Oscar History

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IndieWire the winners at SXSW Fort Tilden (narrative) and The Great Invisible (doc). You may recall that Short Term 12 was the big discovery last year so let's hope Fort Tilden hits theaters soon. But mostly I'm leading with this because the still released has kittens in it. Kittens!

But mostly I led with that because the first still released has kittens in it. Three. Kittens. Kittens, I say.


Ahem. Some links...
LA Review of Books Charles Taylor on Meryl Streep's recent string of gorgon roles and particularly August: Osage County. Really interesting article but Streep fanatics should steer clear since it is merciless. (Slightly confused about what this essay is doing at a 'Review of Books' since none are mentioned.) 
Golden Globe I hadn't seen this before - celebrities fav movies. Turns out Robin Wright loves Werner Herzog, Carey Mulligan loves Steven Spielberg, Emile Hirsch has very Oscar-bait taste, and Julia Roberts loves The Mexican most of her own ???
MNPP [NSFW] Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of Everest
The Playlist on Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill Criterion release and his dissatisfaction with his post Sex, Lies and Videotape pre Out of Sight period 

Towleroad "Hodor" (Kristian Nairn) on Game of Thrones comes out in an interview 
Movie City News on "popcorn time" and piracy
The Wrap supposedly four actors fighting for the Doctor Doom role in The Fantastic Four: Eddie Redmayne, Sam Riley, Domnhall Gleeson, and Toby Kebbell. I'd say that wasn't a great get considering the face will be covered with a metal mask... but then origin stories, you know, they'll have some time before the face plate.
Variety uh-oh chest thumping Celine Dion could be back at the Oscars again in an Original Song performance. She gets a duet with Miss Piggy "Something So Right" in the new Muppets film 

I don't normally post any fundraiser things beyond the site's own need for funding, detailed here. For instance, I had to make a ruling on no campaigns for indie movies simply because I get so many requests every week it'd be a part time job just putting up those posts with no added value for you the reader. But for movie theaters I'll make an exception. Brooklyn is home to so many cinephiles it'd be a pity if they lost another old theater. So if you want to help save the Brooklyn Heights Cinema -- which needs to update its equipment or be shut down -- here's the info!

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Reader Comments (33)

I enjoyed Meryl in August a lot. By the way, I never got clear if you liked Julia as much as everyone else did. I believe she only played the angry side of that character.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy -- i did not. I like Julia in a lot of things but i thought she was just adequate there and the role can be much deeper.

March 12, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm a bit disappointed most celebrities in that list like mostly American films. The only one mentioning Bergman is Woody Allen. Interesting taste: Robin Wright

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCris

The celebs favorite movies was interesting. Glad to see East of Eden pop up so many times, I've always thought that was a superior film to Rebel and contains James Dean's best performance.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

joel6, I think the same about East of Eden, my favorite James Dean performance!!

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Nathaniel: The New York Review of Books also reviews movies.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlfred

Well, as a Meryl fanatic I don't mind that article much. All the things have already been said, so why bother? She got nominated for all the roles (and even done for one) pointed out anyway. *shrug*


March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja


"won" not "done".

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Nice plug for the Brooklyn Heights Cinema. Places like that and The Ken Cinema (where I truly fell in love with movies) should be saved.

re celeb fav movies: does anyone else hate "click-through" galleries on websites? I much rather scroll than click, because clicking means you have to WAIT for the page to load. Agree with Penelope's picks.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I find the Los Angeles Review of Books piece on Meryl Streep to be very validating. I, too, think that her performances are caricatures and that she is completely undeserving of her recent awards nominations and wins.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Jake's ass beats kittens any day, but that's just me.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Very interesting bit from the article on Meryl Streep:

"In a New York Times Magazine profile of Hoffman that ran before the film’s release, John Patrick Shanley, who directed the film version of Doubt from his play, said:

'Meryl is a street fighter, and she schemes as an actress — she wants to win the scene. Phil won’t play that way. He won’t engage. Before their big confrontation scene, Meryl would be muttering “I’m going to kick his butt” for the entire crew to hear.'"

She has always struck me as a very ungenerous screen presence...

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I HATED Meryl Streep's performance in August: Osage County ... The most embarrassing hamming-it-up performance I can recall seeing. Julia Roberts was mostly terrific, though - and I'm not a fan
by any means.

Julianne Nicholson gave the best performance.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Runner up: Chris Cooper - the scene where he scolds Margo Martindale for picking on Sherlock Holmes... Wauw.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

I find the piece on Meryl quite brutal (I love her) and yet totally necessary. I don't believe in the sacralization of living artists. l've always wondered how will she be perceived by audiences in 50 years. A legend? A spoiled chkd?

PS I hate The Iron Lady too.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

So sad that they didn't include a commentary or interview with Jesse Bradford on the Kind of the Hill criterion release. Poor guy.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

"King of the Hill" Is my favorite Soderbergh film. Such a great performance from Jesse Bradford.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Pam, I completely agree about those click-through galleries! Just list the damn things. I don't need pictures and such since they take so much longer to get through.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I loved Streep in "August: Osage County"! Oh well, whatever Mr. Taylor. The world will keep spinning regardless of Streep's "gorgon" phase.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIan

The Streep piece is brutal. But I agree with much of it, especially his praise for "A Cry in the Dark."

Kittens--yes. Jake in all his glory, looking like a man--YES! YES! YES!

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Jakes furry butt certainly perked me up.

