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Entries in Best Actress (414)

Wednesday
Nov302016

Why Amy Adams May Have to Sit This Oscar Year Out... 

The news of Amy Adams winning the NBR delighted many and also stirred up the usual "The Film Experience hates her!" complaints in the commentary. We do not. Being frustrated by an actor's ubiquity and dullness at one particular annual event is not the same as hating them or their work. Amy Adams is a very fine actress. She has given many delightful performances, two of which would have even made non-controversial Oscar wins had she managed to actually nab the statue (Junebug or The Fighter).

Amy Adams (5), Albert Finney (5), and Glenn Close (6) are the living actors with the most Oscar nominations who have never won.

And it's true that she's quite amazing in Arrival, serving as the audience vessel to in two simultaneous and important ways that the movie couldn't succeed without: she's awestruck by what she's watching (she's our eyes and surely our facial expressions in the dark); apart from that awe she's emotionally and intellectually engaged with the events in order to grapple with them and suss out meaning which is what the audience is always doing when they're watching grand films that demands that they pay attention with both their heart and their mind.

But for all of that I don't think she's making the Oscar lineup and here's why...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov252016

Acting Chart Updates. Four Questions

Next week everything either begins to change or starts solidifying as the precursors begin. Woohoo, it's awards season! So ALL the Oscar charts were updated this week with the biggest gains this time going to Hell or High Water which wasn't just a momentary pleasure in the summer but a film people are still talking about - witness the Gotham and Spirit acting nods for Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster respectively.

have we been overestimating Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea? If she slips from the shortlist, who rises up?

BEST ACTRESS & BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
These categories are looking the most settled with 5 women in each chugging along smoothly toward the precursor glory. In fact apart from Oscar looking toward its default darlings (Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, who both did very fine work this year) it looks like Emma, Annette, Ruth, Isabelle, and Natalie all have reason to be hopeful. The same is true in Supporting Actress where five women (Viola, Naomie, Nicole, Michelle, Greta) have much more heat than others but they'll still have to fend off surging adorables like Molly Shannon in Other People and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Q1: If Meryl or Amy place in the leading shortlist, which one of them and who gets the boot?
Q2: If voters promote Viola Davis to lead (where she totally belongs given that Fences is essentially a family/marital drama) who benefits in supporting and who suffers in lead? Imagine the chaos!

How many nods can Hell or High Water manage? We're predicting 5 at the moment.

BEST ACTOR & BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
These two categories are much more volatile because the men haven't generated half as much conversation this year.

Q3: Might we see BOTH Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster in supporting for Hell or High Water since people love that film so much?  A dual nod in Best Supporting Actor hasn't happened since Bugsy in 1991?
Q4: Do you expect something like 2011 when underdogs like Demian Bichir and Gary Oldman rose up to take nominations that people initially assumed would go to Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Fassbender? And if so are Tom Hanks and Ryan Gosling pushed out and for whom?

ALL OSCAR CHARTS ARE UPDATED HERE

Monday
Nov212016

Thoughts I Had... on THR's Actress Roundtable Cover

The annual tradition commences. Thoughts that came to me in the order they came to me with a few interjections from others...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov182016

Fences, His & Hers

The adaptation of August Wilson's Fences is under embargo so we're not supposed to review it. I notice that hasn't stopped anyone but I play by rules (sigh). Let it suffice to say for now that it's super. Denzel Washington stays out of the play's way and the play is so grand that that's all you need. Can we reverse time and have him do this for August: Osage County and Doubt? They both derailed themselves with nervous attempts to jazz up the material to be A MOVIE.

There's no awkward attempts to "open" Fences up, and that tightness, that feeling of no escape informs this in the same way it informed the plays of August and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which all use their single settings brilliantly to inform and confine and reflect the characters. Fences is just these characters (seven of them in total), this time (the 50s), and this place (Pittsburgh) and it's beautifully acted. 

P.S. So depressed that they aren't gunning for His & Hers Leading Oscars to match their His & Hers Leading Tonys.

Wednesday
Nov162016

Min-hee Kim's Secrets and Lies in "The Handmaiden"

by Chris Feil

Much of the praise for Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden has favored the director's twisted vision, the sumptuous design elements, or its grinning audacity. Sure the film is as immaculately crafted as all that talk has promised, but there one thrilling puzzle inside the film worthy of equal regard is the lead performance by Min-hee Kim.

For a film as plotty and opulent as The Handmaiden, you can understand how any performance might not be the first takeaway. But believability of the narrative's many twists falls largely on Kim's coolly dexterous shoulders...

Click to read more ...