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Big Eyes, Big Questions, Big Night... Big Open Thread

He sells paintings. Then he sells pictures of the paintings. Then he sells postcards of the pictures of the paintings.

I've been thinking a lot about art vs. commerce tonight, having just seen Big Eyes in which it is kind of the theme. Only not. Because there is a lot of other things going on inside this movie. Including multiple tones. It veers so far into comedy towards the end that I think they'd be smart to campaign musical/comedy for the Globes. (I kind of wanted it to be a musical. And I think Colleen Atwood and Rick Heinrichs did too but we know Tim Burton doesn't like those.) Christoph Waltz will again be the egregious category frauder of the year since it's most certainly a two-lead movie (he's missing from the first 5-10 minutes but then it's the both of them or either/or throughout. Oscar may or may not bite but it would only bite this one as fresh December bait so smart release date they chose. So for the next month I will live in fear of people loving Waltz's shtick!

We aren't allowed to review it yet so I will shut up now

Tonight: INTO THE WOODS! Which we also aren't allowed to review and which will also surely bring thoughts of art vs. commerce as we see how they adapted Sondheim's popular but still fairly dark musical in the hopes of becoming an all quadrant Disney blockbuster.  

UPDATE: Still sorting out my feelings on INTO THE WOODS but have plenty of time. Loved the first act but the genius of the second act in the show is... not... clear (lost?) with the many changes made. Anna Kendrick was the MVP but the whole cast can really sing and they were all good (barring Johnny Depp on both counts) which is the #1 thing I need in musicals. Alas I have very complicated feelings about the movie musical (my most beloved genre) because I always have too many feelings going in. This is why I need original musicals to return. Less pre-movie feelings obsessiveness to brush away to get to true reaction. 

ANYWAY. WHAT'S ON YOUR CINEMATIC MIND? How ready are you for the holiday movies and these two films?

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Reader Comments (78)

It was recently announced that Lana Del Rey wrote and recorded two songs for Big Eyes, so I'm curious if the Academy is going to make up for her snub last year.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Re: ITW, are you allowed to say, "I liked it!"?

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Those paintings freak me out, so I'm only seeing BE if I have too.

I imagine I will see ITW at some point. If it gets notices that entice me, that will be sooner than later, but I haven't been too taken with the visuals thus far. Streep seems to disappear into the gloom in some of the glam shots. But.....I'll wait till I hear from voices I respect.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I swear, if Waltz does it again I am sitting down and writing a strongly-worded letter to my local member of parliament. That nonsense hurts everyone and I won't stand for it.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Is Adams our fifth nominee.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Waltz has become gradually more and more annoying, hasn't he? It seems that he's content with hamming it up playing villains, especially if that Bond movie rumor is true.

Assuming that Amy Adams has no chance to stop the coronation of Queen Julianne this year, I really hope they keep "Get It While You Can" as the title of that Janis Joplin biopic. It perfectly describes her hunt for the Oscar. I do think she has earned one by now, but the obviousness of it all is funny... and also sad, because people will probably turn against her hard.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I'm pretty sure I'll only see either movie in the theaters if it's a "Big Eight" Oscar nominee or appears to be. The trailers are unenticing.

...I guess that means I'll probably see Into the Woods, because it would have to be really, really bad for them to bypass Streep this year.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

"Get It While You Can" indeed, Jan.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Waltz going supporting is to ensure a nomination. And he needs an additional nomination to free him of the shackles that come when one wins two Oscars from two nominations. His second win was not warranted. But I did enjoy him announcing Lupita Nyong'o for Best Supporting Actress.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful: often when I think of Lupita, I hear her name in Christoph's voice - although that's more a matter of watching her win a million times.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

having seen "the homesman", I'm rooting for swank's 'comeback'.

excited about "into the woods"; "big eyes", I'll wait for the dow... dvd.

November 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

3rtful -- i know WHY he's doing it. I just dont approve. Isn't two wins the latter so fraudulent, award enough? These greedy greedy actors. (sigh)

November 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Kendrick MVP more than Streep... Really? Or is this just Kendrick bias?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

How did you find out about the Wolf costume? Are they trying to save a nom for Atwood by letting everyone know it wasn't her idea or was it a slip up?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Phillip H. - If the songs are good,I hope so. I'm *still* not over Young and Beautiful not making the final cut, the smear campaign against that one song and the whole Alone Yet Not Alone debacle.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

forgive me for this but I cannot hold it in:


Or maybe, please don't. I still feel icky about having to watch a new Tim Burton movie. Even for Amy.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I too hope a nomination for Swank is forthcoming,apparently people/critics/members are loving her in The Homesman.

Oscar chances Nat for both,a little hint.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Hi Nat! I see that other Oscar-predictions sites have dropped Meryl Streep from the five expected nominees for best supporting actress. Is La Streep losing momentum?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Re the ITW Q&A, James Corden was a breath of fresh air. And Chris Pine's discussion of his "two dimensional" character was hilarious. AND would love to go out drinking w the gossiping ladies on the left (Streep, Baranski, Ullman). They were fairly subdued
though, probably still reeling from their friend's death.

