How am I ever going to decide on my own awards ballots this year? When the Film Bitch Awards begin in late December / early January - hell even before then when I vote at the annual BFCA "Critic's Choice" Awards -- I will have to make a Sophie's Choices and narrow it way down. There are so many fine performances this year. How will I choose??? Oh god, how will I choose. And with a few films still unseen these two fields could even grow.
BEST ACTRESS - MY LONGLIST BALLOT
in no particular order
Even when harassed by annoying paparazzi, she is friendly and playful. That über-positive Facebook page is no act.
Good things come to those who wait. For Judi Dench that good thing would be movie stardom. She's been acting on stage since 1957 (as Ophelia in Hamlet at the age of 23), on tv since 1959 (the title role in Hilda Lessways), and on the silver screen since 1964 (The Third Secret)... but it wasn't until 1997/1998 when Dench hit her sixties that true movie stardom happened, prompted by the double whammy of her first Oscar bid (Mrs Brown) and its follow up "oops sorry about last year" Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love (recently discussed). Isn't her career trajectory unheard of? Who doesn't even start being a movie star until their sixties? Dame Judi thats who.
Though she may soon retire (she's turning 80 a year from now) she's still in her movie prime. Her latest starring role is as Philomena, the story of a woman seeking the grown son she gave up for adoption, and it opens today in limited release. Will it bring her her 7th career Oscar nomination (her 5th in lead)? Only seven women in the history of movies have ever accomplished it before (Streep, Hepburn, Davis, Page, Berman, Fonda and Garson are the current top seven in Oscar's Actress Hierarchy each with seven or more nominations). And, finally, why is Philomena rumored to be categorized as a Drama at the Globes when the poster is screaming "COMEDY!" at the top of its marketing lungs.
JUDI DENCH'S BIG ROLES
How many have you seen?
To pad out her leading lady resume from these peak stardom years, I've included TV films
Mrs Brown (1997) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2001) - Globe win, Bafta win, Emmy nomination
Iris (2001) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win
Ladies in Lavender (2004)
Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) - Oscar nomination
Notes on a Scandal (2006) - Oscar nomination, and my vote for her all time best performance
Cranford (2007) Golden Globe, Emmy, Bafta Nominee
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) - Globe nominee
Skyfall (2011) - some may say this isn't a leading role but the plot of this film suggests otherwise
Which of these posters brings back your fondest Dame Dench memories?
Let's sing a big raucous happy birthday to 98 years young Oscar winner Oswald Morris who is still with us! That's a lot of candles. And a lot of great movies.
The British born Morris only ever received Oscar nominations for big screen musicals (Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof , and The Wiz) but that's hardly the full picture of his career. Though reknowned for his use of color -- his cinematography on Moulin Rouge (1952, recently discussed) was particularly innovative -- he also won prizes for his black and white work, most notably: Moby Dick, The Pumpkin Eater, The Hill, and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Other well known pictures include Equus, The Guns of Navarone, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and a couple of Liz & Dick adventures (The Taming of the Shrew and Reflections in a Golden Eye). His awards haul includes 1 Oscar, 3 BAFTAs, 3 British Society of Cinematography wins and a couple of career tribute trophies.
Curiously or too-cutely, you decide, his last two motion pictures were all about puppets. He retired after The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Dark Crystal (1982) thirty-some years ago. We hope he's still enjoying that good long retirement.