity would've suited it well.

I don't pretend to know why everyone watched musicals. I expect we all have unique reasons. But not having context/setting in a lot of scenes made the movie kind of dull. And I'm not saying I need scenery and pretty things to enjoy a movie, but when the characters themselves are so dull, I need at least something...

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Considering it got a significant precursor nomination (a Globe nod), the Stand Up Guys inclusion in that "unconsidered" FYC ads seems really bizarre.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

AHS is unwatchable this season. By the way, can anyone tell me: Is Jessica trying to pull off an accent I'm not familiar with or is she just chewing words in a peculiar way? I really can't tell.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I agree, I'm not into actors acting above it...Charlize Theron tends to do that a lot, too. But I think it's just a form of protection because they don't want to appear too artsy as they equate arty behavior with looking like an a-hole.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Yes Nathaniel YES - drop Amy Adams and Maggie Smith for their average, mediocre, predictable performances and pick Kidman and Dowd! YES!!!!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

“Don’t you EVER apologize for being an artist. DO NOT let others question your degree. They NEED you and what you have to offer. Think about it. What do those sad people who work in their cubicles do at the end of the day to lift their spirits? They watch a movie. They read a book. They always go back to the artist. So pursue your career purposefully and vigorously. You owe it to those unhappy people.” - Some acting professor's quote floating online

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

As a celebrity, I find Jennifer Lawrence to be rather off-putting. Many people think she's raw, funny, and sexy--I see her as uneducated, crass, and overly sexualized.

That being said, Lawrence will surely win the Oscar over Jessica Chastain. The former appeals to the lowest common denominator and arguably plays an antifeminist character. The latter is an educated, sophisticated, mature actress who plays a strong, independent woman. An Academy overwhelmingly comprised of men will never award her.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

@ Karen

Curse you for saying such things. I hope Lawrence's comments bite her in the ass come voting time for a beautiful Chastain victory.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

As some of you know, I am an utrafanboy of Ms. Lange. But even the most jaded watcher had to be delighted by yet another creative turn she showed this week on her showcase aka AHS. To say it was surreal is an understatement. To say it was original, ditto. To say it was Lange yet again hoisting the bar? Nailed it. Give her the second Emmy already.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

With Les Miz (loved that character guide!), i went in knowing that it would be a hardcore musical (in that almost everything would be sung) so that took some of the edge off for me. Plus, i like musicals anyways and Les Miz had some really great songs.

I do agree that there could be little moments where it wasn't song after song after song. I think the biggest run was with Heart Full of Love onto On My Own onto One Day More but all of them are lovely songs and that's probably how it works in the stage musical too.

and can someone explain why Crowe is supposedly so bad in the role? I just can't seem to get it. His casting made so much sense to me and he did well in his songs even if he's not at Redmayne or Jackman's vocal level.

and i need to keep complaining about limited release and prestige movies. Anna Karenina (which is so high on my list to see) Zero Dark Thirty, The Paperboy, On The Road and more were NEVER released in my area so i usually have to wait until awards season is over or for the movie to hit the internet or DVD to actually watch some of these movies. I can get the whole building momentum thing behind limited release movies but it still is extremely annoying.

and i like Jennifer Lawrence but that acting quote is a bit grating. I'd trade jobs with her any day of the week. I have no problem being in such a "stupid" profession.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

Karen: Just to disprove your view on the Academy, here are:

The last twelve wins in Lead Actress:

2000: Julia Roberts, Erin Brokovich
2001: Halle Berry, Monster's Ball
2002: Nicole Kidman, The Hours
2003: Charlize Theron, Monster
2004: Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
2005: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
2006: Helen Mirren, The Queen
2007: Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
2008: Kate Winslet, The Reader
2009: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
2010: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
2011: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

What the last twelve wins would be of the nominees if they were always defiantly anti-feminist to the last:

2000: Juliette Binoche, Chocolat
2001: Renee Zellwegger, Bridget Jones
2002: Renee Zellwegger, Chicago
2003: Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give
2004: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine (Deconstruction or not, it's still an MPDG.)
2005: Same
2006: Kate Winslet, Little Children
2007: Same
2008: Angelina Jolie, Changeling
2009: Helen Mirren, The Last Station
2010: Same
2011: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What the last twelve wins would look like if they were always defiantly as pro-feminist as possible to the last:

2000: Same
2001: Same
2002: Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven
2003: Samantha Morton, In America
2004: Same
2005: Felicity Huffman
2006: Penelope Cruz
2007: Laura Linney
2008: Melissa Leo
2009: Same (yes, there's patronising white guilt racism issues, but it's still better on the feminism side than any of the other four.)
2010: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
2011: Same

So, yeah. AVERAGE. Chastain WILL win.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Karen -- sorry the boys are misbehaving so badly. I appreciate your comment! It is hard for more feminist type of non-sexualized characters to win though there are beautiful exceptions (like Jodie in Silence of the Lambs).

/3rtful & volvagia -- seriously. there are ways to discuss without antagonizing!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I love Jennifer Lawrence and totally agree with what she is saying; which is that compared to what doctors and firefighters do e.g. Save peoples lives! That acting is stupid and actors shouldn't start to become cocky because of what they do. It doesn't mean that we suddenly start saying movies are stupid; but just remember that there are people in the world doing more important things who should be given credit; rather than an actor who gave a good performance in a film.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

Peggy Sue, Lange is aiming for New England and landing somewhere near misguided high school production of The Crucible.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Robert G -- Thanks! I would have never guessed ;)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I loved Winter's Bone and was very excited to discover a talented young actress with it. But over the past two years, I've come to tire of Jennifer Lawrence and have found many of her supposedly refreshingly honest comments sexist, transphobic or just insensitive (e.g., her comments to Jesse Eisenberg about his OCD). Her attitudes could be chalked up to immaturity, but at 22, I expect a bit more from someone, no matter what her upbringing or education.

I have to admit I laughed when I saw that VF headline. "The Most Desirable Woman in the World"? She won't even be the most desirable woman in this year's best actress race, not with Chastain, Cotillard, and possibly Weisz around.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Jennifer Lawrence keeps saying stuff that makes her sound like an idiot. Along with this latest one there was also that stuff she said about not wanting to watch black and white silent movies. Ugh.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

While I can get what she's saying to a certain extent, that's frustrating and insulting to film lovers and her fans. If you dislike it so much, if you think its "stupid," then get another job and quit being such a celebrity and making millions. Yes firefighters and police officers and the like risk their lives, but that doesn't mean art and movies aren't important and can't be positive things in peoples lives.

If she had said something about starfucking and the nature of the celebrity in culture, then sure I could agree. But that's not what she said.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

No.. I have to agree with her. She's not saving lives.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertroy

Oh Jennifer Lawrence. You're not necessarily wrong, but you always try so hard. So hard.

Or maybe I'm just peeved because I'm tired of Tumblr or general JLaw fans distilling every exaggerated, "I-don't-give-a-shit-and-keep-it-real" quote from Lawrence into invaluable nuggets of rare truth and refreshing honesty. She's turning into the female Shia LaBeauf, minus the violent temper.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

JLaw's screwed either way. If she takes acting seriously, we'd be like "Try to join Doctors without Borders in the Central African Republic." Now she's getting reactions like "Don't you dare renounce the profession unless you can bring literary characters/snort green cocaine like Meryl Streep does!"

And we all know that it's not her time to win the Oscar and Weinstein better realize this sooner instead of later.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

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