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Entries in Best Actress (239)

Monday
Dec292014

Lead Actress Chat-a-long

Epix only uploads tiny pieces of this for viewing but someone has uploaded their whole Best Actress roundtable. The Supporting Actress version was up briefly before being pulled so watch it while you can. Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Emily Blunt, Shailene Woodley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jessica Chastain.

 

They talk for about 10 minutes at the beginning about singing and musicals -- someone needs to cast Gugu in a traditional musical straightaway!  

UPDATE: Though the special presentations are not available in full for embedding, you can see all five of them here at the Epix site.

 

Wednesday
Dec242014

Best Actress Battles: Marion vs. Rosamund? 

With the internet strenuously erecting a ring in which Julianne and Jennifer can mud wrestle, and wondering who could be a surprise snub, let's look at one more imaginary Best Actress Battle with this Oscar category that appears to have six women in it. One too many. Let's call this one the Critical Darling Cha-Cha. 

Gone Girl vs. Fired Girl
Two weeks ago when their was a seeming abundance of "fifth slot" possibilities for Oscar's Best Actress race, Marion Cotillard emerged from a non-campaigning overseas cloud to claim Critical Darling status. In quick succession she took prizes from three early-announcing critics group: the venerable New York Film Critics Circle as well as Boston Society of Film Critics and the young New York Film Critics Online group. Some of those prizes were shared with The Immigrant but since The Weinstein Co wasn't backing their early release with a campaign of any kind, it soon it became clear that Marion's worker solidarity drama, the Belgian Oscar submission Two Days One Night was the one. She's such an amazing actor that which film it was hardly mattered...

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Tuesday
Dec232014

Scarlett Johansson, 2014's MVP

Year in Review. Two yummy look backs each day

Tim here. Among its many charms and disappointments, 2014 was an extraordinarily good year to be a fan of Scarlett Johansson.

No, I can go bigger than that: 2014 was a year that could make somebody a fan of Scarlett Johansson in the first place, or in my case, knock the dust off a fandom that had been growing stale over the last several years.

What makes it such a particularly interesting year to have watched the actress is the way that three of her four performances released in the United States in ’14 are variations on each other (the outlier is what amounts to cameo in Chef, more of a favor done for director Jon Favreau than a real part). Let’s take a quick look at each of them:

Under the Skin
In a holdover from the 2013 festival season Johansson played a non-human being in the human form of a gorgeous woman under the guiding hand of director Jonathan Glazer. Icy good looks married to a deliberately unknowable inner life pretty neatly describes the opinion that tends to be held on Johansson’s acting skills by people who don’t like her, which makes this, on the one hand, an easy casting decision. [More...]

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Tuesday
Dec232014

Best Actress Battles: Felicity vs. Reese?

With the internet strenuously erecting a ring in which Julianne and Jennifer can mud wrestle, let's look at two or three other imaginary Best Actress Battles. First up is the "I'm just happy to be nominated" tussle.

"consider EVERYTHING" ??? Greedy!

Felicity vs. Reese
Reese Witherspoon looked like a major force in the Best Actress race when Wild first premiered in September as the wandering self-redemptive Cheryl Strayed. Sadly the year-end party hasn't thrown much confetti her way. To date, she has won just one (maybe two?) small regional critics prizes. I blame the lack of awards on three things: the movie wasn't released in the fall where its contemplative moods would not have been in direct opposition to the bustling holidays surrounding it; Reese has already had her Oscar coronation which often kills future prospects for actresses; and, finally, the "Reeseurgence" never caught on in quite the way the McConaughissance did in its year, partially because there was no Magic Mike pop culture hit kicking the movement off in the first place a year prior.

Since her Oscar win Reese has been divorced, remarried, had a third child, and made a dozen more movies.So the Southern Belle finds herself in the odd company of Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything). Jones is about as diametrically opposed to Reese in terms of celebrity persona and acting style as you can get. Both the Nashville spark plug and the demure English flower are consistent figures in shortlists (the trifecta: SAG, BFCA, Globes) but neither appear to have generated the excitement that leads to #1 ballot placements. Though it should be noted that Oscar pundits, myself included, make far too much of preferential ballot systems since every year Oscar lineups are peppered with people and movies that are extraordinarly difficult to imagine as #1 favorites.

Do these two beautiful women have hidden reserves of campaign power and industry support to draw upon still?  Are either of them in danger of not hearing their names read out on January 15th?

HAVE YOU: Liked us on Facebook? Followed Nathaniel on Twitter? Tis the Season
PREVIOUSLY: BEST ACTRESS BATTLES: JULI vs. JEN
RELATED: ACTRESS Chart & All Current Oscar Predictions

Monday
Dec222014

Best Actress Battles: Juli vs. Jen?

A recent headline, suggesting 'ways in which Jennifer Aniston could win the Oscar' (I shan't quote it directly but it's here if you must look upon it) didn't raise my eyebrow. Didn't even cause a twitch! If you've followed the Oscar game your whole life and especially if you've followed it in the past ten years when the internet has amplified all of the minutea you'll know that journalists are always looking for fresh angles or, with or without those, highly fantastical angles sold as plausible to use for click bait. So though the articles (I'm sure they are plural though I haven't actually read them) didn't worry me at first -- I believe that Julianne Moore will win gold -- but the immediate enthusiastic social media response to the idea that Jennifer Aniston might have an Oscar coming in February is what finally shoved my unwilling eyebrow up.

"Consider..." that here are two movies (Still Alice and Cake) that virtually no one outside of the press & industry has seen since both opted for one week qualifying releases. Yet they're the two that the fans are getting emotionally invested in in terms of "should/will win" arguments. It serves as a useful reminder that around Christmas-time each year the narratives truly begin to take over, media "battles" are created, and the actual films and performances are left far far behind...

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Saturday
Dec202014

Posterized: Reese Witherspoon

Pink is also her signature colorWe haven't done a Reese episode of Posterized yet?

I OBJECT!

America's one time sweetheart (we go through them rapidly) is currently courting hearts again, albeit in much thornier and more adult settings. She's uptight and deskbound, if not quite straight-laced, as Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball in Inherent Vice and wandering and raggedy as the grieving Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild. The latter is expected to bring her Nomination #2 for Best Actress (more on that category tomorrow) and the former reunites her with Joaquin Phoenix, who helped her to Oscar win #1 in Walk the Line.

Since her Oscar win, Reese has been doing her own sort of wandering... away from the A list. Not really -- you can't really rub that off you when you're as charismatic as she! But a wandering away from something. The films weren't grabbing people and Reese didn't seem as dazzingly invested. Apparently she'll be discussing her career's most quiet period tomorrow night on 60 Minutes claiming that post-Phillipe-divorce (2008)...

I spent a few years just trying to feel better ... you can't really be creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs, 

Hence this year's "Reeseurgence" which had a wee preamble with the indies  Mud and The Devil's Knot last year. Wild went wide this weekend adding over 900 screens (I love it and hope you'll go see it) and it seems like a great time to glance back as Reese makes such a memory-filled trek onscreen...

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN? 
Reese's filmography in chronological poster form after the jump 

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