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Entries in Best Actress (239)

Tuesday
Jan202015

GALECA Loves Transparent (and a little of everything else!) 

The Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Journalists Association have chosen their winners from the film year and, like so many other awards bodies they've opted for a Savage Grace mother/son reunion with Julianne Moore & Eddie Redmayne taking Actress & Actor of the Year for film. (The primary difference being only that they have probably heard of / possibly seen Savage Grace.) Lisa Kudrow & Jeffrey Tambor took the television version of those prizes and though there was significant spreading of the wealth elsewhere, Transparent, Amazon's Golden Globe winning breakout show about a retired father (Jeffrey Tambor) who comes out to her children as a trans woman thoroughly dominated the TV field winning five prizes. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan142015

The Teachings of Juli

Jose here. Why do I keep forgetting how funny Julianne Moore is? Perhaps because not counting 30 Rock and Maps to the Stars (yes, that is a funny performance) the movies always give us tragic, sad Juli.

Photo credit: Jose Solis

She is the one actress who has perfected the act of onscreen suffering, if you only knew how many times I’ve played that scene with the late night phone call in Far From Heaven to help me cleanse my soul...anyway, once you think of it, outside the movies she always seems to have a huge smile on her face and emanates ginger joy wherever she goes, which wasn’t the exception at a Still Alice press conference I attended yesterday, where she along with Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, author Lisa Genova and co-director Wash Westmoreland discussed the film.

Not one to keep my obsessive fan questions to myself, as Nathaniel has pointed out in the past, I pitched Juli my DVD boxset called “Ill Juli” which would feature Still Alice, The End of the Affair and Safe. She laughed the biggest Moore laugh I’ve had the joy to witness and said “hey, I do comedy too!”

More Juli after the jump...

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Monday
Jan122015

Big Eyes Surprise? Final Best Actress Predictions

One of last night's most unnerving moments may well have been hearing Big Eyes mentioned multiple times. It's easy to forget that the movie is out in theaters now, since it didn't make big Christmas waves in the media or the box office (it's likely to end its run as Burton's second least successful film of all time after Ed Wood which is 100 times better), didn't earn rave reviews (it's sitting at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes which is, shall we say, generous) so Amy Adams surprise upon winning is entirely understandable.

To say that I am ill prepared for this moment is a huge understatement. Huge."

The surprise win reminds us that she's been generously adored by nearly all the awards communities for years now, an embryonic-Meryl perhaps. This season provides the biggest test yet of how much of a default nominee she truly is with AMPAS. If she manages an Oscar nod this year against much stronger competition in much better films (Reese, Julianne, Felicity, Marion, Rosamund, Hilary, and Emily) and a much more willful campaign for another performance that's better than its movie (Hi, Jennifer Aniston!) you should expect her to be nominated for every film going forward, as you would Meryl herself.  

Nevertheless I don't think it's going to happen and the dye is set on this category. Our nominees will be

Best Actress Oscar Predictions
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

A few critics groups made a valiant stand for Marion Cotillard but in the end Two Days One Night killed that dream itself by arriving in theaters way too late to build any presence of its own as an impressive movie, which would have bolstered support for the shockingly real performance at its center from an actress that keeps topping her Oscar-winning role without the Academy paying her any mind. 

In conclusion, may Big Eyes greatest pop culture legacy be the opening monologue joke from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They announced that there was a live Margaret Keane painting at the ceremony. Cut to: Emma Stone. Well, they are gigantic. They take up her whole face like an anime character. What really sold the punchline was its coda; Tina & Amy are great at those little joke extenders when you're already laughing.


Emma reactions to a BIG EYES joke aimed at her gif via Vulture

It's cute. But it's creepy."

We might say the same of Amy Adams Awards Haul!

Friday
Jan092015

A Short Detour: Best Actress 1977 Anyone ?

With Oscar ballots in and BAFTA nominations announced we'll shortly proceed to final predictions and finish the Film Bitch Categories that correlate with Oscar. In short, prepare for a busy week! But for tonight, before Golden Globes weekend, why not a brief detour from the right now?

The current Beauty vs Beast poll (ending Sunday night so get your votes in) on Annie Hall, has been prompting some unrelated Liza Minnelli comments regarding her Globe nominated / Oscar skipped work in New York New York. I also wish she'd been in the running that year since it's an amazing performance, much closer to her Cabaret brilliance than Oscar history would tell you. This threw me for an unexpected 1977 flashback. The average ticket price was $2.25. Hot damn. And it was a great year for Actress-led movies.

more...

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Thursday
Jan082015

A Quick Chat with Jenny Slate Who Will Love Her Future No Matter What!

Jenny Slate, one of last year's biggest breakthroughs, started 2014 on a career high and still hasn't come down. Obvious Child was so buzzy at the 2014 festival that you can be reasonably sure that comedies from the forthcoming 2015 festival will see themselves held up in comparison 'what's this year's Obvious Child?'  After a successful limited release, Jenny Slate found herself on red carpets and snow she's up for a Critics Choice Award a week from today.

Best Actress in a Comedy, Critics Choice Movie Awards
Rose Byrne – Neighbors
Rosario Dawson – Top Five
Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent
Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins

Whether or not she wins it, it seems likely that she'll enjoy herself. Perhaps it was her character Donna Stern's abrasive caustic humor that led me to picture someone either darkly funny or like the stereotype of the sad clown but instead the new star is relentlessly cheerful and super positive, and determined to stay that way. She even makes lemonade from lemons when I mention This Means War.

Here's our conversation...

NATHANIEL: This has been such a huge year for you? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10? 

JENNY SLATE: Oh man. I guess i’d give it an 8 but I feel like most years I usually rate them pretty highly because I like life!  But this has been the most satisfying year of my career so far: Obvious Child really changed things for me.  [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec302014

Luise Rainer (1910-2014)

Luise Rainer, Oscar's first back-to-back Acting winner for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) was, for the past handful of years, perhaps better known for outliving everyone than for her brief movie stardom. She was just two weeks shy of her 105th birthday when she passed away early this morning of pneumonia. She is survived by her daughter and two granddaughters.

She was recently name-checked not so flatteringly in the Hollywood bio Hitchcock (2012) but the actress, still very much alive at the time, could surely roll with it. The outspoken import lived through tumultuous times, beginning her acting career on the German stage and screen before fleeing as Hitler consolidated power (she was Jewish) and then being sold to the American public as "The Viennesse Teardrop" because German wouldn't do back then. She quickly becoming a star while briefly marrying (unhappily) the playwright Cliff Odets who had several tumultuous affairs with famous actresses (as portrayed in Frances, 1982).

The outspoken diva was very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood, her unsatisfying career, and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in though she admits that the back-to-back Oscars weren't at all helpful. The adulation prompted Hollywood to just throw her into anything, with no worries of miscasting or her own creative satisfaction.

Her career ended as swiftly as it began as she fought with the powers that be for more choice in her films. Soon she left Hollywood for New York and then London where she settled for good. 

I had a seven-year contract that I broke and went away. I was a machine, practically, a tool in a big, big factory, and I could not do anything. I wanted to film Madame Curie, but Mayer forbade me. I wanted to do For Whom the Bell Tolls, but Selznick took Ingrid Bergman and brought her to Hemingway and I didn't know Hemingway. And so I left. I just went away. I fled; yes, I fled."

She flew away to, by all reports, a happier life outside the spotlight. Her remarkable longevity and semi-regular all smiles appearances over the years suggests that she enjoyed it.