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 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 (239)

Monday
Feb172014

Monologue: Kate Hepburn Jabbers Away in "Alice Adams"

It's actually difficult to find speeches for our monologue series which accounts for its haphazard appearance at The Film Experience. With Anne Marie's brilliant chronological "A Year With Kate" hitting the Oscar nominated Alice Adams (1935) in two days time, I thought it was time to revive an old episode of this series.

Screenwriters generally favor single sentence utterances and the ole trusty shot / reverse shot conversation, leaving the bulk of monologue-writing to playwrights. But watching Alice Adams (1935), it's easy to think of virtually every scene as a Katharine Hepburn monologue. Occasionally her co-stars will start a sentence in response but Kate as Alice rarely lets them finish a thought. She spends the whole movie jabbering away as if she's the only character...

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Wednesday
Feb122014

Best Actress: Nathaniel's Ballot & Oscars

It's time to get back to our Film Bitch Awards. I've 18 days to finish everything. Give me strength! 

I was rooting for Brie Larson all season, but Oscar had bigger stars in mind

When it comes to Oscar's Best Actress field this year I'd rank the performances in this order without hesitation: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) > Adams (Hustle) ≥ Streep (August) > Dench (Philomena) > Bullock (Gravity). But as usual my own lineup differs quite a lot. I looked beyond the twelve titles that voters were considering nominating for Best Picture and then conveniently dropping onto their ballots in each and every other category. I also had to consider shoeless Emma (Mr Banks) who obviously just-missed Oscar's cut-off since they were all about their ol' standbys this year (this year's amalgam of all five contenders has been nominated 7.6 times which is probably a statistical "most" record in any acting category). So in addition to Oscar's conversation topics I took long hard looks at the Before... franchise's Julie Delpy again (she was nominated right here in 2004), Jane Adams and Paulina Garcia in the little seen arthouse gems All the Light in the Sky and Gloria respectively, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said), too. And then there were the fresh faces (well, fresh before the spaghetti sauce and sobbing) like Adele Exarchopoulus and familiar young stars like Brie Larson (Short Term 12) and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) who are just now coming into what feels like their true power as screen stars. I even considered Melissa McCarthy in The Heat, she of the perfect line readings, who was quite unjustly robbed of a Golden Globe comedy nomination this year. 

It was a tough call. I tore my imaginary hair out. In the end, as always, you want six or seven nominees but you conly get five. And here they are with my capsule comments... The Best Actresses of 2013.

P.S. If Oscar voters choose anyone other than Cate Blanchett, it's going to be so catastrophic for my mental health that you'll see me on a park bench somewhere in 2014 chattering away to no one in particular as I replay the events of 2013 endlessly on a loop, torturing myself as to how it all went so terribly wrong.

P.P.S. The Best Actress Oscar Page now has "how they were nominated?" theorizing and a reader poll

P.P.P.S. Like TFE on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on twitter. Why haven't you already? Lot of exciting plans for 2014 including more interactivity with you.

Wednesday
Feb122014

18 Days Til Oscar. 18 Nominations For Meryl Streep

Here's a piece of trivia that even people who are clueless about the Oscars can recite: Meryl Streep is the most nominated actor of all time. Sometimes those same people will say she's won the most Oscars but you can't know everything if you don't pay attention. But, any way you come at it, her record is astounding (18 noms / 3 wins) 

Today I'm having fun repurposing her bitchy dialogue from August: Osage County and pretending its mockery of her fellow nominees and their (comparatively) puny Oscar histories.

You ever been married nominated before?
...More than once

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Tuesday
Feb112014

Seasons of Bette: Of Human Bondage (1934)

ICYMI - We announced last week that as a sidebar series to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate", Nathaniel will be discussing each of the Oscar Roles of Bette Davis, 11 in total or 10 if you're a purist, as they appear within Kate's chronology. There will be spoilers.

You should know as we begin this new mini-series that I am not, like Anne Marie with Kate, a Bette historian. My knowledge of Bette Davis is something like the cliff notes version that most people who love movies absorb along the way. The earliest and only pre-Jezebel (1938) Bette Davis performance I had seen before beginning this series was Three on a Match (1932) which didn't, in any way, prepare us for the Bette we know; she's not the MVP of that racy pre-code girls-gone-bad drama. So I'm happy to report that Of Human Bondage (1934) gives us the Full Bette-of-Legend Arc. She goes from unsatisfying bit player to unforgettable star to terrifying disintegrating old harpy all in the space of 83 minutes! It's quite the retrospective ride. [More...]

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Tuesday
Feb112014

19 Days Til Oscar (Feat. Julianne Moore)

Hollywood's High Holy Night is less than three weeks away now. Today also happens to be the 50th birthday of one Sarah Palin but rather than wish one of the worst people alive a Happy Birthday, here's a random 'What If?' question for your discussion pleasure...

Q: Julianne has been nominated for four Oscars (Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, The Hours, Far From Heaven), famously losing all of them. If her Sarah Palin movie "Game Change" --  which won her the Globe, SAG, and Emmy --  had been a feature film, would she be 5/0 with Oscar or a winner? How would she have affected that Oscar race

Honestly you could ask the same question of "Behind the Candelabra" in this Oscar race in both the Lead and Supporting Actor categories, courtesy of biopic love and category fraud. 

P.S. Here are Julianne's Oscar looks for beauteous fun. The first three years she was a nominee. (If I ran the world she would've won two of those races) though I don't suspect she'll show this year with only Non-Stop to promote and 11 long years without a nomination.

Friday
Feb072014

"Seasons of Bette" Coming Soon

Surprise! As a side bar series to Anne Marie's brilliant "A Year With Kate" project, I present to you "Seasons of Bette". Together with Streep, who we talk about a lot, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis form the Holy Trinity of Oscar's Best Actress category, with 41 nominations and 9 statuettes between them. Streep is bound to have another big year in 2014 with The Homesman, The Giver and Into the Woods all arriving but we're finally giving the other two their due. 

"Seasons of Bette" won't be a comprehensive film-by-film study like Anne Marie's (Bette made 80+ features and a ton of television so, uh, no.) but I will personally be visiting each of Bette's Oscar nominated star turns, as they come up within Kate's timeline. When Anne Marie pitted them against each other in her last episode, I realized that they'd only squared off four times at the Oscars but that I had not seen all of Bette's nominated work. So join me. It's the perfect opportunity for us to fill in Best Actress viewing gaps together. Titles in red represent the years where Kate & Bette competed head on for Oscar gold. If you'd like to play along that means you've got to watch Of Human Bondage (1934) right away on Netflix Instant, Dangerous (1935) by February 24th, Jezebel (1938) by March 30th, Dark Victory (1939)  by April 14th, The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941)  by April 21st, Now Voyager (1942) by April 28th, Mr Skeffington (1944) by May 19th, All about Eve (1950) by June 30th, The Star (1952) by July 14th, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) by August 18th.

Join us?