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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Best Actress (214)

Wednesday
Oct022013

7 Notes on Revised Oscar Charts

Hey y'all... I've been hard at work this week updating all the charts. Yep, every. single. one. So herewith ten notes for suggested comment fodder. 

Mystery Meat
American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks are the Oscar Bait Unknowns... unless you assume that Wolf of Wall Street will be finished in time. All have, to my knowledge, not been screened for even long lead critics. Most pundits, armchair or otherwise, believe in Hustle wholeheartedly (one assumes due to David O. Russell's recent track record) and are suspicious of Banks (one assumes because of the dangers of Disney-on-Disney hagiography but maybe also because movies-about-movies aren't always Hugos; sometimes they're Hitchcocks). So far I'm not expecting a lot of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but maybe that's a stealth masterpiece about to blow us all away. Which of the unseens are you hoping deserves space in the Best Picture race?

 All Over The World
The foreign film charts are so much work and every site now covers this category that I once had a stranglehold on. I wonder if they're worth the time anymore (?) but I do love my subtitled pictures. We currently have 69 official submissions and only two have what you might call a truly high profile (Hong Kong's The Grandmaster, and Iran's The Past) though I'm not at all sure that they're the strongest candidates this year. Take a look at the charts from Afghanistan to Italy and Japan to Venezuela! Which films are you most curious about and do you like the influx of variety here? The world is giving us animated films, documentaries, horror films, romances, you name it, in addition to the usual heaping helpings of war dramas, biopics, and childhood journeys. If you follow this race closely you should know that Team Experience is on it: Tim saw Egypt's entry, Jose took in the Czech Republic submission, and I reviewed the Romanian and Iranian entries and Glenn and I both loved the Cambodian entry though we haven't written about it yet. More to come.

The Coronation March
I understand that with Best Actress there's a lot of "It's Sandy vs. Cate" hoopla in online forums at the moments. Bullock is in very good shape for a nomination, true (I'm just being slightly contrarian to leave her out at the moment though I don't think she's anywhere close to 'lock' status yet) but I'd be very shocked if she ever gained enough momentum for a second win. A) it's not that kind of role since there's no "bait" beyond sad tears B) she's not that kind of actor to win a second unless competition is weak or the role is super bait C) Oscar has never in 85 years indicated a deep well of goodwill for actors working auteur pieces or actors in science fiction films. So unless Amy Adams is our stealth champion, I think Cate will be sweeping for months ala The Queen... and lord knows she is one.

Sell Yourself
Oscar campaigns can make a huge difference for movies and performers that aren't slam dunks. Armies of publicists and awards strategists are already working on their maneuvers though we won't see it till it happens. The films I personally think need smart campaigns the most are those in wide open categories (like animation) or those that will get zilch if they don't have one, either because they're perceived as "small" or because they're in the middle ground of praised but not rapturously so or they're well liked but there's no automatic "in". I'm thinking of films like Prisoners, Short Term 12, Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha, Labor Day, Blue is the Warmest Color, maybe even The Great Gatsby and Rush (the latter two I'm currently predicting to win the double edged sword prize aka the "most nominations without a corresponding Best Picture nod"). I realize it's a diverse lot but my point is they could all score anywhere from nuthin' to three or four nods, depending how well they play the game and whether they can condition AMPAS to think of them quite naturally when it comes time to ballot.  

• Sound and Fury
We've seen in the past that there's only so much room for blockbusters in the visual and sound categories if big showy prestige dramas have the wow elements and necessary "size" (think Gravity and Captain Phillips and maybe even Gatsby to a limited degree). When Tony Stark suits up the visual effects voters ALWAYS respond but the sound guys have only thrilled to his particular blast offs once. With Superman and various Kryptonians wreaking such loud havoc this year could the Man of Steel steal tech nods from the Man of Iron... or maybe they're both shut out and World War Z rises? Oscar doesn't really go for zombie films but there's a first time for everything right and maybe a couple of tech elements could be honored?

• Dress You Up
I can't believe we've come this far into the film year and I haven't waxed rhapsodic about Best Costume Design. I will rectify that soon including an interview with one of the true legends of the category. One of the things I've always liked about the costume designers is that they don't always stay in lock-step with Best Picture so it's anyone's guess. There are a lot of candidates worth considering including Lee Daniels' The Butler (crocheted disco suits!), Dallas Buyer's Club (80s trans glamour and redneck Texas), period finery versus humble wool in 12 Years a Slave, the sexpot disco glam of American Hustle... I could go on. One thing I'm curious about is Trish Summerville for Hunger Games: Catching Fire. People loved her work on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and though the original Capitol costumes (by a different designer) didn't win a nomination they did get a lot of media attention. How will these fare in comparison? 

• Sing-Along?
Will no one speak out or care about the Original Song category? It still seems entirely bereft of nominatable tunes... hey, if that's what it takes to get Short Term 12 nominated for something than that's what it takes. If we were nominating Best Song Performance we'd be singing a different tune entirely because, hello, Black Nativity divas and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac because good god his voice in Inside Llewyn Davis! I didn't love the movie beyond the cat but his voice is just golden. 

