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Entries in Best Actress (383)

Friday
Aug262016

Request: Oscar Nominated Performances of the Aughts, Ranked

by Nathaniel R

This list was requested by Carlos recently in the comments. Perhaps in light of the Oscar Nominated Performances ranked of the past six years... so why not. It's a perfect weekend activity and will help you get in the mood for the possibly turbulent Oscar season ahead. So let's do this crazy...

ALL THE OSCAR NOMINATED PERFORMANCES RANKED (2000-2009)

First a terrible confession for one such as I: Two Oscar nominated performances in the Aughts slipped right past my movie devouring eyeballs (the shame. the shame.) I never got around to Tommy Lee Jones In the Valley of Elah or Cooler Alec Baldwin. I accept your judgment and will choose my favorite of whatever punishments are recommended.

So let's rank the whole other 198 lot of 'em, with the caveats that this is silly (apples & oranges) and had you asked me on a different day the order might have been different though the general truth of the groupings below would stay the same. 

 

  1. Mo'Nique, Precious (2009) *
  2. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
  3. Johnny Depp, The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
  4. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood (2007) *
  6. Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug252016

One Week Left to Watch ___________ 

It's a massacre of available older streaming titles this month although there aren't very many major titles among them. [Disclaimer: Netflix hasn't announced yet so all of these titles are Amazon Prime but bear in mind that the Amazon Prime titles are not "official". They don't ever publish that list much to the frustration of their customers! So this info gathered from users about expiration notices they've seen on their personal watch lists. Sometimes it changes abruptly.

Let's play our game where we freeze frame them at very random places and see what pops up. Okay? Okay.

Mrs Doyle: I'd like to see that file.
Police Inspector: I'd be very happy to show it to you. 

Crime of Passion (1957)
My god Barbara Stanwyck's voice. It gets me every time. Everything sounds so subliminally erotic. In this one she's married to a detective but bored into ambitious dangerous action.

Five more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug242016

1984: Year of the Heroic Farm Wife

As we look back at 1984, please welcome new contributor John Guerin to talk about a famous Oscar triple...

In 1984, 60% of the Best Actress category was farm wives

In May 1985, after scoring Oscar nominations for playing distressed farmwives in Country and The River, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and urged senators to help aid farmers during a devastating agricultural crisis. After a toxic combination of faulty economic policies, mounting debts, high interest rates, and a declining Midwest population, American farmers were experiencing financial hardship unseen since the Great Depression. Both Country and The River offer visions of farm families under such pressures, pitting family and community against unyielding forces of nature and government.

Can you remember the last time an actress testified before Congress after starring in a politically-minded film?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug192016

Posterized: Natalie Portman

by Nathaniel R

Natalie Portman in a new photoshoot for Diorskin ForeverWhat odd careers child stars eventually look back on. Natalie Portman was an instant sensation when she appeared in The Professional as a junior assassin. When the film was released late in 1994, Natalie was just 13 years old. She became an instant favorite for directors filling their prestige ensembles and by the time she was 18 she was a leading lady and also the mother of Luke & Leia (though the Star Wars prequels contain her worst acting by far). By 23 she was a Golden Globe winner and by 29 an Oscar Best Actress champ. Afterwards she receded as so many actresses who win Oscars in their twenties do (what is there left to strive for?) presumably enjoying their riches and in some cases their new domesticity. Pregnant during her Black Swan Oscar campaign, Portman & her ballet world husband Benjamin Millepied are now the parents of a five year old and she's not seen in public nearly as often as she once was.

(Fun Trivia: did you know that Portman, Millepied and their son Aleph all have birthdays in a single week every June?)

After the jump posters from all of her theatrical releases, except the ones where she played herself or only appeared in cameo or in a section of an omnibus film, and a few notes on her filmography.

How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug172016

120 Nominated Performances, Ranked. Who's Next?

As you will undoubtedly understand, I'm not up to speed at the moment. But I find a weird comfort in list-making and cine-dreaming, wondering what our next batch of Oscar contenders will look like. Will it be a great vintage or a weak one? Or, more usual, a weird combo of both. It's far too early to tell though we're hopeful. As I was wandering aimlessly around the web this morning I found this very enjoyable video from Ali Benz ranking all Oscar acting nominees this decade. Like a moving scrapbook of Oscar's classes for the past six years (2010-2015). Some things about the order make me so crazy but that is the joy and discussability of list-making. 

Here's the video and after the jump I'll rank them all myself. Busywork is good for me today.

120 Oscar-nominated Performances of the Decade - RANKED - from Ali Benzekri on Vimeo.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug032016

Frances McDormand: from Blood Simple (1984) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

1984 is our year of the month for August. Here's Matthew Eng to talk about a treasured actor that made her on camera debut back then...

For the better half of her nearly four-decade film career, Meryl Streep has managed to compel generations of moviegoers to accept a self-styled character actress as not only an acting heroine for the ages but also a bona fide movie star with mass-market appeal and unimpeachable box office credentials. Like no other actress since Bette Davis, Streep has perfected a once-unfeasible practice of playing the sort of idiosyncratic women she has always drifted towards, but within the safe confines of midrange, studio-supported moviemaking that seems to satisfy audience expectations as well as her own.

Sometimes Streep’s projects—and, it must be said, Streep herself—can disappoint. For every quietly graceful gem (like her underrated Hope Springs performance) or skillfully uninhibited turn (as in the best passages of It’s Complicated), there are another two or three within Streep’s latter-day canon that could stand some sharper finesse or at least more dexterous directorial guidance. Whenever I’m let down to by Streep, I can’t help but wonder what one of her less-viable peers might do with the opportunities that are scarce for any actress born before the Kennedy administration and which Streep barely has to put up a fight for.

The Beginning: Blood Simple (1984); The Most Recent Triumph: Olive Kitteridge (2014)

For as long as I can remember, Frances McDormand has served as the purest and most intimidating embodiment of what a character actor should be. “That woman has no vanity,” my mom remarked with clear admiration after watching her in Lisa Cholodenko’s Olive Kitteridge, where McDormand delivers one of the decade’s most masterful star turns, a perfectly prickly meeting of actor and role that might have been a surefire Oscar winner had the project aimed for a bigger screen...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul292016

HMWYBS: A Sensational Diane Keaton in "Looking for Mr Goodbar" 

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 3
Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977)
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Cinematography by: William A Fraker

Finally with chapter 3 in our look back at the Cinematography nominees of 1977 -- a little prep work for the Supporting Actress Smackdown (last day to get your ballots in) -- a real threat to Close Encounter of the Third Kind for the Best Cinematography crown. Close Encounters won the Oscar, its sole competitive Oscar, but William A Fraker was more than worthy as a nominee for his evocative experimental work on Looking for Mr Goodbar. The cinematography (along with its swinging partner, the editing) are ready and able to capture the whirlwind moods, liberated momentum, self-deprecating humor, and multiple flashes of fear within this time capsule of the sexual revolution.

My only regret in showcasing the cinematography for this series is that good images are hard to come by. More (a little bit NSFW) after the jump...

Click to read more ...