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


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in American Hustle (35)


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 woman... 

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...

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Interview: Michael Wilkinson. Before 'Batman vs Superman', Came 'Noah'

With Oscar voting in progress, let's talk costume design. With Best Picture contenders hogging all the conversation, we remain ever hopeful that the guilds remember to look beyond the films as a whole to the specifics of their particular craft when they scribble down their nominations. One of the most influential costume designers working today is Michael Wilkinson who regularly pushes the envelope in terms of costume technology (see Tron Legacy) and I'm not talking about the miraculous cleavage feats of American Hustle which won Wilkinson a well-deserved Oscar nomination last year. This year you can even see the influence of his 300 costumes in those Maze Runner harnesses (Fun fact: Christine Bieselin Clark, one of the costume designers on that film, was once Wilkinson's assistant!)

Prior to American Hustle he was best known for the films of Zach Snyder (Watchmen, Man of Steel) and the costume designer and I spoke  between fittings on day 104 of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shoot (he'd just finished the final fitting of our new Amazon Princess Gal Gadot). This superhero epic has occupied him for well over a year but he says "happily so" but Noah was no easy task either. He built an entire film's worth of costumes for Noah ...from scratch. 

No matter what genre or film he's working on, be it prestige dramas like Babel, indies like Friends with Money or huge superhero fantasies like Watchmen he's always look for ways to illuminate character. In his own words

Costume design is a subtle art but immensely satisfying.

We couldn't agree more. Excerpts from our conversation follow

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MTV Movie Awards: Katniss vs. ...uh...Solomon Northup?

The MTV Movie Award Nominations arrive hot on the heels of the Oscar ceremony. This awards show happens on April 13th. MTV, even moreso than the Globes is all about nominating big stars they think we'll give them ratings even if they stick out like sore thumbs in their category. That's why I have to admit shock that 12 Years a Slave shows up repeatedly in their nominations.

I thought it far too sober, artistic, and adult for the awards show that kept holding the Twilight franchise up as some kind of pinnacle of filmmaking. It's hard to consider them being nominated for the same prize, much less existing in the same universe. Gravity, which weirdly isn't up for "Movie of the Year" would have been a far more MTV like choice. Honestly I can't figure it. 

In some way this is a bit more like the MTV Movie Awards of yore which would give prizes to Wes Anderson before he even had a fanbase to speak of. But maybe it's all merely a happy accident that two of the most Oscar nominated movies of the year (American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street) are also "fun" and so MTV responds in kind. 


• “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
• “American Hustle” (Columbia Pictures)
• “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Lionsgate)
• “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount Pictures)

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Why Amy Adams Might Have Us All Fooled, or The Emancipation of Sydney.

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, gone for far too long, with something that I've been racking my brain over for the better part of two months.

Much has already been said about American Hustle, on this site and throughout the internet in general, and the film has taken on a kind of love-it-or-hate-it reputation that makes it seem even more controversial than Scorsese's touted lightning rod, The Wolf of Wall Street. Whereas that film is richly deserving of its many dissenting opinions, the criticisms being levied at Hustle tend to direct themselves at its lightness, so to speak. A puff pastry strutting about in sequins. Indeed, the general consensus for a long period of time was that the film was too light to be considered a threat for the Oscar for Best Picture. Its themes of survival are dwarfed by Gravity, a film where said theme is made literal and considerable. Themes of deception are dwarfed by the hedonists of Wolf of Wall Street. Jennifer Lawrence's show-stopping performance in particular has become a source of contention, with mentions of miscasting, ageism, an inconsistent accent all to blame.

And while I have my own reservations about the film, there has been one particular element of the picture that's been thrashing about in my head, one performance that I can't seem to lay my finger on entirely. It evades me, like a crook whose face I know and can identify, but who always seems just out of my grasp. [More...]

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7 Costume Sights to See Before The Oscars

I sent Anne Marie to the FIDM Museum to check out this year's costume design exhibit. Here's her report. (I'm seething with jealousy right now!) -Nathaniel

Michael Wilkinson with some of his Oscar nominated costumes for American Hustle

The advantage to being a cinephile in Los Angeles is that there’s a wealth of Oscars-related activities around this time to check out. Costume lovers, rejoice! The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum has launched the 22nd Annual Art Of Motion Picture Costume Design. Here are 7 things you’ll see if you get a chance to go:

1) Sydney’s physics-defying gown from American Hustle - Which is, upon closer inspection, almost see-through. Kudos to Amy Adams and Michael Wilkinson (Oscar-nominated) for pulling off Sydney’s daring looks, which seem all the more daunting to flaunt in person. (There just must have been so much boob-tape.) It's impossible to tell the period pieces from the original creations, which is more than can be said for...

2) Jay Gatsby’s surprisingly striking pink suit - Away from the noisy CGI of Baz Lurhman’s anachronistic adaptation, I was shocked to realize that this suit is dapper as hell. The color is absolutely beautiful, not the alternately washed-out-or-bubblegum pink it had seemed to be in the film. DiCaprio should ask Catherine Martin (nominated for The Great Gatsby) to design his Oscars tux, because otherwise I guarantee he won’t look nearly so good.

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Beauty Vs Beast: Oscar Hustle

JA from MNPP here with this week's edition of everybody's new favorite fun-time activity Beauty Vs. Beast, wherein we pit a movie's good and bad guys against each other in a death-match of public opinion. First things first let us congratulate the winner of last week's inaugural poll - Rebecca's diabolical Mrs. Danvers pretty much shoved The Second Mrs. de Winter right out the window at the starting line and never looked back. We do love our maleficently repressed domestics. Viva Team Danvers!

And so on to this week's face off. I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but the Academy Awards are coming up in less than two weeks. Did you know that? I know! It's nutso bonkers. So in the spirit of the season let's do some Oscar-themed showdowns til then. And what better place to start than with the cinematic ode to financial slash follicle excess which translated into similar nomination generosity - David O. Russell's American Hustle, which really when you come down to it is just a series of show-downs itself between actors being looney-tunes all up on each other. And with that spark of gladatorial excess let's make this week a two-fer, lads versus ladies style.






You've got one week to vote, and we'll be back with the winners and a brand new round next Monday! And please do make your cases  for these folks in the comments...