CHECK OUT THE CHARTS AND COME BACK AND DISCUSS!
PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SOUND | ANIMATION | FOREIGN FILMS
Suggestions on how to improve the charts are welcome

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

Top Ten: Red Carpet Cate 

Jose here. There's only a handful of things we can lock up for the upcoming Academy Awards and Cate Blanchett getting a Best Actress nod for Blue Jasmine is one of them.

The Australian goddess has been getting career-best reviews for her work in Woody Allen's latest, and considering she's played Bob Dylan, Kate Hepburn and Queen Elizabeth to perfection, she's been doing the right kind of press by being modest and saying she owes her success to Woody.

Tomorrow she's even getting a tribute at the New York Film Festival (read our festival coverage here)! Tributes are a key strategy in many Oscar campaign; she might finally win her second gold man. But let's not jump ahead of ourselves with that tricky Oscar fella and let's predict the other thing we can pretty much be assured will happen: Cate will be the best dressed woman on Oscar night. Doing the press rounds for Blue Jasmine donning everyone from Alexander McQueen to vintage Balenciaga, she has been on a roll (even when she goes for statements instead of "dresses"). Which forces us to wonder if she'll be out of ideas by spring! 

HER TEN BEST LOOKS OF THE SEASON
after the jump 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep212013

Link Hunter

Variety mourns film criticism wondering if Roger Ebert was the last critic who really mattered
Cinema Blend talks "narrative" in Oscar campaigns and what they might mean for the futures of Gravity and 12 Years a Slave
Pop Matters Matt Mazur elaborates on his comments from the last Supporting Actress Smackdown
Antagony & Ecstasy another rave review for Short Term 12, beautifully written by one of the web's best film critics. (This is why I hired him, yknow)


i09 in today's stupid remake news Neil Marshall who once directed a movie as good as The Descent is going to remake the clever Norwegian film Troll Hunter. Despite the fact that Trolls are kind of, you know, Scandinavian in nature in their appeal/fictional dominance. 
Awards Daily Sasha thinks its crazy to doubt a nomination for Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Maybe I am crazy but I'm kind of doubting it. Not wholly mind you... she's definitely in the running. But Oscar's acting branch does not like scifi and have only gone there a couple of  times really in lead (Sigourney Weaver in Aliens and Jeff Bridges in Starman spring to mind). But it could be that my feelings about the averageness of her performance are getting in the way. All that said, I do think it's strange to suggest that Oscar WANTS to reward women over 40 for being successful. On what basis is this a thing since they're always going for 20somethings when they could reward older women?
/Film Michael B Jordan, Saorsie Ronan, and David Oyelowo all being talked up for the next Star Wars movie 
Empire the first official picture from the tank-centric war film Fury starring Brad Pitt. I used to think that one day I'd grow out of Brad Pitt but it hasn't happened. And shan't. I just love him. 
Playbill Kristin Chenoweth to play Jennifer Lopez' best friend in the thriller The Boy Next Door about a woman (Lopez) who falls for her teen son's friend. I love me some Cheno but that is bizarre casting + genre weirdness, right? 

Today's Must Listens
Here's Lee Daniels talking about being gay and black in Hollywood... and in life. When asked which is harder in Hollywood he replies:

 I don’t know what to say to that. I want to answer that question to you but I have to be very honest with you that I’m afraid to answer that question because, uh, and I have to stay like Cecil and stay silent because I want to work."

 

Finally can we talk about BEST ORIGINAL SONG for a minute? I've been remiss as per usual in thinking through this category. IndieWire is pushing this rap number from Short Term 12, which is one of the film's key moments narratively and also emotionally courtesy of a pretty great performance from Keith Stanfield who also co-wrote the song with the director.

Until they abolish the category as some have argued they should, it's worth trying to suss out. But which songs will be eligible? Let's make a list in the comments while I'm updating my Oscar charts.

Friday
Sep202013

Best Actress "Character" ~ 50 Years 100 Greats

I was cleaning up a few folders on my desktop recently when I noticed this old poll and the accompanying visuals. It was too delicious not to revive. See back in 2011 when The Film Experience got its beautiful redesign as a site, I polled y'all about the most memorable best actress "characters" of the past 50 years (1961-2010) and in chronological order these were the women you voted for...

How many have you seen? I'm still pised that Sally Kirkland's "Anna" and Kathleen Turner's "Peggy Sue" didn't place... but I felt like posting it again right now since 3 Best Actress nominees from 1980, a year we're currently revisiting, placed (Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People, and Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter)

If we updated who do you think would make the list from 2011-2012? Who just sticks in your memory. Let's take a vote on it. You can only choose 2!

 

 

We don't know the 2013 nominees  just yet but I'm guessing Cate Blanchett's very blue "Jasmine" wouldn't have any trouble placing in any such future lists. Which is 90% of why she's still the frontrunner for the win in her category.

