Oscar History

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Entries in Best Actress (542)


Funny Girl at 50

by Tim

This past week bore witness to one of the most very important anniversaries imaginable: Funny Girl turned fifty. And if you don't know what Funny Girl is and why it matters, I'm a little shocked you found this site, but I'm happy to explain that it's a Best Picture-nominated musical directed by Oscar favorite William Wyler, and the film debut of cabaret singer-turned-Broadway star-turned embodied deity Barbra Streisand. Who also got some Oscar love, winning Best Actress in a tie with Katharine Hepburn's turn in The Lion in Winter.

Not least among the achievements of Funny Girl is that, when thus compared head-to-head with one of the grandest dames of screen acting, Streisand looks like pretty worth recipient of that honor. Funny Girl, as scripted by Isobel Lennart (who also wrote the book for the 1963 stage version, also starring Streisand), is a gift to its lead, offering pretty much everything you could want to demand of a musical theater actor: broad comedy! tear-jerking heartbreak! steel-willed fortitude! songs where you have to be manic! songs where you have to be pensive!

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Best Actress - New Oscar Chart

by Nathaniel R

Beware the premature envelopers! The Best Actress race is far from over and it's very exciting. I still suspect that Glenn Close wins IF nominated but Lady Gaga could IF nominated (though we suspect she's just winning Best Song despite the early hoopla). And who knows, perhaps Olivia Colman in The Favourite will go lead (we still have her in the supporting chart) and from early reports she could also win IF nominated. Then you have Carey Mulligan and Melissa McCarthy, both arguably doing the best work of their careers. Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, Emily Blunt, Toni Colette and Viola Davis all in very flashy roles or high profile films and Yalitza Aparicio as a highly sympathetic debut in a critical favorite. 

The grid above shows you what we predict are the current top ten (alpha order) but a lot can change once the movies... 

  1. Face the public
  2. Fine tune their Oscar campaigns and press play/
  3. Meet the first wave of precursors which will generally shun some worthy competitors and embrace others and in ways that are not always easy to predict until suddenly everyone is doing the same thing and it is.

Ah the agony and joy of Awards Season. It's not much further away. One thing is for certain. If any competitors from the first half of the year want to reemerge or move up the chart, they need a strong campaign. Only Toni Collette in Hereditary remains in the top ten from the year's first half and it's not because other contenders (Elsie Fisher, Charlie Theron, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Pfeiffer, etcetera... ) didn't do fine work, too. It's just people have short memories and they like shiny new toys.

UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS: Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Foreign Film


Soundtracking: "Lady Sings the Blues"

The 1972 Smackdown is coming soon! Here's Chris on that year's Oscar nominated biopic on Billie Holliday...

We complain a lot about stodgy biopics in the “greatest hits” mold, simply relying on the known Wikipedia fenceposts to construct its narrative. Lady Sings The Blues is kind of the poster child for such frustrations - I mean, the original poster literally proclaimed “Diana Ross IS Billie Holiday”.

What we were given is a film mostly bored by subject and performer, or at least unable to capture what made Ross and Holliday such captivating performers. Blues meanders through the singer’s life story, halting for her performances with fly-on-the-wall passivity that’s as indifferent to the magnetism of the music as it is to Ross’ take...

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TIFF: Nicole Kidman and "Destroyer"

by Nathaniel R

One of the screenwriters of the sun-blasted crime thriller Destroyer, describes the movie as "a detective investigating herself." Allowing a screenwriter rather than the reviewer to pigeonhole their movie may be an abdication of duty, but an appropriate one; Destroyer has long gone rogue, flashing its badge but totally off the clock. Even the LAPD, which we all know has behavioral trouble of its own, wouldn't approve of Detective Erin Bell's (Nicole Kidman) "police work" in the real world.

You can't imagine that she'd still be allowed that badge given her AWOL behavior and frequent intoxication but realism isn't what Destroyer is after. Director Karyn Kusama, introducing the movie at TIFF told us to "enjoy" it, providing her own finger quotes around the word, betraying a welcome sense of humor which is unfortunately little seen within the film. But again, levity is not what this relentless film is after...

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TIFF Review: "Wildlife"

by Chris Feil

Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife is a period domestic drama with a fire in its gut. It’s the kind of piercing portrait of a family that makes you want to marinate in all of its surprising details just as you desperately want to escape its breathlessly realized pain.

Picturing an emotionally desolate suburban America of shitty lawns and ranch style homes, Dano strikes a balance between toughness and compassion, cruelty and honesty. It's as if its family was built on the fault line of two massive tectonic plates and no matter how violent the inevitable eruption that is to come, it might be sadly better that they be ripped apart. For everyone.

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Early "Destroyer" Reviews. Guess How Good Nicole Is!

by Nathaniel R

We knew ahead of time that Nicole Kidman would be great in Destroyer -- it's kind of her schtick to be brilliant, duh! So it's not a surprise to hear early reviews saying that she delivers and then some. But it IS a surprise and a nice change of pace, post Lion & Big Little Lies, that people are willing to praise her so extravagantly for her uncommon gifts rather than berate her for (take your pick) not being warm enough onscreen / having a frozen forehead / liking "weird" projects / whatever other dumb things people used to hold against her between the Oscar win and Lion (so roughly 2003-2015)... Seriously why must every great actress go through the public hate period?

Anyway. In "we all love Kidman again" mode (nice but obnoxious to those of us who never stopped and didn't fall for the misogyny hamster wheel of public opinion) these are the kind of reviews she's getting...

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