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Thursday
Jun112015

Q&A: May/December Romance? Actressy Titles? Streep Sans Sophie

This week's Ask Nathaniel session didn't get as many questions as usual -- you were intimidated by the request for donations surely which sucks because life ain't free and we work hard here -- but here are 9 questions anyway because I'm such a giver. Let's start with a trip back to 1995 and move on to smackdowns, actressexual directors, Nicole Kidman in Paddington, and Hollywood's love of pairing older men with younger women... 

Golden Globe Comedy Wins Don't Always Lead to Oscar Noms

COCO: I'm in a very 1995 mood. Were you obsessing and predicting twenty years ago?

NATHANIEL: LOL. Yes, I was.  I've been obsessed since I first discovered the Oscars 82/83 (my family was mystified since none of them had interest) and started making list of "dream nominations" each year when I was a kid even though I didn't see most of the actual nominees since they were rated "R" (VERBOTEN!) so I was madly scribbling things like  "Best Actress: Daryl Hannah for Splash !!!" and such early on. But honestly I can't remember when I started "predicting" in the classic sense but it was definitely before The Film Experience.

We'll be discussing 1995 at length in the July Smackdown so I'll save most of my comments for then but my biggest nail-biter and raucous-cheering and breath-holding was for Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas (who was my personal choice for the Oscar that year) since there were basically seven women with what seemed like actual traction for five spots. The oddwomen out were, of course, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Georgia) and Golden Globe Actress in a Musical or Comedy winner Nicole Kidman (To Die For).  Nothing against Leigh and Kidman but I knew there was only room for 1 of them since Sarandon, Stone, Streep, Thompson were locked up for various reasons some valid some not. That year's Best Actress race was so overstuffed and incredible which is why it comes up so often in Oscar circles as a point of discussion. 

On some posters (not this one) the tag line is "Raises screen acting to a new level of sexual knowingness" (!!!)PEDINHRO: What are your favorite movies with a female name in the title? My all time favorite is The Marriage of Maria Braun!

Well, you took the best one! Wait do you mean Best Title or Best Movie that just happens to have a female name in the title? If you mean best movie obviously I have to have things like Carrie and Annie Hall. But if you mean "Best Title" that's more fun so let's make it a whole top ten after the jump...

  • The Marriage of Maria Braun
  • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar
  • Pepi, Luci, Bom (and Other Girls Like Mom)
  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
  • All About Eve
  • The Sin of Madelon Claudet
  • The Story of Adele H
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Run Lola Run

That's in no particular order but Germany is the MVP. Thanks Deutschland. 

BJ: What performance are you most looking forward to revisiting among the remaining Smackdown years? What performance are you least looking forward to revisiting at some point?

From this summer's selected years I'm most excited to see Mare Winningham in Georgia (1995) and Nina Foch in Executive Suite (1954) because I loved both performances when I first saw the movies but I've only seen each once and probably not since the mid 90s in both cases! Least looking forward? That's mean. Um... I guess Jean Simmons in Hamlet (1948) because Shakespeare bores me from overfamiliarity and because I've never quite understood her appeal.

Speaking of Shakespeare I'm currently so disappointed that the Shakespeare in the Park, which used to be so adventurous here in Central Park each summer (they didn't used to only do Shakespeare plays) has been so 'Bard Only!' for the past few years. This summer they're doing The Tempest and Cymbelline neither with a cast I'm interested in. (sigh)

MORGANISAQT: If you could summon up a dream smackdown panel of people dead or alive (no shade on the awesome ones you have come up with), who would be on it and why and what year would you make them do? 

George Cukor with "The Women"

If we're going strictly fantasy I know my answer immediately. I'd want a panel with famous actressexuals so I gotta have Tennessee Williams (a personal obsession) & George Cukor (a famous wit and great director). Then two actresses I could listen to talk all day about anything but about other actresses would be even better: Emma Thompson & Bette Davis. And because I'm obsessed with wondering how they talk to each other about movies / showbiz / art, The Beatty & The Bening. Voila. If any of them cancel at the last minute I sub in either Pauline Kael or Alfred Hitchcock to provoke them.

You greedily asked two questions and I don't want to reward this naughty behavior but as it turns out I really do want to answer the other one, too.

MORGANISAQT: What did you think of Nicole in Paddington? I thought she was excellent and it was a step in the right direction for her in terms of warming people up to her again and winning back public affection. If you were her agent where would you encourage her to go in her career now?