Wednesday
Sep112013

"Labor Day" in a Nutshell

If I'd have known that the poster to Jason Reitman's Labor Day, an adaptation of the Joyce Manard novel, hadn't made it online yet at this writing, I'd have snapped a picture of it. It's a beauty for its rarity. How many actual film stills are used for movie posters these days? It's usually either iconic floating heads or powerful star bodies. If not that then boring vertical / horizontal grids of star faces, or a mishmash collage.

Here's the freeze frame in question, that's only been slightly modified for the poster image...

Kate Winslet & Josh Brolin star in Labor Day

And that film still, the first image released, is truth in advertising. What's more -- and only faithful TFE readers will truly appreciate this -- it's the image that stopped me in my tracks during the movie and made me think  "That's my choice for 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' though I promise I don't play that game with every movie I watch. 

The image is the story in a nutshell...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep102013

TIFF: "Eleanor Rigby" Was Written For Jessica Chastain

Jessica outside the Elgin in TorontoOne of my fondest memories of TIFF 13 will be the simple fact that I sat in the same theater with Jessica Chastain for what appeared to be one of the most personal moments of her career. The theater, the Visa Elgin in Toronto, is a giant spacious ornate beast that holds well over a 1000 people but still... I was there! And so was Jessica! Proximity glory even from the balcony, people. 

The event was the premiere of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her and the movie, a two part romantic grief drama that runs 3 hours when combined (and which probably shouldn't be separated), will undoubtedly have a difficult path to audiences. So its first screening was in the biggest theater it will ever see to the most appreciative crowd it might ever get. That audience included a few members of the film's principal cast most of whom hadn't yet seen it.

Jessica Chastain was in tears afterwards detailing her friendship with the writer/director Ned Benson. They first met ten years ago when she approached him at a film festival where his short was playing asking to show him her reel because she loved his movie! (Take that Nicki & Naomi). This film, his feature debut, appears to be a giant loving personal gift to her or maybe its her gift to him since she stars and also produced it. Consider that Jessica's self proclaimed "favorite actress in the world" Isabelle Huppert plays her mom, that her beloved co-star from The Help Viola Davis plays her confidante and professor and that her very best friend "practically my sister" Jess Weixler (The Good WifeTeeth a few years ago) plays her best friend & actual sister in the film and you know how personal this all runs.

Jessica, her friend Ned Benson (the writer/director) and her co-star James McAvoy

The bow on this Jessica gift? The film, or films if you will, is/are wonderful. But more on them later.

Despite a premiere/movie that is all about loving and struggling with losing her (she's Elle Rigby), she deflected the light, getting most tearful when she expressed her feelings about her friend and debuting director's long journey to this premiere. 

I'm just so happy for him."

Jessica's First (of Many to Come) Oscar Ceremony in Feb 2012

When we (i.e. all of us) first met Jessica Chastain as an actress a couple of years ago now, her performances were so varied and and wave-like in their multitudes that who she was as a star offscreen was a tantalizing mystery. By the end of her first year in the limelight her offscreen persona was visible to all at the Oscars. Turns out she's just a big softie, a gushy sentimental girlie girl, a walking warm fuzzy. She probably loved unicorns as a child and probably still dots her "i"s with hearts! Which is all completely endearing... especially since her screen performances have told such a different story and cinema's iciest and least sentimental actress, Isabelle Huppert, happens to be her personal favorite.

Don't you love the rich disparity? 

 

 

Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
The Past from Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi & Cannes Best Actress Berenice Bejo
Queer Double FeatureTom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness 
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars

Tuesday
Sep102013

Today in Stupid: 20 Best Picture Nominees & Standing Os for August: Osage County

Relax. The headline is misleading, thank the baby Jesus. Variety is merely wondering if there should be 20 nominees and the only argument they can see against it is that it would make the ceremony even longer?!? Why would anyone propose such a thing? Oh, yes, shameless traffic-baiting is always the why. A website gotta have hits. But since we're feeling generous we've indulged them with a link.

The Film Experience would rather go back to 5 when a Best Picture nomination meant something and was difficult to procure. Even with 10 slots available it's so diluted. One unfortunate side effect is the Best Director category which, despite some fascinating surprises last year, has lost some of its appeal since gone are the days when you could wonder about the "lone wolf" nominee. With any more Best Picture nominees all the tension and drama that comes with annual competition would instantly be sucked out of it, like a zigzagging balloon with knot untied, falling to the ground in a rubbery lump of no fun who cares.

In other stupid news there seems to be a weird notion floating around twitter that the Standing Ovation for August: Osage County is a big deal somehow or that it's "rare".  Standing ovations are the furthest thing from rare at festival screenings if the cast or director actually shows up... unless they went and changed the definition of rare while I was up flying the friendly skies. They're kind of expected... that thing you do to say 'thank you for coming, movie stars!' 

Julianne, Dermot, Julia, Juliette, Ewan & Abigail at the premiere

Nevertheless August: Osage County is clearly where your head is out (I read the comments sections) and where Twitter's been sl let's discuss the reactions after the jump

Click to read more ...