Mary Bee Cuddy was a fascinating, complex character in the novel so I'm glad Swank nails it.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I need to get out and see The Homesman. Amy is good in Big Eyes, yes (though her accent is kinda suspect).

Jamie - i think Kendrick nails the shifts between musical comedy and musical tragedy a little better than the others (and I think "Steps of the Palace" is staged just about the best it could be for film - really impressed with Marshall's choices on that song) and that shift is crucial to the show. Streep handles that shift well too but I think she is overselling her numbers (except Stay With Me in which her voice is just heaven) in her "funnier" numbers there is way too much business which might be okay during a staged reading but when you put it on screen and add flashy costuming and flashy hair and flashy makeup and visual effects i found it too much. Calm down, lady! ;)

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

A good friend of mine from the US just whatsapped me (in a highly excited manner, I must add)after the screening and told me the movie was award-worthy. He said everyone did well especially Streep, Kendrick and Pine. I'm really looking forward to this one:)

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Henry -- Rob Marshall mentioned the Wolf's look in the Q&A said it was Johnny's idea... he wanted to look like a Tex Avery cartoon. Never mind that Tex Avery is not at all analagous except on the top most surface layer of the wolf character while missing all the subtext/themes.

November 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yes you do,seen it twice and Hilary will really impress u i hope.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Oh, yes please! New material! A new Kurt Weill, please! The times demand it.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Are you still predicting Streep for nomination or being nudged out by Kendrick?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Marcos- what sites? None that I have seen. Her momentum is just beginning.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Jamie - I have learned not to bet against Streep though I personally think Kendrick is more deserving this time.

November 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Maybe both? The reactions I have been reading have actually been stellar for Streep, Kendrick, and Pine. Yours was the only site that I came away with a "meh" for Streep's performance. Maybe you are still under the Streep Fatigue? Some sites are also suggesting Streep, in such a showy role, may slowly start to take away Arquette's front runner status. Feeling very lukewarm reaction to Blunt and Corden.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I think only Moore and Jones are locked and loaded,witness Thompson omission last year or Cotillard in 2012,Swinton in 2011,Swank in 2010.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I would replace Chastain and Knighly with Dern and Kendrick- Done!

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Thanks Nat. I understand the need for actors to feel comfortable in the skin of a character, but this idea, Tex Avery, is so off base. Especially for the piece, its concept and then for the character. It's like putting Julianne Moore in Spandex disco threads in Far From Heaven. I can't imagine Sandy Powell allowing this. She would have found a way to talk him out of it or just laughed at the suggestion and moved on (she could get away with that). I realize everyone at Disney wants to have Johnny Depp's baby, but friends don't let friends walk around with spinach in their teeth. Someone should have stepped in. That costume is threatening to take over the conversation of the film and not in a good way.

I would welcome a new Threepenny. But let's get Bigelow or Taymor to direct it. Or Almodovar. Someone who respects but isn't enamored of musical theater.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I think the 2nd act of Into the Woods is extremely tricky to pull off, anyway. The first act - despite it's length - is tighter and more familiar. Sondheim has written about how often people left the theatre after the first act thinking the show was over.

I'm glad to hear that you liked "On the Steps of the Palace," Nathaniel. It's a really underrated song from the show ("Better stop and take stock while you're standing her stuck on the steps of the palace." is really a legendary lyric).

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Nathaniel, do you think Meryl Streep is a strong contender to win for Into the Woods? Hearing that there's a lot of busyness and theatrics in her performance has me worried that she will triumph over a superior but subtler performance (AKA Patricia Arquette in Boyhood).

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

It surprises me that people would even want Streep to win a fourth so soon after her last one. It wouldn't do much for her reputation or her legacy. There's still enough grousing over the last one.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Why wouldn't a Streep fan want her to win a fourth? Who cares if sooner or later?๐Ÿ˜„

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

How were the hunks -- Chris and Billy?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Suzanne - many of Streep's fans on AwardsWatch cannot be satiated that easily. They won't be happy until she has three more lead wins (to surpass Katharine Hepburn) and another supporting win so she can be the first actor to win both categories more than once.

I'm concerned by how eager tastemakers and people in the industry are to reward Streep and herald everything she does as the best ever. She's always going to take chances from actors who are more deserving / could benefit more just because of who she is.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Nathaniel, be fair. Harvey is responsible for that Waltz fraud and win. People wanted to honor a Tarantino actor. I think had Harvey campaigned properly for Jackson in supporting, an actual supporting performance and much more interesting (I personally think this is Quentin's worst but SLJ is doing something interesting) of a character, I think Jackson easily could have won as 1. he would have been the only first time nominee in a field of previous winners and 2. it seemed clear that mess of an Oscar year that AMPAS were trying to make the best out of the fact it was a pretty messy set of nominations that completely side-passed guilds. Jackson winning would have been a nice surprise as opposed to the year of the 'snubs' that colored that Oscar year. Anyway, Waltz's win was horrid but I have a hard time thinking back to a Weinstein acting win that made me not think twice. Maybe Waltz himself in Basterds but I'm also still ticked Harvey only bothered to get a nod out of just Waltz. Harvey really has no good track record with the Tarantino women, despite some of the best turns in those films have been women.