 I am saddened to report that I didn't think much of her work in Paddington. Sally Hawkins really elevates the film but none of the other actors are doing much more than what's required. The film is cute but it's at war with itself, not content to let its quaint whimsical fable-like charms carry it (and they could because its often very charming) and continually erring on the side of more "excitement" (CGI slapstick action usually but sometimes just fussy business) which nearly always ruins the mood by muddying the tone and the pace. Kidman's boo-hiss cartoon villain role could've been done by anyone really and I need her to be more challenged.

If I were her agent I would be encouraging immense focus at this stage. She says yes to everything (it seems) but it might be wiser to spend time developing one really great project or just lay low after all this non-stop working for one year and come back with some killer showcase, when people start missing her (I suspect that tactic is going to work well for Anne Hathaway). It'd be great if the comeback role was meaty enough (like a Rabbit Hole) that it could distract people from their obnoxious focus on discussing her face and age. I feel like paying for a nationally televised PSA: "Everyone ages. Including beautiful actresses. Get used to it."

CHARLES O: Do you have a favorite Oscar category (besides actresses)? One that you specifically adore and pay extra attention to?

I think it's obvious given the charts I cook up each year that Foreign Film is one for me. Mostly I find it fascinating because of the selection process both outside Oscar and when it comes to Oscar and since I far prefer foreign films to American indies. Foreign films used to be a big deal for the arthouses but for whatever reason the breakout of the American indie scene stole their thunder in the 90s and it's been a decline ever since in terms of their place in the US marketplace which is maddening. Because they actually provide alternative points of view and filmmaking aeshetics far far more often than American indies do which can be as safe and generic as Hollywood albeit within their own subset of particulars. 


Other categories? I deeply love what we've been referring as "The Moulin Rouge! Categories" for years. Production Design and Costuming are infinitely more important to the success of a movie than most people realize or that they ever get credit for. That's your 'world building' right there. If the world convinces you and fascinates you and invites you in to its specificities and aids the actors they're doing outstanding work. 

3RTFUL: What would Meryl Streep's career look like if she were not cast in Sophie's Choice?

Sorry for all the Streep Detractors but I think it would pretty much be the same. While it's true that Sophie's Choice did cement her in the American consciousness as  "The Greatest Living Actress" very early in her career (she'd only been in movies for 5 or 6 years!) and she's been able to coast on that title ever since (when she was genius and when she wasn't) her consistent diverse output in one critical darling and popular hit after another from the late 70s through the mid 80s (essentially The Deer Hunter through Out of Africa) would have still granted her this title. It was an undeniably classic run. And the rest of her 80s output, while less popular, continued to wow people with the chameleonism. If anything Sophie's Choice sucks up too much of the oxygen in the myth of Streep because she's better, I'd argue, in Silkwood (1983) and at the very least the film is a much greater film. Her other work in the 80s is often sublime, too, if not quite on Sophie's Choice level. 

I think in retrospect people like to pretend that she was in a tight battle for The Actress Crown with Sissy Spacek and Jessica Lange in the late 70s early 80s, but that wasn't totally the case. Jessica and Sissy's films (with one indisputable exception each) were never the giant smashes / instant classics that Streep's regularly were. And by the time Kathleen Turner (to whom Streep is almost never compared) and Glenn Close (to whom she is almost always compared) ascended with major hits and critical esteem in the latter half of the 80s, Streep had already claimed the title for good. 

JOHN T: An actress almost never discussed on the blog here: thoughts on Marsha Mason and what is a favorite performance?

I feel like we're always discussing her but that might just be because of the comments section and our communal Best Actress preference and that recent post on Cinderella Liberty (1973). But I guess not. I missed the Mason fanaticism --  I was too young when she was popular and her leading lady career was over by the time I was aware of movies -- she barely worked at all in the 1980s! My favorite performance of hers was in Chapter Two (1979) but I haven't seen it since somewhen in the 1980s on VHS I think so I don't remember it at all.  

PAUL OUTLAW: I was thinking about A Fish Called Wanda... There was a 19-year age difference between Cleese and Curtis (11 between Kline and Curtis). Are there any major films where you don't find this icky or otherwise sexist?

