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« Best Dressed Men at the Globes? | Main | Would kissing Andrew Garfield make you feel better about losing a "Best Actor" prize? »

Beauty vs Beast: Elle La La

Jason from MNPP here with this week's post-Globes edition of "Beauty vs Beast" - a big congratulations to all of last night's winners (yes even Aaron Johnson - I liked that movie; sue me) but especially to the actresses, because duh. This is The Film Experience.

So are Emma Stone and Isabelle Huppert the front-runners now for Best Actress now? I mean I don't want to jinx myself...

We still have about two weeks before the Oscar nominations are announced and I'm terrified Huppert will be shuffled out of the nominations even; I re-watched Elle a third time this past weekend and her work (and the movie as a whole) only feels more layered and disturbing (in the best way) with every viewing.

And what does work about La La Land for me (I wouldn't call myself a naysayer of the film but I am kind of a hmmmmm-sayer) is the chemistry and Movie Star Magic that Emma Stone (and the Gosling too) siphons into it - her charm's a nuclear furnace and there's no knocking that when it comes to performance.

That said, Huppert's "Michèle Leblanc" and Emma Stone's "Mia" are an odd pair to set up beside each other (especially when looked at through the lens of Movies & What They Expect From Their Actresses) but that's where we are, so let's snatch this moment in time (just in case Oscar messes it up) and do just that...


(gif via me several weeks ago)

more Globes

Golden Globe Winners | Jimmy Fallon La La Land Opening | Golden tweeting
 Emma vs. Isabelle | Ryan & Andrew Kiss-Kiss | "Pink with stars on it"
 Best Dressed Men 



Way before the holidays we asked you probably the most obvious "Beauty vs Beast" ever and you responded in kind, giving Michelle Pfeiffer's performance as Catwoman our biggest landslide ever over poor Danny DeVito's Penguin with 93 plus percent of your vote. Said Jakey:

"What most impresses me about Pfeiffer's performance -- and there's a lot -- is the way she mapped out Selina/Catwoman's arc. The film was shot out of order (as is the norm), and I saw an interview from back in the day where she said she was essentially playing three different characters."

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Reader Comments (17)

JA: I wouldn't bet on it being Stone v. Huppert JUST yet. Yeah, Stone won the OTHER Globe (and by the way: Who has two thumbs and called Huppert taking the Drama Globe? THIS GUY.), but the Mus/Com Globe isn't nearly as important as the SAG award. If Stone takes that, you've called "the fight". If Adams takes it, Adams v. Huppert is "the fight".

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I'm rather disappointed that, in a year this rich for lead actress performances, the Best Actress Oscar will likely be awarded to Emma Stone. Do you think we can gin up momentum for the Amy Adams career Oscar?

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

No way that Huppert is the front-runner, even with a win from HFPA--emphasis on the F. SAG may well illuminate who really in the running with Stone.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBD

I'm still kind of in shock over Huppert's win last night EVEN THOUGH I had her as my alternate (after Portman). I'm so thrilled, though, since it's an exquisitely textured, layered, smart performance and she seemed genuinely shocked and excited to win.

But that aside, I'm voting for Michele, because she seems like she would be more fun in a bitchy, catty, queen-y way. But if she's not, then I'd switch her out for Mia, who is a drip after she and Seb are together but one hell of a spitfire when they're flirting.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

michelle of course.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermcv

The Best Actress Comedy/Musical winner traditionally is a lady-in-waiting on Oscar Night. Obviously, there are exceptions: since 1990, only Lawrence, Cotillard, Witherspoon, Paltrow, Hunt, and Roberts. Stone is not unlikely to join that list, if you look at it closely. Le sigh.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I have a feeling Streep made her next nomination a shoe in after her very good speech.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

