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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice

"This is the best Streep performance ever captured on film. "That's all."" - Dorian

"I support this movie, partially because I loved the Styron novel and, along with Schindler's List, it's one of the best American movies to teach people about the holocaust. Streep is sublime in it, and it's such a great role - she gets to play Sophie before the war, during the war, after the war, etc. " - Tom

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Entries in BAFTA (53)

Sunday
Feb182018

BAFTA Winners + Precursor Consensus = No Surprises on Oscar Night?

by Nathaniel R

Kaluuya wins "Rising Star"With only 13 days left until Oscar, the race in most of the marquee categories is sadly settled. BAFTA, held today in London, cemented the frontrunners honoring the exact same actors as the Critics Choice Awards, SAG, and Golden Globes. It's Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Alison Janney for the Oscars. Engrave the statues now. That's just too much consensus for Oscar to overthrow though we're personally baffled that none of that quartet's strong (and arguably better) competitors managed to put up a fight. What's more it's the first time in history when there's been no variation whatsoever in the prizes despite none of that foursome winning any of the top critics awards (NYFCC, LAFCA, and NSFC). Usually there's at least one 'we're-doing-our-own-thing' moment within the four categories in the televised precursors. Not this year. What happened to the tough battle we were suppose to have in Best Actress for example with Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, and Sally Hawkins all seeming possible early on as victors. 

The only real question on Oscar night given this lock-step agreement from all of the major precursors is within the rare categories wherein there wasn't total agreement...

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Thursday
Jan182018

Months of Meryl: Manhattan (1979)

Hi, we’re John and Matt and, icymi, we are watching every single live-action film starring Streep.

#3 — Jill, our neurotic protagonist’s chilly lesbian ex.

MATTHEW: So, you’ve just played a chatterbox and a near-mute, the former defined by her gaucheness, the latter by her almost ethereal warmth. What role do you take on next? Why, an ice queen, of course!

The overarching worldview of Woody Allen’s beloved Manhattan is cruel, chaotic, and self-absorbed, even as its fleet, monochromatic presentation retains the smooth and deceptive romanticism of that rightfully-iconic opening montage...

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Friday
Jan122018

Interview: Jamie Bell on falling in love with Annette Bening and his "Billy Elliot" reunion

by Nathaniel R

Jamie Bell has been famous since he was 14 years old. His debut film Billy Elliott (2000) about a young boy who discovers a passion for dancing that puts him at odds with his blue-collar community, became a global sensation. The charming film earned over $100 million (on a $5 million budget), received 3 Oscar nominations multiple BAFTAs, and eventually spawned a similarly popular stage musical which took yet more prizes.

The film also earned its young star the BAFTA for Best Actor in February of 2001. And, seventeen years later, here we are again. Jamie Bell is BAFTA nominated for Best Actor for his latest movie Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool. The romantic drama, now in limited release, is about the last days of Oscar winner Gloria Grahame's (Annette Bening) life and the young unknown actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) she falls in love with, and whose life she essentially takes over moving into his parents home (where they're both mothered by Julie Walter). 

I had the opportunity to speak with Jamie Bell a few times this season at events which was a gift since the actor is so charming and his talent somehow still undervalued 17 years later. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool should change that as his best performance yet. Our interview is after the jump..

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Tuesday
Jan092018

"Darkest Hour" Joins the Fray at BAFTA 

by Nathaniel R

Nomination leaders: Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, Three Billboards, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049

Though The Shape of Water (12 nominations) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (9 nominations) continued their stamped across precursor season as the (probable) films to beat come Oscar night, Darkest Hour finally made a significant awards mark. The Joe Wright helmed World War II Winston Churchill drama really should have started its theatrical run in October in the US to build steam but perhaps it wasn't too late if the BAFTA nominations convince Academy voters this week to check the film out before completing their ballots. The other nomination leaders were Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk (with 8 nominations each). Other major Oscar contenders had to settle for less. I Tonya continued its Nathaniel-defying (argh!) upward trajectory this awards season with 5 nominations beating out previously more ballyhooed prestige competition like Call Me By Your Name (4 noms), Lady Bird (3 noms) and Get Out (2 noms).

But the biggest loser this morning in terms of nominations is Steven Spielberg's The Post which received not a single nomination. That also happened to it at the SAG nominations, this complete shut-out. Most pundits don't seem to think it's in trouble but wouldn't any other film shut out completely from SAG and BAFTA be considered "in trouble" for Oscar nods? Is its Mecha-Bait 'done-deal-on-paper' status working against it in this new more volatile "what makes a movie an Oscar movie?" era of voting? It's surely food for thought if you'd like to nibble in the comments.

Phantom Thread with 4 nominations and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool with 3 nominations also did better than expected this morning. Full list of nominations with commentary for each category is after the jump...

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Friday
Jan052018

BAFTA's 2017 Rising Star Nominees

Chris here. This year has had so many breakthrough performances that you'd be hard pressed to whittle it down to five performers, but such is the pain of awards season. And yet one of the season's biggest prizes for new talents, BAFTA's Rising Star award, has just announced its five contenders for 2017 honors: Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), Josh O'Connor (God's Own Country), Tessa Thompson (Thor Ragnarok), and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird).

This makes for a stellar lineup of headliners of Best Picture contenders in Chalamet and Kaluuya, indie darlings with Pugh and O'Connor, and the big budget superhero badassery of Thompson. The latter actress is a bit of a headscratcher here considering she's been a ferocious talent for years (and in lead roles!) in the likes of Dear White People and Creed, but we love her so much that we'll accept her placement if only to see her getting the love she deserves. This prize has been a boys club of late so my money is rooting for Pugh, such an emergent and invigorating new talent in the taxing Lady Macbeth.

Now you'd have to go back to Kristen Stewart's 2010 win to find a non-Brit winner of this prize, so consider this a statistical leg up for Pugh, O'Connor, and Kaluuya. But the past two winners (Tom Holland and John Boyega) also had the visibility of franchise weight behind them - could that spell some strong chances for Thor's Thompson? Or is this just another in a string of breakthrough prizes for Chalamet?

The full BAFTA nominees will be announced on Jan. 9!

Thursday
Nov232017

woof woof. It's your daily Oscar trivia

by Nathaniel R

101 DAYS DALMATIANS until Oscar. For today's Oscar trivia did you know that neither the Disney animated classic of 1961 nor the live action Glenn Close starring remake in 1996 earned Oscar nominations?

Everyone knows that the Academy didn't have a Best Animated Feature category until the 21st century began but prior to that Disney's beloved animated classics were often honored in Original Song. But "Cruella de Vil," the hit single that dog-loving composer Roger writes in the film, the one that earns him enough cash to feed and care for 101 pups in that film's happy ending was not so nominated...

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