I actually love Cleese & Curtis together in that movie but that's not normally the case with age-differences. I don't find it as distracting in older movies - maybe it's the black and white remove? No offense to integenerational couples but it's clearly an example of sexism the way Hollywood does it. I was so angry hearing about this new movie co-starring Hugh Jackman (46 but looks older) and Rooney Mara (30 but looks younger) and I hope against hope that they're not romantically paired. I mean did anyone buy that Rooney Mara was old enough to be Joaquin Phoenix's ex in Her (that took me out of the movie, that 11 year age difference - did she drop out of high school to marry him?) I think when you stretch much beyond, I don't know, 10 years age difference it can be distracting unless the age difference is an intrinsic part of the story or maturity level of the characters (which is why it works so well in Gone With the Wind). Male actors need to check their egos and tell the studios they want equal screen partners, not just beautiful girls. It would end up benefitting their careers and actually doesn't emphasize their age as much as seeing them with a dewy young thing. The biggest romantic dramas and most popular romantic comedies nearly always featured similarly aged actors. Let's look at the most successful movies of all time that depend heavily on their romantic sparks to work and become the behemoth blockbusters they were.

  1. Gone With the Wind (1939) 12 year age difference
  2. The Sound of Music (1965) 6 year age difference... (and any more would have tipped the already precarious power balance and made that coupling more uncomfortable.)
  3. Titanic (1997) 1 year age difference
  4. Doctor Zhivago (1965) 11 year age difference
  5. The Graduate (1968) 3 year age difference... though hilariously "Mrs Robinson" who was 'the older woman' was only 6 years older than Hoffman and only 9 years older than her screen daughter
  6. Grease (1978) 6 year age difference - the woman is older (!)
  7. Love Story (1970) 2 year age difference - the woman is older (!)
  8. Spider-Man (2002) 7 year age difference 
  9. Cleopatra (1963) 7 year age difference 
  10. My Fair Lady (1964) 21 year age difference (...and it's gross even though it's part of the story)
  11. Superman (1978) 4 year age difference - the woman is older (!)
  12. Tootsie (1982) 12 year age difference
  13. West Side Story (1961) same age
  14. Ghost (1990) 10 year age difference


Anyway we'll stop there because we could go on all day but obviously being closer in age reads better visually and often helps with chemistry as this "most successful" sampling should underline. Need more proof: consider Kevin Costner's insane chemistry with Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham (she's 6 years older) or Joan Allen (in Upside of Anger, she's 1 year younger). Consider that Daniel Day Lewis often reads asexual onscreen but he was suddenly all sexually sparky with a woman his own age (Michelle Pfeiffer & Madeline Stowe both only one year younger). Consider that Mel Gibson was always sexiest with an older woman as co-star (Sigourney Weaver & Diane Keaton & Tina Turner). The list goes on.  

They were all born within a 13 month time frame from January 1974 through January 1975

I mean Channing Tatum is currently co-starring with women his own age but in 10 years time we can safely bet he'll still be paired with women from his current age range. Male movie stars age but their onscreen partners don't and I'd argue this is one of the reasons male stars are less exciting as they age. They need an equal screen partner to up their game. Hell, the only reason the Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence thing has been working is because her star presence is so huge as to obliterate the normal concerns that come with visible age difference but even so the best chemistry in American Hustle is Amy Adams in any direction (within 1 year of both Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale). 

 

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Reader Comments (44)

That 1995 Best Actress lineup was EVERYTHING.... so sad to think we'll never see Sharon Stone or Elisabeth Shue in a meaty role again :-(

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

If you had Tennessee Williams and Bette Davis on the panel, not only would sparks fly but lightning bolts would rain from the skies. Did you read John Lahr's biography Williams, which deliciously details how Bette's ego more or less helped scorch the Broadway premiere of "Night of the Iguana"?

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Thank you! I know I was greedy, I always like to offer options! Smack down panel yes - my god I could listen to Emma Thompson and Bette Davis all day!

ITA with you on Kidman - I don't understand where the affection has gone or why people are so hard on her but be more fussy! Go away for a year or two, appear on stage and TV, make people pine for you then knock their socks off with a paperboyrabbitholebirth performance. (Still think she was great camp in Paddinton though).

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMorganisaqt

I think with Kidman the fluff or rubbish films cancel out gr8 work in other movies,still watch anything with her in though.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

RE: 1995. I would have reversed the Oscars for Dead Man Walking and Leaving Las Vegas. Best actor should have gone to Sean Penn and best actress to Elisabeth Shue, but I'm not too angry to see Susan Sarandon win for that role. She was a very strong second in my book.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Thanks for answering my question!