Re Streep,i really dislike her in Doubt but AOC is great although the men bar Cooper are given nothing to do or do what they do badly,the women are flawless esp Streep,how else do u play Vi,quite and reiring,there's a reason these girls stayed away she IS a monster.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I actually enjoyed the Streep article although there are some inconsistencies in Mr. Taylor's writing. One of his main critiques is that Streep fails to "humanize" the monsters she plays and yet criticizes the somewhat sympathetic portrayal of Margaret Thatcher because she and the filmmakers failed to acknowledge what an atrocity she was. Wtf? I found that the problems in The Iron Lady had less to do with Streep and more to do with the jarring, confounded screenplay. If you're going to tackle a character as big and as widespread as Thatcher, you're going to have to focus in on an era, not a tacky, undisciplined greatest hits compilation. And I, for one, didn't come away feeling sympathetic towards Thatcher (perhaps during her dementia stage--how couldn't you?--but Streep really ranges in on the ruthlessness and stubborn qualities of the character).

I do agree that the Doubt performance has not aged well and it's one of my least favorite performances from her, but the "I'm going to kick his butt" really made me laugh, considering that this would probably be the same internal dialogue Sister Aloysius would be having in an argument/confrontation with the Priest. Perhaps this was an intentional actor's choice by Ms. Streep.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I agree Sonja. Shrug. Who's the next literate, clever writer who will decide to get a little notoriety by trashing Meryl Streep in print. He provides lots and lots of opinion about acting on screen with no indication of actually understanding it and very little analysis of the roles she played within the context of the stories. Obviously one could make a strong case that going around as the Nun in DOUBT saying "I'm going to kick his butt" is exactly what that character could be feeling/thinking before some of those scenes. And yes, going for the gorgon might be considered admirable if you value courageous actors who don't have to protect themselves by always being careful to be "oh so real". As usual, it seems about half and half pro vs con Meryl here - if you count me as a pro (which you should).

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Oh yeah, and faulting Streep for the approach taken in THE IRON LADY on Thatcher is a little ridiculous. Sure you can question if she should have accepted the role as written but once she did, that was the role she needed to play. And Vi is a Gorgon - she has to be a Gorgon - or the movie really doesn't make sense. Perhaps Mr. Taylor has had the good fortune to never have a gorgon like Vi in his life. I assure you that they are just as big, ugly and ridiculous as portrayed - and certainly as self-serving and self-centered. Again, let's write whatever we feel like and not base it on anything except our prejudices. That's called criticism, right?

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

I know a Vi and amazingly like her,i noticed he didn't really focus on the quiet moments in Streeps perforamnce,i think in yrs to come we'll reavluate all her roles after she has gone then we can decide what she left behind.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

I loved her performance in August: Osage County, and I particularly don't understand the criticism when her character is suppose to be like that. She also completely humanized Violet in two key scenes:

1. When Violet was in the car with Barbara, and they talked about the dinner fight. She clearly conveyed her fear of being forgotten with subtlety.

2. When Violet talks about the boots she wanted as a child. This scene was heartbreaking, and she completely downplayed it.

I believe that it is one of her best performances ever. She did not deserved to win for The Iron Lady, nor did she deserved to get nominated for two of her roles: Music of the Heart, and Doubt. But other than that- 16 of her nominations are richly deserved. In my opinion, she should have 6 Oscars by now:

1.Kramer vs. Kramer
2.Sophie's Choice
4.A Cry in the Dark
5.The Bridges of Madison County

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I never really got the harping on the Julie part of "Julie and Julia". Yes, she's an annoying character. Aren't we all?

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWill

Opinions are a funny thing. I totally thought Streep rocked it in The Iron Lady and her Oscar was well deserved for that role. The script and movie were weak, not Streep. I did think Streep overplayed Violet in Osage a bit (but I do not have a Vi in my life, thankfully), but some of her scenes really did affect me (the boots in particular). I do think her nomination was well deserved for that very difficult character. And her performance in Doubt was totally spot-on. I love that performance. I recently read a piece (interview with Amy Adams) about the filming of Doubt. In the scene where Adams confronts Streep, Adams couldn't remember her lines, even after 12 takes. As Adams tells the story, Streep waited patiently, take after take. What you see in the film is Streep totally giving the scene to Adams. So I do think Streep is generous to her actors. As much as I like A Cry in the Dark, I can think of at least a half dozen performances by Streep that are better. So much for Mr. Taylor an his opinion.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

To me, it's fine if any critic wants to call out an actress (which in this case Streep). After all, that's what they do. But to imply that an actress has a 'certain' personality (doesn't see the whole picture or doesn't care much about the effects of her acting on fellow actors) is ludicrous. I mean who knows best except her fellow actors, right?

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJans

@Pam, @joel6: totally with you!

I hate those click through things. I feel like I'm using some kind of clunky outmoded technology. Sites that are set up that way (like In Contention) I only skim the articles anymore. If there's a point or summation at the end, sorry. The irritation is greater than the interest.

I liked Emily Watson's choice of Les Enfants de Paradise, directed by Marcel Carne. I also love Carne's Les Visiteurs du Soir.

March 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

re. that Streep article, I've been complaining about her hamminess, showboating and lack of generosity towards scene partners for over a decade now. But Julie and Julia is the most grotesque example of all of those things, not a highlight in anyone's filmography. (Though Tucci was good.)

On the other hand, the showboating and hamminess worked perfectly well in August and she modulated it masterfully. It's her strongest performance since roughly Madison County. And it follows her similarly strong work (with the occasional rough patch) in Iron Lady.

I don't understand why people have picked this moment to turn on her. It seems completely counter-intuitive.

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

pam, joel, and adri -- websites do that for traffic statistics to up their numbers so that they can charge more for advertisers. i don't mind it at all (and do it myself) if it's one click to finish reading an article (because it makes the front page smoother if one article doesn't take up too much space. but asking to click multiple times to read something is just reader abuse if you ask me.

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The writer of that article votes for the National Society of Film Critics. Meryl's performance for TIL was voted #3 that year there. Ironic?

March 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

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