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Two must reads
Monkey See a terrific insightful piece on the current state of the Romantic Comedy and what's wrong with it. Hint: It's not the common complaint that there aren't enough believable obstacles in modern romance. The most surprising bit -- but I totally was sold on it -- was how today's internet sport of actress-hating (see what's happening with Hathaway and what often happens) is part of the problem.
Antagony & Ecstacy picks the ten best Oscar winning performances in each of the categories. I've only previously done this with Supporting Actress and boy was that a hard list to make. Tim quadruples that challenge here.

More Stories to Visit/Discuss 
Huffington Post Jamie Lee Curtis speaks out against Seth MacFarlane's Oscar hosting in a new opinion piece
Towleroad Tom Cullen (Weekend) will be joining Downton Abbey. They do have to replenish the cast since everyone is f'in leaving. I don't get it. That show is hugely acclaimed and it can't be a big time commitment.
Awards Daily will the Olympics push the Oscars to March in 2014? Most people believe so but I wonder if Oscar might try January and really make the precursors wet themselves with fear. 
Empire Jesse L Martin, who has an a-ma-zing voice (he sang in both Rent and Ally McBeal) will play Marvin Gaye in a biopic
Studio Briefing Netflix ships its 4th billion disc. I'm so sad that this service will one day end. It's still the easiest way to get a great movie from a huge selection encompassing all eras... true cinephiles should not wish for its demise despite it becoming a media punching bag.
/Film a potential big get for Rebecca Hall who has landed the female lead opposite Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany in Wally Pfister's directorial debut Transcendence. I say "potential" because it'll only be a big deal if Pfister is better with female characters than his frequent boss Chris Nolan
Exploding Kinetoscope takes up a real challenge. Figuring out what exactly is wrong with Buffy season seven by focusing on its best loved episode "Conversations with Dead People"
NPR looks back at the wider and wider screens in the 50s with the DVD release of This Is Cinerama 

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Reader Comments (16)

That ANTAGONY & ECSTASY link is amazing. I'd tell him on his blog but had trouble posting my comment. If he's reading it here: GOOD WORK.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Brb, sharing that romantic comedies article with everyone I know.

Love Antagony And The Ecstasy and those are some absolutely solid picks, but I can't in good conscious share a list of the top 10 Best Actress winners of all time without a mention Jane Fonda in Klute in the top 5.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I think you're forgetting that Christopher Nolan got quite a great perf. out of Hall in The Prestige - sorta put her on the map for a lot of people actually - and it's probably still the best female performance in a Nolan film (plus or minus a Catwoman or a Trinity).

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I'm THRILLED to hear that Tom Cullen got such a high-profile job. Such a good 'get' for an actor who I was starting to worry I might never see in anything interesting again after Weekend and his marvelous, nuanced turn in it. Very good news indeed. Yay for that show and its perpetually interesting casting.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

Carrie-Ann Moss, Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway called. They're outside forming a badass chick chain gang, and they want answers on your remarks regarding their "weak" characters. May the odds be ever in your favor.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

The set of Downton Abbey is turning into Grey's Anatomy the early years it seems!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

Y'all are totally missing the point on the Nolan thing. Take one of his movies. Count the number of great male roles. Count the number of great female roles. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sure, he's given a *few* badass parts to women, but never more than one within a film.

(And I'd love to hear about which of Marion's parts qualifies, cuz...)

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Jake - Loved Marion and Ellen in Inception. I don't think Cotillard will ever top that turn for me. (You didn't think Mal was fascinating? Totally loved that character and the performance.) The ones I mentioned all deserved Oscar attention in my book. I can name several directors who don't have as many interesting female roles under their belt, especially in the last 15 years. But I've seen this narrative elsewhere, and it appears Nolan will need to have a film featuring only women coming out to critical acclaim before anyone will change their minds.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

So, did you ever see Gloria Grahame in The Bad and the Beautiful yet Nathaniel?? You said it was the only winning supporting actress winner you haven't seen yet in your previous post.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Hopefully Tom Cullen's turn isn't just for an episode. He may just make me forget Matthew What's-His-Face.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Wow, that romantic comedy article is in depth and wonderfully written. Thanks for sharing it Nathaniel. It's so on point about what we consider a rom-com, how people can get defensive about something that has elements of the "genre" and refuse to accept it as such.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Name a single Nolan film that would pass the Bechdel test.

re: Downton Abbey - It's the way of British television. Very few dramas keep their casts for a long time.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I wonder why there was no room for Meryl Streep (Sophie's Choice) and Sally Field (Norma Rae) in Tim's list of the best Leading Actress winners of all time?

However, I LOVE his shoutouts to Ellen Burstyn, Claudette Colbert, Holly Hunter, Liz Taylor, and Vivien Leigh x2.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Although I find the Bechdel Test faulty at points, it does say a lot where Zero Dark Thirty can pass and I am not really quite sure about stuff like Silver Linings Playbook (Tiffany and her sister talked.... but was it about Pat?). But I still find the contrast between Black Widow in Iron Man 2 vs. Black Widow in The Avengers to be proof-positive of how to write and not write a female character in an action movie.

Nolan does not write great women characters which makes the Selina Kyle moment still kind of amazing. And I love Marion Cotillard but everybody with an idea of the Batman universe knew who her character really was a mile away and her exit sold the character short in a lot of ways. She was great in Inception though.

Tom Cullen better play a suitor for Lady Mary..... or Thomas.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

That Monkey See article is great, and I can be hard to please. The bottom line is this: they don't make a lot of great romantic comedies these days because nobody takes romantic comedies seriously enough to bother trying.

They're usually derided as 'chick flicks,' and I can just see and hear in my mind some executive saying that the studio should toss out another romantic comedy and fill it with 'whatever it is that women like.' I'm not even big on romantic comedies myself - even the great ones aren't my favorite kind of movie - but I can clearly see the dismissive attitude with which studios churn them out.

And I'm pleased that she name-checked my two favorite modern romantic comedies one after the other: About A Boy and My Best Friend's Wedding. Neither are really conventional romantic comedies, and maybe that's why they ended up being better than average. Not because it's impossible to make a good conventional romantic comedy, but because they were perhaps approached with a different attitude.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

That article about the Top Ten Best Actress Winners is fascinating. I was trying to come up with my list, and it's killing me. This would probably change on another day, but this is what I came up with for this moment in time:

10. Jane Fonda--Klute
9. Julie Christie--Darling
8. Jessica Lange--Blue Sky
7. Ellen Burstyn--Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
6. Elizabeth Taylor--Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
5. Anne Bancroft--The Miracle Worker
4. Bette Davis--Jezebel
3. Greer Garson--Mrs. Miniver
2. Jennifer Jones--The Song of Bernadette
1. Vivien Leigh--Gone With the Wind

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

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