And I agree so much with your assessment of Sally Hawkins as the MVP in PADDINGTON.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCoco

@Dave

Stone and Shue have opportunities in American indies for character parts and leading roles on TV. Had Stone went supporting she might have swept the season over Sorvino. Really curious who would have taken her spot?

@Nathaniel

All film actors who garner legacy status must have a signature role. Sophie fits as Streep's calling card above all else.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

In Costner's Defense, he's done the similar aging with most of his leading ladies.

Whitney: 8 years younger

Russo: 1 year younger,

McDonnell: 2 years older

Aniston: 14 years younger, but that was the point of that awful movie, and still further apart than Hoffman and Bancoft.

Preston: 7 years younger.

Wright: 11 years younger.

Tripplehorn: 7 years younger.

Spacek: 6 years older.

Mastrantonio: 3 years younger.

Lane: 10 years younger.

Allen: 1 year younger.

and in his latest, the not bad, but very Disney, "McFarland U.S.A." he has one of the furthest divides with Maria Bello, at 12 years.


And then there is me, who is perfect at any age for Costner.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I like Paul Outlaw's question. Two other good examples of similarly aged onscreen chemistry: Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan (1 yr) in The Thomas Crown Affair; word is he fought for an appropriately aged woman ; Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh (1 yr), 'course at the time they really were in love.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Ole Marsha's favorite performance by the real Marsha has got to be 1981's Only When I Laugh. Although she's often criticized for "playing herself" (by people who've probably never met her), her recovering alcoholic character seems to me very lived-in and feels different than her other performances.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

To me, 1995 is synonymous with Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and their killer turns in “Safe” and “The Bridges of Madison County,” respectively.

My favorite movie with a female name in the title is Erin Brockovich. I love that as justifiably proud it is of its star performance, the movie is still nonetheless bigger than it. Love how it’s much about the individual as it is about a community.

Nathaniel, can wait to see the Smackdown on 1995 (Winningham, Allen, and Winslet are amazing).

And I feel sorry that Kathleen Turner doesn’t get as much attention anymore. She so should have won for “Romancing the Stone.”

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I have a question about May December relationships as well.

When people say they are grossed out by them, what do they mean? Are they referring to films like Venus or Manhattan in which the age differences are incorporated into the narrative, or do they refer to situations in which young 20 something actresses are pretending to play 30/40 year old love interests, while their male actor costars are actually in their 30/40s?

To me there's a big difference. I sometimes have an issue with the latter, don't really care about the former. I ask because a lot of the comments about Woody's upcoming 'Irrational Man' (and, let's face it, many of his other films as well) focus on the May December relationship between Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix, but according to those who have seen the film, Allen incorporates age differences into the narrative.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Joseph: The latter is typically what people are talking about when they mention being creeped actively creeped. Where you KNOW they SHOULD be decently close in terms of age but, you know, AREN'T EVEN CLOSE.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Movies with a female name in the title:
"The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne" with Maggie Smith (who won a BAFTA for this) and Bob Hoskins.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteradri

3rtful .... I never thought I would say this, because I have dissed you quite a bit in the past ( where others feel the same as I do, but restrain themselves ) .. but your answer to Streep's question was rather restrained and very well thought out ...

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick

How about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in Once? That's an 18-year difference and the chemistry there is electrifying.

Also, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That's a 13-year age difference which I didn't even notice, because the chemistry there works beautifully.

The thing is, even outside of cinema, pairings of older men and younger women are very common. I know a lot of couples where there is a 10+ year difference, including my own parents (my dad is nearly 14 years older than my mom). I even know a girl who waited to turn 18 before she started dating a 32-year-old guy. So, I think this goes well beyond Hollywood...

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

This post seems as good of a time as any to bring up the fabulous Tang Wei & Tony Leung in Lust, Caution.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKL

"Ghost" is an interesting one because Swayze and Moore don't SEEM to be that apart in age (and I wouldn't say Moore looks considerably older than her 28 years at the time -- rather that Swayze just looked really, really good for 38).

Tatum's first major on-screen romance was Amanda Bynes ("She's the Man"), who was five years his junior. However, they were both playing high-schoolers. Would high school/college comedies be exempt considering it's all about how the actors APPEAR?

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

Never got the Elisabeth Sue thing in "Leaving Las Vegas" but then LOVED her in "Mysterious Skin" some actress just get better with age...