That GIF is horrifying. Huppert should have been nominated for "The Piano Teacher." Michèle ain't got nothing on Erika.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Agree 100%. Not only ELLE feels more layered with each viewing (which happens to me to every damm cult classic I've seen starting with Mulholland DR.) but LLL feels oddily more artificial and showy. YES, I know the whole TFE will be throwing out stones to me now (no pun intended)
Full disclosure firstt: Emma Stone is far and away the best thing of it. She's spectacular.
Now, why I think ELLE is infinitely more clever and better directed than LLL (and hence, a better film)
1. Misse en scene. As with any other musical, LLL is pretty well staged. Even overwhelmingly so. So did Whiplash. So well staged, in fact, that I had not time to think over and over the strings Chazelle was pulling under their marionettes. And that's NOT a good thing to me. By comparison, the very humble HAIRSPRAY (the film) feel restrained and human on an level, even if the majority of that film actually happens on staged locations. Go figure. I like intimate romance stories as much as anyone. I like the human beings surrounding the principals were more than stunt-mannequins to add loads colours and self-aggrandizing the technicolor format. They rermain stunts, not humans. Therefore the artifice shines brighter, because their stunts dissapear from the film for a very long time.
By comparison, ELLE misse en scene feels astutely invisible. And surprisingly more fluent with every viewing. For such a crowdy cast of abject people thikening the plot of its protagonist with almost impossible twist and turns, everyone one of these miscasts has a complementary role on Huppert's reactions, antics and overall behaviour. They're not stunts. They're functional. They're humans, albeit very flawed and sometimes disturbing ones.
2. Director. I just need to get this out of my system NOW. Chazelle is talented, no doubt about it. He knows how a frame works. More importantly, he knows what he likes to do and why, in the large scheme of things. My problem being: he's not THAT deep or subtle storyteller. He can't sustain a consistent story thoughout the lengh of a feature film without resorting to some clichés. I should have known this before I saw LLL. I've already had issues with Whiplash because of this. He knows how to grab you by the neck at the beginning and how he will end it with a bang. In fact, you must see his short of Whiplash to understand what I'm talking about. He drags on too much in the middle with repetitive patterns which goes and goes on too long for the story's own good. He's green, young and needs and assistant scripter or a better one. (the GG award for the script must be some kind of a joke)
By comparison, Birke's script of ELLE has no intention to hide its manipulative scheming by escalating the absurdity of the situations until you really accept this world or you're out of it completely. It's also a fantasy of a burgeous entourage which toddles with clichés on purpose to extract something revelatory out of them (like the Ultra Catholic neighbour who kills it at the end with a line told to Huppert that will resonate with you long after the credits roll) Because, it has purpose. It means to play with your expectations (the misleading whodunit/rape-revenge thriller) and never drags or conforms the mold. Instead, completely subverts it. It takes an unexpected middle in the third act and ups the ante of what has come before to land its point (it HAS point, look again). Vehoeven, like Chazelle, knows too where he's heading at. He's just more seasoned than Chazelle and trust in a confident and much layered and deep script. Besides, he use a lethal weapon LLL lacks...
3. Huppert as co-author and anchor for convenient contrivances. Yes, Stone is the heart of LLL, the grounded soul who help lifts off the fantasy to the stars and shoots it back to Earth. Still, is a duopoly with the charming although irritant Gosling character. And they never felt anything less than scripted and two dimensional. That's not bad per se. But Huppert is something else. Anything obviously scripted in ELLE for sheer shocking value is thrown out of the window of its own grossness by the amazing (and cat-like) deadpanning Huppert brings into the character. Which makes the film seem arguably much less over-scripted or absurd than it really is. Huppert is the glue that put the pieces together. She construct her character to the point you can almost sympathize with her monster by seeing her showing rejection or approval with little more than facial gestures. She makes Michéle either vicious and caring. Sometimes, at the same time. Yes, with almost imperceptible gestures, Michéle shows empathy with his dimwit son with the slightly gaze of resignation as well as disgust with her mother and gigolo with the most overtly eye-rolling ever (among many other ones in her endless bag) Love with his ex-husband as well as resentment; lust for her neighbour first, and well earned surprise by herself reacting to THAT lust later on, under much different circumstances. She may be impossibly burdened by the events the screenplay throws at her. She turns them, somehow, into real, actual feelings. She's at both times an enigma to us as she is to herself. That's the brillance and allure of ELLE as well as Huppert's performance. She makes it work by downplaying the whole enterprise with her (apparent) self-control until these things get so overboard she lets the surprise and curiosity enter her gaze. She's multi-dimensional. The only thing we can do is watch with morbid curiosity: just like her cat. We are at her mercy. And she make us believe every damn thing it's happening TO her. Even if we don't believe the things themselves. Not to mention the film flows like a river from frame one to the cemetery.
I have to yet see la Benning. Huppert not only deserves the nomination. In a fair world, she would win even in this year of amazing performances. She's that good in a better film nobody will understand completely because, unlike LLL, it's not trying to bring the past into the present by reformulating an old and beloved genre. She's the protagonist of an unclassifiable film which simply it's ahead of its time. Matriarchy this borderline with utter emasculation (in a patryarchist and mysogynistic world) never seemed so cleverly depicted or amazingly, poker-faced, and funnily acted. Every viewing will reveal a new spinning on this controversial and often awkward subject. That's the stamp of a classic.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

If only Elle were available in other parts of the nation besides NY and LA. STILL HAVEN'T SEEN IT.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

No no, this is Stone vs Portman ... actors love Jackie they even have private screenings host by Julia Roberts .. so the SAG it's Natalie to loose as same as the Oscar... but if Stone wins the Oscar i would be happy too although she relaied so much in Ryan the entire movie ! And Jackie was Natalie show from beginning to end !... I think Isabelle it's going to be happy with her nomination if she get it ! So let's wait and see ! 🙃

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLuis15LA

I say this with love chofer...but if you're going to write a comment that long, it's time to start your own blog...much success. :)

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStritch Banklhead

If Michelle doesn't win this by a mile, I am totally done! Lol
I think that the race will be mostly defined by SAG these days. So if course I wish there is a huge boost for Amy Adams to finally win an Oscar. Or Bening. Huppert must at least be nominated. Portman will be fine too, but unnecessary. But it's too boring if Stone ends up with this, no offense.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Let's not kid ourselves: Michele could gut Mia with that ax and then send a letter of condolence back to Mia's folks in Boulder City, all before "le petit dejeuner."

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Nat, We need to hav an article on whatever happened to Jackie/Natalie?

Its strange o the lack o crtical love for this film, even thot almost all agreed tt Portman is ions betta in it than her award winning OTT perf in Black Swan.

I believe it all boils down to a few unfortunate factors/timing:

1) Portman had alr won in her last 2 noms at the GG

2) movie is too political n downbeat , reminds pple o the current US political climate

3) Portman's intellectual n cool demeanor works agst her in the face o a bubbly cute younger more amiable starlet.

And the most impt Factor:

4) Pple finally realised Huppert delivers a far more complex n satisfying performance.

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Today I am praying that Huppert gets a BAFTA nomination for Things to Come and that Streep or Blunt wins the SAG. That's the only sure way Huppert is winning that Oscar.

In other words...

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I seriously think Meryl helped herself and will get a F***-Trump boost. If they nominate her, she'll present in another category, and who knows what she'll say!

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

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