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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan


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How We Did On Our Predictions! How About You?

I am not one to put too much stock in "scores" for Oscar Predictions. It's more exciting to predict something fewer people saw coming and this is why, I think I'm much better at "year in advance" predictions than most pundits; I don't always embrace the "sounds good on paper" options. But there's a flip side! My willingness to take risks always hurts my stats somewhere down the line. Nevertheless we have to take stock. It's fun to survey where you soared and plummeted each year. On average I'm completely happy with my track record. Here are my hits and misses!

I had a sensational batting average with Moneyball

My Perfect Scores
Supporting Actress. I knew Janet McTeer was stronger than people were guessing. She's a gender bender and Oscar loves drag. She totally steals the movie and Oscar loves Grand Theft Movie. Plus, it's a moving role with modern resonance.
Best Director. I figured Terrence Malick was too much of a god among directors for his peers to pass up.
Cinematography. Though I'll readily admit that this didn't feel too terribly tough to predict.
Moneyball and The Artist and Hugo and A SeparationI guessed their every placement correctly...which seemed risky with two of them.

Incorrect Guess That I Was Still Kinda Right About
I knew that if Rooney Mara prevailed it'd be Tilda taking the dive. Tilda Swinton joins Sally Hawkins from Happy Go Lucky in the exclusive sorority of  "People With More Precursor Notices Than One Could Possibly Dream of But No Oscar Follow Up" ...It's a very long name for a very tiny club.

Abject Failure
Wow did I ever miss on Original Song this year. Even with five guesses I couldn't manage 1 correct one. But then, this category is the worst. The documentary branch and the foreign film branch get the most push back each year on needing guidance and rule adjustments but it's actually the music branch that's in dire need of infrastructure work. More on that in the podcast (coming in a couple of hours. It's uploading). I also made a mess of the Documentary Feature category where I only guessed 2 correctly (Pina and Paradise Lost 3).

The Single Thing I Feel Stupidest About Missing
John Williams double nomination for score. I only guessed War Horse. I predicted him to get his umpteenth double nomination for practically the whole year until the precursors and other pundits convinced me to jump on the Dragon Tattoo train which I never felt right about (in that particular category) since Reznor & Ross's Oscar success with The Social Network felt like such a wonderful anomaly. Wonderful anomalies rarely repeat themselves.

The Long Shot I Most Wish I'd Predicted for Bragging Rights
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In retrospect it'll feel kind of obvious to people especially since Supporting Actor felt unstable beyond Plummer. And here we have a legendary actor in a mute role (when does Oscar not go for that?) 

Something I Both Overestimated and Underestimated.
The Power of The Weepie. I put all my eggs in The Help's basket but War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close both ate into the demographic that Mark Harris amusingly dubbed "tear duct based voters" 

My Stats
37/44 in the big eight categories 
74/104 in the categories everyone tries to predict... the sound-based categories just destroyed me! 
83/119 if you include the shorts which many people don't bother with. 

How'd you do? 


*purists (you know who you are!) may quibble that I predicted only 6 Best Picture nominees. But hello the number is a separate guess from the titles ;)  I listed them in order of likelihood "if 6 nominees then... if 7 nominees then... if 8 nominees then... " etcetera which means I scored 8/9 for the Best Picture nominations. Ta da! If you don't count it that way it penalizes the people who guess fewer and awards the scaredy-cats who guess ten spots to cover all their bases. 


Oscar Nominations for 2011 (2012 Ceremony)

BEAR WITH ME AS I UPDATE! MORE COMING INCLUDING A PODCAST! ENTIRE OFFICIAL NOMINATION CHART IS COMPLETE (individual category pages will reflect the nominations by end of the day with more intricate updates to come)

We've finally arrived. So many shockers this year in the nominations including nine best pictures. Most people assumed, given the complicated math required to become a Best Picture nominee, that the number would be closer to five than ten. A nine nominee total indicates that there wasn't a ton of consensus. Lots of pictures had passionate bases.