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Erin Brockovich

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermcv

I personally am usually creeped out by actors in films set in the present day (or very recent past) being paired with actresses who are much younger. If they have chemistry, it only slightly mitigates the creepiness for me, because I can appreciate the magic (like Cleese and Curtis in Wanda). Still, it always reeks of male privilege and makes the women seem somehow mercenary and/or daddy issues. And both partners seem a little desperate and immature. (I'd feel the same way about a lesbian or gay pairing with a wide age difference.)

In films set (or produced) in the past, I'm more indulgent of such pairings (like Bogart and Bacall or Firth and Stone, although the latter was still Ick City), because it was more commonplace and accepted without much discussion back then...even if the underlying questionable circumstances were the same as today (if not worse).

Strangely (or perhaps not), I never have a problem when an older actress is paired with a younger actor, although I think it's rare for the film they're in not to make an issue of it.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss
Johnny Belinda
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Eyes of Laura Mars
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Inside Daisy Clover

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Every time I read the words Lust, Caution my heart skips a beat because of that Tang Wei performance. I think it belongs to the top 5 performances of this century!

Two movies named after women that are just wonderful: Minnie & Moskowitz and Gloria ;)

And thanks for highlighting how great Adams is in American Hustle. I am a sucker for that Lawrence performance (I love actresses indulging in S U P E R S T A R magnetism, and I hadn't seen anything like that since Erin Brockovich in terms of charisma), but Adams is just wonderful and her pairing with Bale was just genius.

American Hustle will age very well.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Casablanca. There's a classic with a 16-year age difference that somehow works.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBenji

Maria Full of Grace, which begs the question whatever happened to Catalina Sandino Moreno. I remember loving the film and her performance therein.

It's always saddened me that Sharon Stone never received -- or maybe never truly seized -- better roles in better films because the fierceness of her screen presence is undeniable even when her performances aren't good or the movies utter trash. I'd love to see her work with filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Lee Daniels, Alfonso Cuaron, and Darren Aronofsky.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Favorite movies with a female name in the title:

- The Double Life of Veronique
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Anna Karenina (Joe Wright's version)
- Carrie
- Lola Montes
- Frances Ha
- The Earrings of Madame de...
- Eve's Bayou
- Annie Hall
- Bonnie & Clyde
- Jackie Brown
- Carmen Jones
- Marie Antoinette (Coppola's of course)
- Claudine
- (500) Days of Summer
- The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
- Juno
- Sparkle (the original)

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

"Hell, the only reason the Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence thing has been working is because her star presence is so huge as to obliterate the normal concerns that come with visible age difference."

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I could never buy the two of them together. JLaw seems much younger than her age to me--I thinks it's due to a combination of the immaturity of her off-screen persona and her cherubic face. Also don't think she's a very compelling screen presence.

I heard that Elisabeth Shue turned down The Good Wife because she wanted to spend more time with her family. Totally valid, and yet I can't help but wish we got to see her take a crack at the role.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Im loving the Lee Daniels / Sharon Stone suggestion..


Make this happen at once! haha

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I think Meryl Streep would have more Oscars if it weren't for "Sophie's Choice". I think it looms so large in her body of work that everything else seems to pale in comparison.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Downs

3rtful - that's fascinating. I assumed Stone would always be considered lead but you're right, you could make the case that she's supporting. I haven't Sorvino's performance yet, but I wonder if Stone would have an Oscar by now? And who would she have kicked out of the Supporting Actress lineup? I assume Winningham (Quinlan and Winslet were in Best Pic nominees, Allen was in a movie with other Oscar support and Sorvino was a stand-out in an Allen pic).

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Thank you for answering my question. I'm so honored! I'd like to thank the Nathademy...

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

1995 was a great year for actresses.
I was surprised that Elsabeth Shue had so much screentime in Leaving Las Vegas. I felt it was more than Cage (maybe it was?).
And it's quite a shame Meryl won NOTHING for Bridges of Madison County. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
As for SC.... I'm extremely biased to that performance. That was my favorite american actress speaking my native language (german) in one of the most cruelest scenes of all time. That scene is just everything. Just thinking about it gets me teary, not kidding.
Silkwood is also really intense, but the Choice scene alone wins every time.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

"The thing is, even outside of cinema, pairings of older men and younger women are very common. I know a lot of couples where there is a 10+ year difference, including my own parents"

But not as common as it is in Hollywood. The average age difference for married couples is pretty small.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

"The average age difference for married couples is pretty small."

Jackie, where are you getting that statistic?

