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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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Entries in Best Actress (321)


London Adventures: "Gypsy" & "Photograph 51" 

In the crazed travelling of Oscar rev-up season it occurs to me that I never wrote about my London theater-going in that blessed October weekend. While I was in that great great city, I saw two favorite actresses in plays centered around their gifts: one was a revelation, the other a canny reminder.

Imelda & Nicole triumph after the jump...

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Thoughts We Had... THR's Annual Actress Roundtable Cover

We'll have to wait a little while for the full video, which is more fun than the cover but it's always exciting to see THR's roundtable covers nonetheless. Like Vanity Fair's "Hollywood Issue" -- less thrilling than it once was for a myriad of reasons -- it's a tradition that is both great fun for its glamour and personality and highly aggravating for its exclusions and repetitions and limited world view... just like, HEYYYY, the Oscars themselves!

By now you know the drill. First an image. Then the thoughts that come to mind without self-censorhip after the jump...

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Spike Lee's Overlooked and Exuberant "Crooklyn"

TFE is celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners this week. Here's Kieran discussing one of Spike Lee's warmest and most underappreciated films.

For better or worse, you can often feel a larger thesis statement, be it about race and/or American culture at large, running through much of Spike Lee’s work. His films also feel incredibly male in their perspective. Even his few films that foreground women (She’s Gotta Have It and Girl 6) feel enveloped by the male gaze, despite their many other virtues. These are just a couple of reasons why Lee’s semi-autobiographical slice-of-life dramedy Crooklyn feels like a bit of a curio.

Crooklyn is set in the summer of 1973 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Lee himself grew up. Nine-year-old Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) is the only girl in a brood that includes four rowdy brothers. Though often put-upon and teased, Troy is tough, clever, funny and every bit the daughter of her equally strong-willed mother, Carolyn (a radiant Alfre Woodard). More so than any other film Lee has directed, Crooklyn is wholly interested in the inner-life, motivations and perspective of its female characters. Even Woody (Delroy Lindo), the family patriarch and easily the most fleshed out male character in the joint still feels like an afterthought compared to how focused the narrative is on Troy and Carolyn. How Alfre Woodard's anchoring performance failed to garner any Oscar traction, especially when one looks at the outlet mall fire sale irregulars that were the Best Actress nominees of 1994 is confounding.


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Oscar Scuttlebutt: Hateful Eight, Best Actress, and More

Nathaniel, popping in from a busy AFI schedule to gossip with you!  

One of the best things about this annual trip to Los Angeles, besides meeting West Coast fans and spending time with rarely seen LA friends, is hearing the gossip around the Oscar campaigns and individual opinions on the movie. As I suspected Youth resonates with a lot of people in the industry. I've always thought the Oscar conversations on the internet are sleeping on this one because it's a) not in theaters yet and b) skews older than active rooting interests of typical online communities. Also extremely happy to report that people in town seem more confident in Charlotte Rampling's prospects for a 45 Years nomination than I have previously been. She's getting a tribute at the AFI and Kirsten Dunst is even hosting a party in her honor this weekend.

Now, one must always take every anecdote and opinion with a whole block of salt since one man's treasure is another's junk, some assumptions will always be proven wrong, and depending on who is talking there may be an agenda floating around, visible or well hidden. Here are some tidbits you may be interested in though keep in mind that it's all just hearsay after the jump...

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The Honoraries: Debbie Reynolds in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (1964)

This week we're celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners. Here's abstew on Debbie Reynolds' favorite role.

Molly Brown is my favorite of all the roles I've played. I love something about almost every part I've done, but I identified with Molly as soon as I met her. In the sometimes blurry line between art and and real life, Molly is the woman I've become as the years have passed. I'm right there with her when she declares, "I ain't down yet!"

-Debbie Reynolds Unsinkable: A Memoir

In her decades long show business career, amid the watchful eye of media scrutiny, Debbie Reynolds has endured trials and tribulations and come out the other side of it stronger. Caught in a Hollywood scandal, the original jilted girl-next-door (long before Jennifer Aniston was even born), Reynolds stood by while then husband Eddie Fisher left her and her two young children for screen siren Elizabeth Taylor. Her luck with men didn't improve later as second husband Harry Karl spent years gambling away her hard-earned money, leaving her with mounting debts to cover. Even her dream of finding a permanent home to house her legendary collection of movie memorabilia never came to pass and forced her to put them up for auction. So you can see how playing a character like the real life Molly Brown, who survived the sinking of the Titanic, earning her the moniker "Unsinkable", would find a kindred spirit in the guise of feisty spitfire Debbie Reynolds. The actress, like the legendary woman, simply doesn't know what it means to be defeated...

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What was your 'Sophie's Choice Oscar Moment'? 

Kyle here. We’re rapidly barreling into the holiday movie season—aka, the time when we plebeians can catch up with all the fare deemed Award Worthy. I’m sure you’re aware, just how amazing our lineup of actress contenders is this year, as Murtada recently talked about. How difficult it’s going to be to be a fan this winter! Which is to say is there anything more painful than those moments when we’re torn between competing loyalties? Or between loyalty and taste? 

My most painful instance of this came in 2000, when Hilary Swank and Annette Bening duked it out for Best Actress. I loved Boys Don't Cry. It was such an important film—even its nomination was important, given its low-budget indie status—and Swank was utterly heartbreaking. But then there was Bening in American Beauty, tap dancing on that high wire. Her Carolyn Burnham is broad and deep, tenderly tragic and yowlingly funny at the same time. Bening not only achieves this difficult balance, but shows us that it’s indispensable to this character’s, this type of person’s, reality. 

So, what was your most painful Sophie’s Choice Oscar moment?


In Praise of Blanchett's Curls in Truth

Manuel here. There’s plenty to enjoy in the Dan Rather scandal film, Truth, but at the top of the list is the electric performance by Cate Blanchett who is really wiping the floor with everyone else lately. She was deliciously campy in Cinderella (which we should be taking more seriously Oscar-wise). She is perfection in Carol (few directors work as well with actresses than Todd Haynes). But her work in Truth is something else altogether. I figured we should celebrate a seemingly insignificant aspect of the performance that kept me enraptured: Cate’s gorgeous locks.

See how excited her curls are here?

Look, they even mirror Cate's anger!

So many scenes of hand-wringing that are followed by frantic hair-tussling. You can almost track the character’s state of mind by how carefully shaggy her blond curls are. Especially in comparison to Carol’s sleek and well-coiffed hair (always in its place, as composed as its heroine), Mary Mapes’s ringlets are always threatening to distract and take over the conversation.

Is it frivolous? Perhaps, but Blanchett is a performer who uses everything in her arsenal to build a character, and luscious curls are but another prop with which she created another amazing character to add to her already legendary roster.