Things I was right off the top of my head: If Mara made it she would bump out Tilda. I got Moneyball exactly right in each category. Supporting Actress perfect score. Chico & Rita for animated film!
Things I was wrong about off the top of my head: I overestimated the nomination tally of The Help and underestimated War Horse, Dragon Tattoo and Extremely Loud (but then didn't everyone?).  


  • The Artist Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • The Descendants Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor,Producers
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Scott Rudin, Producer
  • The Help Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • Hugo Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • Midnight in Paris Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • Moneyball Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • The Tree of Life Nominees to be determined
  • War Horse Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

FULL CHART FOR EVERY CATEGORY  -individual pages not yet complete but the chart is fully "official" now.
MY HITS AND MISSES - prediction stats, bragging rights, shameful stumbles
PODCAST - has been recorded! Waiting for iTunes to receive it.


Oscar Morning Jitters and Madness

7:50 Good morning! I woke up with a start. In my dream, which we'll call a nightmare, it was 12:59 PM and I had completely forgotten about the Oscar nominations at 8:30ish and I was already HOURS behind. Bless the clock for talking me down. It was only 6:59 AM. All was well... for the moment.

Things I'm dying to find out: 1) What Supporting Actor will look like since it seems ripe for upheaval. 2) Which of the six Supporting Actresses with major awards traction will be left on the cutting room floor. 3) Whether The Artist or Hugo will lead the nomination count. 4) Whether The Descendants will follow in Previous Payne footsteps and miss some key expected nomination. 5) Whether The Girl With the Fincher Tattoo is really the big deal the guilds positioned it to be. 6) Everything.


8:06 The radio just said "The Artist, Descendants and War Horse are expected to be nominated". Ummmm. I'm not sure Joey the horse is "expected" at this point. And leading with that film? NPR needs help.

8:14 I actually did yoga right when I woke up this morning. That's how much I'm seeking a zen place as this madness begins. Namaste. Etcetera.

8:34 The live comments on this feed from YouTube are crazed. It's all HARRY POTTER for the win. Poor muggles. They'll be so sad in a few minutes.

8:38 THE MUSIC. HERE WE GO. Bring on Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Sherak.

8:45 Holy crap. So many surprises and 9 best picture nominees. I'll update as fast as I can.


Nathaniel's Ballot: Best Actor

Another few hours, another write up. I might have to quit here... quickly losing energy and must store some up for the Oscar onslaught on the morrow. 

One thing that's really been bothering me about The Artist backlash is the notion that the movie doesn't really understand silent films, drawing as much from 1930 and 1940s and even 1950s cinema visually and aurally as it does from the 1920s. My very erudite response to that criticism: So what?!?

A pure "found film" is not what Michel Hazanavicius and team were going for here which you can see quite obviously in [SPOILER ALERT] the dream sequence and the finale which both work like sound films [END OF SPOILER]. I love that Jean Dujardin pulls so liberally from Gene Kelly (1940s and 1950s) rather than strictly silent movie stars for example since The Artist is polyamorous in its loves. People have reduced it to a love letter to the silents but it's just as smitten with the very tumult of movie stardom and the idea of Hollywood in general and those things span decades. We're still in love with them in 2011! 

Each year it seems like I have at least one acting category -- two at the most! -- that closely align with Oscar and Best Actor is where we might meet sorta see eye to eye. Crossing my fingers for Michael Fassbender's Shame to resonate with enough voters, though I've predicted otherwise


Nathaniel's Ballot: Best Actress

Actresses being my favorite thing in the world, "Best" is a strange term to apply. It has to be plural, you see. There are more great actresses in the world than there are great roles, sadly. If you are a screenwriter reading this, fix this situation! We'd prefer the roles to grow rather than the number of great working actresses to dwindle.