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

I would put Nicole in a series for cable. Maybe as an international detective working with Aaron Eckhart and Idris Elba, where she really can excel as a complex character and the smartest person in the room. Her film roles are not working for her.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMagic Baker

Richter Scale, US Population survey.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

3rtful & DJDeeJay-- Just to add to your comments about Sharon Stone potentially having gone supporting that year, I'd first like to say that I'm pretty sure Jennifer Jason Leigh would have taken her spot in lead had that been the case (it could have been Nicole, but I remember there being slightly more momentum in the final stages of the race for JJL), and I think Joan Allen would have been the one to get booted from the supporting category (she was snubbed by both the Golden Globes and SAG that year).

But the thing is that it's been a long time since I've seen Casino, so I'm not sure where I stand on Sharon Stone being lead or supporting. For that matter, I seem to remember Mira Sorvino's role in Mighty Aphrodite being a borderline case, although it's been a long time since I've seen that too. I'm looking forward to the Smackdown to see exactly how much screen time each of them had, because based on memory, I would guess they're both in the 40-50% screen time range, which to me usually means it could just as easily be considered a co-leading role or just a major supporting role.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

"Jackie, where are you getting that statistic?"

I've read it from a few sources. I think one was a report based on census data.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

I love Nicole Kidman beyond reason, but the juxtaposition of those two photos alone is jarring...and saddening. For me it has nothing to do with aging than with simple botched, unnecessary and distracting plastic surgery. While pretty, I don't ever recall her being a major-league beauty (like Michelle Pfeiffer or Sharon Stone, for instance), so the plastic surgery just wasn't additive in any conceivable, career-enhancing or -elongating way. And to think she has (had) the face that would seem to age so well naturally, being in a similar league as Blythe Danner and Lauren Bacall, who aged quite nicely and (seemingly) naturally themselves.

Anyway, back to 1995: Elisabeth Shue 100% deserved the Oscar that year. What a powerhouse performance -- and from an actor who never exhibited anything approaching that kind of depth before (or, sadly, since). Was Sharon Stone really that much of a lock?

It's not a female name in the title, but I always have loved The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. I was obsessed with that movie, sight unseen, largely based on the title and that cover art. (Helen Mirren is a fox, ad infinitum.)

Marsha Mason is lovely in her swan song as a movie star, Max Dugan Returns. Kevin Costner and Rene Russo were a delightful, age-appropriate coupling in a Tin Cup. (Rene was almost always paired well with her male co-stars, Clint Eastwood and Dustin Hoffman notwithstanding.) And I didn't realize Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews were so close in age! He always read "older" to me, she younger.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Well in defense of Kidman, I have to say that she's practically the only person in Hollywood that is doing what an actor have to do. Work. So, for me its the perfect star/actress. She does what she likes, working hard, not like the most of hollywood actors. If in 20 movies she does 3 goods, im fine. At least all i know is that she's practically perfect in every movie she does. Another thing that most hollywood actors dont achive. So... years will tell. Be sure.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterewan23

Nicole is way over the number of flips accorded to A-listers, and she needs to work less. Queen of the Desert does not have a distributor and Grace of Monaco was a major debacle at Cannes and not released in the US (except Lifetime, and it got a new round of critical ridicule). Maybe she's not that good - I find her opaque and boring.

June 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBestie Bright

Paul - thanks for that stat. Yeah. i've always felt the age difference in actual life is very small (primarily because people pair up in college or in the work force or in social settings and people generally do all those things with people within the same general age range. People don't tend to care if there's a little bit of age difference but Hollywood makes it seem way more normal than it is but maybe it has a lot to do with wealth too. perhaps the statitstics are skewed much more toward significant age gap with the wealthy classes ? .

June 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

ewan23, I don't agree. Kidman produces around the same number of films as Julianne Moore or Juliette Binoche. Bradley Cooper has had three features released so far this year, with another to be released at Christmas, and he starred in a Tony-nominated play. Someone like Ralph Fiennes works constantly, but half of his work is on the London stage, so we don't necessarily hear about it. Chastain works all the time, too.

I'll grant you that all of these actors have had films that are hit-or-miss, but with the minor exception of Paddington, Nicole hasn't had a real hit since Rabbit Hole five years ago - though admittedly, Stoker and The Paperboy have their fans.

June 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Suzanne - I think you might be generous in calling Rabbit Hole a "hit." Yes, she get an Oscar nomination but it was a very underseen movie. I bet most of mainstream America doesn't even know about it/remember it.

June 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

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