How was Amy in Big Eyes and did this Ed Wood reunion help Tim Burton in any way? I saw Bilge Ebiri's tweet on it. He described as a horror film- in good terms.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Mike M -- i absolutely can't imagine Streep winning for this, no.

Andy -- they were awesome.

CMG -- it is fair to blame actors for their Oscar campaigns. They are not slaves. They have a choice in what they agree to do, the category selection, and how much campaigning they will do.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I didn't think she would win for The Iron Lady either ๐Ÿ˜„

As a Streep fan- I do not believe that she has to match Hepburn or be nominated for everthing she is in ( she is not)- but if she is worthy of a nomination and elevates the film- I don't adhere to the argument that she has been invited to many times to the party. Yes- there is a thrill in seeing exactly how many nominations she can achieve and how many awards won. But if she stopped everything tomorrow-Streep would still be a legend. And she is, deservedly so.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

so do you think Adams is getting the 5th spot after seeing Big Eyes ? you haven't seen The Homesman yet have you? is Blunt a strong contender for Best Actress or ?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNina

Streep has her own legacy independent of Hepburn. My sense is she will be nominated for ITW and possibly win if it's a hit.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Not here for that AwardsWatch shade, Mike. M. ;-)

Also @ Mike M. - have you seen Streep in Into the Woods? I ask because you make a comparison of performance between her and Arquette and call Arquette's superior. Or is it just 'word on the Streep' vs Arquette's perf (which I'm guessing you've seen)?

I don't have Streep winning for this as of yet but she is doing Q&A's so she's going to give Patty a run for her money, if we're assuming Arquette is the frontrunner.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Thanks, Nathaniel. It's nice to hear that this won't necessarily be an inevitable coronation (as some predicted when the "Stay with Me" clip came out). Still, I'm going to keep an eye out, because if you can win for 'The Iron Lady' you can probably win for anything.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

erik -- i have never thought Arquette was the frontrunner. I think that's an online invention becasue they need a frontrunner. I honestly think there is no frontrunner for that category. which is what will make it interesting. But i don't think Streep is going to win. Her third win is too recent and too divisive and that will stop at least some of the people from voting for her. And it's not all that easy to win for musicals unless your performance is kind of mammoth and the film is a hit. and we don't know if the film will he a hit yet.

mike m - ah but she didn't win for The Iron Lady. She won for PRADA + DOUBT + JULIE & JULIA + THE IRON LADY. It was all about the decade of her reernergized superstardom and a coronation. I think very few of the votes were for that performance/movie.

November 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Why couldn't Streep sneak a win in the vein of Zeta-Jones, J. Hudson
or even Joel Grey?....

re: Nate declares Meryl not in the conversation for a win for ITW

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe

well, um, Streep's performance is certainly mammoth isn't it??? Actually,
a mammoth seems the perfect term for this huge showy tricky performance.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe

"huge showy tricky performance"

Damn, I need to see this soon to see if we're talking Iron Lady, Mamma Mia!, Death Becomes Her, Sophie's Choice or She-Devil kind of huge-showy-tricky.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nathaniel- a win is a win correct? Will Moore win the Oscar this year solely based on her performance or for all the times she has been a lady in waiting?
I remember this argument on this site last year- Meryl would not be nominated for August Osage County because she just won and they would not nominate her again so soon... That 18th nomination just proves that the streep fatigue is not felt everywhere in the industry. It mostly appears on sites such as this which are trying desparately to make actresses such as Chastain, Kendrick, Davis, etc. "happen."
In fact- if we are going to use the argument that we are all "embarrassed" she won her third for such a awful performance-perhaps many will welcome the chance to award her for this mammoth and hugely successful movie?

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I think it's hard not to consider past work when voting comes around with the exception of a first timer like Lupita or Hudson (which is rare). Even Lawrence had a body of good work and a nomination behind her before winning. Moore is, from all reports, giving one of the best performances of the year, not just her career which is full of good perfs. It's been over a decade since she was last nom'ed (should have been for A Single Man), so some career achievement is due and not unwelcome. What will help Moore over Streep's Iron Lady, is that the perf truly deserves it.

Streep never gives a bad perf, but like all actors, there are levels of good. The Iron Lady win hurts her because she will still give another Sophie's Choice or Dingo ate my baby (Isn't is amazing that the real woman has just been cleared any wrong doing in that case?) performance and might miss out on winning at that time because of Iron Lady. Sort of a "careful what you wish for" situation.

November 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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