The 12 Lead Actresses I Loved Most This Year

I only allow myself 12 total honors or "semifinalists" each year with 5 of them absurdly lifted up above the other 7 in the end. Though really, such exercizes are excruciatingly subjective and incite an internal war where all sides of the self lose. Except when watching these rich performances. Ask me again in a few years and the lineup might change. This year was so embarrassingly rich I'd be happy with a lineup consisting of any of them. A dozen performances and I still had to shut out a few performances I found interesting or moving or "of note" which includes many of the Oscar contenders. Last year Oscar and I really saw eye to eye in this category but this year we have to part ways. It goes like that sometimes.


Regarding The Queen of the Universe
As for Meryl Streep, I will let you know up front that she is not one of my nominees this year though I happily agree that she is her usual mix of generous entertainer, great actress, and true movie star in The Iron Lady and I will be very happy for her once she finally wins that long overdue third Oscar. But: how weird is it that even Meryl Fucking Streep has to do biopic mimicry to get something like winner's heat? I feel like I'm always apologizing to people for not embracing the biopic performances since you're really supposed to love them and admire them above all else (as consensus proves in most years. See also: Michelle Williams who I honestly think is way better in her previous two Oscar nominated turns. What can I say. They just don't capture my imagination in quite the same way as they do everyone else's and these are my awards. I just happen to be, generally, more excited by acting which builds an entire believable life from only words on a page, or finds a way to humanize an auteurist exercize or blazes into full stylization with great creativity.

If you're angry -- devoted Streep fans are famously feisty -- consider this: In the 11 years I've been giving out awards Meryl has already won my top prize (The Devil Wears Prada) as well as two additional medals which is more than you can say for her track record with the Academy. She's not "overdue" here at the Film Experience though it's true that I nominate her less than Oscar does. To make it up to you we'll soon have a Streep Party in the form of Reader Rankings. It got pushed a week becayse this time of year is, well, you know. Tomorrow morning: eeek!


Extremely Link

Weinstein Co a live chat today with The Artist team (4:30 PM EST)
Gold Derby "Oscar nominations we're rooting for"
Deadline exciting sounding project alert. Gyllehaal mama Naomi Foner, who wrote the brilliant Running on Empty (1988) is making her directorial debut with Very Good Girls. Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning to star as best friends just out of high school eager to lose their virginity.
Nicks Flick Picks' Best Actress Birthday Parties are getting more and more festive. I died at one particular one-liner in the Piper Laurie Tim review and now I simply must see the movie. 

Slash Film Remember that biopic Big Eyes about artist-marrieds Margaret and Walter Keane which was supposed to star Kate Hudson years and years ago? No? Well, it's back in development only this time with Reese Witherspoon. I don't know how you make a movie called Big Eyes and cast anyone but Our Miss Hathaway though. 
AD Jameson How many movies can you see? An obsessive discussion about what's feasible or worthwhile.
By Ken Levine "guys are not going to want to f*** her" on pursuing a role in TV pilots. A scary read for actors!

Fun videos with Charlize, Fassy & Viola after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Burning Questions: Can Biopics Help But Glorify Their Subjects?

Michael C. here, just returned from witnessing Meryl Streep in all her awards bait glory.

When controversy arrives in Phyllida Lloyd’s Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, it comes in the standard form of news footage montages depicting seas of angry protesters clashing with policemen. The actual substance of the issues - massive union strikes, war in the Falkland Islands – is not discussed so much as reframed in the most generic possible terms. Every issue boils down to the same dynamic: Thatcher’s opponents are invariably lily-livered scaredy cats pushing for compromise if not outright surrender, while The Iron Lady holds firm to strength, courage, and principle over popularity. The filmmakers would no doubt say that they are focusing on character over unimportant detail, but it has the direct effect of letting Thatcher off the hook for her positions. Conservatives are free to mentally fill in their ideology and cheer her resolve, while the rest are encouraged to ignore partisanship and admire her gumption.

To be fair to the filmmakers, if Iron Lady had taken the opposite tack and really dug into the thought process of why Thatcher did what she did it would no doubt serve to amplify charges that the movie was aggrandizing its subject. It appears to be a case of damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. The very act of storytelling itself invites the audience to understand the protagonist’s motives and actions. It begs the question: Can biopics help but glorify their subjects? 

Click to read more ...